Are you tired of weather forecasts, Richard Sherman and ex-NFLers on radio shows peddling everything from sports drinks to web sites? I know I am. With time now being counted down by hours instead of days, the excitement for Super Bowl XLVIII is rising in the city that never sleeps, as well as around the football world. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:20 on Sunday night and with little time to talk about the game remaining, let’s get down to the important facts, the ones that actually mean something about the game that all of this nonsense is centered upon.
As a writer, blogger or whatever they are calling people like myself these days, it is hard to come up with “new information” or facts about a game of this magnitude. Most of what matters has been written or is left over from previous games. With that in mind, I have gone through article after article on web site after website and selected the best of the best facts about the game and the teams and mixed them in with my own research. Here is a compilation of what I deem the most important stats and facts about Super Bowl XLVIII. And if they aren’t important to you, I at least hope you find them as interesting as I did.
Part one will deal with the game and some about the teams. Part two will have facts and stats about the teams and some of the more notable participants. Enjoy!
Let us first look at some facts about the game itself.
Last year’s Super Bowl featured several distinctions. The AFC North is now 3-0 during Super Bowls against the NFC West. Jacoby Jones’ two touchdowns made him the second player in the history of the Super Bowl to have two scores of 50 or more yards; Washington’s Ricky Sanders is the other (XXII). Jones’ 290 combined yards were a Super Bowl record. The Ravens were the 21st Super Bowl champion that did not trail at any point during the game. San Francisco became the first Super Bowl team to have a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers during the same game. More than 164 million people watched the game, making it the most-seen television program in history.
Last year’s game was also the first game to be interrupted by a power outage but Super Bowl X was interrupted when a blimp crashed into the Orange Bowl, as the Cowboys & Steelers played—oh wait— that was a movie called Black Sunday!
Feb. 2 will be the first Super Bowl to be held in the New York metropolitan area. Miami and New Orleans hold the record, each having hosted 10 games. Thirty-three of the 48 Super Bowls either have or will have been held outdoors. MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., built on the site of the demolished Giants Stadium, will become the 22nd different stadium to host the game.
Teams that play their home schedule in an indoor facility are 3-3 during Super Bowls, but, for the fourth straight year, both conference champions (Seahawks, Broncos) played outdoor home schedules.
The NFC representative (or the pre-merger NFL champion) has won 25 Super Bowls, three more than the AFC (or pre-merger AFL champion). The NFC has won four of the last six games, as the Ravens ended the NFC’s three game winning streak last season.
Teams that are the home squads for the game — the team with jersey choice — are 20-27 during Super Bowls. The Broncos are that team this year, as the AFC representative is the home team for even-numbered Super Bowls.
With the jersey choice, Denver will wear its orange jerseys, with which it is 0-3 during Super Bowls. Teams that wear white jerseys have won eight of the last nine Super Bowls and are 29-18 in the Big Game. As the home team, the Broncos will also occupy the sideline closest to the main television camera (bottom of the screen) and their logo will appear in the end zone on the right-hand side of the field.
This year’s game will mark the fourth meeting of top seeds since the current playoff and seeding system went into effect in 1990. In 1991, Washington beat Buffalo (XXVI), and Dallas beat the Bills two years later. After that game, it was 16 years before top seeds met again, with New Orleans topping Indianapolis (XLIV).
Super Bowl XLVIII pits the top offense team in the NFL this season vs. the top defensive team in the league in 2013. The last and only other such occurrence since the 1970 merger featuring the No. 1 total offense (yards gained) versus the No. 1 total defense (yards allowed) was Super Bowl XXXVII following the 2002 season, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 1 in yards allowed) dismantled Rich Gannon and the top ranked Oakland Raiders offense (No. 1 in yards gained).
This will be the fifth time since the AFL and NFL merged that the league’s top-scoring offense played the top-scoring defense in the Super Bowl, the first since the Buffalo Bills(top offense) and New York Giants(top defense) met to close the 1990 season.
Denver was first in scoring offense this year, tallying an NFL record 606 points. Teams that have led the league in scoring are 10-8 during Super Bowls. Of the next eight teams on the all-time scoring list, not one went on to win the Super Bowl.
Does defense win championships—you be the judge!
Led by Richard Sherman, Seattle’s defense and its “Legion of Boom” secondary finished the regular season ranked first in total and scoring defense. It ranked first in points per game allowed, yards per game allowed, passing yards per game allowed and total takeaways. It was seventh in rushing yards per game allowed. However, getting to the top spot did not happen overnight. Seattle’s defense has shown great progression since Pete Carroll took over as head coach. The unit ranked 27th overall in 2010, improved to ninth in 2011, fourth in 2012 and first in 2013.
The Denver’s defense was maligned during the first 14 games, giving up 26.6 points and 371.5 yards per game. But in the past four games, including two in the postseason, the Broncos have turned stingy, allowing just 15 points and 268.5 yards per game. Sounds eerily similar to a defense in Indy about seven years ago when the Colts “D” was horrible in the regular season but amazing in the playoffs. In the AFC Divisional round that year, Manning and the Colts failed to score a TD but still beat the Ravens in Baltimore behind five field goals.
Teams that have topped the scoring defense chart, as Seattle did in 2013, have won 12 of 15 Super Bowls. This is the fifth matchup of such teams, with the top defensive team winning three of the previous four games, the exception being San Francisco’s 55-10 win against Denver during Super Bowl XXIV in New Orleans.
The difference between Denver’s points scored and Seattle’s points allowed is the largest gap between opponents in Super Bowl history. The Broncos scored 606 points in the regular season, while the Seahawks allowed 231 points, for a differential of 375 points. The next closest differential involves the 1984 Dolphins and 49ers, with a point differential of 286 points.
A Flip of the Coin:
Teams that win the coin toss are 22-25 during Super Bowls. Ever since deferring the choice became an option, Super Bowl coin-toss winners — including the Ravens last year — have elected to defer during three straight games and four of the last five. … NFC teams had won 14 consecutive coin tosses before New England and Baltimore won the last two flips. Teams that score first are 31-16 during the Super Bowl.
By the way, In 47 Super Bowls, heads has turned up 24 times and tails 23.
Teams that lead at halftime are 35-10; two games have been tied after the first 30 minutes: Super Bowl XXIII (Cincinnati-San Francisco, 3-3) and Super Bowl XXXIX (New England-Philadelphia, 7-7). Bronco fans are hoping their team leads when Bruno Mars takes the stage Sunday night. Denver is now 14-1 all time in the postseason when leading at halftime, including 5-0 in AFC title games—but—the one loss– Super Bowl XXI, when the Broncos led the Giants 10-9 at halftime before losing 39-20.
Special Teams & Turnovers Always a Key:
The teams that have had the greater time of possession are 35-12.
There have been nine kick-return scores throughout Super Bowl history, including three by members of the eventual winning team (Desmond Howard, XXXI; Jermaine Lewis, XXXV; Jacoby Jones, XLVII).
There have been eight safeties throughout Super Bowl history but the one Arizona recorded three years ago was the first not credited to a player (holding in end zone). The same thing happened two years ago, when the Giants scored first on a New England end-zone flag.
Only one player has intercepted three passes during a Super Bowl: Oakland’s Rod Martin (XV vs. Philadelphia). On 13 occasions, a Super Bowl interception has been returned for a touchdown; Green Bay’s Nick Collins was the most recent player to do it, two years ago against Pittsburgh, to help the Packers surge to a 14-point first-quarter lead during Super Bowl XLV. Only one player has done it twice during a game, Tampa Bay’s Dwight Smith, during Super Bowl XXXVII. All 13 scoring interceptors have played for the eventual winning team.
There have been 27 different coaches — be they head or assistant coaches — that have won Super Bowls with at least two different teams, including current Baltimore defensive coordinator Dean Pees and ex-Ravens assistants Wilbert Montgomery, Jim Caldwell, Milt Jackson and Russ Purnell. Former Ravens offensive coordinator Matt Cavanaugh and current offensive line assistant Todd Washington are two of 19 people who have won Super Bowls as both a player and coach. Cavanaugh is the only player in league history to have won Super Bowls with two different teams who did not play during either game. Three years ago, Caldwell became the sixth head coach (Indianapolis) to appear in a Super Bowl during his first season with a team.
Old School vs. New School:
Speaking of the QB’s, much has been made about them and the weather, especially some guy named Manning. In the playoffs, Peyton Manning is 0-4 in games with a kickoff temperature under 40 degrees and the only game in Russell Wilson’s NFL career when the kickoff temperature was under 40 degrees was at MetLife Stadium, Week 15 against the Giants. In that game, Wilson completed 66.7% of his passes for 206 yards, one TD, one INT and a passer rating of 86.3
Four games is a small sampling size, Manning has a career record of 8-11 playing outdoors with the temperature below 40 degrees, with 30 touchdowns and 23 interceptions. He is 1-2 this season with losses to the Patriots and San Diego Chargers in night games and a win over the Titans in an afternoon contest.
Manning has a record of 85-35 outdoors when the temperature is 40 degrees or above, with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of better than 2-to-1
More Manning—If Peyton should win a second Super Bowl MVP award, he would become the sixth player to win multiple Pete Rozelle Trophies, following Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Eli Manning.
In case you haven’t noticed, there is an age difference between the two starting QB’s– Manning (born March 24, 1976) and Wilson (born Nov. 29, 1988) will set a record when they both start Super Bowl XLVIII. The age difference of 12 years, 250 days will be the greatest ever for a pair of Super Bowl starting quarterbacks. Kurt Warner and Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLIII set the existing record of 10 years, 253 days.
Four players in Super Bowl XLVIII (all Broncos) have played in a previous Super Bowl. Of those four, Peyton Manning is the only one to have won the Super Bowl. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played in Super Bowl XLIII with the Cardinals, recording five tackles and two passes defensed. Jacob Tamme primarily played on special teams with the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. Wes Welker played in two Super Bowls with the Patriots (XLII, XLVI), losing both to the Giants. The Seahawks do not have any players with Super Bowl experience. Teams without any players with Super Bowl experience are 2-5 (since Super Bowl II)
Former Atlantic Coast Conference referee Terry McAulay, an NFL official since 1998 and a referee since 2001, will referee the Super Bowl for the third time (XXIX, Eagles-Patriots; XLIII, Steelers-Cardinals). The rest of the all-star crew is composed of Carl Paganelli (umpire), Jim Mello (head linesman), Tom Symonette (line judge), Scott Steenson (field judge), Dave Wyant (side judge) and Steve Freeman (back judge). Earnie Frantz will be the replay official.
A record 11,985 points were scored during the 2013 season, with games averaging 46.8 points, the highest average in NFL history (46.5 in 1948). In all, 1,338 total touchdowns were scored, surpassing the league-wide record of 1,297, which occurred last season.
The Broncos and Seahawks are two of 11 teams to score at least 400 points this season. That total surpassed the previous record of nine in 2008 and 2012. Those 11 teams combined for a .668 winning percentage, and nine qualified for the playoffs.
If what we saw this season in the NFL is any indication of how the Super Bowl may turn out, then we are likely in for another good game. This yearin the NFL, games continued to be “thisclose”, as 68 percent were within one score in the fourth quarter and 123 of 256 games (48.0 percent) were decided by seven points or fewer, the fourth-most of any season in NFL history.
Four points or less has decided five of the last six Super Bowls. From 1983 SB XVIII until SB XXXII in 1997, the NFC won 13 straight Super Bowls by a 19.7 point margin of victory. The NFL instituted the salary cap in 1995, which was intended to allow smaller market teams to be more competitive with large market teams. The team with the larger population had won the last 13 Super Bowls prior to the salary cap, and 19 of the first 28 Super Bowls (67.9 percent) before the 1995 season.
According to the latest census estimates, only 270 more people lived in Seattle than Denver on July 1, 2012, making Seattle 0.04 percent larger than Denver.
NFL allocates 35% of all Super Bowl tickets to the teams that are playing in the Big Game. The AFC team gets 17.5% and the NFC team gets 17.5% of the tickets. If a Super Bowl stadium seats 70,000 persons, then both teams in the game are allocated about 12,000 tickets apiece. The majority of these tickets are put into a lottery drawing for season ticket holders. On average, a season ticket holder for a team that gets into the Big Game will have about a 10 percent chance to buy a pair of tickets at face value, which this year starts at $800.00.
However, the actual average price (ticket brokers etc…) for a ticket to Super Bowl XLVIII is $2,646, which makes it on average, the second-cheapest Super Bowl of the past eight years. The cheapest game came last year when the average cost of a ticket to see Baltimore play San Francisco was $2,380. The average price of a ticket over the past 48 hours is $2,246, according to Seatgeek.com. The $2,646 number above is the average price of all tickets sold overall.
Wanna take the whole family and enjoy a suite—MetLife has 220 suites, which cost between $25,000 and $35,000 on a normal game. But this is no normal game. Suites for the Super Bowl are selling for a small fortune. The NFL listed them at $400,000 and up for a 30-person suite. It’s a dollar figure that might seem astronomical to the average fan. One suite today was listed at $675.000.
This year’s Super Bowl will pay out a record $92,000 per man to the winning team and $46,000 per man to the losers.
Thirty-second television advertisements are costing companies in the neighborhood of $3.8 million to $4 million.
The Vince Lombardi Trophy is made of sterling silver and is created by Tiffany & Co. It stands 20.75 inches tall, weighs 107.3 ounces (about 7 pounds) and is valued at $25,000.
And in case you’ve think you’ve seen it all in the Super Bowl—-Think again! The following have YET to happen during the big game: a scoreless first half, shutout, overtime game and punt return for a touchdown.
We will certainly get much more in depth the rest of the weekend here on Fanspeak.com and on the Fanspeak Radio Network. Check back tomorrow afternoon for an article breaking down the most important match-ups of the contest and of course, don’t miss my two part in depth game preview and prediction article starting in Saturday. Tomorrow night at 9:00 p.m. I will break down the Big Game on the Super Bowl edition of the Friday Football Frenzy.
The notable sources used for these facts came from my own research, as well as articles written by Joe Platania from Press Box On Line. Platania does a great job of breaking down the Super Bowl media guide. I always reference and use NFL.com, NFL Communications and ESPN Stats & Information. Prop Bet information came via the Mirage Sports Book in Las Vegas.