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The First Four Black Super Bowl MVPs
By Amanda Scurlock, Sportswriter
Published February 24, 2022

Franco Harris (Wiki Media Commons)

Franco Harris

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Franco Harris rushed 158 yards on 34 carries and made one touchdown during Super Bowl IX. They defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-6 to win the Super Bowl. Harris’ efforts made him the first Black Super Bowl MVP. He would go on to help the Steelers win three more Super Bowls. During his career, Harris rushed for 12,120 yards and made 91 rushing touchdowns. In December 1972, Harris was part of the iconic Immaculate Reception play where Harris reached low to catch the ball and run it in for a game-winning touchdown.

USC athletic director Lynn Swann on the sidelines at the USC vs. Fresno State game (E. Mesiyah McGinnis/L.A. Sentinel)

Lynn Swann

The former USC Trojan was a wide receiver for the Pittsburg Steelers, helping them reach Super Bowl X during his second pro season. His four catches for 161 yards and one touchdown helped the Steelers win 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys and made Swann the first wide receiver to become Super Bowl MVP. Swann was also a member of the USC Trojans undefeated 1972 team that won the National Championship. He ultimately became the Athletic Director at USC from 2016-2019.

Harvey Martin (Courtesy Photo)

Harvey Martin

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Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Harvey Martin was a member of the iconic Doomsday Defense that helped Dallas be contenders during the 1960s and 1970s. The Cowboys had a 12-2 overall record on their way to Super Bowl XII. The Doomsday Defense held the Denver Broncos to 61 receiving yards and forced eight turnovers, causing Dallas to have a 27-10 triumph during Super Bowl XII. This marked the only time the NFL awarded two players as co-MVP; Martin shares his MVP honors with defensive tackle Randy White. Martin and White were the first defensive linemen to win Super Bowl MVP honors.

Marcus Allen in attendance for Tiger Jam XII, Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV May 16, 2009. Photo By: James Atoa/Everett Collection

Marcus Allen

Running back Marcus Allen was a key member of the Los Angeles Raiders offense. He led the Raiders in rushing yards in the season leading up to Super Bowl XVIII. Allen broke the then record for rushing yards with his 20 carries for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also made two catches for 18 yards against the then Washington Redskins during Super Bowl XVIII. The Raiders defeated Washington 83-9. During his career, Allen amassed 12,243 running yards and had 587 catches for 5412 yards.

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