I pledge this to be a Deflategate and Ballghazi free post. Seriously. It’s ruining one of the best Super Bowl’s we’ve had in recent memory. Although you might be inclined to believe that they’re not going to actually play the game since nobody is talking about it, the Pats and Seahawks will take the field in Super Bowl 49 on Sunday.
So, while you may think you know a lot about these teams, here are 25 things you need to know about Super Bowl 49. A hat tip to ProFootballFocus.com for some of the on-field statistics.
1. This is the third time Arizona has hosted a Super Bowl. The last time it was here? The Giants spoiled New England’s undefeated season 17-14 in Super Bowl 42. The Cowboys also defeated the Steelers 27-27 in Super Bowl 30.
2. Why are these teams here? They protect the football. New England finished 2nd in turnover margin during the regular season (+12). Seattle was 4th (+9).
3. Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner has a chance to become just the 5th player in NFL history to win back-to-back Super Bowls with two different teams.
4. Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis have allowed 73 yards receiving in the playoffs — combined.
5. Rob Gronkowski had 56 targets when lined up in the slot — the most of any position he lined up in this season.
6. Tom Brady’s QB rating when Gronkowski is actually lined up at tight end? 72.4.
7. Only two Seattle wide receivers had more than 30 catches this season – Doug Baldwin (66) and Jermaine Kearse (38).
8. Russell Wilson was pressured on nearly 45% of his dropbacks — 2nd most in the NFL.
9. A loss by the Patriots would give tie them with the Broncos for most losses in Super Bowl history.
10. Despite having a vaunted defense, Seattle only had 37 sacks in the regular season. That ranked 20th in the league.
11. Even without sacking the QB, the Seahawks had 3 guys with 40 or more pressures (Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril, Bruce Irvin).
12. The unknown defensive player to watch on the Patriots? Linebacker Jamie Collins. He’s the best all-around linebacker you don’t know about.
13. The unknown defensive player to watch on the Seahawks? Cornerback Byron Maxwell. Playing opposite to Richard Sherman means lots of targets. Maxwell hasn’t given up a touchdown since Week 5.
14. Don’t discount how much Tom Brady likes Brandon LaFell. The wideout had 119 targets during the regulars season. Rob Gronkowski had 130.
15. New England didn’t allow a kickoff or punt return touchdown this season.
16. Over the final half of the season, only 7 teams allowed more yards per rush than the Seahawks.
17. Richard Sherman has played 7 playoff games. He has 7 interceptions.
18. Russell Wilson rushed for 849 yards in the regular season. That was tied with Broncos RB C.J. Anderson and more than Tre Mason, Andre Ellington, and Giovani Bernard.
19. Wilson averaged 7.2 yards per carry in the regular season. In his two postseason games, he’s averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
20. Over the last 10 Super Bowls, a wide receiver has won the MVP award three times.
21. LB Malcolm Smith won the MVP in last year’s Super Bowl. The last defensive player to do it? Dexter Jackson for the Bucs in Super Bowl 37.
22. Patriots center Brian Stork is expected to start in the Super Bowl. He didn’t play in the AFC Championship Game.
23. 6 of the last 10 Super Bowls have finished under the total. This year’s over/under is 48 points.
24. Over the last 10 Super Bowls, the favorite has covered just 3 times. New England is a one-point favorite.
25. By the time Super Bowl 49 kicks off, it will have been 3,647 days since the Patriots last won a Super Bowl.