When it comes to the final game of the season, and the Seahawks aren't involved, I like to take a look at past Super Bowl stats and trends in an effort to glean some clues as to what might happen this year. That way I don't have to concentrate on the fact that the Seahawks aren't playing. So let's explore some highly pertinent info heading into Sunday's match-up.
We'll get started with this season's greatest running theme, my NOT Super Bowl gimmick! This was NOT Super Bowl XL. Ten years ago Denver lost the AFC Championship game at home to the Steelers 34-17 while Carolina lost the NFC Title game in Seattle 34-14. Not that either team was close to actually winning that day, but still, America was within range of a double Jake Super Bowl: Plummer vs. Delhomme. Which also means America was within range of imploding. Needless to say, I think things worked out for the better. Let's move on.
There was a stretch of 19 Super Bowls (XXIX-XLVII) with only one match-up of the conferences' top seeds. This year makes three Super Bowls in a row in which it is a 1 vs. 1 match-up. What does that mean for this game? Probably nothing ... Probably.
"Road" teams have won the last four Super Bowls, and eight of the last nine. In Super Bowl 50 the Panthers will be the designated road team, but the Broncos will be wearing their road uniforms. What does this mean in regards to the outcome on Sunday? Probably nothing ... but perhaps everything.
12-4 is the most common regular season record for Super Bowl winners, 10 past champs in all. The Broncos record this season was 12-4. Does that mean they'll be number 11? Perhaps ... then again, perhaps not.
Since the NFL was realigned into its current 8 division format in 2002, this is the second Super Bowl match-up between the NFC South and the AFC West. The first was Super Bowl XXXVII, which the Buccaneers won 48-21 over the Raiders. Does this mean the NFC South squad will win in another blowout this time around? Could very well be ... Then again, it could not so well be.
Before we get to my final analysis, let's hear from the best in the biz, your favorite and mine, CriColl himself Cris Collinsworth:
Beautiful, if not ridiculous, CriColl. Obviously Peyton Manning has been one of the two most talked about players in the weeks leading up to this game, with many wondering if he'll ride off into the sunset. For his sake, I hope he doesn't, because sunset in Santa Clara will be around 5:30p, which will most likely be sometime near the start of the 3rd quarter, meaning, if anything, he'd be riding off into the sunset on an injury cart. Unfortunately for him, I think that scenario is more likely than him retiring as Super Bowl champion. The Denver D will probably keep the Broncos in the game for a half or so, but eventually their lack of offensive firepower will catch up with them and Carolina will pull away, and I'll feel sick ... That will probably be from overeating, not the game, but it will be true nonetheless.
P.S. I'll probably be posting in the offseason, so be sure to check the blog every half hour or so to see what's new.