Watch CBS News

Patrick Mahomes now tasked with breaking dreaded MVP curse in Super Bowl

Former Patriots employee auctioning off Super Bowl ring to support veterans
Former Patriots employee auctioning off Super Bowl ring to support veterans 02:12

BOSTON -- Do you believe in curses? Dark magic? Voodoo? Are you superstitious? Are you a little stitious? Do you believe in witchcraft and/or sorcery?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you might want to prepare yourself for an Eagles victory in Super Bowl LVII.

That's because, as expected, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was officially named Most Valuable Player of the National Football League on Thursday night at the NFL Honors ceremony.

This announcement was merely a formality, as Mahomes was far and away the best player in the league this year. The sixth-year quarterback led the league in passing yards (a career-high 5,250) and passing touchdowns (41) while guiding the Chiefs to a 14-3 record and a seventh consecutive AFC West title.

Mahomes received 48 out of 50 first-place votes, with Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen each getting one first-place vote. Mahomes collected 490 of a possible 500 voting points, with Hurts a distant second at 193 voting points. There was absolutely no doubt about this one.

Unfortunately for Mahomes, winning the MVP comes with a certain level of doom and despair, dating back more than 20 years.

An NFL MVP has not won the Super Bowl since 1999 -- 1999! -- when Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams stopped the Tennessee Titans at the 1-yard line to win Super Bowl XXXIV. Kurt Warner now looks like this:

Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner Cooper Neill / Getty Images

He looks great for a 51-year-old, no doubt. Drop the skincare routine, as the youths say. But he nevertheless looks 51 years old, for sure. Which is the point here.

Not since Kurt Warner looked like this ...

Kurt Warner
Kurt Warner Doug Pensinger / Getty Images

... has a player won the Super Bowl and the MVP award in the same season.

It's been a while.

Tom Brady, whom you may have heard of, managed to win seven Super Bowls and three MVP awards, but never in the same year. The MVPs came in 2007, 2010, and 2017. He made it to the Super Bowl and lost in two of those seasons.

Aaron Rodgers, who's taken home four MVP awards in that span, has won just one Super Bowl, and that did not align with his MVP seasons. Rodgers and the Packers twice lost in the divisional round and twice lost in the conference championship in his four MVP seasons.

Peyton Manning, who retired seven years ago (wow, we are getting old, people), won a record five MVP awards while also winning two Super Bowls. Those years, of course, did not align. He made the Super Bowl in one of his MVP seasons -- 2013 -- but lost that game, 43-8. Yikes.

That covers all the multi-time winners overall. As for the individual years ... hold on to your hats, people.

In 2000, Marshall Faulk, a teammate of Warner's, won the award. The Rams lost in the wild card round.

The next year, Kurt Warner won the award again. He and the Rams lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl. It was a whole thing. Made the news. You remember it. Warner threw a pick-six to Ty Law to give New England a 7-3 lead in the second quarter, one of his two picks in the game.

In 2002, Rich Gannon won the award and made the Super Bowl with the Raiders. In that Super Bowl ... they lost by 6,000 points to the Buccaneers. (Actual score: 48-21. It didn't feel that close.) Gannon threw five interceptions in the game, a Super Bowl record, and three of those were returned for touchdowns. He was perhaps the most cursed of all.

In 2003, Peyton Manning shared co-MVP honors with Steve McNair. Both quarterbacks lost to the Patriots in Foxboro during the AFC playoffs. Manning won in 2004 ... and lost to the Patriots in the playoffs again.

In 2005, running back Shaun Alexander won the award for his 1,880 yard, 27-touchdown season. (My goodness.) He and the Seahawks made it to the Super Bowl, where some truly terrible officiating contributed to a 21-10 loss to the Steelers. (Were the officials in on the hex? One has to wonder.)

In 2006, LaDainian Tomlinson made it two running back MVPs in a row, with his 2,323 yards from scrimmage and 31 offensive touchdowns. But ... he and the Chargers lost their lone game in the playoffs ... to the Patriots. Maybe this was starting to be a Patriots curse as much as anything else.

In '07, it was obviously Tom Brady. He then felt the wrath of the curse, losing the undefeated season in Super Bowl LII to the Giants.

Peyton Manning won in 2008 and 2009. The Colts lost their lone playoff game in 2008, then lost the Super Bowl in 2009. Manning threw a back-breaking pick-six at the end of that one to kill the Colts' chances of a fourth-quarter comeback.

In 2010, it was back to Tom Brady, the first-ever unanimous selection. Brady entered the playoffs that year having not thrown an interception in 335 pass attempts, a span that went from mid-October through the end of the season in early January. So of course, the cursed MVP threw an interception on his fifth pass attempt in the Patriots' first playoff game, which they lost at home to the Jets, a team they had beaten 45-3 just a month earlier on the same field. Cursed.

Aaron Rodgers won his first MVP in 2011, but he and the Packers got blown out at home in their only playoff game. 

The 2012 award went to Adrian Peterson, who's still the last non-QB to win the award. The Vikings lost their only playoff game that year, with Peterson rushing for 99 yards but no touchdowns. Vikings QB Christian Ponder suffered an injury that forced him to miss the playoff game, leading to Joe Webb playing QB in that loss. Cursed.

2013, Peyton Manning. Blowout Super Bowl loss. 2014, Aaron Rodgers. Overtime loss in conference championship. Bobbled onside kick. Two picks for Aaron. Cursed.

In 2015, Cam Newton won the award and led the 15-1 Panthers to the Super Bowl. Newton had a bad game, with an interception and two lost fumbles. The Panthers lost for just the second time all season. Cursed.

2016 may be the saddest tale of all, with Matt Ryan winning the award. He and the Falcons led 28-3 in the Super Bowl -- again, this game also made the news, so you've probably heard about it by now -- but then collapsed in the fourth quarter, blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. The curse had reached a new level.

In 2017, Tom Brady tried to singlehandedly destroy the curse, like Harry Potter stabbing a Horcrux with the fang of a Basilisk. (That's right, sports fans, we're getting nerdy.) Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 505 yards plus three touchdowns ... but Malcolm Butler was stapled to the sideline for reasons unknown, and Brady was strip-sacked late in the fourth to significantly damage Brady's championship hopes. His Hail Mary at the end of regulation fell to the turf. The curse survived even Brady's best shot.

Patrick Mahomes won his first MVP in 2018, and he lost at home in the conference championship to ... Brady and the Patriots. New England won the Super Bowl a couple of weeks later.

Lamar Jackson won the MVP in 2019, when he led the Ravens to a 14-2 record. They then ... lost at home in their only playoff game. In blowout fashion. 

Finally, Aaron Rodgers won back-to-back MVPs in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, he and the Packers lost at home to Brady and the Buccaneers in the conference championship game. The Bucs won the Super Bowl two weeks later. Then last year, Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown in a home playoff loss to the 49ers in the divisional round.

Rodgers may be the most cursed of all. In his four MVP seasons, he led the Packers to a 52-11 record, throwing 168 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. In the playoffs of those four seasons, Rodgers and the Packers went 2-4, and he threw 11 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Brady was obviously responsible for enforcing the curse quite a bit, having delivered eight playoff losses to MVPs on the opposing team. But Brady was, quite obviously, not immune from the curse itself, having lost two Super Bowls and a home playoff game in his three MVP seasons.

Obviously, there's some tongue planted in cheek when discussing a "curse." As curses aren't real. But this 22-year run of the NFL's best player failing to win a championship really is quite remarkable. It's especially odd considering an MVP won the Super Bowl in five of the seven years prior to the curse beginning in the year 2000.

If Brady couldn't overcome it, and Rodgers couldn't overcome it, can Mahomes? That will be the quarterback's task come Sunday night in Glendale.

You can email Michael Hurley or find him on Twitter @michaelFhurley.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.