Friday, February 1, 2013

47 Stops To Super Bowl XLVII

Every year since Super Bowl XL, I have used this blog for my "Stops To Super Bowl" list.  Every year, I create a list of smart, dumb, inane and chat worthy items for you to use in any banter leading up to and during the Super Bowl.

This year, it is 47 Stops to Super Bowl XLII and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#47-LET'S START OUT EASY:  San Francisco is back in the Super Bowl for the first time since Super Bowl XXIX.  The 49ers have won 5 Super Bowl titles, but haven't been to the big game since 1995.  From 1982 to 1995, the 49ers won all five Super Bowls they appeared in.  The first four were quarterbacked by Joe Montana; the last one by Steve Young.  They have beaten the Bengals (twice), Dolphins, Broncos and Chargers. 

The Ravens won their lone appearance in the Super Bowl when they crushed Kerry Collins and the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. 

Oh, and the head coaches are brothers.  Jim and John Harbaugh will be facing off against each other, marking the first time brothers have faced off as head coaches in the Super Bowl (their first meeting, last Thanksgiving, was the first time brothers faced off in any NFL game, ever). 

#46-AFC LOVES FEBRUARY: The Super Bowl will be held on February 3rd. Since the first February Super Bowl in 2002, the AFC is 6-4 in those games held in the calendar's shortest month ... though the NFC has won the last three:
Super Bowl XXXVI: Patriots beat Rams on February 3, 2002
Super Bowl XXXVIII: Patriots beat Panthers on February 1, 2004
Super Bowl XXXIX: Patriots beat Eagles on February 6, 2005
Super Bowl XL: Steelers beat Seahawks on February 5, 2006
Super Bowl XLI: Colts beat Bears on February 4, 2007
Super Bowl XLII: Giants beat Patriots on February 3, 2008
Super Bowl XLIII: Steelers beat Cardinals on February 1, 2009
Super Bowl XLIV: Saints beat Colts on February 7, 2010
Super Bowl XLV: Packers beat Steelers on February 6, 2011
Super Bowl XLVI:  Giants beat Patriots on February 5, 2012

#45-SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN: The team who scores first in a Super Bowl is 30-16. However, the team who has scored first has lost six of the last eleven Super Bowls.

*Teams who score at least 30 points are 23-1.

*Teams that score the first TD are 33-13.

*Teams leading at the half are 34-10 (there have been two ties)

#44-GOIN' BACK TO CALI:   No state has more NFL teams than California's three (Florida also has three; New York kinda has three, but the Giants and Jets play in New Jersey).  But this will be the first time a Cali team has made the Super Bowl since the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.  That Radiers team is the only California team to make the Super Bowl since 1995 when both the 49ers and Chargers made it.

In fact, California has had quite a history in the Super Bowl.  They've had five different incarnations on NFL franchises get to the Super Bowl:  San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers.

Not to mention, the Super Bowl has been played in California a few times.  The Los Angeles Coliseum hosted two Super Bowls.  The Rose Bowl in Pasadena has hosted five.  San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium (formerly Jack Murphy Stadium) has hosted three.  Stanford Stadium near Palo Alto hosted one game.  Super Bowl XXXVII (2003) was the last time that the Super Bowl was played in California ... that was San Diego ... and there are no current plans to have the game back there.

#43-ANOTHER TITLE FOR SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco's baseball team, the Giants, won the World Series last October.  If the Niners win, it will be just the sixth time (and fifth different town) to hold the Super Bowl and World Series champion simultaneously.  Not bad for a city that has gone nearly two decades without a Super Bowl appearance and just a few years ago won the city's first World Series title. 

Here are the other times it has occured:

1969 - New York:  One of the miracles on both sides.  That January, Joe Namath and the Jets shocked the world by winning Super Bowl III over the Colts.  That fall, the Miracle Mets pulled off a stunning World Series victory. 

1970/1971 - Baltimore:  The Orioles had one of history's greatest pitching staffs and won the World Series.  That winter, the Colts won Super Bowl V in on of the ugliest Super Bowls in history.

1979/1980 - Pittsburgh:  In January, the Steelers won their third Super Bowl title.  In October, the "We Are Family" Pirates would win the World Series.  In the following January, the Steelers would beat the Los Angeles Rams to repeat as Super Bowl champions, extending the city's hold on being a Titletown.

1986/1987 - New York:  The Mets won one of the most thrilling World Series ever, while the football Giants in the following January blew out John Elway and the Broncos.

2004/2005 - Boston:  In know that Foxboro isn't exactly Boston, but it counts for this exercise.  In 2004, the Patriots beat the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.  That October, the Red Sox had the biggest comeback in baseball history to beat the Yankees in the ALCS, then went on to dominate the St. Louis Cardinals to win their first World Series since 1918.  The following January, the Patriots would repeat as champions by beating Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles. 

#42-BACK TO NEW ORLEANS: Super Bowl XLVII will be played in New Orleans.  This will be the 10th time that the Crescent City will host the NFL's biggest game ... tying Miami/South Florida for most. This will be the 7th Super Bowl played in the Superdome. However, this is the first Super Bowl in New Orleans since 2002.  After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans was sort of on the back-burner.  Heck, this will be just the 3rd Super Bowl in New Orleans in the last 22 years (it was held there 7 times in the previous 21 seasons).  Now, the NFL is back in one of its favorite Super Bowl cities.

#41-SUPER BOWL ON CBS: This will be the 18th time CBS will televise the Super Bowl, passing NBC for most by a network. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will make the call. Simms was the MVP of Super Bowl XXI.  Simms will be making his 7th appeaerance as a Super Bowl analyst (6 for CBS, 1 for NBC).  Simms joins Troy Aikman, Bart Starr, Bob Griese and Joe Theismann as Super Bowl winning quarterbacks to go on to announce a Super Bowl on TV. 

Nantz will be making his 3rd call.  He is one of only three men to have called a Super Bowl and an NCAA Men's Basketball Championship (Curt Gowdy and Dick Enberg are the others).

#40-COLTS KNOW BOTH SIDES OF THE COIN: The Indianapolis Colts, the host team of the Super Bowl, is the only franchise to play in a Super Bowl as an AFC and NFC team. Well, they never were an "NFC" team, but the Colts played in Super Bowl III as the NFL representative against the AFL Champ Jets. Two years later, the Colts won Super Bowl V as a member of the AFC.

When the NFL merged with the AFL in 1970, the NFL's Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns moved to the American side of things. The Steelers have won six Super Bowls (and been to another one) but all were as the AFC champ. Cleveland is still waiting for their first appearance.

#39-TOP SEEDS NOT MEETING AGAIN: Believe it or not, but Super Bowl XLIV was the first time that the No. 1 seed in the NFC and AFC met in the Super Bowl since 1993. In each year since the Bills and Cowboys met in '93, one of the top seeds fell before getting to the big game (well, aside from Super Bowl XLIV). The AFC's top seed, the Denver Broncos, lost in the divisional round to the Ravens.  The NFC's top seed, the Atlanta Falcons, lost in the NFC Championship to the Niners.

#38-DIVISION ALL IN: The only divisions that don't have all of their members with appearances in a Super Bowl are the AFC North (Browns), AFC South (Titans, Jaguars) and NFC North (Lions).

No division has all their members with Super Bowl championships. The NFC East (Eagles didn't win), AFC West (Chargers) and AFC East (Bills) have seen three of their four members win a title. The NFC East is the only division to have each of their members in multiple Super Bowls. The Cowboys have been to eight, the Redskins and Giants have been to five and the Eagles have been to two.

The odd thing is that each team in the NFC South has been exactly once to the Super Bowl. The Panthers and Falcons lost their only time there, while the Bucs and Saints won in their only appearances.

#37-NFC EAST TOPS THEM ALL: The NFC East easily has the most Super Bowl champions than any other division. The 12 titles won bests the AFC North for the top honors.

The NFC East dominated from 1986-1995. In that span, the Giants ('86, '90), Redskins ('87, '91) and Cowboys ('92, '93, '95) went to and won 7 of 10 Super Bowls during that decade. The only other Super Bowl champ was San Francisco ('88, '89, '94).

Here's a rundown of the divisions:

12-NFC EAST (Cowboys-5, Giants-4, Redskins-3)
7-AFC NORTH (Steelers-6, Ravens-1)
6-NFC WEST (Niners-5, Rams-1)
6-AFC EAST (Patriots-3, Dolphins-2, Jets-1)
6-AFC WEST (Raiders-3, Broncos-2, Chiefs-1)
5-NFC NORTH (Packers-4, Bears-1)
2-AFC SOUTH (Colts-2)
2-NFC SOUTH (Buccaneers-1, Saints-1)

As for Super Bowl appearances, the NFC East wins this title again:

20-NFC EAST (Cowboys-8, Redskins-5, Giants-5, Eagles-2)
17-AFC EAST (Patriots-7, Dolphins-5, Bills-4, Jets-1)
14-AFC WEST (Broncos-6, Raiders-5, Chiefs-2, Chargers-1)
12-AFC NORTH (Steelers-8, Ravens-2, Bengals-2)
11-NFC NORTH (Packers-5, Vikings-4, Bears-2)
11-NFC WEST (Niners-6, Rams-3, Seahawks-1, Cardinals-1)
5-AFC SOUTH (Colts-4, Titans-1)
4-NFC SOUTH (Panthers-1, Bucs-1, Falcons-1, Saints-1)

#36-THERE IS AN EXTRA VINCE LOMBARDI TROPHY OUT THERE: Excuse this one taken from my FanHouse post but it is rather interesting:

There have been 43 Super Bowls to date ... yet there are 44 Vince Lombardi Trophies (given to the Super Bowl winning team) out and about. How is that?

Well, that little ditty comes to light after the recent passing of Rams owner Georgia Frontiere. Frontiere's husband, former-Colts and Rams owner Carroll Rosenbloom, is the reason behind the story:

However, when Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom, Frontiere's late husband, traded the Colts for the Rams in a franchise swap in 1972, he decided he wanted to keep the Lombardi Trophy the Colts won in Super Bowl V. When Super Bowl VII took place in Los Angeles, Rosenbloom told the Colts he was going to put on a display of Super Bowl trophies and asked them to bring it to the West Coast. They did. There was no display, and Rosenbloom never returned the trophy. After the Colts complained to the league office, former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle had a duplicate made for the Colts, which remains in Baltimore (it was originally shipped to Indianapolis when the team moved but a deal was struck and it was returned to Maryland). The original Super Bowl V trophy? It presumably was in Frontiere's possession and now belongs to her heirs.

So, there are two Vince Lombardi trophies awarded for Super Bowl V ... yet neither are with the franchise that won it. The original was in St. Louis with Frontiere with the other in Baltimore, the Colts old digs. Meanwhile, Indianapolis can only show off the trophy they won two years ago.

#35-WANT ME TO TIE YOU UP IN YOUR TIES, TY?: The San Francisco 49ers are the first team since the 1987 Denver Broncos to enter a Super Bowl with a tie during the regular season.  The 49ers (11-4-1) tied the St. Louis Rams during the season.

#34-FOUR DECADES OF SUPER BOWLS: Last year, the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl, becoming the first team to lose Super Bowls in four different decades. The Pats lost in 1980s to the Bears, 1990s to the Packers, 2000s to the Giants and the 2010s to the Giants. Only the Patriots, Bills, Vikings and Broncos have lost 4 Super Bowls.
That meant the Giants became the first team to win Super Bowls in four decades. They beat the Broncos in the 1980s, Bills in the 1990s and Patriots in the 2000s and 2010s.

#33-RAY LEWIS VS JIM HARBAUGH: The Ravens Ray Lewis will retire after this game, ending one of the best linebacking careers.  Did you know that he recorded his first sack in 1996?  And that the guy he sacked was none other than Jim Harbaugh ... aka the former Colts quarterback who is now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers?  Also, in 1998, Harbaugh would become the starting quarterback of the Ravens, becoming Lewis' teammate.

#32-THE AAFC IS BACK: Both the 49ers and Ravens can trace their organoztions back to the old AAFC.  The AAFC was a rival football league that ran form 1946 until 1949.  The Cleveland Browns ... who sort of became the Ravens in 1996 ... won all four AAFC titles.  The 49ers came out of the league with the Browns  (as did the Baltimore Colts, who isn't affliated with the Colts franchise that would form in the NFL later) when the leagues "merged" in 1949.  In fact, the final AAFC game was on December 11, 1949, when the Browns beat the 49ers, 21-7, for the AAFC championship.

#31-TAKING THE NEXT STEP: Last year, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers each lost their conference championship games to the Patriots and Giants, respectively.  The fact that last year's conference championship losers are both in the Super Bowl is quite amazing.  It has happened just one other time in the Super Bowl era:  Super Bowl XXX. 

Super Bowl XXX pitted the Dallas Cowboys against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  In the prior season, the Cowboys lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC title game, ending their two year reign as Super Bowl champions.  On the other side, the Steelers lost at home to the Chargers in the AFC title game.

In another connection to this year's Super Bowl, the Steelers squeaked by the Indianapolis Colts in that AFC Championship game as the Colts nearly completed a hail mary at the end of the game.  That pass was thrown by ... Jim Harbaugh, the current coach of the 49ers.

#30-HA HA: 18 quarterbacks have started multiple Super Bowls. This will be Tom Brady's fifth Super Bowl appearance. John Elway leads the pack with 5 Super Bowls, while Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, Jim Kelly and Roger Staubach have all started four. Only Craig Morton and Kurt Warner have started Super Bowls for two different teams.

#29-FUTURE SUPER BOWL SITES ARE PRETTY INTERESTING: Once again, no team has played in a Super Bowl held in their own stadium.  The Saints would've gotten that shot this year, but the Bounty Gate scandal put a damper on that.  Next year, the game will be held in Met Life Stadium, home to both the Giants and Jets.  In two years, it will be in Arizona. It really is remarkable that this has never happened. Well, it could happen soon.

#28-"ELEMENTARY" SCHOOLS SUPER BOWL: In a typical bit of programming, CBS will air their new-ish show "Elementary" after the Super Bowl.   This ends the singing portion of our post game festivities.  Last year, NBC aired "The Voice" a year after FOX broadcasted "Glee" after the Super Bowl.

The trend recently is for the network broadcasting the Super Bowl loves breaking in new shows or extended shows following the game. CBS debuted "Undercover Boss" after Super Bowl XLIV. It joined Extreme (ABC-1995), Homicide (NBC-'93), Davis Rules (ABC-'91), Grand Slam (CBS-'90), The Wonders Years (ABC-'88), Hard Copy (CBS-'87), The Last Precinct (NBC-'86), MacGruder and Loud (ABC-'85), Airwolf (CBS-'84), The A-Team (NBC-'83) and Brothers and Sisters (NBC-'79) as shows who debuted after the Super Bowl.
Some other big-time heavyweights have also appeared right after the game. Lassie, All in the Family, 60 Minutes, CHiPs, Archie Bunker's Place, Friends, The X-Files, The Simpsons, Survivor, Grey's Anatomy, House and The Office all have been post-Super Bowl shows.

#27-BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: This will be the first Super Bowl that will feature both teams who have appeared in, but hadn't lost, the Super Bowl.  I touched on this earlier, but the winner of this game will be the ONLY franchise to win multiple Super Bowls without any losses.

#26-SUPER BOWL CONSUMPION: Some nice stats for you:

8 million: Total pounds of popcorn consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
28 million: Pounds of potato chips consumed.
53.5 million: Pounds of avocados consumed.
222,792: Number of football fields worth of farmland to grow all that corn, potatoes, and avocados.
11.8: Depth, in feet, of guacamole consumed if it were spread across the football field.
293,000: Number of miles of potato chips, laid end to end, consumed during the game.
1 billion: Number of chicken wings consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
325.5 million: Gallons of beer drank by Americans that day.
493: Number of Olympic-sized swimming pools that could be filled with all that beer.
20%: Increase in anti-acid sales the Monday after the game.
7 million: Number of employees who will not show up to work Monday.

#25-BUT DON'T DISMISS THE FAVORITES: Yeah, there are upsets, but don't count on them. The favorite has won nine of the last 14 Super Bowls. In fact the favorite is 31-15 in the Super Bowl. Teams favored by at least 7 points are 19-6.

24-STILL, NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE UNDERDOG: Last year, the Gianst won the Super Bowl as a slight underdog. But we have seen some big dog upsets.

Including this game, over the past 8 Super Bowls, 6 of them had a team whose playoff seed was either 4, 5 or 6.  Those teams are 4-1 when they get there (only the 2008 Cardinals didn't win ... and they nearly did) with those teams beating either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed.  Baltimore is a No. 4 seed; San Francisco is a No 2.

Here is a short list of some notable Super Bowl 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.

#23-THE NFC OWNS THE COIN TOSS ... YET ... : The NFC has ... somehow ... won 14 consecutive coin tossses in the Super Bowl. The last time the AFC won a coin toss was 1997 when the Patriots won it against the Packers. In Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots ended the streak by winning the AFC's first coin toss in 15 years.

The team that wins the opening coin toss is just 22-24 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 11 of the last 15 games.
SB 46: Patriots won the toss, lost the game
SB 45: Packers won the toss ... and the game
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.

#22-SOME MORE STATITUDES: Here is another piece of trivia for you.

-There has been at least one successful field goal in 44 of 46 Super Bowls.

-Teams that have been shut out for one half (either the first or second) are a combined 1-18. The lone winner was those 1972 Dolphins who went scoreless in the second half of Super Bowl VII.

-Only one Super Bowl featured teams from the same state. Super Bowl XXIX between the Chargers and 49ers. The Giants and Bills both are "New York" teams, but the Giants play their home games in New Jersey.

-Also, teams that intercept a pass for a TD are 11-0 in the Super Bowl. No losing team has returned a pick-six. Two years ago, the winning Packers returned an interception for a TD.

#21-NFC WEST VS AFC NORTH:  Super Bowl XLVII matches up teams from the NFC West and AFC North.  This will be the sixth time that teams that currently comprise these two divisions are meeting for the Super Bowl (the AFC North teams used to be in the defunct AFC Central until 2002).  Here is how the other meetings turned out. 

XIV:  Steelers beat Rams
XVI:  49ers beat Bengals
XXIII:  49ers beat Bengals
XL:  Steelers beat Seahawks
XLIII:  Steelers beat Cardinals

#20-THINGS NON FOOTBALL FANS CAN SAY TO BLEND IN: Look, I know that there are people in America that will be attending Super Bowl parties because ... well, they love to party. Some won't know who's playing in the game until they get there. I've also come to find that there are actually guys out there that get dragged to Super Bowl parties because of their women (that's sad). Don't worry. So the diehards around the party who actually care about the game won't think you're a wuss, I'm here to help.

Here are a few vague quotes that you can use so you fit in among the football fans. You don't have to engage in a conversation with these, just drop these in from time to time the rest of us don't make fun of you once you leave. Just print this out, study it and you will at look somewhat less wimpish around the real men at the Super Bowl party.

"The Ravens just need to limit turnovers and control the clock if they want to pull the upset."

"That Ravens defense has really come on since Ray Lewis has come back from injury!"

"Two physical defenses in this one."

"You just gotta convert those third downs!"

"Don't sleep on Anquan Boldin!"

"Despite Baltimore needs to give Ray Rice a lot of touches."

"Third and long? I'd blitz."

"That Colin Kaepernick has been quite the revelation."

"Remember the Bud Bowl?"

"I got a few bucks on this game."

"Damnit! I left my squares sheet at home!"

"It's nice to see the Niners back in the Super Bowl!"

When there is a penalty called for holding, just say, "yeah, he was tackling him!"

"Brother versus brother."

"Hmmm.  Giants win the World Series and the 49ers trying to win the Super Bowl.  San Francisco is hot!"

"I hope they show some of those old Joe Montana highlights."

"Boy, it's nice to see the Super Bowl back in New Orleans."

Use only in a close game: "This could come down to who has the ball last."

#19-WEARING WHITE IS THE KEY: Since the 49ers are designated the home team, they will be wearing their home red jerseys for the Super Bowl. That means the Ravens will go with their white jerseys ... just like they did in Super Bowl XXXV. In fact, the team that has worn white uniforms had won the last seven of eight Super Bowls (Giants, Saints, Steelers, Giants, Colts, Steelers, Patriots).  The Packers won two years ago wearing green. The Giants won last year's Super Bowl victory while wearing white.
#18-ALTERNATE VIEWING: Wife doesn't watch the Super Bowl?  Are you forced to go somewhere where football isn't recognized?  Well, here are some alternatives for her or what you may be forced to watch.

ABC: America's Funniest Home Videos marathon
NBC:  Off Their Rockers marathon
FOX:  Normal cartoon block viewing
AMC:  Walking Dead marathon
ANIMAL PLANET:  Puppy Bowl 9
COMEDY CENTRAL:  Tosh.0 marathon
ESPN: World's Strongest Man Competition marathon
FOOD: Ray vs Guy Cook-Off marathon
HBO:  Horrible Bosses
ID:  Wives With Knives marathon
OXYGEN:  Snapped! marathon
TLC:  Long Island Medium marathon
TV LAND:  Roseanne marathon
VH1:  Black Ink Crew marathon
MTV:  Snooki & J-Woww marathon

#17-RELOCATING TO TITLES: The Colts (Baltimore/Indianapolis) are one of two teams to win a Super Bowl in two different cities. The other team is the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders. The St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams have been to Super Bowls from two different cities and join the Colts as the only franchises to lose Super Bowls in two different cities.

#16-LIST OF SUPER BOWL NO-NAMES: Below are guys that made their names in the Super Bowl. Some of these guys were pretty good NFLers before their breakout games ... some we haven't heard of before or since ... but performing well on the biggest of stages makes them legends.

Doug Williams (Redskins): It wasn't that Williams was a no-name as much as things really didn't pan out for him. Dude really came off the scrap heap. Williams did nothing much of note in his first years at Tampa Bay or in his USFL stint. Redskins coach Joe Gibbs (who coached Doug in Tampa) gave him a shot in 1986 to back up Jay Schroeder. In '87, Schroeder had some shoulder issues late in the season and Williams did a good job taking over. So much so that there was a QB controversy. Williams got the nod and the rest is history.What Williams did in the 2nd quarter of Super Bowl XXII is nothing short of remarkable. He was 9-of-11 for 228 yards and 4 TDs. Again, that was just in the 2nd quarter! Williams would win the game's MVP and become the first (and only, so far) black quarterback to win a Super Bowl.

Timmy Smith (Redskins): If Doug Williams didn't win the MVP, Smith would have. Smith rushed for 204 yards (still a Super Bowl record) and two TDs. Coming into the game, Smith had rushed for just 129 yards that season. His career lasted just 15 games after the Super Bowl.

Max McGee (Packers): McGee is famous for his pre-Super Bowl I partying. With Boyd Dowler injured early in the game, a hung-over McGee would step in and catch the first TD pass in Super Bowl history. He would go on to catch seven passes for 138 yards and two TDs ... three more receptions than he had all season long.

Jeff Hostetler (Giants): People forget that Phil Simms didn't start the G-men's second Super Bowl title. Simms hurt his ankle late in the season and Hoss took it the rest of the way. He had the least amount of playing time of any QB to start a Super Bowl. He held up well, throwing for 222 yds and a TD.

Dan Bunz (49ers): The linebacker was instrumental in the greatest goal line stand in Super Bowl history, stuffing the Bengals four times with goal to go. The defining play was Bunz' tackle on a swing pass to Charles Alexander on third down (he was also in on the stop on fourth down).

Larry Brown (Cowboys): The running joke after Super Bowl XXX was that Brown was the Steelers' Neil O'Donnell's favorite target. Too bad he played for the other team. Brown picked off two O'Donnell throws ... his final game with Dallas. He used the MVP award to get a nice fat contract with the Raiders and did nothing much of note after the fact.

Dwight Smith (Buccaneers): If Brown won an MVP award for picking off two passes ... why didn't Smith win won for taking two picks back for TDs? He was a nickelback used a lot in a game where (a) Oakland's offensive attack warranted it and (b) the Raiders were so far behind that they had to take chances. Why ....

Dexter Jackson (Buccaneers): ... because Smith's second TD came in the closing seconds after the ballots had already been counted. Jackson had picked off two passes himself (none that went for TDs) that were momentum changers. And Jackson wouldn't have won the award either if not for fan voting taking place in the game (Simeon Rice was the press' pick).

Percy Howard (Cowboys): Never heard of him? Well, Howard came into Super Bowl X and caught a 34-yd touchdown pass from Roger Staubach. That was the only reception he had in his entire career.

Don Beebe (Bills): Beebe has been on six Super Bowl teams ... but will be remembered most for running down Leon Lett and stripping the ball right before crossing the endzone in Super Bowl XXVII.

David Tyree (Giants): Tyree will always be a legend for his amazing catch in Super Bowl XLII. A guy pretty much no one had heard of before and hasn't done anything since will be immortalized with possibly the greatest play in Super Bowl history.

Jordy Nelson (Packers): Nelson caught 9 passes for 140 yards (both career highs) and a TD in Super Bowl XLV.

Mario Manningham (Giants):  He only caught 5 passes for 73 yards in Super Bowl XLVI, it was a huge 38-yard reception on the Giants' final, game-winning drive that will stick among the Super Bowl's greatest moments.

#15-SUPER BOWL MVP'S IN CANTON: Winners of 22 Super Bowl MVP awards have gone on to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You have Bart Starr (twice), Joe Namath, Len Dawson, Roger Staubach, Larry Csonka, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, Fred Biletnikoff, Randy White, Terry Bradshaw (twice), Joe Montana (three times), John Riggins, Marcus Allen, Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith and John Elway. Other winners, like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Ray Lewis can look forward to seeing their busts in Canton one day (that hikes the number up to 26). Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees also have a shot at the Hall.  So could Eli Manning.

Granted, not all winners of the Super Bowl MVP award go on to anything much. Guys like Larry Brown, Harvey Martin, Dexter Jackson, Desmond Howard, Mark Rypien, Deion Branch and Jake Scott have also won the award and the Hall is no where in their future.

#14-THE FIVE WORST SUPER BOWLS: 1-Super Bowl V: This one was nicknamed the "Blunder Bowl" for good reason. There were 11 turnovers in the game with the Colts ... who won ... committing seven of them. The Dallas Cowboys were called for 10 penalties. This game sucked so bad that the MVP award was given to Chuck Howley ... of the losing Cowboys (the only time the Super Bowl MVP played for the losing team). Sure, Jim O'Brien kicked the game winning field goal at the end of the game ... but even that was set up by a turnover.

2-Super Bowl XII: Dallas was in yet another sloppy game. Good thing that the Broncos were sloppier (Denver turned the ball over eight times ... and completed just eight passes). Denver QB Craig Morton was horrible -- he completed just four of 15 passes for 39 yards and four interceptions. Yikes! There was also lingering questions about the IRS checking into his tax returns. Both teams combined for 20 penalties.

3-Super Bowl XL: It was a ho-hum game that's only excitement came on an Antwaan Randle-El touchdown pass to Hines Ward. That's pretty much all the Steelers had: three big plays that ended up with TDs (the above play, a Willie Parker 75-yd TD run and an awkward pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Ward). Seattle shot themselves in the foot with bad penalties, bad red zone efficiency and turnovers. The game is one of the most controversial as many people felt that the Seahawks had a lot of bad calls go against them. Big Ben's QB rating is the lowest by any Super Bowl winning quarterback.

4-Super Bowl XX: The Bears dominated and we all loved seeing the Fridge plop into the endzone. Still, this looked like an exhibition game against a local high school team than a Super Bowl. Chicago dominated this game with their defense and made Pats QB Tony Eason look foolish (he is the only starting QB to not complete a pass). There have been several blowouts in Super Bowl history, but this is the only one where the losing team looked like it had no business being there. The saddest thing is that Walter Payton didn't get a shot at running in a TD. Jim McMahon snuck in a TD twice and the Fridge got a shot ... but not Walter. A shame.

5-Super Bowl VII: The one where the Dolphins completed the perfect season? A dud. Miami is the only team to be shut out for an entire half and still win the game. The Phins got out to a 14-0 lead before halftime and hung on for the win. If not for that botched field goal attempt (where Miami kicker Garo Yepremian's "pass" was picked off by Mike Bass and returned for a TD), the Redskins would've been the only team shut out in Super Bowl history. That score, with 2:07 left in the game, is the longest it has taken for a Super Bowl team to score.

#13-SUPER BOWL ROOKIES:  This will be the first Super Bowl since Super Bowl XLI that neither starting QB has played in a previous Super Bowl.  Colin Kaepernick and Joe Flacco will each make their first appearance in the big game.  Back in XLI, it was Peyton Manning versus Rex Grossman. 

Since then, it was Tom Brady (XLII), Ben Roethlisberger (XLIII), Peyton Manning (XLIV), Roethlisberger (XLV) and Brady and Eli Manning (XLVI) as veterans on the big stage.

#12-GOING FOR NUMBER SIX: Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have won more Super Bowls (six) than the 49ers (five).  San Francisco is 5-0 in Super Bowl appearances ... making them the ONLY franchise with multiple Super Bowl appearances to have not lost the big game.  The Jets, Ravens, Buccaneers and Saints are all 1-0 in the Super Bowl (yes, that means that either the Ravens or Niners will lose their first Super Bowl).  The Steelers lost Super Bowl XXX and XLV, making them 6-2 in the Super Bowl.  The Packers and Giants are each 4-1 in Super Bowls.

Only the Steelers, Cowboys and Patriots have been to more Super Bowls than the 49ers.

#11-DON'T TRAIL BY DOUBLE DIGITS: Teams that are facing a double-digit deficit are 2-40. A couple things are interesting about that stat. First, the only teams to come back from a 10-point deficit and win is the 1987 Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXII and the New Orleans Saints last year. The Skins trailed 10-0 before scoring the next 42 points. The Saints scored 31 of the next 38 points after trailing 10-0. That also makes those Super Bowls the only ones where both teams faced a double digit deficit. Also, it is quite amazing that 40 of 45 Super Bowls have seen one team go up by at least 10 at some point in the game.

#10-SUPER BOWL DATES: Here are just a few dumb notes about Super Bowl dates. Super Bowl XXIX was and will always be the only Super Bowl that was played on the same day (29) as the Roman numeral of the game. January 26th is the most popular date for a Super Bowl as a record four games have been played on that date. And, if you go in order from the earliest date (January 9th) to the latest (February 7th), the only days to not have held the Super Bowl are January 10, 19, 23 and February 2.

This will be the second Super Bowl held on February 3rd.

Jan 9-XI
Jan 11-IV
Jan 12-III, IX
Jan 13-VIII
Jan 14-II, VII
Jan 15-I, XII
Jan 16-VI
Jan 17-V
Jan 18-X
Jan 20-XIV, XIX
Jan 21-XIII
Jan 24-XVI
Jan 27-XXV
Jan 29-XXIX
Feb 4-XLI
Feb 5-XL, XLVI
Feb 7-XLIV

#9-STILL HAVEN'T WON ONE: There are now four franchises that have never appeared in a Super Bowl (Lions, Browns, Jaguars and Texans). But there are ten others that have never won the Super Bowl in any of their appearances. They are the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. The Bills and Vikings have lost four games apiece; the Bengals and Eagles have each lost two. The rest lost on their only trip.

And while the Jaguars (1995) and Texans (2002) haven't been to the big game, they don't have quite the drought as some other franchises. The Jets haven't been to the Super Bowl since the 1968 season. The Chiefs went to two of the first four Super Bowls but their last appearance was after the 1969 season.

It's been a while since the Vikings (1976), Dolphins (1984), Bengals (1988) and Redskins (1991) have been there as well.

#8-NOT EXACTLY NEIGHBORS: Baltimore and San Francisco are 2,449.5 miles away from each other.  That makes them the third longest distant opponents in Super Bowl history. 

The longest distance was between San Francisco and Miami, who met up in Super Bowl XIX.  In fact, that Super Bowl had Miami ... who traveled all the way across the country to Palo Alto ... having the worst travel disadvantage in relation to their opponent.  The second longest distance was Super Bowl XV when Oakland and Philadelphia met.

The top six longest distances involve teams from California.

The shortest was Super Bowl XLI when Indianapolis beat Chicago.

#7-BACK TO NEW ORLEANS: The San Francisco 49ers have won a previous Super Bowl in the Superdome.  Super Bowl XXIV was dominated by the Niners when they blew out the Broncos 55-10.  The 55 points are the most scored in Super Bowl history and the 45-point differential is the largest.

#6-SIX BEST SUPER BOWLS: Here are what I believe are the six best Super Bowls, ever. You can debate this all you want (which is fine), but these six were all great games with exciting finishes and are memorable in one way or another.

1-Super Bowl XXV: This was a great matchup in every way. With a backdrop of war, this game had all kinds of emotion as the game began (thanks, Whitney). That vaunted Bills offense against the stuffy Giants defense. The lead changed times on four occassions. In the end, an old guy like Ottis Anderson ate up the clock and Scott Norwood missed the only time the winner of the Super Bowl came down to the final play (even if Vinatieri missed those Pats FGs, the games would've went into overtime). Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick's defensive gameplan for this game in enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

2-Super Bowl XLII: Yes, the Giants take the top two spots. Their amazing run just to get to the Super Bowl and matching the undefeated Patriots blow-for-blow. Eli Manning's escape and David Tyree's catch has become one of the top plays in Super Bowl history. Second biggest upset ever.

3-Super Bowl XXXIV: Not only was this a surreal matchup (remember that St. Louis and Tennessee weren't NFL cities six years earlier), but some cat named Kurt Warner was shredding up this game. The Titans staged one heck of a comeback (they were down 16-0) to have it ripped away from them on a bomb to Issac Bruce. Also, it had one of the greatest endings any football game could ever have.

4-Super Bowl XXIII: There were so many game changing moments in this one. Remember that the only times the 49ers led this game was at 3-0 ... and after Joe Montana's pass to John Taylor at the end of the game. Cincinnati had this one, but Super Joe took it away.

5-Super Bowl XXXVIII: The problem with this Super Bowl is that the 1st and 3rd quarters sucked. However, the 2nd and 4th were just outstanding! In the fourth quarter alone, there were 37 points scored ... which is a Super Bowl record for points scored in a quarter. It was just the second to have five TDs scored (the Redskins did that by themselves 16 years earlier). And it ended with an Adam Vinatieri field goal with :04 left. Oh, and we got a little nipple action at halftime.

6-Super Bowl XLIII: What a game this was. You had the ultimate game changer with the interception and 99-yard return for a TD at the end of the first half. You had Arizona's miraculous comeback to take a lead late in the game. Then you had Pittsburgh's Big Ben Roethlisberger finding Santonio Holmes for a wonderful game winning score.

#5-ALL TIME SERIES: The Ravens lead the series 3-1.  San Francisco won the first meeting back in 1996, the first season the Ravens were born after "moving" from Cleveland.  Baltimore won in the rematches in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

#4-THE NBA IS M.I.A.: For the second straight season, the NBA is sort of taking the day off.  No national televised games, unless you consider NBATV "national".  NBATV will show Clippers at Celtics at 1:00pm ET.  The Lakers play the Pistons at 1:00pm as well, with the Heat and Raptors playing at 2:00pm.  The latter two games are shown locally.

The NHL needs to fit in as many games as they can, so they have four games scheduled on Super Bowl Sunday ... highlighted by the Penguins-Capitals game on NBC. 

There are 11 NCAA basketball games scheduled.  ESPN will show Marquette at Louisville at 2:00pm ET.  Ranked Minnesota hosts Iowa.  An interesting game is Oregon State at Stanford, which will be played at 3:00pm ET.  Stanford, obviously, is in the Bay Area market with San Francisco.

#3-KARING ABOUT KAEPERNICK:  Colin Kaepernick will become the sixth youngest Super Bowl starting quarterback.  Dan Marino (23 yrs old) is the youngest.  Kaepernick will also be the third least experienced quarterback to start a Super Bowl.  Only Vince Ferragamo and Jeff Hostetler started less than the nine games that Kaepernick has heading into their Super Bowl starts. 

#2-SANDY HOOK ELEMENTARY:  Students from Sandy Hook Elementary school will be on hand to sing "America The Beautiful" with Jennifer Hudson.  The Niners will also be wearing SHES decals on their helmets.

Beyonce will perform at halftime and Alicia Keys will sing the National Anthem. 

#1-SUPER BOWL PREDICTION:  This has the makings of a really good game.  Two first time Super Bowl QBs, two very good defenses and storylines galore.  We all know them.

To me, this game comes down to Joe Flacco.  He can look like the elite QB he claims to be ... or look like a struggling rookie.  I think Ray Rice will be a non-factor, so Flacco and his stable of receivers must come up big.  And even if they do, who's to say that the Ravens defense can stop Kaepernick and that Niners offense?  They can (I mean, just look what they did with Tom Brady and the Patriots), but with Jim Harbaugh getting a two week preparation to face his brother, I think he'll be able to move the ball. 

Niners win Super Bowl XLVII, 34-24