The Fun Super Bowl Stuff: History By the Numbers

John Elway capped his Hall of Fame career by winning two straight Super Bowls, something Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are attempting to do on Sunday.

Sure, this is the 58th Super Bowl. And sure, it’s supposed to be exciting because it’s the two supposed best teams. But what really makes sports fun is the history, and if you’re a stats geek like me, you revel as much in what has happened the previous 57 years as what may happen this Sunday.

So, without further ado, let’s use some historical context to break down this matchup and look at the Big Game on the whole by the numbers:


Margin of victory never seen in a Super Bowl before. Oddly enough, every margin of victory between 1 and 19 points has occurred in a Super Bowl before… except for 2. We came close with the Bills and Giants (the only one-point margin in SB history) had Scott Norwood’s field goal been good, and again in Patriots and Falcons in Super Bowl LI when Atlanta could have stopped New England’s game-tying two-point conversion and likely won 28-26. Alas, it has yet to happen in a Super Bowl.


Repeat Super Bowl scores. While the Super Bowl has never had a true “scorigami,” we have seen three final scores repeat themselves: 21-17 (SB X & XLVI), 27-10 (XII and XV), and 27-17 (XVII, XXX).


Teams undefeated in Super Bowl play. Sadly, this does not include the four franchises (Lions, Browns, Jaguars, Texans) that have never played in a Super Bowl, period. Two of the four teams are 2-0 in the Big Game (Ravens and Buccaneers) while the Jets and Saints won their only appearances on Super Sunday.

Most Super Bowl losses without a victory. Sorry, Bills and Vikings fans. At least you have four appearances in the Super Bowl, but sadly, no victories to show for it.


Combined wins by the Chiefs and 49ers at Allegiant Stadium. Mahomes is a perfect 4-0 in his career in Las Vegas against the Raiders, while the 49ers won in their only visit there last season.


The most Super Bowl wins by one franchise. Actually, it’s two franchises — the Steelers and Patriots. With a win Sunday, the 49ers would become the third with six Lombardi Trophies. The 49ers and Steelers would then both be 6-2, while the Patriots, who have far and away the most Super Bowl appearances with 11, would be 6-5.


Rematches in Super Bowl history. 49ers-Chiefs marks the eighth repeat matchup of franchises on the big state, with only the Cowboys and Steelers meeting thrice and only the Cowboys and Bills meeting in consecutive years. In five of the seven previous occurrences, the team that won the first matchup won the ensuing one (Pittsburgh beat Dallas the first two times before Dallas got its revenge in 1995). Advantage, Chiefs.

Repeat Super Bowl champions. The Chiefs are looking to become engine No. 9, and the first since the 2003-04 Patriots. The Steelers (1974-75 and 1978-79) are the only franchise to go back-to-back twice. No team has ever three-peated.


Super Bowl starting QBs on active rosters. Hard to believe, but only nine QBs who have started a Super Bowl are currently on an active NFL roster, and five of those have won (winners in bold). Two of those have both won and lost a Super Bowl (Mahomes and Wilson): Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Russell Wilson, Jared Goff, Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garropolo, Matthew Stafford, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts. On Sunday, Brock Purdy will become No. 10.


Franchises still seeking their first Super Bowl win. We mentioned the four teams to never appear in the Big Game, and the two that are 0-4, but there are six other franchises that have played in yet never won a Super Bowl: the Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Bengals, Chargers, and Titans.


Fewest combined points in a Super Bowl. The Patriots and Rams treated us to a 13-3 defensive slugfest in Super Bowl LIII, eclipsing the previous low of 21 by the Dolphins and Redskins (14-7 Miami win) in Super Bowl VII.


Years since a running back was named MVP. Yes, it has been a quarter of a century (!) since Terrell Davis took home the hardware for his performance in Super Bowl XXXII. Several running backs like Dominic Rhodes and James White have had worthy performances since, but the voters always tend to sway towards the quarterbacks. For the record, no kicker or punter or tight end has won the award, and only one player has won the award for a losing team (Chuck Howley, Cowboys LB, Super Bowl V).


Most combined points in a Super Bowl. It came in a blowout in Super Bowl XXIX, the 49ers’ last Super Bowl victory when, fittingly, they scored 49 points in a 49-26 rout of the Chargers. The Patriots and Eagles (74, 41-33) came close in Super Bowl LII, as did the Chiefs and Eagles last year (73, 38-35), but 75 still remains the high-water mark to this day.

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