SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 2, 2012

20 facts about Super Bowl XLVI ... and Super Bowls in general

David Willis
Staff writer

I. Call it a comeback?

Can Super Bowl XLVI be called redemption for Super Bowl XLII, when the Giants ruined the Patriots' perfect season?

Seven current Patriots played in Super Bowl XLII. Five of those are on offense, with just one on defense (Vince Wilfork) and kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

That does not count center Dan Koppen and defensive lineman Mike Wright, who are both on injured reserve. It does, however, count Kevin Faulk who is on the roster, but has carried just once since Dec. 11.

II. A mental edge?

The Giants, have had less turnover with 16 active players still on the roster from the 2007 season. That includes QB Eli Manning, running back Ahmad Bradshaw and defensive lineman Justin Tuck, who had two sacks in Super Bowl XLII.

III. MVP vs. MVP

When the Patriots' Tom Brady and the Giants' Manning face off, it will mark the first time in NFL history two Super Bowl MVP-winning QBs have met in the Super Bowl.

In fact, it's only happened one other time in NFL playoff history, when the Manning's Giants beat the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers in the Divisional round on Jan. 15.

IV. MVP? More like just QB

Of the 46 players to win Super Bowl MVP — 45 Super Bowls plus co-winners in Super Bowl XII — a whopping 24 MVPs have gone to quarterbacks, including, of course, two for Brady.

The skill positions continue to dominate, with running backs (7) and receivers (6, including Patriot Deion Branch) next most.

Just eight MVPs have come on the defensive side, along with one special teamer — Green Bay's Desmond Howard against the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.

V. Destined to fall?

No tight end has ever won the Super Bowl MVP. If Rob Gronkowski is healthy, no one would be shocked to see Gronk take that trophy. Or could it be Aaron Hernandez?

Giants tight end Jake Ballard is nowhere close to that level, but he's still dangerous. Ballard caught the game-winning touchdown against the Patriots in Week 9.

VI. Giunta goes for Ring No. 3

Some folks from Salem will be rooting for the Giants. Native son Peter Giunta, a defensive backs coach for New York, will look to coach a Super Bowl championship team for the third time in his career. He helped the Rams knock off the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, and was one of the defensive masterminds who enabled the Giants to stun the Patriots four years ago. Another Giant connection to the North Shore is middle linebacker Jonathan Goff, a St. John’s Prep graduate who lives in Peabody but has missed the entire season with an ACL injury.

VII. Benedict Izzo?

Larry Izzo was the tough guy special teams ace who won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and played against the Giants in Super Bowl XLII.

He'll be on the sidelines on Sunday, but this time on the Giants' side. He is New York's assistant special teams coach.

VIII. No reality TV

Giants top receiver and UMass product Victor Cruz won't be meeting up with Haverhill's Tom Bergeron.

According to the New York Daily News, Cruz turned down a chance to be on the ABC smash hit "Dancing with the Stars."

IX. The winners ....

It might be good karma that New York bested San Francisco in the NFC championship game. After all, the 49ers have never lost a Super Bowl in five trips. Pittsburgh has won the most Super Bowls with six.

Unlike dynasties in Major League Baseball and the NBA, no team has ever won more than two Super Bowls in a row.

X. And the losers

Minnesota, Buffalo and Denver have each lost a record four Super Bowls. Buffalo, of course, made it to four in a row and lost all four times.

Losing stinks, but the Browns, Lions, Jaguars, and Texans have never made the Big Game.

Houston (first year 2002) and Jacksonville (1995) are recent expansion teams while Detroit (1930) and Cleveland (1946, reborn in 1999) have been around for a while.

XI. Kurt's court

Former St. Louis and Arizona QB Kurt Warner owns the top three passing performances in Super Bowl history, by yards, combining for 1,156 yards in those three games.

Of the top four QB performances in Super Bowl history, two were against the Patriots: Warner in 2001 (365) and Donovan McNabb (357) in 2004. The Patriots, of course, won both.

Brady's most yards, 354 against Carolina, is good for sixth all-time.

XII. Prime time performer

Don't be surprised if Brady throws to old favorite Deion Branch a few times on Sunday.

Branch's 11 catches in Super Bowl XXXIX are tied for the most in Bowl history, equalling the mark set by the late Dan Ross, a longtime Atkinson, N.H., resident, in Super Bowl XVI. The Pats' Wes Welker also had 11 in 2007.

Branch caught 10 passes a season before in Super Bowl XXXVIII.

XIII. First time's a charm?

This year's Super Bowl is the first to be hosted by the city of Indianapolis.

The most frequent host? Miami 10 times, and New Orleans will host for a 10th time in 2013.

XIV. Chow time!

According to cnbc.com, the Super Bowl is the second-biggest day for food consumption in America — surpassed only by Thanksgiving.

The same report says chicken wings are the most popular food, with a whopping 1.25 billion downed Super Bowl weekend. Yes, billion with a "B." Also eaten, an estimated 14,500 tons of chips.

XV. Sick and tired

Maybe it's all the food, but an estimated 7 million U.S. employees will be no-shows for work the day after the Super Bowl.

XVI. Party down!!

Only 5 percent of Americans watching the Super Bowl will do it alone — well, only equals about 11 million. But that's more than the number watching it at bars or restaurants (about 9 million).

The rest are at Super Bowl parties (estimated 7.5 million parties), and probably watching them on nice TVs. Last year, 4.5 million TV sets were sold during the week of the Super Bowl. That according to "tidbitfun.com."

XVII. I do ... but not that Sunday

Super Bowl weekend is the slowest weekend of the year for weddings in America. It is, however, the top day of the year for pizza sales, followed by New Year's Eve, according to pizza.com.

XVIII. Invasion of the fake celebs

The Super Bowl has become known for drawing D-List celebrities, and 2012 will be no exception.

Already slated to appear, DJ Pauly D of "The Jersey Shore."

XIX. Money, money, money

Last year, Americans spent an estimated $10.1 billion on Super Bowl-related merchandise and snacks. And, when you see all the Super Bowl toys filling every local store, that seems believable.

XX. All bets are in

Las Vegas expects approximately $90 million in bets to be placed in Sin City for the Super Bowl. The day after, calls to Gamblers Anonymous are on the rise. This according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

—David Willis