Matter of Facts: Super Bowl Frivolity

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 23, 2014

by Russell Baxter
Cold Hard Football Facts Gridiron Guru (@BaxFootballGuru)

And it all comes down to this.

But at least we have one extra week before it all comes down to this.

The Seattle Seahawks are headed back to the Super Bowl for only the second time. The Denver Broncos are headed to their seventh Super Bowl, one short of the record held by the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers (8).

It’s the number-one defense and the team that allowed the fewest points in the league in 2013 versus the number-one offense and a club that scored an NFL record 606 points this season.

So what can we expect when these former AFC West rivals collide on February 2 at MetLife Stadium?

Who knows? But we are willing to try and help. And since we are preparing for Super Bowl XLVIII (48), here are eight nuggets regarding this season’s game of the century.

As for the 40? Here’s hoping you enjoyed that already…

Basic Math: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wears the numeral 3 and becomes the first player at his position to start the Super Bowl and don that number since the Oakland Raiders’ Daryle Lamonica in Super Bowl II. Meanwhile, veteran Peyton Manning wears No. 18 (the only Super Bowl starting quarterback to do so). So what do we know about the numbers 3 and 18 in this series? Well, only three times has a club lost the turnover battle in the game and won the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, only 18 of the current 32 franchises have won a Super Bowl…

No Streaking: Here are the bare facts when it comes to late-season momentum and how it relates to winning a Super Bowl. The Seahawks won their final regular-season game in 2013 and the Broncos won two straight entering this postseason. Those less-than-scintillating non-streaks will keep one of the odder facts alive when it comes to recent champions. This will mark the eighth consecutive year that the Super Bowl champion will take no more than a two-game winning streak into the playoffs…

Rush to Judgment: In two NFL seasons, Russell Wilson has rushed for 1,028 yards and five scores. In 15 seasons on the field, Peyton Manning has run for 697 yards and (appropriately) 18 touchdowns. So we will lean Wilson when it comes to this interesting note. Anyone know who owns the single-game Super Bowl record for rushing yards by a quarterback? That would be the Tennessee Titans Steve McNair, who ran through the St. Louis Rams’ defense for 64 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV. That includes a 23-yard run by the now late-great performer, the longest run by a quarterback in Super Bowl annals…

Carry On: On Super Sunday, the Seattle and Denver ground games will be led by Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno, respectively. And running the football has been prominent in this postseason, where the 10 winning teams have averaged 153.7 yards per game rushing. The last time all 11 winning teams ran for 100-plus yards in the playoffs was 1998. Still, running attacks have been less than sensational in the last six Super Bowls. Nine of the 12 teams failed to rush for at least 100 yards and the longest run by any player in those contests is 33 yards, that by 49ers’ running back Frank Gore in his team’s loss to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII…

Good point(s): The Seahawks have been on quite a run since late in 2012. Since opening 6-5 a season ago, Pete Carroll’s team is an impressive 21-4 in its last 25 outings, including 3-1 in the playoffs. But go back to the start of 2012 and it’s amazing to see just how competitive this team has been. Over the last two seasons (including playoffs), Seattle owns a .750 winning percentage (27-9), their 27 victories by an average of 15.4 points per outing. Meanwhile, their nine setbacks have been by a total of 41 points and all of those losses by seven points or less…

Boxing Lesson: The following figures are far from shocking but if you are inclined to obtain one of those little boxes with the numbers in them (for entertainment purposes only), here are the figures in terms of frequency using the final score of the previous 47 Super Bowls. Not surprisingly, the No. 7 has come up 20 times, followed by the No. 1 (13), Nos. 4 and 0 (12 times each) and the No. 6 (10). As far as the least frequent number, we haven’t seen enough of the No. 8 (3)…

SCORE: We are about to test one of the more interesting statistics when it comes to offense and Super Bowl championships. Entering 2013, there were seven instances when a team scored at least 540 points in a season. Those seven clubs combined to win exactly zero Super Bowls. In fact, the Broncos are the 17th team in the Super Bowl era to score at least 500 points in a season and in the previous 16 instances, that explosivee club walked away with the Lombardi Trophy just four times. Of course, the Super Bowl stat for teams scoring 600-plus points in a season is 0-0…

They’re The Man: For the fifth time in eight Super Bowls, one of the starting quarterbacks will have the last name of Manning. Peyton returns to the Big Game having won (XLI) and lost (XLIV) with the Indianapolis Colts, while his brother Eli won a pair of rings and game MVP awards with the Giants in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. But it’s also interesting to note that Peyton’s Broncos gave up 399 points during the regular season. And if Denver wins Super Bowl XLVIII, it will be the second-most points allowed by a Super Bowl champion during the regular season. So what? Well, Eli’s Giants gave up 400 points in 2011, the most-ever allowed by a Super Bowl champion. And for good measure, Peyton’s Colts in 2006 (360) and Eli’s Giants in 2007 (351) rank second and third, respectively…

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