There are several ways to look at defensive excellence during the Super Bowl.
Dominant defensive units such as 1985 Chicago Bears2000 Baltimore Raven and the Steel Curtain of the 1970s propelled their organizations to championships. There are also iconic defensive plays that have taken teams to titles, like Malcolm Butler’s interception, James Harrison’s electric six and Mike Jones’ tackle.
Another point that reflects the greatness in defense is the stats table. While they may not get the screen time in the featured reels shown every February, the singles game leaders in Super Bowl tackles, covers, and interceptions have a at the top of the record books.
Here’s a look back at some of the players who reminded everyone that “defensive wins.”
Which NFL player has the most tackles in a Super Bowl game?
Three of the top seven tackles in Super Bowl history have come from the same defence.
Dan Morgan holds the record for most tackles in a game, with 18 for the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII against New England Patriots. 3rd on the list is Panthers safe Mike Minter with 14, while quarterback Will Witherspoon comes in at 4th all-time with 13 – all in the same game.
Tackles were plenty for the Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII, but so were the yards and points allowed. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense totaled 481 yards and walked away with a jubilant 32-39 victory thanks to a decisive goal in the game of Adam VinatierI.
Here’s the full top 10 list of tackles in Super Bowl history:
1. Dan Morgan, Panthers, XXXVIII: 18
2. Jeff Siemon, Vikings, XI: 15
3. Mike Minter, Panthers, XXXVIII: 14
T-4. Keanu Neal, Falcon, LI: 13
T-4. Lance Briggs, Bears, XLI: 13
T-4. Will Witherspoon, Panthers, XXXVIII: 13
T-4. Eric Barton, Raiders, XXXVII: 13
T-8. Devin White, Buccaneers, LV: 12
T-8. Bobby Wagner, Seahawks, XLIX: 12
T-8. Danny Trevathan, Broncos, XLVIII: 12
T-8. Rodney Harrison, The Patriot, XLII: 12
T-8. Rodney Harrison, The Patriots, XXXIX: 12
Which NFL player has the most bags in a Super Bowl game?
Roger Staubach got to know LC Greenwood quite a bit during Super Bowl X.
Greenwood clinched a four-bag Super Bowl record in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 21-17 victory over Dallas Cowboys. The number was even more staggering when he was named an All-Pro that year after amassing 6.5 bags over the entire regular season.
The Steelers defense as a whole has made the Staubach and Cowboys attack very difficult. Pittsburgh took inventory of seven sacks and three interceptions en route to a second straight championship.
Aside from Greenwood, only eight players have ever scored more than twice in a bag in a Super Bowl game. Here’s a look at the top 10 Super Bowl sacks in one game:
1. LC Greenwood, Steelers, X: 4.0
T-2. Grady Jarrett, Falcon, LI: 3.0
T-2. Kony Ealy, Panthers, 50: 3.0
T-2. Darnell Dockett, Cardinals, XLIII: 3.0
T-2. Reggie White, Packers, XXXI: 3.0
T-2. Willie Davis, Packers, II: 3.0
T-7. Trey Flowers, Patriots, LI: 2.5
T-7. Von Miller, Broncos, 50: 2.5
T-7. Tom Keating, Raiders, II: 2.5
10. 26 players: 2.0
Which NFL player has the most interceptions in a Super Bowl game?
Rod Martin catches the third most passes from Ron Jaworski during Super Bowl XV, and that’s bad news for Jaws.
Martin picked Jaworski three times in the last Oakland Raiders 27-10 win Philadelphia Eagles. The quarterback ended the day with 291 yards of passing, but the team didn’t get into the final zone until the fourth inning of their first Super Bowl appearance.
Aside from Martin’s record of three catches, only 11 other players have blocked two passes in the same Super Bowl. Two of those outings came from a pair of teammates as Dexter Jackson and Dwight Smith combined for four interceptions in Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII won against the Raiders.
Here are all the players who had the game of multiple interceptions during the Super Bowl:
1. Rod Martin, Raiders, XV: 3
T-2. Rodney Harrison, The Patriots, XXXIX: 2
T-2. Dexter Jackson, Buccaneers, XXXVII: 2
T-2. Dwight Smith, Buccaneers, XXXVII: 2
T-2. Darrien Gordon, Broncos, XXXIII: 2
T-2. Larry Brown, Cowboy, XXX: 2
T-2. Thomas Everett, Cowboy, XXVII: 2
T-2. Brad Edwards, Washington, XXVI: 2
T-2. Barry Wilburn, Washington, XXII: 2
T-2. Jake Scott, Dolphins, VII: 2
T-2. Chuck Howley, Cowboys, V: 2
T-2. Randy Beverly, The Jet, III: 2
How many defensive players have won the MVP of the Super Bowl?
To win the Super Bowl’s MVP as a defensive player, more than a record-setting performance was needed, as none of the aforementioned single-game leaders took home the prize.
Across 55 Super Bowl games, only 9 competitions have had a defensive player win the MVP. Von Miller was the most recent player to do this, picking up 2.5 sacks and two must-haves in the Denver Broncos’ 24-10 win over the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
As tough as being the Super Bowl’s MVP is on defense, there’s one key element that’s not really essential to winning the honor: winning the game.
The first defensive player to win the MVP in the game came from a loss in Super Bowl V. Cowboys full-back Chuck Howley received the distinction after parrying two passes during the 16-13 loss to Baltimore. Colts. Aside from Howley, all of the other Super Bowl MVPs – offense and defense – have come from winning teams, a trend that may never be broken again.
Another instance where a defensive player won an MVP in the game occurred at Super Bowl XII. Cowboys defense members Harvey Martin and Randy White were both named MVPs after killing Craig Morton and the Broncos, marking the only time co-MVP was named for the Super Bowl.
Here are all the defensive players honored as Super Bowl MVPs:
V: Chuck Howley, linebacker, Cowboys
VII: Jake Scott, Safety, Dolphins
XII: Harvey Martin / Randy White, line of defense, Cowboy
XX: Richard Dent, defensive end, Bears
XXX: Larry Brown, back corner, Cowboy
XXXV: Ray Lewis, full-back, Ravens
XXXVII: Dexter Jackson, full-back, Buccaneers
XLVIII: Malcolm Smith, full-back, Seahawks
50: Von Miller, linebacker, Broncos
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/sports/super-bowl-2022/best-individual-defensive-performances-in-super-bowl-history/3129772/ Best Individual Defense Performance in Super Bowl History – NBC10 Philadelphia