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Super Bowl Stats
by Matt Fargo - 01/26/2009
Sometimes it is the unknown or smaller stats that can make a difference in locating the Super Bowl winner. Matt Fargo takes a look at five categories you might not know about.
When you talk about sacks, you automatically think about the Steelers because that is what the media has thrown at you. You will probably be surprised to know that the Cardinals are +3 in net sacks this season while the Steelers are +2 in net sacks. It isnâ€™t a huge difference but Pittsburgh and its defense are being portrayed as the team that will be able to dominate in that category.
Cardinals left tackle Mike Gandy is far from in the spotlight but he has made life a lot easier for quarterback Kurt Warner. He has started 35 straight games since joining the Cardinals in 2007 and this year gave up only 6.5 sacks with just one holding penalty.
Winning the battle of the sacks usually means a Super bowl win. In the last 13 Super Bowls, the sack leader won 12 of those games and went 8-3-2 ATS. Edge Even.
People tend to look at yardage and points but fail to look inside those numbers to see where they come from. Redzone scoring is where games are won and lost Pittsburgh is in good shape.
Despite having the 3rd ranked scoring offense, Arizona is 9th in redzone touchdown percentage at a 58.5 percent clip. The Steelers are 15th at 55.1 percent. The difference here is that the Cardinals scored 72 more redzone points while having 16 more possessions inside the 20-yard line.
Defensively, the Steelers were an NFL best, allowing redzone touchdowns only 33.3 percent of the time while Arizona allowed touchdowns 63.6 percent of the time which was 5th worst. The point differential amounted to 124 more points allowed by Arizona. Edge Pittsburgh.
Field position is a pretty simple philosophy. A shorter field makes it easier on the offense and harder on the defense. These are two of the worst punting teams in the NFL as Arizona finished 31st in net punting while Pittsburgh finished 29th. The Cardinals however have the edge in punt returning, averaging 7.2 ypr while the Steelers averaged 6.0 ypr, 31st in the NFL.
In the Arizona 21-14 win last season against the Steelers, Cardinals receiver Steve Breaston ran a punt back for a touchdown which broke a 7-7 tie. Edge Arizona.
Defense Wins Championships
Past Super Bowls can give some significant information if you are in fact a history buff. Defenses have reigned supreme of late. The last four Super Bowl winners have allowed 15.5 ppg. The last eight Super Bowl winners have allowed 17 ppg. Of the 42 past Super Bowls, the losing team has scored 20 points or fewer 33 times.
What about the offense? The winning team has scored 30 points or more 21 times however, it has not happened since Super Bowl XXVIII. Based on this little bit of history, the defenses are in fact the catalysts and we know what that means here. Edge Pittsburgh.
Of the 42 winning quarterbacks in Super Bowl history, 15 of those had passer ratings better than 100 throughout their playoff run. This included both Ben Roethlisberger in 2005 (101.6) and Kurt Warner in 1999 (100.0). Looking at this season, Roethlisberger has a passer rating of 90.5 while Warner has a passer rating of 111.9.
Considering Roethlisberger had a regular season rating of 80.1 while Warner had a rating of 96.9, this current pace is not surprising. If Warner keeps it up and wins the Super Bowl, it would be the 7th highest rating of all time. Keeping that pace will be difficult but achievable. Edge Arizona.