Wednesday, January 21, 2015

49 Stops To Super Bowl XLIX (#40 - 49)

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 49 Stops to Super Bowl XLVIX and I'm back with some more (and some of the same) little items for you about the upcoming big game.

#49-BY THE TIME I GET TO ARIZONA:  The Phoenix area will be hosting their third Super Bowl.  Their first one was SB XXX, at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, when the Cowboys beat the Steelers, 27-17.  They hosted it again for SB XLII, this time at the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, for the immortal Giants 17-14 win over the Patriots that ended New England's perfect season.  
Super Bowl XXVII was supposed to be held at Sun Devil Stadium as well, but when the state chose not to observe the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, the NFL backed out of the site and held the game in Pasadena.  In that game, the Cowboys pummeled the Bills, 52-17.

#48-WE'RE NOT NEIGHBORS:  Seattle and Foxborough, MA are 2,488 miles apart, making it the third longest distance between Super Bowl opponents in history.  Only the 49ers-Dolphins (Super Bowl XIX) and Raiders-Eagles (Super Bowl XV) were further apart.  As you can see, the west coast team won both previous games.  

#47-BELICHICK KNOWS SUPER BOWLS:  Bill Belichick ties Don Shula with his sixth Super Bowl appearance as a head coach.  Belichick has taken the Patriots to the big game each time.  Shula took the Dolphins to five Super Bowls and the Colts to one.
Belichick was also the defensive coordinator for the Giants in Super Bowls XXI and XXV and an assistant head coach for the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.  That's nine Super Bowls he's coached in.

Amazingly, in his 15 seasons as the Patriots head coach, Belichick has taken his team to 9 AFC Championship games.  

#46-AFC LOVES FEBRUARY: The Super Bowl will be held on February 1st. Since the first February Super Bowl in 2002, the AFC is 7-5 in those games held in the calendar's shortest month ... though the NFC has won four of the last five:
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
Super Bowl XLVII: Ravens beat 49ers on February 3, 2013
Super Bowl XLVIII: Seahawks beat Broncos on February 2, 2014

#45-SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN: The team who scores first in a Super Bowl is 33-16. .

*Teams who score at least 30 points are 25-2.  Only the Cowboys (SB XIII) and the 49ers (SB XLVII) scored at least 30 points and lost.  

*Teams that score the first TD are 35-13.

*Teams leading at the half are 36-10 (there have been two ties)

#44-SEAHAWKS AND PATRIOTS ARE BACK:   The New England Patriots are making their record tying 8th Super Bowl appearance.  That ties them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys for most all-time.  Pittsburgh is 6-2 in their appearances, Dallas is 5-3 and New England is 3-4.

Seattle is making their 3rd appearance -- their second consecutive.  It is the first time one team made back-to-back Super Bowls since ... well, the Patriots in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX.  Those Patriots were also the last franchise to repeat as champions.

Only the Packers, Dolphins, Steelers (twice), 49ers, Cowboys, Broncos and Patriots have repeated as champions.

The Packers, Cowboys, Dolphins (three consecutive), Vikings, Steelers, Redskins, Broncos, 49ers, Bills (four consecutive), Patriots and Seahawks have gone to consecutive Super Bowls.  The Packers, Cowboys, Steelers, and Broncos did so on two separate 

#43-KANSAS CITY SUPER BOWL?: This Super Bowl was originally assigned to Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium.  Back in 2005, the NFL tentatively awarded Super Bowl XLIX to KC, provided they could improve on the stadium.  A tax that would have funded a retractable roof was narrowly shot down, and Kansas City removed their bid.  It's a shame since I don't think they'd need a roof (especially considering that the game was in New York last year) and Kansas City is one of the best football cities in the NFL.  

#42-PETE CARROLL GOING AGAINST HIS OLD TEAM: We all know that Bill Belichick is the head coach of the New England Patriots.  Do you remember the guy he replaced?  Yep, it is current Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll.

Carroll coached the Patriots from 1997 to 1999 with a 27-21 record and two playoff appearances.  The Patriots were coming off a Super Bowl appearance with Bill Parcells when Carroll took over.  He was fired after the 1999 season and Belichick, who spurned the New York Jets, became head coach.

Oddly enough, this isn't the first time a coach faced off against the coach he replaced in the Super Bowl.  It happened in Super Bowl III when Weeb Ewbank faced off against Don Shula.  Shula replaced Ewbank as the Colts head coach in 1962.  Ewbank would take the Jets job the next season.

The other time it happened was in Super Bowl XXXVII.  Jon Gruden left the Raiders for the Buccaneers and Bill Callahan was named the new Oakland head coach.  That season, the Buccaneers beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl.

This is good news for Seahawks fans as the two departed coaches beat their replacements in both previous instances.  The Jets and Bucs won their Super Bowls against their replacements.

#41-SUPER BOWL ON NBC:  This will be the 18th time NBC will televise the Super Bowl, tying CBS for most all-time by a network.  NBC and CBS shared the call on Super Bowl I.  Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth will call the game.  Michaels will be calling his 9th Super Bowl.  Collinsworth lost two Super Bowls as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.  John Madden is the only person to have called Super Bowls on all four networks (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC). 

#40-CLOSEST GAME EVER?: Seattle opened up as a 2.5 favorite for Super Bowl XLIX but that quickly moved to an even bet.  If it holds up, that would be the first time the Super Bowl was a "pick 'em" when the game started.

In their previous seven Super Bowls, the Patriots have been favored in each of the last four times.  Their first three appearances, the Pats were huge underdogs (Bears -10, Packers -14, Rams -14).  Also, in their previous 7 Super Bowls, the Patriots are horrible against the spread.  They are just 1-5-1 against the spread (see below).

XX:  Lost by 36 (+10)
XXXI:  Lost by 14 (+14)
XXXVI:  Won by 3 (+14)
XXXVIII:  Won by 3 (-7)
XXXIX:  Won by 3 (-7)
XLII:  Lost by 3 (-12)
XLVI:  Lost by 4 (-2.5)
The Seahawks have never closed as favorites.  They were 2.5 underdogs to the Broncos last year and 4-point underdogs to the Steelers in Super Bowl XL.

There have been some close lines:

VII:  Dolphins -1
XVI:  49ers -1
V:  Colts -2.5
XLVI:  Patriots -2.5
XLVIII:  Broncos -2.5

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