10 dark-horse Super Bowl MVP candidates who aren’t Patrick Mahomes, Brock Purdy

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs
San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs / David Eulitt/GettyImages
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Let’s lay out the numbers right off the top. There have been 57 Super Bowls and in well over half, the quarterback has been named the game’s MVP. A team’ signal-caller has gotten the nod 32 times, led by five-time winner Tom Brady with the Patriots (4) and Buccaneers (1).

Hence, here’s a look at 10 players from the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs who aren’t quarterbacks who could walk away with Super Bowl MVP honors if they come up with a huge performance. Some of the answers may be more obvious than others, and both sides of the football will be addressed. There will be plenty of historical perspective as well.

10. George Karlaftis, DE, Chiefs

He was part of what is turning out to be an extraordinary class on both sides of the ball for the current defending Super Bowl champions. Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis was the 30th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and the Chiefs’ second first-rounder that year. In three seasons with the Boilermakers, he totaled five takeaways and 14.5 sacks in 26 outings.

In two seasons with Kansas City, he’s played and started 39 games (including playoffs). He tied for the team lead this season (with Chris Jones) with 10.5 sacks. In those 39 overall contests, he’s racked up 20.0 quarterback traps.

Karlaftis was a big factor in the AFC title game win at Baltimore. He finished with four tackles, one sack and a fumble recovery. In three postseason games this year, he’s totaled 14 stops, 2.5 quarterback traps (4 QB hits), one takeaway while knocking down a pass.