Super Bowl XLVIII by the Numbers
Sports fans always have a fascination with numbers, but not until the Super Bowl do those numbers generally involve Roman numerals. Our world may only keep those around for Super Bowls and Olympiads.
We break down Super Bowl XLVIII by the numbers—that is, Super Bowl No. 48 for those of you that read that as gibberish.
Football fans love Super Bowl history as much as sports love numbers, so a lot of the ensuing slides are a blast from the past. Enjoy Bleacher Report's stat- and factoid-packed slideshow, which is displayed in ascending order by those rarely used Roman numerals.
I. Ranking of the Seattle Seahawks Defense and the Denver Broncos Offense
Rarely do we get such a polar opposite in a battle of wills between opponents in the Super Bowl: the best defense in football against the best offense.
For the first time since the 1990 season, the No. 1 scoring offense is facing the No. 1 scoring defense in the Super Bowl, per Pro-Football-Reference.com. A number of people point to the 2002 season that culminated in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Oakland Raiders, but that Super Bowl pitted the No. 1-ranked offense against the No. 1-ranked defense, which is decided in terms of total yards.
II. Number of Peyton Manning Super Bowl Rings Needed to Cement His Legacy
It is important to note that Tom Brady has three rings. He still leads Manning in terms of being a proverbial "winner" in many observers' eyes—whether that is right or wrong.
Heck, even Peyton's younger brother, Eli, has two Super Bowl victories, two Super Bowl MVPs and two late fourth-quarter, Super Bowl-winning drives.
A second Super Bowl loss would keep the annoying Peyton critics chirping.
The last time Eli won a Super Bowl, it came in Peyton's home stadium in Indianapolis. He missed that season due to a neck injury, but he was still an Indianapolis Colt.
This Super Bowl, coincidentally, is going to be played in Eli's home stadium.
III. Number of Previous Super Bowl Quarterbacks to Lead in Both Yardage and TDs
History favors the Seattle Seahawks in this statistic: Quarterbacks who led the NFL in both passing yards and touchdown passes are 0-3, as ESPN notes.
Peyton Manning reset NFL records with 55 touchdown passes and 5,477 yards passing this year. The past three quarterbacks to lead the league in both categories and make the Super Bowl were Tom Brady (2007), Kurt Warner (2001) and Dan Marino (1984)—all of whom lost the big game.
IV. Seattle Seahawks Rushing Offense Ranking
The Seattle Seahawks are going to rely on Marshawn Lynch and their No. 4-ranked rushing offense in this game. Even if the Denver Broncos are weaker against the pass, the Seahawks figure to stick with what they do best, and that is stubbornly pounding Lynch into the defense.
Controlling the ball and time of possession was the No. 1 factor in the New York Giants upsetting the Buffalo Bills in the last Super Bowl (XXV) between teams ranked No. 1 in scoring defense and No. 1 in scoring offense. The Seahawks have to try to keep the ball out of the Broncos' hands.
V. Potential Losing Streak the NFC West Faces in the Super Bowl
The San Francisco 49ers owned the Super Bowl for years, but the past couple of decades haven't been as kind to NFC West teams. They have a four-game losing streak that the Seattle Seahawks will attempt to snap.
The San Francisco 49ers lost the past Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals lost in 2008, Seattle in 2005 and the St. Louis Rams in 2001.
The NFC West hasn't won the Super Bowl since Peyton Manning's second year in the league in 1999, when "The Greatest Show on Turf" featuring Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk led the Rams to the title.
By the way, as ESPN reports, this will be the third Super Bowl played between teams in the Pacific and Mountain time zones. The NFC West/Pacific time zone won those past meetings in San Francisco blowouts over the San Diego Chargers in 1994 and Denver Broncos in 1989.
And, the last team from the Pacific or Mountain time zone to win the Super Bowl was the John Elway-and-Terrell Davis-led Denver Broncos in 1998—the year that Manning came into the league.
VI. Number of Quarterbacks to Start Super Bowl in Their First or Second Season
Russell Wilson has something that Peyton Manning will never be able to boast: early-career success. While this is Manning's third Super Bowl, this is just Wilson's second season.
Manning was driving his coach crazy in the early stages of his career. Remember Jim Mora's "Playoffs?!" tirade?
Wilson is just the sixth quarterback in NFL history to be starting a Super Bowl in his first or second season, as ESPN notes. Those quarterbacks were just 3-2 in those games, with Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger picking up victories.
VII. Peyton Manning's Next Touchdown Against a No. 1-Ranked/Scoring Defense
NFL.com's video here reports Manning is 3-1 in his career against the NFL's No. 1 defense in both yards and scoring. He has six touchdowns to two interceptions and a 91.6 passer rating in those games.
Frankly, it is surprising that he has played the No. 1 defense in yards and scoring only a handful of times in his career. That might play in the Seattle Seahawks' favor, and it's one of the few areas spanning Manning's 15-year career in which he lacks experience.
Even if those numbers are not that bad under the circumstances, he figures to have an over-under on touchdown passes above the 1.5 he has averaged in those contests.
VIII. Denver Broncos 'True' Defensive Ranking Against the Run
We noted in a previous slide that the Seattle Seahawks' hopes come down to Marshawn Lynch pounding the rock. Well, the Denver Broncos have a formidable run defense.
The Broncos tied these Seahawks with the seventh-ranked run defense in terms of rushing yards allowed this season. To break the tie, however, we can grant Seattle the seventh spot and slide Denver to eighth. The Seahawks allowed 1,626 rushing yards on two more attempts (422) than the Broncos (420). So, the Seattle run defense has a fractionally better yards-per-rush average (3.85) than Denver (3.87).
IX. Age of Russell Wilson When Peyton Manning Was Drafted in 1998
Here is a doozy: Russell Wilson was just nine years old when Peyton Manning was drafted in 1998.
The hat tip goes to GiveMeSports.com's Alastair Davidson.
X. 10-Day Forecast for East Rutherford, N.J., a Rare Winter-Weather Super Bowl
Here is the 10-day forecast for East Rutherford, N.J., the location of MetLife Stadium, which is a rare cold-weather, outdoor venue for the Super Bowl.
Peyton Manning is one of the few quarterbacks in NFL history who had to deal with inclement Super Bowl conditions. His Super Bowl XLI victory over the Chicago Bears on Feb. 4, 2007 was played under persistent rain.
He will attempt to be the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl as a starter for two different teams, according to NJ.com's Dom Cosentino.
XI. As in 9/11, the Tragic Day That Led to NYC Area Being Awarded the Game
The New York City metropolitan region was awarded the rare wintry Super Bowl site after the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.
XII. Number of Days Until the Super Bowl
Starting on Jan. 21, we only have to deal with Super Bowl hype for 12 more days until the game is finally upon us. How many controversial things can Richard Sherman say before then?
XIII. Regular-Season Victory Total for the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks each went 13-3 en route to being the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. They both won a pair of home playoff games to run their victory totals to 15.
This is just the second time in the past 20 years that the two top seeds advanced to the Super Bowl, according to ESPN. The New Orleans Saints defeated Peyton Manning's Indianapolis Colts the last time No. 1 seeds locked up after the 2009 season.
XIV. Number of Super Bowls Since the Last Denver Broncos Appearance
There have been 14 Super Bowls since the Denver Broncos made their last Super Bowl appearance in 1999. This will be the seventh Super Bowl appearance for the Broncos, which ties the New England Patriots for the third most all-time, according to Dom Cosentino of NJ.com.
XV. Millions Peyton Manning Had in His 2013 Base Salary
Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Broncos in 2012 after career-threatening neck surgery got him dismissed from Indianapolis in the year that city hosted the Super Bowl. He earned $15 million in base salary this season, according to Spotrac.com.
XVI. Number of No. 1 Scoring Defenses to Have Reached the Super Bowl
"Defense wins championships" might be the biggest cliche in all of sports, but it rings true in Super Bowls, though.
This will be the 16th Super Bowl to feature the No. 1 scoring defense. Those teams are a remarkable 12-3 in those world championships, according to ESPN.
Richard Sherman has more to crow about.
XVII. Number of 2013 Receiving Yards for Percy Harvin, a Super Bowl X-Factor
Percy Harvin was supposed to add another dimension to the Seattle Seahawks offense this season. He added just one catch for 17 yards in the regular season.
Head coach Pete Carroll told The Seattle Times' Bob Condotta that he expects Harvin (concussion) to be available to face the Denver Broncos:
We're practicing on Wednesday. That would be the first chance and I think he has a very good chance to practice based on how he was on the weekend. He was in pretty good shape on the weekend. Still has to go through a couple clearances and all, but we are kind of counting on him to be ready. Think he should be.
XVIII. Peyton Manning's Jersey Number, of Course
Peyton Manning is the only quarterback to win the Super Bowl wearing No. 18, according Examiner.com.
Twelve is the number of Super Bowl-quarterback lore as the winningest jersey number of all time. Manning will also be just the 12th quarterback in history to start three or more Super Bowls, according to this list from Wikipedia.
XIX. Number of No. 1 Scoring Offenses to Reach the Super Bowl
The No. 1 scoring teams to have reached the Super Bowl have not fared as well as the No. 1 scoring defenses. Take solace, Seattle Seahawks fans.
This is the 19th Super Bowl to feature the No. 1 scoring team. The previous 18 are just 10-8 in those games, according to ESPN.
XXIII. Super Bowls Since the No. 1 Scoring Offense Beat No. 1 Scoring Defense
The No. 1 scoring offense has just one Super Bowl victory over the No. 1 scoring defense, according to ESPN. That came 23 Super Bowls ago.
Joe Montana's repeat champions from the 1989 season laid the biggest butt-whupping in Super Bowl history, 55-10, on the Denver Broncos that year. The No. 1 scoring defense is 3-1 in Super Bowls against the No. 1 scoring offense since the NFL merger—also according to ESPN.
XXVI. Seattle Seahawks Passing Offense Rank, the Lowest in Super Bowl History
We can agree that Russell Wilson is a talented young quarterback. He can run and throw. And he has a bright future in this game.
Even Trent Dilfer's 2000 Baltimore Ravens were ranked higher. That team and the 1990 New York Giants were both ranked 22nd in passing yards. Even Walter Payton's 1985 Chicago Bears were top 20 in passing yards.
Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.
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