The Super Bowl By The Numbers

Super Bowl XLVII is Sunday.  I did this last year and am updating again with some more facts from this year’s game:

  • CBS will broadcast their 18th Super Bowl this Sunday.  That is more than any other network.  NBC is in 2nd place with 17 Super Bowl broadcasts.
  • Today will be Super Bowl #8 at the Superdome

    Today will be Super Bowl #8 at the Superdome

    This year’s Super Bowl will be the 8th at the Louisiana Superdome.  The city of New Orleans has now hosted 11 Super Bowls, pulling one ahead of the city of Miami for the most all-time.  Miami has hosted 5 at the Orange Bowl and 5 at Sun Life Stadium.  New Orleans hosted 3 at Tulane Stadium in addition to the 8 at the Superdome.

  • Pat Summerall has announced the most Super Bowls with 11.  Al Michaels and Dick Enberg are tied for 2nd all-time 2nd all-time when he announces his 8th Super Bowl.  John Madden has the most appearances as colour-man with 11 games.
  • Sunday’s game will be the 3rd Super Bowl that Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have called together.  This will be Simms’ 5th Super Bowl broadcast having previously called 2 with Greg Gumbel.
  • Jack Buck announced 16 Super Bowls on the radio, most all-time.
  • The Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers each have 8 Super Bowl appearances, tied for the most all-time.
  • The Steelers has 6 Super Bowl victories, which is the most all-time.  The 49ers look to match them this year.
  • There have been 6 re-matches in Super Bowl history.  The Cowboys and the Steelers are the only two teams to play each other in the Super Bowl 3 times.
  • Former Cowboy and 49er Charles Haley 5 Super Bowl rings - more than any other player

    Former Cowboy and 49er Charles Haley 5 Super Bowl rings – more than any other player

    Defensive End Charles Haley has the most Super Bowl victories with 5.  He won 2 with the San Fransisco 49ers and 3 with the Dallas Cowboys

  • One player has played in 6 Super Bowls.  Defensive lineman Mike Lodish played in 4 with the Buffalo Bills and 2 with the Denver Broncos.  Wide receiver Don Beebe played in 4 with the Buffalo Bills and 1 with the Green Bay Packers but was on injured reserve in 1997 when the Packers went to their 2nd straight Super Bowl.
  • The longest pass play in Super Bowl history was a 85 yard touchdown pass from Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme to WR Muhsin Muhammad in Super Bowl XXXVIII.  The longest running play was a 75 yard touchdown run by Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker in Super Bowl XL.
  • The longest interception return was a 100 yard TD return by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison in Super Bowl XLIII.  That was also the longest play in Super Bowl history.  The longest fumble return in Super Bowl history was Dallas Cowboys’ defensive tackle Leon Lett’s infamous 64 yard fumble return in Super Bowl XXVII.  Lett fumbled the ball back to the Bills right before he reached the end zone when wide receiver Don Beebe came from behind to knock the ball loose.
  • The longest field goal in Super Bowl history is a 54 yard field goal from Buffalo Bills kicker Steve Christie in Super Bowl XXVIII.  The longest punt in Super Bowl history was a 63 yarder by Cincinnati Bengals punter Lee Johnson in Super Bowl XXIII.
  • The longest kickoff return in Super Bowl history was a 99 yard TD return by Green Bay Packers receiver Desmond Howard in Super Bowl XXXI.  The longest punt return in Super Bowl history was a 45 yard return by San Fransisco 49ers receiver John Taylor in Super Bowl XXIII.  No punt has ever been returned for a TD in the Super Bowl.
  • The highest scoring Super Bowl of all-time was Super Bowl XXIX in which the San Fransisco 49ers defeated the San Diego Chargers by a score of 49-26.  There were 75 total points scored in the game.
  • MIA K Garo Yepremian's botch lead to the Redskins' only TD in the 1972 game

    MIA K Garo Yepremian’s botch lead to the Redskins’ only TD in the 1972 game

    The lowest scoring Super Bowl in history was Super Bowl VII in which the Miami Dolphins defeated the Washington Redskins by a score of 14-7.  21 total points were scored in that one.

  • The largest margin of victory in Super Bowl history was Super Bowl XXIV in which the San Fransisco 49ers defeated the Denver Broncos by a score of 55-10.
  • The smallest margin of victory in Super Bowl history was Super Bowl XXV in which the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills by a score of 20-19.
  • Don Shula has coached the most games in Super Bowl history with 6.  He coached 1 for the Baltimore Colts and 5 for the Miami Dolphins.  Chuck Noll has won the most Super Bowls as a head coach, winning 4 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • The oldest coach ever to win a Super Bowl was St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil in Super Bowl XXXIV.  He was 63 years and 92 days old when he won that game.  The youngest coach ever to win a Super Bowl was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin in Super Bowl XLIII.  He was 36 years and 341 days when he won it.
  • No head coach has ever won a Super Bowl with two different teams.
  • Obviously this year’s game will be the first time that the two head coaches in the Super Bowl – Jim Harbaugh of the San Fransisco 49ers and John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens – are brothers
  • The Super Bowl has never gone into overtime.
  • The 49ers are 5-0 all-time in the Super Bowl.  They are looking for their 6th Super Bowl win which would tie them for the most all-time.  The Steelers are 6-2 in the Super Bowl all-time.
  • The Ravens are 1-0 in the Super Bowl.  Their only appearance came back after the 2000 season when they defeated the New York Giants 34-7.  Ray Lewis was the MVP of that Super Bowl.
  • Joe Montana has won Super Bowl MVP 3 times, more than anyone in Super Bowl history.  Colin Kaepernick will try to join Montana and Steve Young as a Super Bowl MVP starting quarterback for the 49ers.  In all but one of the 5 previous Super Bowl wins for the 49ers has the starting quarterback won the game’s MVP.

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Best Super Bowls of all-time – #4 – Super Bowl XLIII – Arizona Cardinals vrs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Cardinals shocked the football world following the 2008 season when they went from playoff also-rans to NFC Champions.  After defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game Arizona had a date with the mighty Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC, who had just dismantled division rival Baltimore to earn a berth in the Super Bowl.  Playoff vet and former Super Bowl winning quarterback Kurt Warner led a young Arizona offense against Big Ben Roethlisberger and the defensive minded Steelers.

Super Bowl XLIII – Arizona Cardinals vrs. Pittsburgh Steelers – February 1, 2009, broadcast on NBC, announced by Al Michaels and John Madden

Big Ben quickly took the Steelers down the field on the opening drive of the game.  He was aided by two big pass completions, a 38 yarder to receiver Hines Ward and a 21 yard strike to tight end Heath Miller.  Eventually the Steelers had 3rd and goal from the 1 and Roethlisberger appeared to score on a scramble on the 3rd down play.  Arizona challenged the spot of the ball however and the call was overturned and all that the Steelers could manage out of their opening 71 yard drive was an 18 yard field goal by kicker Jeff Reed.  Arizona went three-and-out and Roethlisberger and the Steelers went right back to work with the long passes.  Big Ben hit receiver Santonio Holmes for 25 yards on the 1st play of the drive and hit Miller again for 26 more yards.  The Steelers offense capped off the drive when running back Gary Russell scored from a yard out to make it 10-0 Pittsburgh.  It was looking like the game would go the way the experts thought it would by the end of the 1st quarter.  The Steelers had two commanding offensive drives and had scored on both of them and the Cardinals had managed only one 1st down for the entire quarter.  It looked as if the Cardinals may not have been in the same league as the Steelers.

Harrison made the longest play in Super Bowl history on the last play of the 1st half

The Cardinals still had Kurt Warner, a veteran quarterback who had already started two Super Bowls while he was with the Rams.  He got things going in the 2nd quarter for the Cardinals when he connected with receiver Anquan Boldin for a 45 yard throw down to the Pittsburgh 1 yard line.  The very next play he found tight end Ben Patrick for a 1 yard TD throw to put the Cardinals on the board.  The Cardinals defense had stepped up themselves and had forced the Steelers to punt on their next two possessions.  After the Cardinals could not convert on their drive following the touchdown they punted it back to the Steelers.  The Cardinals D continued to play big.  They tipped a Roethlisberger pass at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Karlos Dansby grabbed the ball in the air for an interception at the Pittsburgh 34 yard line with 2:46 to go in the half.  Warner took the Cardinals offense down the field on 7 plays and got all the way down to the Pittsburgh 1 yard line with :18 left in the half.  Warner attempted to throw it into the end zone for a touchdown but linebacker James Harrison caught the ball at the goal line and then ran the ball all the way down the field for a 100 yard touchdown.  It was the longest play in Super Bowl history and it was reviewed to see if receiver Larry Fitzgerald had tackled Harrison short of the goal line after he had caught up with him but the refs upheld the call and just like that the pendulum swung 14 or even 10 points in the Steelers’ favor.  The score was 17-7 Pittsburgh at the half.

Larry Fitzgerald made big plays in the 2nd half for Arizona

The Cardinals were their own worst enemy at the start of the 3rd quarter.  After being forced to punt on their first offensive drive of the half the Cardinals defense committed three personal foul penalties on the Steelers’ next offensive drive.  The Steelers used 14 plays and 8:39 of the third quarter clock but they could not convert on a touchdown and settled for another Reed field goal to give them a 20-7 lead.  The Cardinals could not muster much more offense and they went into the final quarter trailing 20-7.

Santonio Holmes made an unbelievable game winning TD catch

Warner finally got the Cardinals offense going in the 4th quarter.  He took the Cardinals on an 8 play, 87 yard drive and connected with Fitzgerald, who made a leaping grab in traffic, to make the score 20-14 Pittsburgh.  After the teams exchanged punts the Steelers were pinned back at their own 1 yard line.  Center Justin Hartwig was called for holding in the end zone and that gave the Cardinals a safety and two more points to make it 20-16 Pittsburgh.  The Cardinals took the free kick and only needed two plays to cash in.  Warner connected with Fitzgerald again, this time on a catch and run of 64 yards for the game-leading touchdown.  The Cardinals had erased the 13 point deficit in a little over 5:00 of game time and took their first lead of the game at 23-20 with 2:27 remaining.  Pittsburgh started the next drive at their own 22 but a holding penalty quickly pushed them inside their own 15 yard line.  Big Ben quickly made up the ground as he hit Holmes with back-to-back passes of 27 yards.  After gaining 54 yards on two plays Big Ben hit receiver Nate Washington for 11 yards and then scrambled for 4 yards on the ground.  Big Ben hit Holmes yet again for a big play, this time for 40 yards down to the Arizona 6 yard line.  Two plays later Roethlisberger found Holmes again as Santonio made a miraculous diving catch in which he just tipped his toes down in the end zone to make a legal catch and give the Steelers back the lead at 27-23 with only :37 remaining in the game.  Warner had an opportunity for a last ditch effort.  He hit Fitzgerald with a 20 yard pass on the first play of the drive and then found running back J.J. Arrington for 13 yards.  Warner had one more heave but linebacker Lamar Woodley sacked him and knocked the ball loose.  The Steelers were once again Super Bowl champions and the Cardinals had come up just short on their miracle run.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 27, Arizona Cardinals 23

This was another game with a wild 4th quarter, much like the Panthers and Patriots game from 5 years earlier.  Holmes made what could have been one of the best clutch catches not only in Super Bowl history but in the history of the NFL to secure the victory for Pittsburgh.

Best Super Bowls of all-time – #10 – Super Bowl XIII – Dallas Cowboys vrs. Pittsburgh Steelers

There are two weeks until Super Bowl XLVI.  To pass the time between now and then I will unveil the top 10 Super Bowls of all-time every weekday until the Friday before the big game.  #10 is the Super Bowl played after the 1978 season, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the defending champion Dallas Cowboys

Super Bowl XXI – Dallas Cowboys vrs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Sunday, January 29, 1979, broadcasted on NBC, announced by Curt Gowdy, Merlin Olsen, and John Brodie

Bradshaw connected with John Stallworth for a 1st quarter TD

This was a match-up of the two best defenses in the league during the regular season.  The Cowboys went down the field early on their first drive thanks to some great running by running back Tony Dorsett but when they tried to get too cute and ran a reverse pass play receiver Drew Pearson fumbled the ball to the Steelers.  7 plays later Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw connected with receiver John Stallworth totake advantage of the turnover and give the Steelers a 7-0.  The Cowboys moved down the field again, advancing to the Pittsburgh 39 yard line but quarterback Roger Staubach took 2 sacks for a net loss of 20 yards to push the Cowboys back to their side of the field.  Terry Bradshaw quickly moved the Steelers down the field after the punt but he threw a pick to Cowboys linebacker D.D. Lewis deep in Dallas territory.  The Cowboys gave the ball right back to the Steelers.  By now the Steelers front 7 were dominating the Cowboys and Staubach.  The Cowboys defense stepped up and made a play of their own on the Steelers next drive when defensive lineman Harvey Martin stripped sacked Terry Bradshaw and Ed “Too Tall” Jones recovered the fumble.  Three plays later Staubach stood in the face of an 8-man blitz to connect with receiver Tony Hill on a 39 yard TD pass as time expired in the 1st quarter.  It was the only touchdown that the Steelers defense allowed all season long in the first quarter.  It was 7-7 after the 1st.

Stallworth broke a tackle and then went untouched for the 75 yard TD catch

Bradshaw moved the ball again for the Steelers, this time advancing it near midfield.  Once again, however, the Dallas pass rush made a play when Bradshaw fumbled in the backfield after colliding with running back Franco Harris.  Bradshaw picked up the ball and tried to run with it but Cowboys linebackers Thomas Henderson grabbed him and fellow linebacker Mike Wegman ripped the ball out of his hands and took it all the way to the end zone for a Cowboys touchdown.  The Cowboys had their first lead of the game at 14-7.  It didn’t take long for the Steelers to catch up.  On the 3rd play of the next drive Bradshaw hit Stallworth on a simple ten yard pass route but after breaking free of the first defender there was no one left on his side of the field to tackle him.  Stallworth ran with it for the next 65 yards into the end zone untouched to tie the game at 14-14.  The steel curtain began to bear down and on the next drive and forced a three-and-out with all of Dallas’ plays being for negative yardage, including a 3rd down sack my Mean Joe Greene.  The Steelers couldn’t take advantage of the good field position after the punt.  After Hegman sacked Bradshaw to push the ball back to the Dallas 34 yard line Steelers kicker Roy Gerela missed the 51 yard field goal try, hitting the crossbar.  Staubach then took the Cowboys all the way down to the Steelers’ 32 yard line but cornerback Mel Blount intercepted a Staubach pass and ran it back to their own 29 with a personal foul penalty, setting them up at their own 44 yard line with about a minute left to go in the half.  Bradshaw moved quickly down the field, hitting receiver Lynn Swann with completions of 29 and 21 yards.  Three plays later Bradshaw hit Steelers fullback Rocky Bleier with a 7 yard TD pass to give the Steelers a 21-14 halftime lead.

Jacke Smith fell flat in his back, both literally and figuratively, after he dropped a sure TD in the 3rd

It was a surprising 1st half as both teams were notorious for their stiff defense yet there was already 35 points on the scoreboard.  Both teams made halftime adjustments and the offensive pace slowed considerably in the third quarter.  Both teams traded punts for the better portion of the 3rd.  Dallas finally made a play when punt returner Butch Johnson returned a short Pittsburgh punt 12 yards to their own 42 yard line.  The Cowboys then gave the Steelers a heavy dose of Tony Dorsett and moved the ball all the way down to the Pittsburgh 10 yard line.  It was 3rd down.  Staubach dropped back to throw and found his tight end Jackie Smith wide open in the end zone.  Staubach threw him the ball but Smith could not hang on.  He dropped an easy touchdown and it was a play that would come back to haunt the Cowboys.  Kicker Rafael Septien then hit a 27 yard field goal to make the score 21-17.

Franco Harris celebrated the Steelers 3rd Super Bowl win

The Steelers took the ball at the beginning of the 4th quarter and their offense began to show signs of life again.  After a ticky tack pass interference penalty called on Dallas defensive back Benny Barnes the Steelers were set up at the Dallas 23 yard line.  Two plays later (and after Henderson thought he had a 3rd down sack on Bradshaw but the Steelers were flagged for delay of game before the snap) Franco Harris took a hand-off and ran it straight up the middle for a 22 yard TD run to give the Steelers a 28-17 lead.  A mistake by Pittsburgh actually helped them out on the ensuing kickoff.  Gerela slipped when he made the kick and he squibbed it down the field to Cowboys lineman Randy White, who had a big cast on his left hand.  He fumbled to ball when Steelers safety Tony Dungy hit him and the Steelers recovered.  On the very next play Bradshaw hit Swann with a 18 yard TD pass to give the Steelers a big 35-17 lead with a little more than 7 minutes left on the clock.  The Cowboys started their next drive at their own 11 yard line.  Staubach rallied the troops and drove the Cowboys down the field on 8 plays.  He made a big 18 yard scramble on 3rd and 11 and capped off the drive with a 7 yard TD pass to tight end Billy Joe Dupree to pull the Cowboys within 11 at 35-24.  Cowboys linebacker Dennis Thurman recovered the ensuing onside kick to give the ball back to Staubach and the Dallas offense.  The Cowboys took it 52 yards on 9 plays, including a 25 yard 4th-and-18 pass from Staubach to Drew Pearson, and scored on a 4 yard TD pass from Staubach to Butch Johnson to make the score 35-31.  There was only :22 left in the game however and the Cowboys would have to recover another onside kick and score quickly.  Rocky Bleier fell on the onside kick and the Steelers were able to sit on the ball and secure their 3rd ever Super Bowl victory.

Final Score:  Pittsburgh Steelers 35, Dallas Cowboys 31

Jackie Smith had a Hall of Fame career in the NFL but unfortunately he has been forever known as the guy who dropped the sure touchdown pass from Staubach in the 3rd quarter.  If he had caught the ball the Cowboys might have tied the game a 35-35 with 22 seconds left but they had to settle for a field goal back in the 3rd after the drop and the deficit proved to be just a little too much for them to overcome at the end.

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AFC Wild Card Round Preview

Two games in the AFC this weekend pit a division winner against a wild card team.  Both wild card teams come from the bruising AFC North.  The Houston Texans, in their first playoff appearance ever, will play host to the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday and Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.  Here are my previews:

Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) at Houston Texans (10-6), Saturday, Jan. 7, 4:30 PM, NBC

After 16 regular season starts Dalton will make his first playoff start for the Bengals

The Texans make their first playoff appearance ever against the Bengals, a team that they defeated in Week 14 by a score of 20-19.  The Texans started off the season strong but an injury to starting quarterback Matt Schaub has brought them back down to earth a bit.  Rookie T.J. Yates will get the start for the Texans.  The biggest boost to the Texans this weekend might not be who they welcome back to the field but who they welcome back to the sideline as defensive coordinator Wade Phillips returns after having emergency surgery a few weeks ago.  The Bengals defense is led by their own rookie QB, Andy Dalton, who’s started every game for the Bengals this season.  Fellow rookie A.J. Green is one of the better rookie receivers to come into the league in the past few years.  Defensively the Bengals are underrated and have an effective “no-name” defense that finished the season ranked 7th in the league.  The Texans attack you with their rushing game, lead by the two-headed monster of Arian Foster and Ben Tate.  They kill you with play action after they get the running game going and love using Owen Daniels, their stud tight end, in the middle of the field.  Andre Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league when healthy.  Defensively the Bengals try to keep everything in the middle of the field.  They are stout against the run and held the Texans to only 41 yards rushing in their Week 14 match-up.  On the flip side the Bengals rely on their rookies, Dalton and Green, and bring in running backs Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott to balance out the offense.  The Texans 3-4 was the #2 defense in the league during the regular season, even without their best player Mario Williams.  Expect this to be a low scoring, defensive battle.  Both teams have rookie quarterbacks starting in their first playoff games and both teams have hungry, attacking defenses.  I like the Bengals to make one more play on offense than the Texans and avenge their Week 14 1-point loss with a close win of their own.

Prediction – Cincinnati Bengals 20, Houston Texans 16

Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) at Denver Broncos (8-8), Sunday, Jan. 8th, 4:30 PM, CBS

LB James Harrison leads the NFL's #1 defense into Denver on Sunday

The Steelers come into the game banged up, having lost starting running back Rashad Mendenhall to a torn ACL last week.  They will also be missing stud safety Ryan Clark who can’t play in the elevated air in Denver due to a blood disorder.  Ben Roethlisberger is already banged up and said he had a setback on his injured ankle last week.  On the other side the Broncos lost their best offensive lineman Chris Kuper to an injury last week.  Clearly the Steelers are the better team with all things being equal, they won four more games in the regular season after all, but the injuries may be a sort on an equalizer for the Broncos.  The Steelers usual ground and pound offense has evolved a bit with speedsters Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown at receiver.  The question is whether or not Roehlisberger can move around the pocket enough to find them in space.  Big tight end Heath Miller will be key for the Steelers.  On defense for the Broncos their sackmasters Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil need to at least make Roethlisberger uncomfortable in the pocket.  Big Ben will have limited mobility at his disposal.  Offensively the Broncos live and die by Tim Tebow.  The Broncos are paced by a running game involving Tebow, Willis McGahee and Lance Ball.  They pass only when they have to.  The Steelers were the #1 defense in football again this year and will be a big test for Tebow and co.  Pittsburgh’s edge rushers will put a lot of pressure on Tebow and their middle linebackers will keep everything in the middle of the field.  If you pressure Tebow and make the game contingent on his arm, like the Buffalo Bills did on Christmas Eve, chances are he’s not going to beat you.  I’ve tried to talk myself into the fact that the Broncos can beat the Steelers, as many others have given the circumstances.  I just don’t see Tebow and co. having very much success against this defense.  They might keep it close if Roethlisberger is hobbled but if he gets into any kind of groove the Steelers might run away with this one.  Tebowmania will be closed for the season after Sunday and I think both wild card teams move on.

Prediction – Pittsburgh Steelers 27, Denver Broncos 13

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