Tag Archives: Thurman Thomas

99 Stats Until Kickoff (#74) Inside the ‘big play’ numbers at the Super Bowl

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Terry Bradshaw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

One of the reasons last year’s Super Bowl was so exciting was the “big plays” that happened during the game. (Let’s define a “big play” as a play from scrimmage that went for 20 or more yards.) There were 14 big plays in the game, which was the second most in Super Bowl history, and there were at least three in every quarter. The Ravens had five big plays in the game and the 49ers had nine.

(For the record, Super Bowl XXII, Washington vs. Denver, had the most plays of 20-plus yards from scrimmage with 17. The Redskins had 10 big plays in that contest, the most by one team in a Super Bowl.)

At the other end of the spectrum, when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants accomplished something that only two teams had previously done in Super Bowl history: They did not allow the Patriots to have a play of 20 or more yards from scrimmage. The only other teams to accomplish that feat were the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl 7 and the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl 30.

With “big plays” from scrimmage as the focus (again, we’ll define a “big play” as a play from scrimmage for 20 or more yards), here’s a look at how “big plays” have played an important role in the previous 47 Super Bowls. For the record, there have been 334 “big plays” from scrimmage in the previous 47 Super Bowls (an average of just over seven “big plays” per game).

* Of the 334 big plays in the Super Bowl, 184 (55.1%) were by the team that won the game. In 25 of the 47 games, the eventual Super Bowl winner had more big plays than their opponent; in nine of the games, the teams had the same number of big plays. Teams that allowed no big plays or only one in the Super Bowl have won nine and lost only once. Teams that allowed two or fewer plays of 20 yards or more from scrimmage are 18-10 in the Super Bowl.

* Of the 334 big plays, 99 (29.6%) happened in the fourth quarter. Fifty-five of those 99 were by the team that lost the game (making big plays to get back in the game?)

* In 33 of the 47 Super Bowls, the team that won also had the longest play from scrimmage in the game. The Ravens had the big play in the last Super Bowl, a 56-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones.

* Of the 334 big plays, 85 of them happened on either third or fourth down. Of those 85, the team that won the game had a big play on third or fourth down 54 times. In the 35 of the 47 Super Bowls, the winning team had at least one play of 20 yards or more from scrimmage on a third down. Losing teams only had a play of 20 yards or more from scrimmage on a third or fourth down in 20 of the 47 games.

* Of the 334 big plays, 64 went for touchdowns. Of those 64, 42 of them were scored by the team that won the game.

Here’s a quick look at the QBs, running backs and receivers that had the most big plays in Super Bowl history.

Quarterbacks, Super Bowl big plays (passes of 20-plus yards)
Terry Bradshaw, 18
Joe Montana, 17
John Elway, 16
Kurt Warner, 15
Troy Aikman, 11
Roger Staubach, 10

Running Backs, Super Bowl big plays (runs of 20-plus yards)
Timmy Smith, 3
Franco Harris, 3
Marcus Allen, 2
Emmitt Smith, 2
Clarence Davis, 2
Frank Gore, 2
Thurman Thomas, 2
Michael Pittman, 2

Receivers, Super Bowl big plays (receptions of 20-plus yards)
Jerry Rice, 12
Lynn Swann, 7
John Stallworth, 5
Andre Reed, 5
Michael Irvin, 5

“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is $2.99.

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99 Stats Until Kickoff (#40) A rookie TD in the team’s first game of the season

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

Last season four rookies scored a touchdown in their team’s first game of the year. The four:

  • Chicago’s Alshon Jeffery scored a TD on a pass reception on September 9
  • The New York Jets’ Stephen Hill scored on two pass receptions on September 9
  • Washington’s Alfred Morris scored on a pair of rushing plays on September 9
  • Oakland’s Rod Streater scored on a TD pass reception on September 10

Since 1966 (the beginning of the Super Bowl era), there have been 252 rookies that scored a touchdown in their team’s first game of the season, an average of 5.4 per season. Most in a season was in 1969 when 11 different rookies scored a TD in their team’s first game of the season. That group included O.J. Simpson and Roger Staubach.

In looking at stats from the past 47 seasons in the NFL, having a rookie score a touchdown in their team’s first game of the year has proven to be a good omen for those teams: They have won 153, lost 76 and tied three in those games, a .613 winning percentage.

Since 1966, the Atlanta Falcons had 14 different rookies score a TD in the team’s opening game of a season. Following are the number of times it has happened for each team in the last 47 seasons.

Rookies with a TD in the opening game (since 1966), Teams

14: Atlanta
13: Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Giants
12: Oakland
11: Indianapolis, Tennessee
10: New England, San Diego
9: Buffalo, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay
8: Dallas, Miami, Washington
7: Arizona, Chicago, San Francisco
5: Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York Jets, Seattle
4: Philadelphia
3: Baltimore, Carolina, Green Bay
2: Jacksonville, St. Louis
1: Houston

Three different teams have not had a rookie score a TD in their opening game this century. The longest drought is in Philadelphia where an Eagles rookie has not scored a TD in the opening game since 1993. Atlanta has not had a rookie score in the first game since 1998, while the Rams have not had one score since 1999.

One final note: Thirteen different members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame scored a touchdown as a rookie in their team’s first game of their rookie season (since the 1966 season). The 17 are: Marcus Allen, Lem Barney, Earl Campbell, Marshall Faulk, Michael Irvin, Curtis Martin, Ozzie Newsome, Barry Sanders, Deion Sanders, O.J. Simpson, Roger Staubach, Lynn Swann, Thurman Thomas.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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

NFL legend Jerry Rice at CTIA Wireless in Las ...

Jerry Rice... Image via Wikipedia

“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.

How important is it to be the first team to score in the Super Bowl? In the previous 45 Super Bowl games, the team that scored first has won 29 times (64.4% winning percentage). 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 82.2% of the games (37 of 45).

2. The first score has been a field goal in 22 games (48.9%). 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 45 Super Bowls (33.3%). 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 safety, blocked punt for TD and kick return for TD once apiece.

4. The NFC has been the first team to score in 24 of the 45 games and in 12 of the last 17.

5. The first score in the Super Bowl has happened in the first quarter in 39 of the 45 games (86.7%) and in 15 of the last 17 contests. No Super Bowl game has been scoreless at halftime The lowest scoring Super Bowl game was Super Bowl IX between Pittsburgh and Minnesota. Pittsburgh 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.

Players who gained 100+ yards rushing in an NFL playoff game

Emmitt Smith.

Emmitt Smith... Image via Wikipedia

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

Two running backs last weekend joined the list of players who gained 100 or more yards rushing in an NFL playoff game. On Saturday, Houston’s Arian Foster gained 153 yards in the Texans win over Cincinnati; on Sunday, Pittsburgh’s Isaac Redman had 121 yards rushing in the Steelers loss to Denver.

Following are the players who had 100 or more yards rushing in three or more NFL playoff games (since 1960).

Games with 100 or more yards rushing

7     Terrell Davis, Emmitt Smith

6     John Riggins, Thurman Thomas

5     Marcus Allen, Franco Harris

4     Larry Csonka, Chuck Foreman

3     Jerome Bettis, Eric Dickerson, Tony Dorsett, Dorsey Levens, Curtis Martin, Lawrence McCutcheon, Freeman McNeil, Natrone Means, Fred Taylor

Did you know…

*     There have been 122 different players who have gained 100 or more yards in an NFL playoff game.

*     There have been 198 times when a player has gained 100 or more yards rushing in a playoff game. Teams have won 161 and lost 37 (a .813 winning percentage) when they have had a player gain 100 or more yards in a playoff game.

*     Eric Dickerson holds the playoff record with 248 yards gained in a postseason contest against the Dallas Cowboys on January 4, 1986.

*     Seven different players have gained 200 or more yards in a playoff game.

*    Michael Vick has the fewest carries to reach 100+ yards in a playoff game with eight. He did this with the Atlanta Falcons in a January 15, 2005 contest against the St. Louis Rams.