Friday, January 28, 2011

45 Stops to Super Bowl XLV: #21-#25

The "45 Stops to Super Bowl XLV" is a series that will feature stories, stats and interesting trivia that you can use to act smart as you prepare for Super Bowl XLV. I've done this on SPORTZASSASSIN.COM for Super Bowls XL, XLI, XLIII, XLIV and for AOL's FanHouse for Super Bowl XLII.

#21-SUPER BOWL XLIV WENT AGAINST THE GRAIN: Last year's Super Bowl was extremely odd for a variety of reasons. To be honest, most of things you know that are staples in the big game went away. For instance:

-The Saints became the first team to kick an onside kick before the 4th quarter.

-Saints Garrett Hartley became the first kicker to make three FGs of 40 yds or longer

-It was the first Super Bowl in Dolphin Stadium history to NOT have a kick returned for a TD.

-The Saints became just the 2nd team to win a Super Bowl after (a) trailing at the half and (b) failing to score a TD in the first half.

-The Saints were just the 7th team to win a Super Bowl when trailing heading into the 4th quarter.

-The Saints matched the 1987 Redskins as the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. Both teams trailed 10-0 before turning things around and winning the game.

-The Saints became the first team to ever defeat three QBs in the playoffs who had previously won a Super Bowl. They beat Kurt Warner, then Brett Favre and then Peyton Manning to cash in the title.

-The Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi became the first family member to win the trophy that has his grandfather's name

#22-NFC OWNS THE COIN TOSS: The NFC has won the coin toss an amazing 13 straight seasons. I mean, it makes no sense. In half of those games, the AFC team called the toss and lost.

#23-DON'T WIN THE COIN TOSS: The team that wins the opening coin toss is just 21-23 in the game. That averages out to ... well ... the flip of a coin. However, the coin toss winner has been the Super Bowl loser in 10 of the last 14 games.

SB 44: Saints won the toss ... and the game
SB 43: Cardinals won the toss, lost the game*
SB 42: Giants won the toss ... and the game
SB 41: Bears won the toss, lost the game
SB 40: Seahawks won the toss, lost the game
SB 39: Eagles won the toss, lost the game
SB 38: Panthers won the toss, lost the game
SB 37: Buccaneers won the toss ... and the game
SB 36: Rams won the toss, lost the game
SB 35: Giants won the toss, lost the game
SB 34: Rams won the toss ... and the game
SB 33: Falcons won the toss, lost the game
SB 32: Packers won the toss, lost the game
SB 31: Patriots won the toss, lost the game

*A little aside to this is that the Arizona Cardinals won the toss and deferred to the second half. The Steelers chose to receive which means the Cards were the first team in Super Bowl history to win the coin toss and kickoff.

#24-NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE UNDERDOG: This year, the Steelers are a slight underdog and this may be one of the most even matchups we've seen in a Super Bowl in quite some time. But we have seen some big dog upsets.

Here is a short list of some notable upsets:

Super Bowl III: The Baltimore Colts came in as 18-point favorites. They left watching the Jets' Joe Namath fulfilling his prediction of an upset.

Super Bowl IV: The Kansas City Chiefs spanked the Minnesota Vikings, despite being a 12-point underdog.

Super Bowl VII: Oddly, the undefeated Miami Dolphins entered the game as 1.5-point underdogs to the Washington Redskins.

Super Bowl XXV: The Buffalo Bills would begin their four game Super Bowl losing streak by succumbing to the Giants, who were 7-point dogs.

Super Bowl XXXII: The Denver Broncos, an 11.5-point underdog, ended the AFC's thirteen game losing streak by beating Green Bay.

Super Bowl XXXVI: These New England Patriots began their dynasty by beating the St. Louis Rams, who were 14-point favorites.

Super Bowl XLII: The 12-point dog Giants ended the Patriots perfect season with a magical game.

See, it can happen. Just because we all think one way doesn't mean we cannot be shocked. After all, those 2001 Rams were juggernauts who were former champions and were heavy favorites. They left without the trophy.

#25-BUT DON'T DISMISS THE FAVORITES: Yeah, there are upsets, but don't count on them. The favorite has won eight of the last 12 Super Bowls. In fact the favorite is 30-14 in the Super Bowl. Teams favored by at least 7 points are 19-6.

1 comment:

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