From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)
In the 47-year history of the Super Bowl, we have had 48 players (there were co-MVPs in 1978) who were selected as the MVP of the game. Joe Montana, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers won three of those awards, most in the game’s history. Four other players won the award twice: Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, all QBs.
As we take a look at the list of Super Bowl MVPs, several interesting stats evolve:
First, quarterbacks seem to be the primary focus of the Super Bowl MVP award. Of the 48 MVPs, 26 have been QBs. The 2013 Super Bowl as no exception as Baltimore QB Joe Flacco was chosen as the game’s MVP.
Here’s a position look at the MVPs.
Super Bowl MVP Awards, position, (average age of those MVPs)
26: Quarterbacks (30.0)
8: Defensive players (26.6)
7: Running backs (27.0)
6: Wide receivers (26.5)
1: Kick returners (26.0)
Secondly, we notice that when it comes to the age of the player named the game’s MVP, most are in their 20′s. In fact, of the 48 MVPs, 30 were in their 20′s, 18 were in their 30′s. Here’s a look at the number of MVPs within each age. The age with the most MVPs is 25 with seven.
Age, Super Bowl MVP Awards
Age 23: Two
Age 24: Five
Age 25: Seven
Age 26: Five
Age 27: Five
Age 28: Three
Age 29: Three
Age 30: Two
Age 31: Three
Age 32: Four
Age 33: Four
Age 34: Four
Age 38: One
* The oldest Super Bowl MVP was Denver’s John Elway in 1999. He was 38 years old.
* The youngest Super Bowl MVP was Raiders running back Marcus Allen who was 23. Pittsburgh receiver Lynn Swann was also 23 when he won his Super Bowl MVP in 1976, but Allen beat him by 15 days; Allen was 23 and 302 days, Swann was 23 and 317 days.
* Of the 18 players who were in their 30′s when they won the Super Bowl MVP, 14 of them were quarterbacks.
* Dallas’ Randy White, who shared MVP honors with teammate Harvey Martin in the 1978 game, is the only MVP to win his award on his birthday. He won his MVP on his 25th birthday.
“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is $2.99.
At age 36, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber is considering a return to the NFL after a four-year retirement. The merits of whether or not he should return can be debated and ultimately the decision will come down to Tiki and his team determining whether or not he is capable of doing the job and if he can be a productive player.
But let’s take a quick look at the possibility of Barber making a “successful” return from a statistical viewpoint. Simply asked, how many successful 36-year-old running backs have played in the NFL? First, consider that Barber rushed for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns in his “final” season of 2006. Can Barber match that total in a comeback?
Here’s a look at the NFL running backs 36 years of age or older who have gained the most yards in a season:
Marcus Allen (age 36) 830 (1996)
John Riggins (age 36) 677 (1985)
Marcus Allen (age 37) 505 (1997)
MacArthur Lane (age 36) 277 (1978)
John Henry Johnson (age 37) 226 (1966)
Lorenzo Neal (age 36) 140 (2006)
Ollie Matson (age 36) 101 (1966)
So only six running backs gained over 100 yards in a season (Allen did it twice). That’s not 100 yards in a game, that’s in a season!
How about touchdowns? Only six running backs scored a rushing touchdown at age 36 or older. Allen scored 20 over two years, Riggins scored eight in one season, and John Henry Johnson scored three rushing TDs in one season. Three other running backs scored one TD each at age 36 or older: Ollie Matson, Fred McAfee and Lorenzo Neal.
Can Tiki Barber make a successful return to the NFL? Time will tell. But based on the numbers, a successful 36-year-old running back is pretty rare. If Barber can find some of those skills that propelled him to 1,662 yards and five TDs in 2006, he will join Marcus Allen and John Riggins as those rare running backs who had success at age 36 and beyond.
(Thanks, Chips, for the idea)