Where 10 Super Bowl MVPs Went to College

Super Bowl MVPs weren't all college football stars. Here's a rundown of where 10 football MVPs went to college and their stats.

portrait of Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.
by Genevieve Carlton, Ph.D.

Updated March 1, 2022

Edited by Tyler Epps
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Where 10 Super Bowl MVPs Went to College

Whether you're throwing a Super Bowl viewing party in your dorm or tailgating, it's fun to look back at the college careers of MVPs.

When it comes to colleges with the most championship MVPs, Michigan takes the top spot — all because of one quarterback. Many MVPs shined in college. Others posted less impressive stats.

Here's a look at the college records of the 10 players who took home Super Bowl MVP titles in the past 12 years.

Tom Brady cheers towards the crowd after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV on February 7, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.
Image Credit: Mike Ehrmann / Staff / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

1. Tom Brady (LV, LI, and XLIX) — University of Michigan

With three titles in the past 12 years and five in total, Tom Brady has won more Super Bowl MVP awards than anyone else. But where did he play in college? Brady spent 1996-99 as the quarterback for the University of Michigan. Coach Lloyd Carr said of Brady, "Tom has very good potential and has done a very good job."

As starting quarterback, Brady led the Wolverines to a 20-5 record. Brady's college stats were solid. His 2,427 passing yards in 1998 ranked fourth in the Big 10. The Patriots drafted Brady in the sixth round in 2000.


Patrick Mahomes runs with the ball in the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals on January 30, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri..
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2. Patrick Mahomes (LIV) — Texas Tech University

Although he had offers from Rice and Oklahoma State University, quarterback Patrick Mahomes picked Texas Tech. During his three seasons as a Red Raider, Mahomes had 11,252 passing yards.

His huge passing game landed Mahomes in the first spot in the NCAA for passing yards and total yards in 2016. After the Kansas City Chiefs drafted him in 2017, Mahomes led the team to a championship victory in 2020.


Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the Denver Broncos on October 18, 2020.
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3. Julian Edelman (LIII) — Kent State University

As a quarterback, Julian Edelman couldn't land a single scholarship offer out of high school. But after playing football at a junior college, Edelman moved to KSU, where he played from 2006-08.

In his three seasons at KSU, Edelman racked up 4,997 passing yards and top-7 spots for passing yards, rushing yards, and total yards in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. Edelman switched to wide receiver when the Patriots drafted him, and racked up half of his team's receiving yards in their championship appearance in 2019.


Nick Foles of the Philadelphia Eagles looks for a receiver player on his team during an NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Chicago Bears.
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4. Nick Foles (LII) — Arizona State University

Nick Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to their first championship victory in 2018. But it was a long road to MVP for the quarterback. Between 2009 and 2011, Foles played for ASU, where he set a school record of 10,011 yards. The quarterback also completed 66.8% of his passes.

Those stats landed Foles in first place on the leaderboard in the Pacific-12 Conference for pass completion, passing yards, and total yards.


Von Miller running on the field during the game between the Denver Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 19, 2021.
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5. Von Miller (L) — Texas A&M University

Linebacker Von Miller secured an MVP title when the Broncos won over the Panthers. But back in 2007-10, Miller played for Texas A&M.

Von Miller moved around on the Aggies defensive line — playing as a defensive end before moving to linebacker. And he racked up some impressive stats, including placing first in the NCAA in sacks. In 2010, Miller won the Dick Butkus Award, marking him as the best linebacker in the country. It's no surprise that the Broncos drafted Miller in the first round in 2011.


Malcolm Smith holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos on February 2, 2014.
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6. Malcolm Smith (XLVIII) — University of Southern California

In the 2013 season, Malcolm Smith became the first defensive player to win Super Bowl MVP in a decade. Smith's career as a linebacker started at USC, where he posted solid stats from 2007-10. Smith posted numbers in the top 10 for the Pacific-10 Conference for assisted tackles and interception return yards. He led the division in interception return touchdowns in 2009 and 2010.

Smith's college career landed him a seventh round draft pick in 2011. And just three years later, he helped the Seattle Seahawks score their first championship win.


Joe Flacco throws the ball during the first half of the National Football League Pre-Season game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Jets on August 27, 2021.
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7. Joe Flacco (XLVII) — University of Delaware

Before leading the Baltimore Ravens to a championship victory in 2013, quarterback Joe Flacco played for the University of Delaware. Although Flacco only played for the Blue Hens for two seasons — 2006-07 — he became one of the university's most impressive athletes.

The quarterback set 20 school records, including most completions in a game and passing yards in a season. Flacco also led the Blue Hens to the FCS National Championship in 2007.


Eli Manning runs off the field after throwing a touchdown in the second quarter of the game between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins on December 15, 2019.
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8. Eli Manning (XLVI) — University of Mississippi

MVP Eli Manning chose his dad's alma mater, Ole Miss, where he played from 2000-03. In his second year as a Rebel, the quarterback logged 2,948 yards, 31 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions.

Manning led the team to a share of the SEC Western Division title and a win at the Cotton Bowl. Then Eli, like his older brother Peyton, became a first draft pick in 2003. He later led the New York Giants to two championship wins, picking up the MVP title for both.


Aaron Rodgers smiling during the first quarter during the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on January 9, 2022.
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9. Aaron Rodgers (XLV) — University of California, Berkeley

Aaron Rodgers had to fight his way to Division I football. That's because in high school, Rodgers tipped the scales at 5'6" and 125 pounds, according to his coach. So how did Rodgers end up at UC Berkeley and then go on to win Super Bowl MVP with the Green Bay Packers in 2011?

His college career started at Butte College, a junior college in Northern California. Rodgers caught the eye of Cal coaches after leading his team to a 10-1 season and a NorCal Conference Championship. In his 25 games at UC Berkeley, he threw 5,469 passing yards.


Drew Brees on the field at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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10. Drew Brees (XLIV) — Purdue University

Before leading the New Orleans Saints to their first championship victory in 2010 — and picking up the title of Super Bowl MVP — Drew Brees played for Purdue. As quarterback, he helped lead the Boilermakers all the way to the Rose Bowl, along with a Big Ten Championship.

When Brees started out his college career, he had to choose between basketball, baseball, and football — he played all three at his Austin high school. But a state championship win in his senior year sealed Brees' future. He headed off to Purdue, where he played quarterback from 1997-2000.



Feature Image: miodrag ignjatovic / E+ / Getty Images