Super Bowl Stat Summary

HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK
LOMBARDI TROPHY HEADS HOME

by Mathew Hurley, Managing Editor

Another Super Bowl...another entertaining game!

Sunday's Pittsburgh/Green Bay showdown lived up to the hype. Two great quarterbacks...two very physical defenses...two storied franchises...and a game that did justice to two great football cities.

For awhile, it looked like fans would be in for a short afternoon! Just as they had done all through the playoffs, the Green Bay Packers jumped to a first half first half lead before sweating the ending.

HALFTIME SCORES
Green Bay 14, Philadelphia 3
Green Bay 28, Atlanta 14
Green Bay 14, Chicago 0
Green Bay 21, Pittsburgh 10

That's a truly amazing composite score of 77-27 over the equivalent of two full games...away from home...against teams seeded #1-2-3 in the NFC, and #2 in the AFC. If Green Bay could have kept that level of play up in every second half, people would be discussing them in historical terms.

They couldn't, so things got interesting.

Pittsburgh who trailed by as much as 21-3 in the first half, rallied to get within 21-17, and then 28-25. The game could easily have turned on a critical third and long for the Packers. Should Green Bay fail, Pittsburgh gets the ball with plenty of time to score. Green Bay didn't fail...went down to kick an insurance field goal...then held on in the final moments to secure victory.

Let's check the final boxscore numbers. They tell a truly interesting story...

GREEN BAY 31, PITTSBURGH 25
Total Yardage: Pittsburgh 387, Green Bay 338
Rushing Yardage: Pittsburgh 126, Green Bay 50
Passing Stats: Pittsburgh 25-40-2-261, Green Bay 24-39-0-288
Points on Drives 60+ Yards: Pittsburgh 15, Green Bay 10
Turnovers: Pittsburgh 3, Green Bay 0
Third Downs: Pittsburgh 53%, Green Bay 46%
Vegas Line: Green Bay by 3, total of 45
Notebook:
Normally we ask you to focus on the key stats of Rushing Yardage, Drive Points, and Third Down Conversions in the NFL. They show you the winner the vast majority of the time. Here, they ALL pointed to the wrong team!

How could that happen?

The answers like in the turnover category (a one-sided 3-0 win for Green Bay, which included a defensive touchdown), and the passing stats for Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay.

TURNOVERS
Historically speaking, turnovers are worth about four points each in college and pro football. A 3-0 edge for Green Bay was the equivalent of a 12-0 edge on the scoreboard. That means a 6-point win would have turned into a 6-point loss if turnovers had been even.

In this case though, there's evidence that the turnovers were worth even more. One was an actual touchdown, putting seven points on the board for the Packers.

We don't want to suggest that Green Bay 'lucked'their way to a win and a cover because of fortunate turnovers. The aggressive Packers defense forced those miscues and took advantage. On the other side of the ball, Aaron Rodgers was near perfect in avoiding mistakes. The point is, Pittsburgh won the key stats, and would have won the game if they had been able to equalize the turnover category.

RODGERS
Look at that passing line again. Green Bay was 24-39-0-288 in the air. The reason rushing yardage usually wins NFL games is because passing yardage comes with the greater risk of turnovers. Rodgers and the Packers were able to move the ball through the air as if they were running! Sure, 15 incomplete passes isn't exactly razor sharp. But, little damage was done with the incomplete passes. A lot of productivity was accomplished with those 24 completions.

Once you added up the rushing and the passing, both teams were almost identical on a per-play basis (6.1 yards for Green Bay, 6.0 for Pittsburgh). A coin flip game for the offenses outside of turnovers...then the risk/reward ratio determined the winner.

No shame for either side here. The Aaron Rodgers era may just be underway in Title Town. In a decade, maybe nobody will remember Brett Favre! Did you see the goodwill felt toward Bart Starr this week? Favre has lost his shot at that with his antics of the last few seasons. For now, Rodgers is a modern Starr.

Pittsburgh is still 2-1 in recent Super Bowls, and the franchise has won more than any other franchise with six. The terrible towels will be waving for a good while longer with this head coach and a quarterback who still has many years ahead.

Let's not lose sight of the fact that the NFC has won three of the last four Super Bowls, and just missed making it four straight. The general perception is that the AFC is the stronger of the two conferences. They'd better start stringing together some Super Bowl wins or nobody is going to think that any more. Drew Brees last year, and Aaron Rodgers this year proved that the NFC elite can play with anybody.

That wraps up our look at the Super Bowl...and brings to a close our NOTEBOOK coverage of football for the entire season. We'll still be talking daily about college and pro basketball all the way through March Madness and beyond. If you're a football only guy, we'll be focusing on YOUR sport once again in August when exhibition football rolls around (assuming they avoid a lockout!).

It's been a great year in the foots. In the colleges, Auburn and Oregon put on a great show all season long, then went right down to the wire when they played each other for a national championship. Several teams across the country made great strides forward, and some shockers (like Texas) look big steps backward.

In the NFL, a very physical postseason was capped off by today's finale. The full season had stories of redemption, revenge, and rebirth. And too many concussions!

JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK gave oddsmakers some big headaches all season long too. We hope you were with us every step of the way cashing winning tickets.

Now it's time to focus 100% of our energy on the baskets. We appreciate that so many of you have been with us daily through January and February pounding the hardwood. We've reached the stretch run of the college season, and the start of the second half of the NBA season. Here in the NOTEBOOK we'll be going in-depth in both sports this week to make sure you're up to speed on all major developments.

TUESDAY: We spend some time analyzing the surprising LA Clippers, who have become a big story in the NBA this year thanks to 'Blake Superior' Blake Griffin. The Clips visit Orlando Tuesday Night in an important game for both teams.

WEDNESDAY: ESPN will be televising North Carolina at Duke, which means we'll be talking about it! Carolina is enduring a surprising soap opera, while the Blue Devils are once again a national championship contender.

THURSDAY: Round Two of the regular season heavyweight skirmish between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics will be on TNT. These teams just played last Sunday, and of course squared off in the NBA Finals series last Spring.

FRIDAY: We'll go in-depth to preview the long awaited Ohio State/Wisconsin battle in college hoops that goes early Saturday. Friday also means Ivy League baskets. Our first look at that conference will let you know which brainiacs are best so far.

SATURDAY: ESPN's 'GameDay' is in Philadephia for the Pittsburgh/Villanova game in prime time. We'll talk about those teams, and championship prospects for all Big East contenders.

Just within the next few days, we're talking about the best college teams in the country, and the best pro teams in the NBA...in showcase games that you'll be watching and winning thanks to JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

Our daily selections go up online a few hours before the first tip. You can go with us day-by-day to test the waters, or enjoy discounted rates on full seasonal packages. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-800-323-4453.

Football was fantastic...now get ready for daily BASKETBALL BOMBSHELLS from JIM HURLEY and his unstoppable handicapping juggernaut!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com and JimHurley.com. For more information on JIM HURLEY'S handicapping packages, call 1-800-323-4453.

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Nov

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