What’s the point?
The Dolphins kicked a field goal in the second quarter — and that was it. They lost 24-3 to the Cowboys in Super Bowl VI, the fewest points scored by a team in the Super Bowl. Holding steady in second place? That would be the Vikings, who recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for their only score in a 16-6 loss to the Steelers and their Steel Curtain defense in Super Bowl IX.
For all the hype, Super Bowls can occasionally turn into blowouts, like Super Bowl XXIV when the 49ers stomped the Broncos by 45, 55-10.
In the Super Bowl, it doesn’t matter if it’s an inch or a mile, running the ball is a grind. When you pop a big one, it matters. Pittsburgh’s Willie Parker holds the record for the longest TD run from scrimmage, going 75 yards against Seattle in Super Bowl XL.
Longest field goal
The Buffalo Bills have appeared in four Super Bowls and lost them all. But kicker Steve Christie did his part in Super Bowl XXVIII, drilling a 54-yard field goal against Dallas.
It’s hard to win any game in the NFL while committing penalties. That didn’t stop Dallas, which racked up 12 in a 27-10 Super Bowl XII win over Denver. Carolina tied the mark against New England in Super Bowl XXXVIII. It could have been the difference in the 32-29 loss.
No, you take it
The easiest way to lose a football game? Turn the ball over — and do it over and over. That’s what befell Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII against Dallas. Four interceptions and five lost fumbles later, the Bills were crushed 52-17.
Double the fun
Four players have won the Heisman Trophy and been named Super Bowl MVP: Roger Staubach (Navy, Cowboys), Jim Plunkett (Stanford, Raiders), Marcus Allen (Southern Cal, Raiders) and Desmond Howard (Michigan, Packers).
‘I’m going to Disney World!’
The home of Mickey Mouse, Space Mountain and It’s a Small World became an even greater destination when for the first time an NFL player made that exclamation. The player was New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms, and the game that made him so giddy was Super Bowl XXI after the Giants defeated Denver 39-20. He was named the Most Valuable Player.
And, he’s back
Tom Brady has played in seven Super Bowls and won five. John Elway was 2-3 in the big game. But former backup quarterback Gale Gilbert keeps pace with both (sort of). Gilbert was on five Super Bowl teams — four with the Bills and one with Chargers. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have any Super Bowl rings to show for it.
How low can you go?
A bar perhaps too low to be challenged, the Patriots managed a paltry 7 rushing yards in Super Bowl XX against Chicago.
No, Minnesota, it’s not you
Vikings fans may feel like they’ve suffered the most, but it’s a matter of perspective. Buffalo took a gut punch four times in a row. That’s brutal. But Denver is actually the team that has lost the Super Bowl most often, coming up short on five different occasions. Of course the Broncos have also won three times, but who’s keeping count.
Now you know him ... now you don’t
Giants receiver David Tyree wears the crown as most celebrated one-hit wonder after his helmet catch against Patriots safety Rodney Harrison kept alive a game-winning TD drive in Super Bowl XLII. But Tyree is hardly alone in the pantheon of players whose moment in the sun was brief and bright. Here are two more:
Timmy Smith, Redskins: His first and only start as a rookie came in Super Bowl XXII when he set a rushing record with 204 yards in a 42-10 win over Denver.
Jack Squirek, Raiders: It’s one thing to have your Super Bowl victory snuffed out by a Pro Bowl player. It’s quite another when it is Squirek, a backup linebacker who picked off Joe Theismann’s pass for a 5-yard pick-six at the end of the first half to give the Raiders a comfortable lead en route to a 38-9 win over Washington in Super Bowl XVIII.
NFL writer Mark Craig points out that the Vikings are the only team that has played in four Super Bowls and never led. In four games, the Vikings scored 34 total points.
Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown!
There was nothing Jerry Rice couldn’t do as a receiver, but what he did best on the grandest stage was catch touchdowns. He twice caught three in one game for San Francisco (Super Bowls XXIV and XXIX). Top that, anybody. Rice is the all-time leader with eight Super Bowl TD catches with San Francisco and Oakland.
Catch and coach
Super Bowl-winning coach Mike Ditka holds the distinction of catching a TD pass from Roger Staubach in Super Bowl VI.
The more the merrier
The U.S. Bank Stadium capacity for this year’s Super Bowl will be about 65,000. That’s nowhere near the record for attendance. Super Bowl XIV between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams packed 103,985 football fanatics into the Rose Bowl. The Steelers won for the fourth time in six seasons, beating the Rams 31-19.
Win them first
The 1979 L.A. Rams made it to the Super Bowl with a — gulp — 9-7 record. Not surprisingly, they didn’t hold up to the Steelers in a 31-19 loss in Super Bowl XIV.
A name that fits
Several names were batted around for the first AFL-NFL championship, but nothing stuck like Super Bowl, coined by Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt when he considered Super Ball, the popular toy that was a favorite of his two children. Super Bowl became official for the fourth annual championship in 1970, only after other potential titles such as the Ultimate Bowl and the Premier Bowl were dismissed. The Chiefs defeated the Vikings in that game 23-7, by the way.
All eyes glued
The most watched Super Bowl of all time wasn’t that long ago. A record 114.4 million viewers were locked in to watch New England and Seattle play in Super Bowl XLIX. They were rewarded with an incredible finish when Russell Wilson’s pass from the 1-yard line — the Seahawks opted to pass instead of hand off to their Pro Bowl runningback Marshawn Lynch on second down — was intercepted by then-little-known cornerback Malcolm Butler.
Did you know?
Legend around San Mateo, Calif., has it that the Junipero Serra High School JV football team once went winless without scoring a touchdown. Its backup quarterback? The one who never got to play that season? Tom Brady. Tip of the hat to NFL writer Mark Craig.
Just in time
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles is just getting warmed up this season, having won only three regular-season starts as Carson Wentz’s replacement. It’s the third fewest at the helm by a starting Super Bowl quarterback — Jeff Hostetler replaced Phil Simms with two regular-season starts in the 1990 season before going on to win Super Bowl XXV. Doug Williams started two games in the 1987 season for Washington, losing both while replacing Jay Schroeder, before winning Super Bowl XXII.
Like father, like son (again?)
Can Chris Long do it again? The Eagles defensive end won Super Bowl LI with the Patriots last year and, along with his father, Howie Long, became the seventh father-son tandem to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Howie Long won Super Bowl XVIII with Oakland.