The Eagles are 0-2 in Super Bowl contests; they lost to Oakland in Super Bowl XV, 27-10 on January 25, 1981, and were beaten by the New England Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX on February 6, 2005. With their appearance in Super Bowl LII, the Eagles become the 16th NFL franchise to play in three or more Super Bowls.
Of the other 15 franchises that have played in three or more Super Bowls, seven won their third appearance in the big game and eight lost their third Super Bowl game.
What’s even more telling is that four teams went into their third Super Bowl game having lost the previous two: Buffalo, Denver, Minnesota and New England. Of these four teams, the Patriots are the only team in NFL history to lose their first two Super Bowl games and then win their third one. New England lost their first Super Bowl to the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XX (1986) and then lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Green Bay Packers 11 years later. They finally won their first Super Bowl in Super Bowl XXXVI against the St. Louis Rams (on February 2, 2002) on their third try. It was current New England coach Bill Belichick’s first Super Bowl as head coach of the Patriots.
Following is a look at how each of the 15 franchises that have played in three or more Super Bowls did in their third Super Bowl appearance.
Won first two Super Bowl appearances, won third one
Green Bay, Pittsburgh and San Francisco
Won first two Super Bowl appearances, lost third one
New York Giants
Won one and lost one in their first two Super Bowl appearances, won third one
Colts, Miami, Raiders
Won one and lost one in their first two Super Bowl appearances, lost third one
Dallas, Rams, Seattle, Washington
Lost first two Super Bowl appearances, won third one
Lost first two Super Bowl appearances, lost third one
Buffalo, Denver, Minnesota
How will the Eagles do in their third Super Bowl contest? Will they join the Patriots in the above category by beating them in Super Bowl LII?
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In Super Bowl history, there have been 30 rookies who have scored points in a game. Nine of the 30 players were kickers.
Chicago Bears placekicker Kevin Butler holds the Super Bowl record for most points scored by a rookie in a Super Bowl. He tallied 14 points for the Bears in the 1986 game (Super Bowl XX).
Here are the most points scored by a rookie in a Super Bowl.
14: Kevin Butler, Chicago, 1986
12: Timmy Smith, Washington, 1988
10: Lin Elliott, Dallas, 1993
10: Justin Tucker, Baltimore, 2013
7: Matt Bahr, Pittsburgh, 1980
7: Doug Brien, San Francisco, 1995
In two Super Bowls, multiple rookies scored points for a team. In that ‘86 Super Bowl, the Bears had three rookie players score: Butler, Reggie Phillips and William “The Refrigerator” Perry. In the 1995 Super Bowl, a pair of 49ers rookies scored: William Floyd and Doug Brien.
This year’s Super Bowl teams, the Eagles and Patriots, had very different results from their rookies in the 2017 season. The Eagles’ rookies led by placekicker Jake Elliott, tallied 167 points, 117 by Elliott, 38 by running back Corey Clement, and six points each from Derek Barnett and Mack Hollins. New England, on the other hand, had only two points all season scored by a rookie… a safety by Eric Lee.
For the record, teams that have one or more rookies score points in a Super Bowl game are only 12-15 (.444 winning percentage).
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Last season, the AFC’s #1 seeded Patriots squared off against the NFC’s #2 seeded Atlanta Falcons.
The last time the Super Bowl featured no #1 seeded teams was after the 2012 season when #4 seeded Baltimore Ravens faced the #2 seeded San Francisco 49ers. In fact, since 1975 when the NFL went to a seeded format for the post-season, there has only been seven times when no #1 seed played in the Super Bowl. Here are those seasons:
1979: L.A. Rams versus Pittsburgh
1980: Philadelphia versus Oakland
1992: Dallas versus Buffalo
1997: Green Bay versus Denver
2008: Arizona versus Pittsburgh
2010: Green Bay versus Pittsburgh
2012: San Francisco versus Baltimore
If you were wondering why it’s so important to get that #1 conference seed for the playoffs, consider this:
- Of the 86 teams that have played in the Super Bowl since 1975 (when the seeded format was instituted), 49 were #1 seeds (57%); 20 were #2 seeds (23.3%); 4 were #3 seeds; nine were #4 seeds; two were #5 seeds; and 2 were #6 seeds.
- Of the 42 Super Bowl winners since 1975, 24 (57%) were #1 seeds. The #2 seed has won eight times; the #3 seed has won twice; the #4 seed has five Super Bowl titles; the #5 seed has won once; and the #6 seed has won twice.
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Okay… let’s say you are watching the Super Bowl on Sunday and the Patriots score a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and take a 14-3 lead going into the second quarter. With an 11-point lead after the first quarter, are the Pats assured of a victory? How well have Super Bowls teams done with a lead of 10 points or more in the first quarter?
Or… let’s say New England has the lead at halftime after scoring 17 or more points in the first half. Are they on their way to a victory?
Or… finally, the Falcons surprisingly go scoreless in the first half (something that would definitely be a big deal, especially considering their high-powered offense). How many Super Bowl teams have gone on to win the big game after going scoreless in the first half?
Well… I have some answers for you. Let’s start with the lead margin after each of the three quarters. Teams with a 10-point or bigger lead after the first quarter have gone on to win eight of 10 Super Bowls (a .800 winning percentage). Even just having the lead after the first quarter is a good omen; teams with the lead after the first quarter in the Super Bowl are 27-11 (.711 winning percentage).
The chart below breaks down the leads after each of the three quarters in the previous 50 Super Bowls. There are five categories: leads of one point or more, leads of three points or more, leads of seven points of more, and those of 10 or more and 14 points or more.
|SUPER BOWL LEADS||1 point or more||3 points or more||7 points or more||10 points or more||14 points or more|
|Lead after the 1st quarter||27-11 .711||27-11 .711||17-4 .810||8-2 .800||3-0 1.000|
|Lead at halftime||37-10 .787||35-7 .833||29-3 .906||24-0 1.000||15-0 1.000|
|Lead after the 3rd quarter||40-9 .816||40-6 .870||33-3 .917||29-1 .967||21-0 1.000|
Let’s answer the other two questions from the beginning of this column. Super Bowl teams that have scored 17 or more points in the first half are 19-1. The only loss was in 1982 when the Miami Dolphins had a 17-10 lead at halftime over Washington and lost that contest 27-17.
Super Bowl teams that have held their opponents scoreless in the first half have gone 12-0. If a Super Bowl team has held their opponents to three points or less in the first half of the big game, those teams are 21-3.
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp