Here’s one more take on today’s AFC and NFC championship games…
How important will it be for the 49ers, Broncos, Patriots and Seahawks to score TDs when their offenses don’t have the ball? In other words, will we see any scores from kick returns or from an intercepted pass or fumble recovery?
In looking at conference championships played in the Super Bowl era (since 1966), scoring a touchdown from an interception has been a good omen in these games. There have been 15 interceptions returned for TD in the AFC or NFC title game since 1966, with the team scoring on the pick-six winning 13 and losing only two. Here’s a snapshot look at return TDs in championship games.
Interception for TD: 15 (teams won 13 and lost two). Last interception for TD was 1/23/2011 by the Green Bay Packers.
Fumble recovery for TD: 8 (teams won five and lost three) Last fumble recovery for TD was 1/23/2011 by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Punt return for TD: 3 (teams won one and lost two) Last punt return for TD was 1/22/2006 by the Carolina Panthers.
Kick-off return for TD: 2 (teams won one and lost one) Last kick-off return for TD was 1/23/2000 by Tennessee.
Of the four teams playing in this year’s title games, the San Francisco 49ers during the 2013 regular season had the best return ration (+5). The 49ers scored five return TDs (two by interceptions, three by fumble recovery) and did not allow an opponent to score a return TD. The other three teams:
Seattle (+3): Scored TDs on three interceptions and one fumble recovery. Allowed one fumble recovery TD.
Denver (+1): Scored one TD on a kick-off return, a punt return, an interception and a fumble recovery. They allowed one kick-off return for TD and two interceptions.
New England (Even): Scored on two interceptions and one fumble recovery. They allowed one interception for score and two fumble recoveries for TD.
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