Super Bowl MVPs: Looking for the best of the best

Story highlights

  • Bart Starr of the Green Bay Packers was the first Super Bowl MVP in 1967
  • In '76, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Lynn Swann was the first wide receiver to win MVP
  • Joe Namath "guaranteed" an upset victory and won MVP in 1969

(CNN)Who really deserves to be named the "most valuable player" of the Super Bowl?

Just about every season, fans argue over that question. If the Super Bowl pits the best teams against each other, who's the most valuable player amongst these great teams? Which athlete will be the best of the best on Super Bowl Sunday?
That prompts this obvious question: How exactly do they choose the MVP?
It's decided by 16 votes by members of the media -- including three who cover the participating teams. This year, those are the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. The other ten votes come from members of the national media, according to the Seattle Times. Also, there are four additional votes based total ballots cast by fans on NFL.com.
Some MVP stories have become legendary.
Like in 1969, when New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath responded to a heckler a few days before Super Bowl III, by "guaranteeing" that his team would upset the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.
Then, it actually happened.
Namath was named MVP.
When you talk about the best of the best, you have to mention the 1973 Miami Dolphins.
Their perfect 17-0 season remains unmatched to this day. Who was named MVP from that Super Bowl? Dolphin safety Jake Scott, who caught two interceptions against Washington in Super Bowl VII.
Pittsburgh fans still talk about Super Bowl X in 1976, when a diving catch by wide receiver Lynn Swann became one of the most memorable plays in the history of the championship. Swann was the first wide receiver to win MVP and helped his Steelers defeat the Dallas Cowboys 21-17.
In 1984, Los Angeles Raiders running back Marcus Allen was named MVP after showing the Washington Redskins how to rush for 191 yards and score two touchdowns.
Let's not forget the defense. Chicago Bears defensive end Richard Dent was named MVP in Super Bowl XX in 1986. With two sacks and two forced fumbles, he helped the Bears crush the New England Patriots, 46-10.