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51 facts and notes about Super Bowl LI


To commemorate Super Bowl LI, we bring you 51 facts and tidbits about Super Bowls, the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons and, of course, the Giants:

I - The Patriots are making their record ninth Super Bowl appearance, breaking a tie with Dallas, Denver and Pittsburgh. The Patriots most recently played in the game two years ago, when they defeated Seattle, 28-24, in Phoenix.

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II - Atlanta is playing in just its second Super Bowl. They lost to Denver, 34-19, in Super Bowl XXXIII 18 years ago. The Falcons hope to win their first NFL championship in the 51-year history of the franchise.

III - Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady – the men most responsible for New England's long-term success – will each set a record with their seventh Super Bowl appearance. Belichick will break a tie with Don Shula, who coached in six Super Bowls with Baltimore and Miami (he was 2-4). Belichick also participated in three Super Bowls as an assistant coach (two with the Giants) for 10 total appearances. Brady will move ahead of defensive end Mike Lodish, who played in four Super Bowls with Buffalo and two with Denver (and was also 2-4).

IV – While Brady has played in six Super Bowls – and the Patriots have 23 players who played in the game two years ago - the 53 players on Atlanta's current roster have participated in a combined five Super Bowls. Defensive end Dwight Freeney played in two with Indianapolis, linebacker Philip Wheeler played in one of those games for the Colts, and defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw (Baltimore) and safety Dashon Goldson (San Francisco) each played in Super Bowl XLVII.

V – The team that finished with the most total yards is 38-12 in the Super Bowl.

VI - Atlanta's Dan Quinn is making his third Super Bowl appearance in four seasons, but his first as head coach. He was the Seahawks' defensive coordinator when they beat Denver in Super Bowl XLVIII and lost to the Patriots the following year.

VII - Belichick can become the first head coach to win five Super Bowls; he is currently tied at four with former Pittsburgh coach Chuck Noll.

VIII - Brady would also stand alone with a fifth victory; Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana are the only other quarterbacks to win four. Brady would join Charles Haley as the only players to win five Super Bowls. A defensive end, Haley played on two championship teams with San Francisco and three with Dallas.

IX - The Patriots' six Super Bowls in the Belichick/Brady era have been decided by 3, 3, 3, 3, 4 and 4 points. Only seven of the other 44 Super Bowls have been decided by four or fewer points.

X - In the 50 Super Bowl coin tosses, tails leads heads, 26-24. Each of the last six coin-toss winners has deferred to the second half.

XI - Atlanta's Matt Ryan will become the 60th different quarterback to start in a Super Bowl. He hopes to avoid joining the list of 24 who are currently 0-1.

XII - The Giants are 4-1 in Super Bowls. In those five games, they scored 104 points and allowed 104 points. They are one of six franchises to win at least four Super Bowls.

XIII - Kickoff returns in the first 50 Super Bowls: 418
Kickoff return touchdowns: 10

XIV - Punt returns in the first 50 Super Bowls: 228
Punt return touchdowns: 0

XV - The Falcons and Patriots have squared off in 13 regular-season games since 1972. New England leads the series, 7-6. The Patriots won each of the last four meetings, in 2001, 2005, 2009 and, most recently, on Sept. 29, 2013, when they earned a 30-23 victory in the Georgia Dome. Not coincidentally, those are the four games the teams have played since Brady joined the Patriots. In the last contest between the teams, Brady completed 20 of 31 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, while Matt Ryan hit on 34 of 54 throws for 421 yards, two scores and one pick.

XVI – The team with the most rushing yards is 38-12 in the Super Bowl.

XVII - The Falcons and Patriots each had an NFL-low 11 giveaways this season.

XVIII - The Falcons can join the 2009 New Orleans Saints as the only teams to defeat three Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks on their way to winning the Super Bowl. Atlanta defeated Russell Wilson and Seattle in the divisional round, and Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game. Seven years ago, the Saints defeated teams quarterbacked by Kurt Warner, Brett Favre and Peyton Manning, all previous Super Bowl champions.

XIX - Ryan is the first Super Bowl starting quarterback to wear No. 2.

XX - Teams leading at halftime are 37-10 (there have been three halftime ties). Teams leading by at least six points at halftime are 31-3.

XXI – The NFC South is only division to have all four of its teams play in the Super Bowl since 2002. The NFC West is the only other division with even three Super Bowl teams.

XXII - A Patriots victory will make Belichick the second-oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl at 64 years, 287 days old. He will pass Dick Vermeil, who was 63 years, 92 days when his Rams beat Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV. The oldest Super Bowl-winning coach? Tom Coughlin was 65 years, 158 days when the Giants defeated Belichick's Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

XXIII - Eli Manning (2-0) is one of six quarterbacks to start more than one Super Bowl without a defeat. The others are Bradshaw and Montana (both 4-0), Troy Aikman (3-0), Jim Plunkett and Bart Starr (both 2-0).

XXIV – The team scoring first is 34-16 in the Super Bowl.

XXV - Houston is hosting its third Super Bowl. Miami defeated Minnesota, 24-7, in Super Bowl VIII in 1974. Thirty years later – on Feb. 1, 2004 - the Patriots defeated Carolina, 32-29, in Reliant (now NRG) Stadium.

XXVI - This is the 14th time in the last 16 Super Bowls that the AFC quarterback has been Brady (7), Peyton Manning (4) or Ben Roethlisberger (3). The exceptions were Oakland's Rich Gannon in Super Bowl XXXVII and Baltimore's Joe Flacco in Super Bowl XLVII.

XXVII – New England defensive end Chris Long will join his father, former Raider and Pro Football Hall of Famer How Long, as the 17th father/son duo to play in the Super Bowl. The list includes Steve and Zak DeOssie of the Giants, the only such partnership to win rings with the same franchise.

XXVIII - There have been eight safeties in Super Bowl history, and the Giants are the only team with more than one. They scored on safeties in their victory against Denver in Super Bowl XXI and vs. New England in Super Bowl XLVI.

XXIX - Belichick is one of eight former Giants assistant coaches who have led teams to Super Bowls as head coaches. Six of the eight have won at least one Super Bowl. Former Giants assistant coaches are 13-9 as head coaches in Super Bowls.

Name Giants Assistant Team, Super Bowl(s)
Bill Belichick 1979-90 New England: XXXI, XXXVIII,  XXXIX, XLII, XLVI, XLIX
Tom Coughlin 1988-90 Giants: XLII, XLVI
Jim Fassel 1991-92 Giants: XXXV
John Fox 1997-2001 Carolina: XXXVIII; Denver: XLVIII
Tom Landry 1954-59 Dallas: V, VI, X, XII, XIII
Vince Lombardi 1954-58 Green Bay: I, II
Bill Parcells 1979, 1981-82 Giants: XXI, XXV; Patriots: XXXI
Sean Payton 1999-2002 New Orleans: XLIV

XXX – Belichick and Brady have 24 postseason victories together, the highest total by a coach/quarterback tandem. Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw are next with 14.

XXXI – The team with the greatest time of possession is 37-13 in the Super Bowl.

XXXII - Each participating team has one former Giants player. Atlanta kicker Matt Bryant played for the Giants in 2002-03. New England tight end Martellus Bennett was with the Giants in 2012.

XXXIII - The Patriots will wear white jerseys on Sunday. Eleven of the last 12 Super Bowl winners have worn white, including the Giants in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. The exception was the Green Bay Packers, who wore their dark green jerseys when they defeated Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV. Overall, the team wearing white is 32-18.

XXXIV – The team with the most passing yards is 26-24 in the Super Bowl.

XXXV - No team has ever won a Super Bowl without scoring an offensive touchdown.

XXXVI – Brady is the all-time Super Bowl leader in pass attempts (247), completions (164), passing yards (1,605) and touchdown passes (13).

XXXVII - The Patriots and Falcons are playing for the Lombardi Trophy, which has been manufactured since Super Bowl I by Tiffany & Co. The sterling silver piece stands 22 inches tall and weighs seven pounds, with a regulation-size football atop the trophy. Tiffany assesses the street value of the silver at about $3,500.

XXXVIII – The team with the most first downs is 27-21 in the Super Bowl (two games ended with the teams having an equal number of first downs).

XXXIX - New England's alltime postseason record is 31-19 (.620). Atlanta's is 9-12 (.429).

XL - This is the sixth time the team to lead the NFL in scoring (the Falcons, with 540 points) will meet the team that allowed the fewest points (the Patriots, with 250 points allowed). The team with the top defense won four of the previous five matchups, most recently in Super Bowl XLVIII when Seattle routed Denver, 43-8, in MetLife Stadium. Prior to that, it had last happened in Super Bowl XXV, when the Giants defeated Buffalo. The only title game in which the highest-scoring team defeated the No. 1 scoring defense was in Super Bowl XXIV when San Francisco trounced Denver, 55-10.

XLI - Ryan spent five years (2003-07) at Boston College, about 25 miles from Gillette Stadium. During that time, Brady won two Super Bowls and played in another.

XLII - This is the first time since Super Bowl XLV (Green Bay-Pittsburgh) the Giants did not play either participating team in the regular season.

XLIII - Ryan is the first quarterback in NFL history to throw at least three touchdown passes in four consecutive playoff games.

XLIV - Justin Tuck of the Giants totaled 4.0 sacks in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, the second-highest total in Super Bowl history. Charles Haley holds the record with 4.5 sacks – but he played in five Super Bowls, two for San Francisco and three for Dallas.

XLV - The Patriots overcame a 10-point deficit when they defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX. That matched the largest comeback in Super Bowl history. Washington did it in Super Bowl XXII, and New Orleans matched it in a Super Bowl XLIV victory over Peyton Manning's Colts. The Patriots, who trailed 24-14 entering the fourth quarter, were the first team in Super Bowl history to trail by 10-plus points during the second half and win the game. Teams trailing by 10 or more points entering the fourth quarter had been 0-29 in Super Bowls.

XLVI - If the Falcons win, they will become the 20th franchise with at least one Super Bowl victory. Should they lose, they will join Buffalo, Minnesota, Carolina, Cincinnati and Philadelphia as franchises that have played in at least two Super Bowls without a victory.

XLVII – The team with the fewest turnovers is 37-4 in the Super Bowl (nine games ended with the teams having the same number of turnovers).

XLVIII - Phil Simms' 88.0 completion percentage in the Giants' Super Bowl XXI triumph is still the highest by a quarterback in the game's history. Simms completed 22 of 25 passes in the Giants' rout of Denver. New Orleans' Drew Brees had the second-highest completion percentage in a Super Bowl at 82.1 (32 of 39 in defeating Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV).

XLIX - In the Falcons' 44-21 victory over Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game, Ryan became the fifth quarterback in history to throw at least four touchdown passes in a conference title game, and the first since Arizona's Kurt Warner in 2008. The record of five was set by Kerry Collins in the Giants' 41-0 rout of Minnesota in the 2000 NFC Championship Game.

50 - The Giants' Brad Maynard set a Super Bowl record with 11 punts in Super Bowl XXXV vs. Baltimore. Second on the list with 10 punts is the Ravens' Kyle Richardson – in the same game.

LI – Of the 50 Super Bowl MVP awards, 27 have been won by quarterbacks, including two by Eli Manning and one by Phil Simms. The other Giants MVP was Ottis Anderson in Super Bowl XXV.

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