You didn’t really think that the New England Patriots would lose to the Tampa Bay Bucs on Thursday Night Football sending their record to a sub-.500 2-3, did you?
With their 19-14 win over the Bucs last night, New England upped their record to 3-2. If they would have lost to Tampa Bay, it would have been the first year since 2001 that the Pats would have been under .500 after five games.
New England started 2-3 in 2001, but won nine of their last 11 on their way to winning the Super Bowl that season. The previous season, 2000, Bill Belichick’s first as head coach of the Patriots, the team was 1-4 after five games, the worst five-game start in Belichick’s career at New England.
(From August 1 until the first regular season game against the Seattle Seahawks on September 10, we’ll give you a daily dose of Packers stats.)
Is it possible that having consistency in the placekicking game can be a key to overall team success?
The two best teams in the league over the past 10 years have been the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers. In addition to have long-time coaches (Bill Belichick and Mike McCarthy) and long-time quarterbacks (Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady), it’s interesting to note that both teams have had the same placekicker in this same time period (Stephen Gostkowski and Mason Crosby).
In fact, if we note how many different placekickers have attempted a field goal for all NFL teams since 2000, the two teams with the fewest number of placekickers on this list are the Patriots and Packers with three kickers each. At the other end of the list are the Washington Redskins; they have had 17 different kickers attempt a field goal from 2000-16.
Here’s a look at the number of placekickers who have attempted a field goal for each NFL team from 2000-16.
3: Green Bay, New England
4: L.A. Raiders
5: Houston, Philadelphia, Seattle
6: Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis. L.A. Rams
7: Cleveland, Denver, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh, Tennessee
8: Atlanta, Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Minnesota, San Diego
10: Carolina, Dallas, Jacksonville, Miami
11: San Francisco
12: Kansas City, New Orleans, Tampa Bay
13: N.Y. Giants
For those of you who are curious, here are the three kickers for both the Packers and Patriots, and the 17 kickers who attempted a field goal since 2000 for the Redskins.
Green Bay: Ryan Longwell, Dave Rayner, Mason Crosby
New England: Adan Vinatieri, Stephen Gostkowski, Shayne Graham
Washington: Scott Bentley, Jeff Chandler, Brett Conway, Jose Cortez, Billy Cundiff, Kai Forbath, Graham Gano, John Hall, Kris Heppner, Dustin Hopkins, Michael Husted, Ola Kimrin, Eddie Murray, Nick Novak, John Potter, Shaun Suisham, James Tuthill
Let’s start this blog with a trivia quiz… Twelve different players have been named Super Bowl MVP and have won the league MVP award (AP Player of the Year). How many of the 12 can you name? Hint: There are nine quarterbacks and three running backs on this list. Answer appears at the end of the post.
Tom Brady won his third Super Bowl MVP in New England’s 28-24 win over Seattle in Super Bowl 49. A pair of undrafted rookies (one from each team), however, stole the spotlight. In fact, had the Seahawks held on to win that game, there was a good chance that the undrafted rookie from the Seahawks could have been named the game’s MVP.
First, Chris Matthews, an undrafted receiver from the University of Kentucky, did not have a reception in his career prior to Super Bowl 49. At the end of the game, he had four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown reception for Seattle. He became only the third rookie receiver to have 100 receiving yards in a Super Bowl. Here’s a look at the three players who had 100 or more receiving yards in the Super Bowl in a rookie season (year is the actual year the game was played).
Player, Team, Year, Catches/Receiving Yards
Chris Matthews, Seattle, 2015, four catches/109 yards
Torry Holt, St. Louis, 2000, seven catches/109 yards
Cris Collinsworth, Cincinnati, 1982, five catches/107 yards
Matthews also became the eighth rookie player to have a receiving TD in the Super Bowl. The eight: Matthews, Seattle, 2015; Holt, St. Louis, 2000; William Floyd, San Francisco, 1995; Ricky Nattiel, Denver, 1988; Charlie Brown, Washington, 1983; Sammy White, Minnesota, 1977; Percy Howard, Dallas, 1976; Duane Thomas, Dallas, 1971.
On the other side of the ball, New England’s Malcolm Butler, an undrafted defensive back from West Alabama, made the big play of the game with an interception at the goal-line in the closing seconds of the game. It was Butler’s first career interception. Butler became the sixth rookie player to intercept a pass in the Super Bowl. The six: Butler, New England, 2015; Bill Romanowski, San Francisco, 1989; Brian Davis, Washington, 1988; Jim Morrissey, Chicago, 1986; Reggie Phillips, Chicago, 1986; Eric Wright, San Francisco, 1982.
Trivia answer: The 12 players who have won a Super Bowl MVP and a league MVP (AP Player of the Year honor) in their career are Marcus Allen, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady, Terrell Davis, John Elway, Peyton Manning, Joe Montana, Aaron Rodgers, Emmitt Smith, Bart Starr, Kurt Warner, Steve Young.
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In the 48-year history of the Super Bowl, 17 of those games (35.4%) were decided by one score (eight points or less). Unfortunately, last year’s Seattle win over Denver, 43-8, finished at the other end of the spectrum with a blowout that was the third largest margin in the game’s history.
Three teams have lost multiple Super Bowl games by eight points or less: Dallas (lost three) and New England and Cincinnati (each lost two). For Dallas, they lost their three Super Bowls by three, four and four points. The Cowboys have, however, won five Super Bowls, which makes those close losses a little easier to take. The Bengals, on the other hand, lost two Super Bowls by four and five points in their only two appearances in the big game. New England has three Super Bowl victories and two losses by three and four points. It’s interesting to note that the Patriots won each of their three championships by three points each.
Here’s a look at the games in Super Bowl history that were decided by one score.
Point Differential, Super Bowl Games (Date of Game)
1: N.Y. Giants over Buffalo (1991)
3: Baltimore over Dallas (1971); New England over St. Louis (2002); New England over Carolina (2004); New England over Philadelphia (2005); N.Y. Giants over New England (2008); Baltimore over San Francisco (2013)
4: Pittsburgh over Dallas (1976); Pittsburgh over Dallas (1979); San Francisco over Cincinnati (1989); Pittsburgh over Arizona (2009); N.Y. Giants over New England (2012)
5: San Francisco over Cincinnati (1982)
6: Green Bay over Pittsburgh (2011)
7: Miami over Washington (1973); Denver over Green Bay (1988); St. Louis over Tennessee (2000)
Note: Six of the 17 one-score Super Bowls have happened in the past 10 years.
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Here’s three stats from the just-completed NFL regular season that you may find interesting.
* For the first time in NFL history, three teams finished the regular season with less than 15 turnovers. Green and New England each had only 13 turnovers this season, while the Seattle Seahawks had only 14. Each of these three teams also finished the season with 12 wins each.
Prior to this season, there had been 14 teams that had 15 or fewer turnovers in a season. The 2010 Patriots and the 2011 49ers each had only 10 turnovers in a season, best in NFL history.
Here’s a look at the NFL teams with 15 or fewer turnovers in a season.
10: New England, 2010; San Francisco, 2011
13: Miami, 2008; New York Giants, 2008; Green Bay, 2014; New England, 2014
14: New York Giants, 1990; Kansas City, 2010; Green Bay, 2011; Washington, 2012; Indianapolis, 2013; Seattle, 2014
15: Dallas, 1998; Jacksonville, 2002; Kansas City, 2002; San Diego, 2006; New England, 2007
* The Houston Texans were the most improved team in the NFL this season. The Texans went from two wins in 2013 to nine victories this season, an increase of seven victories. The biggest drop was a tie between Tennessee and Carolina; both dropped five wins from 2013 to 2014. Ironically, the Panthers still made it to the playoffs despite their five-win drop this season.
Here’s a look at the teams with the biggest gains (and drops) in wins for 2014.
+4: Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay
+3: Buffalo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh
-5: Carolina, Tennessee
-4: New Orleans, New York Jets, San Francisco
* For the fourth time since 1996, the Kansas City Chiefs had a winning record yet failed to make the playoffs. The Chiefs were one of five teams this season to have a winning record (nine or more wins) yet did not make the playoffs. Buffalo, Houston, Kansas City and San Diego each had nine wins in the AFC but did not make the playoffs; the Philadelphia Eagles had 10 wins in the NFC, but it wasn’t enough to make the post-season.
Here are the teams with the most winning seasons since 1990 (when the NFL went to a 12-team format for the playoffs) that did not make the playoffs that year.
Winning record seasons but no playoffs (since 1990)
4: Kansas City, Miami
3: Chicago, New York Giants, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego
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