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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4. Nick Bosa, DE, 49ers

He’s had a tremendous start to his NFL career and that’s impressive considering he missed all but two games in his second season in 2020. Defensive end Nick Bosa is one of the premier pass rushers in the league. He continues to impress on a weekly basis, and he’s obviously been a big part of the 49ers’ eighth-ranked defensive unit.

In 68 regular-season contests, Bosa has racked up 53.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles. He’s been a Pro Bowler in four of the five seasons when he played more than two games. In 2022, he came up with a league-best 18.5 quarterback traps, earned All-Pro honors and was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. This season, he led the Niners with 10.5 sacks but came up with a team-high 25 quarterback hits.

Perhaps even more impressive has been the five-year pro’s play in the postseason. He’s played in 11 playoff games and has racked up 10.0 sacks. For what it’s worth, Bosa totaled five tackles, one sack, knocked down a pass and forced a fumble in the Niners’ 31-20 loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in 2019.

Only twice in 57 Super Bowls has the defensive line been recognized when it comes to Super Bowl MVP accolades. Cowboys’ Randy White and Harvey Martin were co-MVPs of Super Bowl XII, and Richard Dent got the nod for the Bears in Super Bowl XX.