So, you've heard Super Bowl opinions. Twice. From everyone. Your brother, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your ex-significant other who hasn't spoken to you in nearly five years. Everyone wants to tell you what he or she thinks will happen when venerable pizza salesperson Peyton Manning takes on real-life WWE villain Richard Sherman.
We've heard your opinions. Enough with your stinking opinions already.
So...how about some facts? No, not opinions we say really vehemently as if they are facts. But, like, actual things you can look up on the Internet, check and then verify that are true. Would you like some of those mixed in with your opinion stew?
Good. You clicked on the right article. Or at least an article that will satisfy what you Googled for. Either way, go you. You know how to Internet.
In an effort to be in tune with your fact neediness, let's eschew the long intro. Here's a look at some cool, interesting or just random as all hell facts to know heading into Super Bowl XLVII.
55: Number of Peyton Manning Touchdown Passes in Regular Season
Here is the list of players in NFL history with 55 touchdown passes (or more) in a single season: Peyton Manning. He is very good at professional football. Do not let any #hottake artists tell you otherwise. No matter what happens Sunday, his legacy is secure.
5,477: Number of Peyton Manning Passing Yards in Regular Season
Here is the list of players with 5,477 (or more) passing yards in a single season: Peyton Manning. Again, I feel the need to remind you that his right arm is pretty good at flinging the pigskin.
2: Number of Times Richard Sherman Was Targeted in the NFC Championship Game
I'm pretty sure you can all remember how these two times went. On the first, Sherman was called for a holding penalty that the Seahawks cornerback described as "BS" in his column for MMQB. On the second, Sherman made a sprawling dive to tip a potentially game-winning pass intended for Michael Crabtree into the hands of linebacker Malcolm Smith to send Seattle to the Super Bowl.
Richard Sherman: also very good at his job.
0: Number of Passes Completed in Richard Sherman's Direction During Playoffs
According to Pro Football Focus, there have been 18 cornerbacks who have played 50 percent or more of their teams' snaps during the postseason. Each of those players has had at least two passes completed against him and was targeted at least four times.
Except one. Sherman has only two official targets across two games, neither of which wound up falling in the hands of the opposing team.
Sherman vs. Manning: Dis gon be good.
3.32: Number of Standard Deviations Above Mean for Denver Broncos Offense
The Broncos scored an NFL-record 606 points during the regular season. That's a lot. You know that, because it is a record. But with NFL scoring league-wide also hitting an all-time high at 23.4 points per game in 2013, it's difficult to discern whether Denver's point total actually makes it the best offense in NFL history or merely a product of the era.
Standard scores collected by Grantland's Bill Barnwell sought to answer that question. For those unfamiliar, standard score basically measures how far a particular number is from the mean—high or low. A positive standard deviation is good in Denver's case because it wants to score more points than the league-average.
Barnwell's data shows that roughly 0.1 percent of NFL teams in history has a standard score higher than three. And of the four teams in history to do so—2013 Broncos, 2001 Rams, 1994 49ers and 2007 Patriots—Denver's 3.32 score is the highest.
So, at least in terms of points scored, you could say the Broncos are the best offense in league history.
-2.20: Number of Standard Deviations Below Mean for Seattle Seahawks Defense
This will come as a shock, but the Seahawks are very good at playing defense. So good, in fact, that their 14.4 points per game against was nearly a full touchdown better than the 10th-place Patriots. Only Carolina and San Francisco were even within a field goal. In a season where NFL teams scored the highest points scored total in history, being the league's best defense by head and shoulders is probably a good thing.
So, back to standard score. Barnwell also calculated it for the 2013 Seahawks, finding that they were minus-2.20 deviations away from the mean. Because Seattle was trying to prevent teams from scoring, having a negative score is a good thing in this case.
While not as big of a chasm as Denver, the Seahawks were the 10th-best defense in league history. It's obviously an imperfect barometer, but the point here is that these teams are good. Really, really good.
1: Number of 100-Yard Rushers Against the Broncos Defense This Season
Denver's offense is deserving of all the plaudits it can get. We've already established that it was perhaps the best in regular-season history. But the defense, the run defense in particular, has been quietly among the best in the NFL. Ryan Mathews' 127-yard romp in the Chargers' Week 15 upset of Denver is the only time an individual hit triple digits all season.
Pot Roast and Co. have been even better of late, holding their opponents to under 100 total rushing yards in six of seven games, the lone exception being Mathews' breakout.
This, of course, is important because Marshawn Lynch has been the workhorse that has driven the Seahawks to the Super Bowl. If he's unable to find holes, it will be interesting to see if Seattle can adjust or if Russell Wilson can push the offense downfield with the passing game.
Who will win the battle between Marshawn Lynch and the Broncos defense?
8: Number of Wins the Seahawks Had When Marshawn Lynch Had 20 or More Carries in 2013
Against just one loss. It almost goes without saying that running backs carry the ball more when their teams are winning than when they are losing. Teams pass the ball in comeback efforts and run the ball in victories to drain the clock. Basic logic here, folks.
Still, with Lynch going over 20 carries and 100 yards in each of the Seahawks' two playoff wins, this is something worth monitoring.
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