Throughout the 55 previous Super Bowls, there have only been six total defensive players to have won the Super Bowl MVP award.
Though there have only been two defenders to win the award in the last two decades, that could change on Sunday when the Los Angeles Rams take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. The Rams have a few defensive players who have been absolute game wreckers this season, but none more than d-lineman Aaron Donald.
Donald has 12 sacks, four forced fumbles and 21 TFLs on the season. But for a defender to win Super Bowl MVP in the modern era, a lot of things have to go right. First of all, it can’t be a high-scoring game. When Donald’s teammate Von Miller won the award in Super Bowl 50, the final score was just 24-10. The potential Peyton Manning retirement was a major storyline there, but the offense didn't really do a ton with Miller and company setting up a few short fields for easy points. Given how potent LA’s offense is, it’s unlikely a defensive player will outshine Matt Stafford or Cooper Kupp.
Donald himself will also need a big game. When Miller won Super Bowl MVP, he had six tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pass breakup. Donald only has one game with more than a single sack all season. He’ll need at least two sacks and a few TFLs to have a realistic chance at MVP on Sunday.
The Rams will also have to win the game, which isn’t a sure thing. They’re currently a 4.5 point favorite, but the Bengals are playing their best football of the season right now and are a dangerous team despite their youth.
His odds to win the award are currently listed at +1600, with 21% of the handle and 18% of bets on the lineman to take home the title.