Spot On: 5 Fun Facts for Super Bowl LIV
Russell S. Baxter
Spot On: 5 Fun Facts for Super Bowl LIV
By Brandon Fazzolari
Special to Pro Football Guru
When I hosted a sports talk radio program on my college radio station at Buffalo State College, my on air name was “Dr. Super Bowl” due to my intense love of Super Bowl history. For me, this is the most wonderful time of the year. You can have your shopping days until Christmas, I’ll take the two weeks leading up to the Super Bowl. I have lost many close friends and have driven several family members to tears of boredom dropping mad Super Bowl trivia on their unsuspecting souls. However, you the true sports fan will appreciate these mind-numbing fun facts about the greatest event in the history of the world.
1. Jersey Color: Recently, the team wearing the white jersey has fared very well, having won 13 of the last 15 Super Bowls. AFC teams are designated as the home team for even-numbered Super Bowls such as this 54th edition of the Big Game, the Chiefs get the choice and they are going to try and buck the recent trend that white is right.
Wearing their dark uniforms worked beautifully 50 years ago when they matriculated the ball down the field in a 23-7 win over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. The 2010 Packers are the only team in recent history that chose to wear their dark jersey and won the game. Interestingly, they won their three playoff games that season on the road wearing their whites. The Eagles wore their darks in Super Bowl LII, but only because the Patriots chose to wear white. It was the first time New England elected to wear their whites as a home team since the 2011 regular season. Bill Belichick’s superstitions and defense were off the mark that day.
2. Welcome to Miami: South Florida will be hosting the Super Bowl for the 11th time. Some of the NFL’s greatest and most important Super Bowls have been played in the stadiums down there.
For example, Joe Namath walked the walk in Super Bowl III as the Jets gave the AFL its first win over the NFL. New York defeated Baltimore as 19-point underdogs in the old Orange Bowl. Also in that venue, the Steelers and Cowboys played two classics in the 70s where Lynn Swann made acrobatic catches. Pittsburgh claimed both of those clashes with “America’s Team.”
The first Super Bowl played in Joe Robbie Stadium captured Montana magic as Joe and the 49ers edged the Bengals in a thriller. San Francisco also won the Super Bowl there when they crushed San Diego in Super Bowl XXIX.
John Elway, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees not only won the Super Bowl in that stadium, they all won the Super Bowl MVP there. Can Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo add to that legacy this year?3. The Coaches: Andy Reid brought the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles this far only to face defeat at the hands of Belichick and the Patriots. Likewise, Kyle Shanahan as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator was ousted in his career’s biggest game as New England launched their remarkable comeback.
Both Shanahan and Reid have been witnesses to success in the big game, however. Let’s take Reid first. He was on the sidelines with the Packers as an offensive assistant in Super Bowls XXXI and XXXII. He has a ring as a result of Green Bay’s 35-21 victory over New England. One season later, he was dealt with the heartbreak of losing to Denver in a fantastic Super Bowl, 31-24.
The head coach of that Broncos team was Kyle’s father, Mike. So, while Kyle himself was not directly employed by teams participating in the Super Bowl, he was certainly impacted by his father’s involvement. Mike was the offensive coordinator on the losing end twice with Denver and on the winning end once with San Francisco. He then won the Super Bowl twice as head coach of the Broncos. What an emotional roller coaster young Kyle must have been on through those ups and downs.
4. February 2: This will be the second time the Super Bowl has been played on Groundhog’s Day. Six years ago, the Seahawks pummeled the Broncos at MetLife Stadium. Hopefully, we won’t see a repeat of that one-sided affair this year.
5. Quarterback Jersey Number: Patrick Mahomes is looking to become the first Super Bowl-winning quarterback to wear the number 15 since Jeff Hostetler in XXV. Bart Starr won the first two Super Bowls with that jersey number while Vince Ferragamo lost Super Bowl XIV as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. The only other QB to don No. 15 was Earl Morrall. Morrall has three Super Bowl rings and played in the Colts’ Super Bowl V victory over Dallas. Morrall’s only start in the Super Bowl was the aforementioned Jets stunner in Super Bowl III. He was benched in favor of Johnny Unitas despite winning the NFL MVP that season.
Jimmy Garoppolo will be wearing jersey No. 10. Fran Tarkenton of the Vikings was 0-3 and Eli Manning of the Giants was 2-0 in that great number. And, if you remember the quarterback that played the second half of Super Bowl XVII with Miami, I salute you. That was Don Strock, who suffered a dreadful outing in that gorgeous Dolphins’ uniform as Washington’s defense humiliated Miami.
Brandon Fazzolari (@DrSuperBowl) is a lifelong Buffalo Bills fan and a Vegas sports reporter for Vegas the Network.