Aaron Donald was unstoppable for the Los Angeles Rams during their Super Bowl 56 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. The former No. 1 overall draft choice couldn’t be stopped, and he wound up making the final play to seal the deal for the Rams.
When the clock hit triple zeros, it looked like Donald could walk away with the Super Bowl MVP award. However, it went to Cooper Kupp, who also deserved the hardware with a pair of touchdowns — including the game-winner in the final minutes of the game.
However, the reason Donald didn’t win the Super Bowl MVP award isn’t that he didn’t deserve it. Not at all. Rather, it’s because the NFL has a flawed system in place — and one that should be fixed.
Aaron Donald didn’t win Super Bowl MVP because it was already decided by the 2-minute warning
That is the reason why Donald didn’t win the award. Or, at least, that is a big reason.
It is very likely that Kupp still would’ve won the award, although Donald would have indeed received more votes if they had just waited a couple of minutes.
Donald was a menace all game, and it took double and triple teams time and time again for the Bengals to slow him down. Despite that, he still finished the game with three tackles and a pair of sacks. But, the game’s biggest play won’t show up on the box score.
On what turned out to be the final play from scrimmage for the Bengals, Donald got to Joe Burrow — causing him to throw it away and send the Rams into celebration mode.
After the slow first half, Donald had his way with the Bengals in the final two quarters, and it showed. The Rams frustrated the Bengals, and they sacked Burrow seven times in the game.
Donald was a wrecking ball — what else is new — and, if the NFL had waited a few minutes, he probably would have walked away with the Super Bowl MVP award.
The NFL needs to change the way the Super Bowl MVP voting is handled
The voting is due before the 2-minute warning. However, Lindsay Jones of The Athletic acknowledged that she waited as long as possible to submit hers — and ultimately voted for Donald.
Per Jones, they asked for votes midway through the final quarter — for some reason. It makes no sense, especially with technology at its finest in today’s age.
Can’t the NFL have everybody submit their votes right after the whistle blows? Why rush the process and create a scenario as we witnessed during Super Bowl 56?
Kupp was worthy of a Super Bowl MVP award. But Donald was clearly the best player on the field and a massive reason why the Bengals struggled to get anything going offensively in the final quarter.
Picture this: The Rams allow the Bengals to score the game-winning touchdown on a Burrow pass. Would Burrow have won the Super Bowl MVP?
According to the voting system, he wouldn’t because the votes would have already have been submitted. That’s a problem, and the NFL should consider fixing this.
Nonetheless, Donald is more than pleased with the long-awaited Super Bowl ring.
While Donald didn’t win the Super Bowl MVP, he got what he wanted most
In eight seasons in the NFL, Donald had done just about everything else. His accolades are impressive, and after coming up short in their last Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, he wanted nothing more than to get this one — and he sure played like it.
As if Donald’s resume wasn’t impressive enough, he adds a Super Bowl ring to it. Before the game, Rodney Harrison reported that Donald might retire if they win the game, and the Rams did just that.
However, Donald quickly shut down those rumors, insisting he is “living in the moment.”
All in all, while Donald got snubbed from the Super Bowl MVP due to the NFL’s confusing timing of gathering votes, he was finally able to hold the Lombardi Trophy and place that ring on his finger.
Donald should still be ecstatic about that, but this is yet another thing the NFL needs to fix going forward.