Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Compilation: The Super Bowl: By the Numbers

So, the cat’s out of the bag – this football fan isn’t much of a contemporary NFL fan, but rather longing for the days of student body left, tough-nosed defenses, and games in the driving snow. That’s not at all to say that the NFL postseason, as we currently know it, doesn’t bring this cynic some moments of joy – surely some can be had in the crown jewel of American sport. However, there is absolutely no chance we’ll see Anita Bryant singing the National Anthem or Up With People performing at halftime anymore, but at least we have memories. Once again, because this fan tends to find more interest in sports history than the tedious sports present, here are some interesting numbers concerning Super Bowls past:

1 – Number of quarterbacks who have started a Super Bowl for two different teams. Only Craig Morton, who started Super Bowl V for the Cowboys and Super Bowl XII for the Broncos, has accomplished this. His teams lost both games.

2 – Number of teams who scored fewer than seven points in a Super Bowl. While the Vikings scored a touchdown and missed the PAT in their 16-6 loss to the Steelers in Super Bowl IX, only the Dolphins, in their Super Bowl VI loss to Dallas (24-3), failed to score a touchdown.

3 – The most touchdowns scored by a single player in a single Super Bowl. Jerry Rice scored three touchdowns in two different Super Bowls, while Roger Craig and Rickey Watters, also of the 49ers did it as well, as did Terrell Davis of the Broncos.

4 – Coaches who have taken two different teams to a Super Bowl. Don Shula (Colts and Dolphins), Bill Parcells (Giants and Patriots), Dan Reeves (Broncos and Falcons), and Dick Vermeil (Eagles and Rams) have all done it, but none have won a game with two different teams.

5 – Number of Super Bowl rings won by Charles Haley, the most by any player. He won three with the Cowboys and two with the 49ers.

6 – Times Don Shula has led a team to the Super Bowl. First with the Colts, then five trips with the Dolphins, it is the most appearances by any coach

7 – Number of losses for the 1979 Rams, which was the most any team had during its Super Bowl season. The Rams .563 winning percentage (9-7) was also the lowest by any Super Bowl team.

8 – Super Bowl appearances by the Dallas Cowboys (5-3 record), the most by any team. The Broncos are second on the appearance list with six (2-4 record).

9 – Number of times a wild card playoff team (or non-division winner) has reached the Super Bowl. Dallas, following the 1975 season, was the first official wild card team to reach the Super Bowl and Oakland, following the 1980 season, was the first official wild card team to win the Super Bowl. Kansas City of the AFL, however, was actually the first to do both in 1969. Other wild card Super Bowl winners were Denver in SB XXXII and Baltimore in SB XXXV, while the Titans of 1999, Buffalo of 1992, and the Patriots of 1985 join the current Steelers as wild cards reaching the Super Bowl.

10 – Number of regular season wins by the 1988 49ers, which defeated the Bengals in SB XXIII. The 49ers .625 winning percentage was the worst for any Super Bowl winner.

11 – Number of Super Bowl touchdown passes thrown by Joe Montana during his four games. Montana’s number of interceptions in four games is zero.

12 – Number of Super Bowls decided by seven points or fewer. Conversely, 12 have also been blowout of 20 points or more, while five have been decided by three points or less.

13 – Cities which have hosted a Super Bowl. Leading this list are New Orleans (nine times) and Miami (eight times).

14 – Number of defensive touchdowns scored in all 40 Super Bowls. Ten came via interceptions (three alone for the Bucs in SB XXXVII) and four via fumbles.

15 – Regular season wins by the 1998 Vikings and the 2004 Steelers (both 15-1), which is the most by any teams in a single season who failed to reach the Super Bowl.

16 – Number of wins by AFC teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The AFC won nine of the first 11 Super Bowls following the merger, and has won six of the last eight played.

18 – Stadiums where the Super Bowl has been played. The New Orleans Superdome has held the most, with six, while both the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and Miami’s Orange Bowl have held five.

19 – Number of wins by NFC teams since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. The NFC won an incredible 13 consecutive Super Bowls, from XIX after the 1984 season to XXXI after the 1996 season.

23 – Age of the youngest quarterback to start in a Super Bowl. Ben Roethlisberger, 23, will match Dan Marino (who was 23 in Super Bowl XIX) when this year’s game kicks off.

28 – Number of wins as an NFL head coach by Don McCafferty, who led the Colts to a win in Super Bowl V. The Cowboys Barry Switzer (40) is the only other Super Bowl-winning coach with fewer than 60 career regular season wins.

35 – Total passing yards the Broncos compiled during their Super Bowl XII loss to the Cowboys.
38 – Age of the oldest QB to start in a Super Bowl. John Elway was 38, and named the game’s MVP, when he led the Broncos over the Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII, following the 1998 season.

39 – The lowest temperature at which any Super Bowl has started. More recent Super Bowls held in New Orleans have been a comfortable, climate-controlled 72 degrees, but before the Superdome was built, the outdoor stadium at Tulane University hosted the game. It dropped to 39 degrees in 1972 for Super Bowl VI. Conversely, the warmest temperature for a Super Bowl start was 81, when it was held in San Diego in 2003.

48 – Length in yards of Adam Vinatieri’s game winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI, marking the first and only time that the game has been won on its final play.

49 – Yards covered in a touchdown dash by Washington’s Mike Bass in what might be the Super Bowl’s most memorable play ever (for the hilarity of course) – his interception of Garo Yepremian’s desperation toss in Super Bowl VII.