There are always plenty of facts and figures when it comes to the biggest game of the season in the National Football League.
As the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare for their clash in Super Bowl LV, there will be a bevy of numbers offered up in terms of trends, trivia and history. Defending NFL champions are 8-5 in the Super Bowl when they look to repeat, as is the case with the Chiefs in 2020. Kansas City won at Tampa Bay earlier this year, but the winning club during the regular season is just 6-7 on Super Sunday in the rematch.
Quarterbacks have been named Super Bowl MVP an impressive 30 times and both Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady have already had that honor. But make no mistake. Perhaps the biggest number to keep an eye on Sunday is how many mistakes each team makes or doesn’t make.
Only five times in the previous 54 Super Bowls has a team committed more turnovers in the game and still walked away with the Lombardi Trophy: The Baltimore Colts coughed up the seven times to the Dallas Cowboys’ four miscues in Super Bowl V but came away with a 16-13 victory. In Super Bowl IV, Terry Bradshaw threw three interceptions to one by Rams’ quarterback Vince Ferragamo but Pittsburgh won, 31-19. Bill Cowher’s wild card Steelers (2 turnovers) knocked off the Seattle Seahawks (1). This was also the case for the New England Patriots in their wins over the Seahawks (XLIX) and Falcons (LI), when Bill Belichick’s team lost the turnover battle, 2-1.
All told, the combined turnover differential for the 54 winning teams in Super Bowl history is a mind-boggling plus-99. That’s 62 turnovers by the winners and 161 miscues by the clubs that came up short. An impressive 18 times, the NFL champion did not give up the football in a winning effort on Super Sunday. Meanwhile, only twice out of 54 times did the Super Bowl loser – the Buffalo Bills in XXV and the Tennessee Titans in XXXIV – player turnover-free football.
All told, teams committing the fewest turnovers are 37-5 on Super Sunday. But it’s also worth noting that in each of the past three Super Bowls, both teams have committed the same amount of turnovers. Still, it’s a number that bears watching as both clubs vie for the Lombardi Trophy.