Saturday, January 31, 2015

Super Bowl 49 notes/oddities

By Rick Morris

^ The cities of Boston and Seattle have had almost no significant sports interactions previously in their history, largely because Seattle’s major pro sports history only dates back a few decades: the Sonics were started in 1967, the Pilots launched in 1969 (and moved the year after, but were replaced by the Mariners in 1977) and the Seahawks came into existence in 1966.  Most of Boston’s franchises are decades older than that, although the Patriots were created in 1960.

^ New England’s longevity as a top team is unmatched in the Super Bowl era by a few metrics.  Counting Super Bowl 31 in 1997 (the only one prior to the Belichick/Brady era, although Belichick was defensive coordinator that year), they’ve been in seven Super Bowls in 19 years, a record that no other team can match.  Along with San Francisco (Team of the 1980s), they’re the only Team of the Decade to make it to a Super Bowl in the next decade and now they’ve made two in the 2010s.  They’re very comparable in terms of being a lasting power to not only the 49ers but the San Antonio Spurs in today’s NBA.  However, New England is also the only Team of the Decade to lose a Super Bowl in their decade – and they’re the only team to lose a Super Bowl in the decade before they were the premier team.  Seattle will be trying to replicate this feat.  Along these lines, Seattle will be the first team to try to become a Team of the Decade by beating the previous decade’s designate in a Super Bowl.

^ The Patriots (‘80s-‘10s) and Giants (‘80s-‘10s) are the only teams to make it to Super Bowls in four consecutive decades.  The Broncos (‘70s-‘90s) are the only teams to make it in three consecutive decades.

^ New England’s loss in Super Bowl 42 also came at University of Phoenix Stadium – which is actually the last time that they played there.  They’ll be trying to win a Super Bowl at the site of a previous loss, something that the Colts managed in Super Bowl 5 in Miami after losing Super Bowl 3 and something that the Vikings failed at in New Orleans in Super Bowl 9 after losing Super Bowl 4.

^ This game marks the third instance of teams who are each in their third Super Bowl in the last ten years.  Pittsburgh beat Dallas in Super Bowl 13 and San Francisco beat Denver in Super Bowl 24.

^ One of the big media storylines has involved Pete Carroll facing his old team in the Super Bowl.  Dan Reeves, who was fired by Denver, lost to them in Super Bowl 33 with Atlanta.  Jon Gruden, who was traded by Oakland, beat them the next year with Tampa Bay in Super Bowl 36.

^ Twice before, a team that won a Super Bowl earlier in a decade faced a team that lost a Super Bowl earlier in a decade – meaning that one team was 1-0 that decade and the other was 0-1.  The first time, Miami went to 2-0 in the 1970s by winning Super Bowl 8 in Houston and the second time, Denver and Green Bay moved to 1-1 in the 1990s when Denver won Super Bowl 32.

^ In East Coast vs. West Coast Super Bowls, the West Coast is 3-1, although the East’s only win came two years ago with Baltimore over San Francisco.

^ This is the first Super Bowl ever that features two teams who have each followed the other one into the big game.  Seattle made Super Bowl 40 the year after New England was in Super Bowl 39 and now New England joins Seattle the year after the Seahawks played in Super Bowl 48.

^ Since the turn of the millennium, the AFC has had great continuity in the Super Bowl.  New England has made six appearances, with three for Pittsburgh and two apiece for Baltimore and Indianapolis.  The only other teams to make it are Oakland and, of course, Denver last year.  The NFC is another story.  Only two teams have made it to the Super Bowl more than once since 2000 and each of them has been there three times, both Seattle and the New York Giants.

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