Monthly Archives: January, 2013

Super Bowl history: Best individual performances in a Super Bowl loss

Tom Brady takes the snap during Super Bowl XXX...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

We all remember Joe Montana, Dwight Clark and “The Catch.” Or Joe Namath’s guarantee. Or Lynn Swann’s great catch. Or how about Jerry Rice… Bart Starr’s two MVP awards. Yes, we remember the great performances from the teams that won the Super Bowl.

Even last year we had Eli Manning with his second Super Bowl MVP on the heels of a 30-for-40 for 298 yards and a TD performance. Or what about receiver Hakeem Nicks who had 10 catches for 109 yards?

But what about the great performances from players whose team lost? Here’s my list of the 20 best (offensive) performances from players who were on the losing side of the Super Bowl. Had things been a little different, some of these listed may have been hoisting an MVP trophy.

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Who would be at the top of your list?

1. Jake Delhomme, Carolina, QB (Super Bowl 38; lost to New England 32-29) 16 of 33, 323 yards, three TDs, no interceptions. 113.6 passer rating. Nine of 13 in the fourth quarter for 212 yards and two scores.

2. Thurman Thomas, Buffalo, RB (Super Bowl 25; lost to New York Giants 20-19) 15 rushing attempts for 135 yards, one touchdown. Five receptions for 55 yards. Had 68 yards on four carries in the fourth quarter.

3. Kurt Warner, Arizona, QB (Super Bowl 43; lost to Pittsburgh 27-23) 31 of 43, 377 yards, three TDs and one interception. 112.3 passer rating. Fourteen of 19 in the fourth quarter with two TDs. Second most passing yards in a Super Bowl game.

4. Antonio Freeman, Green Bay, WR (Super Bowl 32; lost to Denver 31-24) Nine catches for 126 yards and two touchdowns. Also returned six kickoffs for 104 yards.

5. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona, WR (Super Bowl 43, lost to Pittsburgh 27-23) Seven catches for 127 yards and two scores. Six of his seven catches came in the fourth quarter.

6. Eddie George, Tennessee, RB (Super Bowl 34; lost to St. Louis 23-16) Rushed for 92 yards on 28 carries with two touchdowns. Two receptions for 35 yards.

7. Dan Ross, Cincinnati, TE (Super Bowl 16; lost to San Francisco 26-21) Eleven receptions for 104 yards and two touchdowns. Six of his 11 catches and his two TDs came in the fourth quarter. Tied with three other players for most receptions in a Super Bowl game.

8. Andre Reed, Buffalo, WR (Super Bowl 27; lost to Dallas 52-17) Eight catches for 152 yards. Tied for fifth on the all-time list for most receiving yards in a Super Bowl.

9. Tom Matte, Baltimore, RB (Super Bowl 3; lost to New York Jets 16-7) Eleven carries for 116 yards. Two receptions for 30 yards. Second-most rushing yards for a player from the losing team.

10. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis, RB (Super Bowl 44; lost to New Orleans 31-17) Thirteen carries for 77 yards and a touchdown; seven receptions for 58 yards.

11. Brett Favre, Green Bay, QB (Super Bowl 32; lost to Denver 31-24) Completed 25 of 42 passes for 256 yards. Three TDs and one interception. Passer rating of 91.0.

12. Dorsey Levens, Green Bay, RB (Super Bowl 32; lost to Denver 31-24) Nineteen carries for 90 yards; six receptions for 56 yards. Had four runs of 10 yards or more. Had five catches in the fourth quarter.

13. Terrell Owens, Philadelphia, WR (Super Bowl 39; lost to New England 24-21) Nine catches for 122 yards.

14. Muhsin Muhammad, Carolina, WR (Super Bowl 38; lost to New England 32-29) Four receptions for 140 yards (three catches for 117 yards in the fourth quarter).

15. Tony Dorsett, Dallas, RB (Super Bowl 13; lost to Pittsburgh 35-31) Ninety-six yards on 18 carries. Five catches for 44 yards.

16. Roger Staubach, Dallas, QB (Super Bowl 13; lost to Pittsburgh 35-31) Seventeen completions in 30 pass attempts for 228 yards. Three TDs and one interception. Passer rating of 100.4. Rushed for 37 yards on four carries. Completed 11 of 16 with two scores in the final period.

17. Vance Johnson, Denver, WR (Super Bowl 21; lost to New York Giants 39-20) Five receptions for 121 yards. Had catches of 47 and 54 yards.

18. Bill Miller, Oakland, WR (Super Bowl 2; lost to Green Bay 33-14) Had a pair of 23-yard touchdowns. Five catches for 84 yards.

19. Kenny Anderson, Cincinnati, QB (Super Bowl 16; lost to San Francisco 26-21) Completed 25 of 34 passes for 300 yards with two TDs and two picks. Passer rating of 95.2. Rushed for a TD. Completed 10 of 12 with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

20. Wes Welker, New England, WR (Super Bowl 42; lost to New York Giants 17-14) Had 11 catches for 103 yards. Also returned a punt 15 yards. Tied with three other players for most receptions in a Super Bowl game.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

15 regular season stats that may impact this year’s Super Bowl result

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you picked a winner for this year’s Super Bowl?

Here’s my contribution to the madness. I’ve looked at 15 regular season stats from the past 46 Super Bowl champions. In some cases, there is a strong case for a particular team winning based on how they performed in the regular season. In other cases, the regular season stats don’t reveal much.

Following are 15 regular season stats that may help determine who will win Sunday’s game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens.

1. Wins. Thirty-nine of the 46 Super Bowl champs won 11 or more games in the regular season. Only three times in Super Bowl history did a team with less than 10 regular season victories win the Super Bowl: The first two were in 1967, when the Packers were 9-4-1, and 1982 when the 8-1 Washington Redskins won the title in that strike-shortened season. In case you don’t remember, the last year’s champs, the New York Giants, became the third team in this stat when they defeated the New England Patriots. The Giants only had nine regular-season wins in 2011; they became the first team with less than 10 wins from a 16-game NFL season to ever win a Super Bowl. San Francisco won 11 games this year; Baltimore won 10.

2. Turnover Ratio. Forty of the 46 Super Bowl champs had a positive turnover ratio; 21 of the 46 had a +10 or more turnover ratio in the regular season. Both teams in this year’s Super Bowl had a regular-season turnover ratio of +9

3. Offensive rank by points. Thirty-nine of the 46 were in the Top 10 in offense based on points. Baltimore ranked 10th this year; San Francisco ranked 11th.

4. Offensive rank based on yards. Thirty-six of the 46 were in the Top 10 in offense based on total yards. Both of this year’s teams ranked outside the Top 10; the 49ers were 11th, the Ravens were 16th.

5. Defensive Rank by Points. Thirty-five of the 46 were in the Top 10 in defense based on points. The lowest ranked defense (by points) to win a Super Bowl were the 2011 Giants, who were ranked 25th last year on their way to a title. The 49ers were ranked second this year, the Ravens were 12th.

6. Defensive rank based on yards. Thirty-eight of the 46 ranked in the Top 10 in defense based on total yards allowed. The Giants last year established a new “low” in this stat as they won the Super Bowl with a “D” that was ranked 27th in yards allowed. San Francisco was ranked third this year, the Ravens were ranked 17th.

7. Offensive yards per play. Thirty-seven of the 46 Super Bowl champs averaged 5.0 or more yards per play during the regular season. Twenty-two of the 46 averaged 5.5 or more yards per play. This year in the regular season San Francisco was at 6.0 yards per play, Baltimore was at 5.4.

8. Three-game losing streak. Only four teams that lost three straight games during the regular season went on to win a Super Bowl that year: Baltimore in 2000, Pittsburgh in 2005, New Orleans in 2009 and the Giants last year. San Francisco did not lose three straight games this year; the Ravens did lose three straight this year.

9. Winning streak to start season. Thirteen of the 46 won five straight games to start the season; 22 won three straight games to start the season; 30 of the 46 won their first two games. San Francisco won their first two games of the 2012 regular season; Baltimore lost their second game of the year.

10. Away wins. Forty-five of the 46 won four or more games on the road in the regular season. The 2011 Green Bay Packers are the only team to win a Super Bowl and win three or fewer games on the road that regular season. Thirty-six of the 46 lost none, one or two away games during the regular season of their Super Bowl year. San Francisco went 5-3 on the road this season; Baltimore was 4-4 in away games.

11. 1,000-yard rusher. Twenty-seven of the 46 had a 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season. Both teams in this year’s Super Bowl had a 1,000-yard rusher this season.

12. 1,000-yard receiver. Twenty-five of the 46 had a 1,000-yard receiver during the regular season. The 49ers had a 1,000-yard receiver this season, the Ravens did not.

13. More passing TDs than running TDs. Thirty-three of the 46 had more passing TDs than running TDs for the regular season. Both teams this year had more passing TDs than rushing. The last time a team that had more rushing TDs than passing in the regular season won a Super Bowl were the 1995 Dallas Cowboys.

14. Losses by eight points or less. Thirty-nine of the 46 lost half or more of their defeats by one score (eight points or less). San Francisco lost four games this year, only one by eight points or less. Baltimore lost six games this year, four of them by one score.

15. Point differential rank. Thirty-eight of the 46 ranked in the Top 3 in point differential in the regular season. Only two teams have ranked outside the Top 10 in point differential and won the Super Bowl: the New York Giants of 2007 ranked 13th in point differential when they won the Super Bowl later that year, and last year when the Giants ranked 17th in point differential in the regular season and won last year’s championship. The 49ers ranked fourth this year in this category, the Ravens ranked 11th.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

SIX STATS you may not know about… Super Bowl cities, states

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Super Bowl XLVII will be played Sunday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. It will be the 10th Super Bowl in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. Here’s a look at Super Bowl host cities and states.

1. New Orleans is now tied with Miami as the cities that have hosted the most Super Bowls with 10. The other cities to host three or more times are Pasadena (5), Tampa (4) and San Diego (3). The state of Florida has hosted 15 Super Bowls followed by California with 11 and Louisiana with 10.

2. The NFC is 7-4 in Super Bowl games in California… the AFC is 10-5 in Florida-hosted Super Bowls… the NFC is 5-4 in Louisiana… the NFC is 20-11 in Super Bowls outside of Florida… The NFC is 5-0 in Super Bowls played in either Minnesota, Georgia or Arizona.

3. The NFC has won six of the last seven Super Bowls played in California… the AFC has won five of the last six Super Bowls held in Florida… the NFC has won three of the last four Super Bowl games played in Louisiana.

4. In 16 of the 46 Super Bowls, the final score was a margin of eight points or less. Seven of those 16 games were played in Florida.

5. In 17 of the 46 Super Bowls, the two teams combined for 50 or more points. Seven of those games were played in California. The highest scoring Super Bowl was Super Bowl XXIX when San Francisco and San Diego combined for 75 points. That game was played in Miami.

6. How well have teams done in specific time zones? The NFC is 8-11 in Super Bowl games played in the Eastern Standard Time; the NFC is 8-6 in Central Standard Time Super Bowl games; the NFC is 2-0 in games played in Mountain Standard Time; and the NFC is 7-4 in games played in Pacific Standard Time. This year’s game in New Orleans will be played in an Central Standard Time zone city.

Follow Jerry on twitter @StatsonTapp

SIX STATS you might not know about… the first score in the Super Bowl

Super Bowl (3 February, 2013) ...

(Photo credit: marsmet481)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

How important is it to be the first team to score in the Super Bowl? In the previous 46 Super Bowl games, the team that scored first has won 30 times (65.2% winning percentage). Note: In four of the last five Super Bowls, the team that has scored first has won four of those games.

In last year’s Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots, we saw something that had happened only once previously in the Super Bowl: the first score was a safety. In last year’s game, Pats QB Tom Brady was called for intentional grounding about six minutes into the game, thus giving the Giants the first score in the game in the form of a safety.

The only other time a Super Bowl game started with a safety was in Super Bowl IX between Pittsburgh and Minnesota. In that game, the Steelers got on the board first in the second quarter when they sacked Vikings’ QB Fran Tarkenton for a safety.

Here’s a few more stats regarding the first score in the Super Bowl.

1. The first score in the Super Bowl has been either a field goal or touchdown pass in 80.4% of the games (37 of 46).

2. The first score has been a field goal in 22 games (47.8%). Of those 22, nine have been field goals of 40 yards or more. The first score has been a touchdown pass in 15 of the 46 Super Bowls (32.6%). Only four of those 15 TD passes were of 40 yards or more.

3. The first score has been a TD run in only five Super Bowl games. None of those five TD runs were longer than five yards. The last time a rushing TD was the first score in a Super Bowl was 1993 when Buffalo’s Thurman Thomas scored on a two-yard run. The first score has been a blocked punt for TD and kick return for TD once apiece.

4. The NFC has been the first team to score in 25 of the 46 games and in 13 of the last 18.

5. The first score in the Super Bowl has happened in the first quarter in 40 of the 46 games (87%) and in 16 of the last 18 contests. No Super Bowl game has been scoreless at halftime. The lowest scoring Super Bowl game at halftime was Super Bowl IX between Pittsburgh and Minnesota when the  Steelers scored a safety in the second quarter on their way to a 2-0 lead at halftime.

6. Three different players have scored the first points in two different Super Bowls. Kicker Mike Clark of Dallas did it with field goals in Super Bowl 5 and Super Bowl 6; the 49ers Jerry Rice put the first points on the board in Super Bowls 24 and 29 with TD receptions (in Super Bowl 24 from Joe Montana and in Super Bowl 29 from Steve Young); and Rams kicker Jeff Wilkins made field goals in Super Bowl 34 and Super Bowl 36 for the first scores in those games.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Will a 25-year-old QB win the Super Bowl XLVII MVP?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Joe Montana on the set of an ESPN broadcast.

Joe Montana (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the 46-year history of the Super Bowl, we have had 47 players (there were co-MVPs in 1978) who were selected as the MVP of the game. Joe Montana, quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers won three of those awards, most in the game’s history. Four other players won the award twice: Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady and Eli Manning, all QBs.

As we take a look at the list of Super Bowl MVPs, several interesting stats evolve:

First, quarterbacks seem to be the primary focus of the Super Bowl MVP award. Of the 47 MVPs, 25 have been QBs. Here’s a position look at the MVPs.

Super Bowl MVP Awards, position, (average age of those MVPs)
25: Quarterbacks (30.0)
8: Defensive players (26.6)
7: Running backs (27.0)
6: Wide receivers (26.5)
1: Kick returners (26.0)

Secondly, we notice that when it comes to the age of the player named the game’s MVP, most are in their 20’s. In fact, of the 47 MVPs, 29 were in their 20’s, 18 were in their 30’s. Here’s a look at the number of MVPs within each age. The age with the most MVPs is 25 with seven.

Age, Super Bowl MVP Awards
Age 23: Two
Age 24: Five
Age 25: Seven
Age 26: Five
Age 27: Five
Age 28: Two
Age 29: Three
Age 30: Two
Age 31: Three
Age 32: Four
Age 33: Four
Age 34: Four
Age 38: One

* The oldest Super Bowl MVP was Denver’s John Elway in 1999. He was 38 years old.

* The youngest Super Bowl MVP was Raiders running back Marcus Allen who was 23. Pittsburgh receiver Lynn Swann was also 23 when he won his Super Bowl MVP in 1976, but Allen beat him by 15 days; Allen was 23 and 302 days, Swann was 23 and 317 days.

* Of the 18 players who were in their 30’s when they won the Super Bowl MVP, 14 of them were quarterbacks.

* Dallas’ Randy White, who shared MVP honors with teammate Harvey Martin in the 1978 game, is the only MVP to win his award on his birthday. He won his MVP on his 25th birthday.

* So… it appears that QBs are the most likely MVP, and those players who are age 25 have received the most Super Bowl MVPs. We do have a 25-year-old QB playing in this year’s Super Bowl: San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick. Is he destined for this year’s award? Plus, Montana won the first of his three Super Bowl MVPs as a 25-year-old QB with the 49ers!

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp