Super Bowl history, stats, and trends make for great information. But the New England Patriots keep changing the narrative for all the right reasons.
Come Super Sunday in the Twin Cities, something spectacular and/or unusual is bound to happen. After all, it’s the New England Patriots and it’s the biggest game of the season. The opposition this time around is the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the case back in 2004 when head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb and gutsy wide receiver Terrell Owens gave the then-defending Super Bowl champions a run for their money. But per usual, the Pats made the big plays when necessary and came away with a 24-21 victory.
But that was then and this is now. And Tom Brady and the Patriots are in their eighth Super Bowl since 2001. And as time goes on, they continue to buck the trends and numbers that have made this 51-game series so legendary. For instance, there have been 15 interception returns for touchdowns in 51 Super Bowls. And teams that have come up with at least one pick-six are 12-1 on Super Sunday. The lone exception? It came last year in Houston when Brady had a pass stolen by Falcons’ cornerback Robert McClain and taken back 82 yards for a score.
Of course, New England’s 34-28 overtime victory over Atlanta featured a 25-point comeback by Bill Belichick’s club, the largest in Super Bowl history and more than twice as many points (10) than the previous biggest comeback. And the Patriots had one of those as well, rallying from a 24-14 fourth-quarter hole to beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
So what about Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium? Keep a few things in mind as the Patriots take on the Birds for the second time in this championship setting:
- If New England wins, they would have the lowest-ranked defense in terms of fewest yards allowed to capture a Super Bowl title.
- Brady led the league with 4,577 passing yards. No player in Super Bowl history has led the NFL in passing yardage and won the Super Bowl the same season.
- Brady was named NFL MVP on Saturday night. The last time a player won league Most Valuable Player honors and the Super Bowl in the same season was Rams’ quarterback Kurt Warner in 1999 (won Super Bowl 34).
- If Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski wins Super Bowl MVP accolades, it will mark the first time a player at his position would capture the award.
- Finally, if New England wins Super Bowl 52, it will mark the fourth time that Belichick’s club would have won the championship after losing its first game of the season. In Week 1, the Pats fell at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, 42-27. In 2001 (0-2; won Super Bowl 36), 2003 Patriots (0-1; won Super Bowl 38) and 2014 (0-1, won Super Bowl 39), the Pats stubbed their toes in Week 1 and still hoisted the Lombardi Trophy by season’s end.
By Sunday night, the Patriots will have tied the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (six) or will have tied the Denver Broncos with the most Super Bowl losses (five). In any case, there will likely be something unique happen in this game. And what’s in a number anyway?