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Ranking 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history: Nos. 50-31

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Super Bowl Greats: Doug Williams (1:19)

A look at the career of Doug Williams, and his unforgettable performance in Super Bowl XXII. (1:19)

From a four-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback drafted in the sixth round, to an MVP quarterback of the first two Super Bowls, the greatest players in Super Bowl history delivered when the stakes were the highest.

To rank the 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history, ESPN's Stats & Information group put together a ballot of the 120 greatest players in football's biggest game based on their statistics and overall performance. Then our expert panel of writers, editors, broadcasters and other experts voted on head-to-head matchups with more than 3,000 votes cast. The result is the 50 greatest players in Super Bowl history.

The first 20 players in our countdown are revealed below with Nos. 50-31. Come back Wednesday for Nos. 30-11 and Thursday for the top 10 players in Super Bowl history.

If you want to get involved in the discussion or just follow along, #SuperBowl50Rank is the Twitter hashtag to use. You also can follow along on here: @ESPNNFL.

Jay Novacek

TE | Dallas Cowboys | Super Bowls: XXVII, XXVIII, XXX

One of Troy Aikman's go-to guys, tight end Novacek was called on often in the Cowboys' wins in Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII and XXX. He caught 17 of the 23 passes thrown his way in those games for 148 yards and two touchdowns. While the Cowboys of the 1990s were defined by the flash of Michael Irvin and the running of Emmitt Smith, Novacek was able to come up with critical catches when defenses knew Aikman would be looking his way. -- Todd Archer

Reggie White

DE | Green Bay Packers | Super Bowls: XXXI, XXXII

Poor Max Lane. Faced with the unenviable task of blocking the "Minister of Defense," the Patriots right tackle never really had a chance against the future Hall of Famer. White was playing in his first Super Bowl, and the legendary defensive end did his part to seal the Packers' 35-21 victory, registering three second-half sacks -- often using his powerful "hump" move, which tossed Lane aside -- before taking his memorable victory lap around the Louisiana Superdome, holding the Lombardi Trophy aloft. -- Jason Wilde

Larry Brown

CB | Dallas Cowboys | Super Bowls: XXVII, XXVIII, XXX

He is perhaps one of the most unlikeliest Super Bowl MVPs in history and was able to turn his two-interception performance into a lucrative free-agent deal with the Raiders. Brown's brace of interceptions in the second half against the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX might have been more about Neil O'Donnell's poor decisions, but the Cowboys turned both takeaways into touchdowns to put the game away. Brown became the first cornerback to win a Super Bowl MVP, and it came in the most watched sporting event at the time. He also had an interception in Super Bowl XXVII. -- Todd Archer

Russell Wilson

QB | Seattle Seahawks | Super Bowls: XLVIII, XLIX

He played in two championship games before his 27th birthday. In the 43-8 blowout win against the Broncos, Wilson went 18-of-25 for 206 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The next year against the Patriots, he completed only 12 passes but had the Seahawks in position for another victory before getting intercepted by Malcolm Butler at the goal line. Wilson's 117.39 passer rating in the Super Bowl ranks third all-time. He could make a huge move up this list by the time his career is over. -- Sheil Kapadia

Antonio Freeman

WR | Green Bay Packers | Super Bowls: XXXI, XXXII

As good as the Packers wide receiver was in his first Super Bowl, he was even better in his second. The only problem: The Packers didn't win that one. Freeman caught an 81-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre -- the longest play from scrimmage in a Super Bowl to that point -- and finished Super Bowl XXXI with three receptions for 105 yards in the Packers' 35-21 victory over the Patriots in New Orleans. But the following year, late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXII against the Broncos in San Diego, Freeman caught nine passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns and already had been selected the game's MVP -- as long as the Packers won. When the Broncos, a 12-point underdog, pulled the upset, running back Terrell Davis was named MVP instead. -- Jason Wilde

Rodney Harrison

DB | New England Patriots | Super Bowls: XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLII

Often remembered for being in coverage on Giants receiver David Tyree's helmet catch in XLII, Harrison totaled 28 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions in his three Super Bowl appearances. His interception against the Eagles to seal the victory in XXXIX, in which he flapped his arms in the air to mimic an eagle flying, is a highlight that still resonates in New England. He broke his arm in XXXVIII against the Panthers and stayed on the field for an additional play, reflecting his toughness. -- Mike Reiss

Marshall Faulk

RB | St. Louis Rams | Super Bowls: XXXIV, XXXVI

Running back Faulk had little success on the ground in his two Super Bowl appearances, as he was limited to 3.4 yards per attempt on 27 carries. But what made Faulk so unique was that he was just as capable of doing damage as a receiver. Faulk had nine catches for 144 yards in those two games and averaged 118.5 yards from scrimmage in his Super Bowl career. Although they came up short in XXXVI, it was Faulk who largely was responsible for getting the Rams back in the game. -- Nick Wagoner

Adam Vinatieri

K | New England Patriots/Indianapolis Colts | Super Bowls: XXXI, XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLI, XLIV

What does a kicker have to do to earn a little more respect around here? All Vinatieri did was kick a last-second 48-yard field goal for the Patriots to shock the Rams in XXXVI. Two years later, his 41-yard field goal with four seconds remaining beat the Panthers in XXXVIII. When it comes to delivering in the clutch on the biggest stage in football, Vinatieri is among the all-time greats. He has a strong case to be higher than No. 43. -- Mike Reiss

Isaac Bruce

WR | St. Louis Rams | Super Bowls: XXXIV, XXXVI

Bruce's 162-yard outburst in the Rams' victory in Super Bowl XXXIV is the third-highest total by a pass-catcher in Super Bowl history. And if you're looking for a signature Super Bowl moment, it's hard to top Bruce's 73-yard touchdown catch to give the Rams the winning points in that game. On an offense full of big-play performers, it's telling that Rams offensive coordinator Mike Martz dialed Bruce's number at the game's most crucial time. -- Nick Wagoner

John Stallworth

WR | Pittsburgh Steelers | Super Bowls: IX, X, XIII, XIV

There's probably an argument that Stallworth was more productive on the field than teammate Swann, posting three 1,000-yard seasons from 1979 to '84. But Swann was the marquee option earlier in the Steelers' Super Bowl runs. Stallworth had a combined five catches for 32 yards in Pittsburgh's first two wins. Stallworth's talent wouldn't be dormant on the big stage for long. He exploded in Super Bowls XIII and XIV with back-to-back 100-yard games with a combined three touchdowns. A smooth receiver, he punctuated his career with stellar Super Bowls in the late 1970s. -- Jeremy Fowler

Joe Namath

QB | New York Jets | Super Bowl: III

For this game, Namath did more with his mouth and brain than his legendary right arm. He raised the stakes by guaranteeing a victory over the heavily favored Colts, telling a crowded banquet a few days before the game the Jets would shock the world. Nearly a half-century later, it's still remembered as one of sport's most memorable guarantees. Namath might have been young and brash during the run-up to the game, but he didn't play that way. Anticipating heavy blitzes from the Colts, Namath audibled at the line of the scrimmage throughout the game, changing the play to go away from the blitz. His passing numbers weren't special (17-of-28 for 206 yards), but he was named the MVP because of his poised, unselfish approach. He didn't call his number once in the fourth quarter -- not a single pass. The Jets won 16-7. -- Rich Cimini

Ray Lewis

LB | Baltimore Ravens | Super Bowls: XXXV, XLVII

Lewis' statistics in Super Bowl XXXV -- five tackles and four passes defensed -- weren't memorable. His impact was. About nine minutes into the Super Bowl, Giants running back Tiki Barber got the ball on a sweep and had an alley if he could turn the corner. But Lewis read the play perfectly and chased down Barber from behind. "That was the game," owner Art Modell said after the Ravens' dominating 34-7 triumph. "From that point on, we were in charge." Lewis became the seventh defensive player in the history of the Super Bowl -- and first middle linebacker -- to be named Most Valuable Player. -- Jamison Hensley

Brett Favre

QB | Green Bay Packers | Super Bowls: XXXI, XXXII

One of the most memorable plays in recent Super Bowl history was Favre's 54-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison on the Packers' second play from scrimmage in the Super Bowl XXXI win over the Patriots. Favre audibled at the line of scrimmage and found Rison wide open down the seam. The clip of the celebration that ensued, with Favre running the length of the field with his helmet off, has been replayed over and over. In two Super Bowls, Favre threw five touchdowns and one interception but won only one of them, losing Super Bowl XXXII to the Broncos and John Elway. -- Rob Demovsky

Jake Scott

DB | Miami Dolphins | Super Bowls: VI, VII, VIII

Scott put together one of the top performances by a safety in a Super Bowl. He picked off Redskins quarterback Billy Kilmer twice in Super Bowl VII to earn MVP honors and lead the Dolphins to a 14-7 victory. Scott is one of 12 players to post multiple interceptions in a Super Bowl, and it capped the league's only perfect season. Scott also started in Super Bowl IV (a loss) and Super Bowl VIII (a win). -- James Walker

Desmond Howard

KR/PR | Green Bay Packers | Super Bowl: XXXI

How could a return specialist snatch the MVP award from Brett Favre? By returning a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown after the Patriots had cut the Packers' lead to 27-21 in the third quarter, that's how. It was the longest kickoff return in Super Bowl history at the time. Howard had 244 total yards in the game (including punt returns of 32 and 34 yards) on the way to becoming the first special-teams player to win a Super Bowl MVP. -- Rob Demovsky

Thurman Thomas

RB | Buffalo Bills | Super Bowls: XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII

There is little doubt that if Scott Norwood's kick had gone through the uprights instead of wide right, Thomas would have been the MVP of Super Bowl XXV. He accounted for 190 of the Bills' 371 total yards in the game, running 15 times for 135 yards and adding five catches for 55 yards. Thomas barely registered on the box score in the Bills' ensuing two Super Bowl appearances and didn't stand out in Buffalo's final loss, in Super Bowl XXVIII. But what he did in Super Bowl XXV should be remembered as one of the best Super Bowl performances by a running back. -- Mike Rodak

Aaron Rodgers

QB | Green Bay Packers | Super Bowl: XLV

Of all the gorgeous throws the Packers quarterback made that night in North Texas -- and there were many, as he earned Super Bowl XLV MVP honors by completing 24 of 39 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers' 31-25 victory over the Steelers -- he might have saved his best for the end. With the Packers clinging to a 28-25 lead and facing third-and-10 at their own 25-yard line, Rodgers went to a play called "27 Tampa" and promptly lasered a perfect throw down the seam to wide receiver Greg Jennings, the ball going just over the outstretched fingertips of cornerback Ike Taylor for a 31-yard gain that essentially sealed the win. -- Jason Wilde

Drew Brees

QB | New Orleans Saints | Super Bowl: XLIV

Few quarterbacks have ever found the zone quite like Drew Brees did after the 2009 season. He threw eight TD passes without an interception throughout the playoffs. And he finished 32-of-39 for 288 yards and two TDs in Super Bowl XLIV. But the game's MVP saved his best for last. With 10 minutes left and the Saints trailing 17-16, Brees completed all eight of his pass attempts to eight different receivers on the go-ahead drive, including a TD to Jeremy Shockey and a two-point conversion to Lance Moore. The only reason Brees isn't higher on this list is because that was his one and only Super Bowl appearance. -- Mike Triplett

Randy White

DL | Dallas Cowboys | Super Bowls: X, XII, XIII

"The Manster" played in three Super Bowls, winning one title in Super Bowl XII. He and Harvey Martin split the Most Valuable Player honors from that game after they combined for three sacks. It was the culmination of White's breakout year while moving from linebacker to defensive tackle. He was named first-team All Pro and a Pro Bowler. -- Todd Archer

Doug Williams

QB | Washington Redskins | Super Bowl: XXII

One great quarter launched Williams into history, becoming the first African-American quarterback to win the Super Bowl -- a moment that still resonates. Williams earned MVP honors after completing 18 of 29 passes for 340 yards and four touchdowns, all of which came in the second quarter as the Redskins scored an NFL-record 35 points to beat Denver 42-10. Not bad for a quarterback who, the day before the game, endured a six-hour root canal surgery -- and who injured his knee early in the game. -- John Keim

#SuperBowl50Rank: 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1