The greatest thing about the Super Bowl, of course, is that its end signals the beginning of baseball season. College Hoops fans, save it. With that in mind, one footnote on a terrible football game.
I was watching SportsCenter last week, live from Detroit. I think it was Tuesday. Ron Jaworski and Sean Salisbury spent about five minutes looking at the quarterbacks of Super Bowl XL. Patrick then asked them (paraphrasing): "If I showed you the stats from the game on Sunday once it's over, and you didn't know which team won the game, would you be able to tell which team won based just on the quarterback's statistics?"
To me, acceptable answers would have included:
"Probably. I would say the odds would be in my favor, but of course I couldn't be sure."
"Well, I've looked at box scores for Super Bowls of the past -- and for that matter many football games of the past -- and estimate that about 65-85% of the time, if you guess which team won based on the quarterback's stats alone, you'd be right."
"I don't know, man. There certainly have been some great performances by losing quarterbacks...Jake Delhomme comes to mind off the top of my head."
"I could make a rational statement, but because I am only capable of knee-jerk reactions, I will say 'absolutely.' Anything to avoid thinking, basically."
Instead, here's how they answered (paraphrasing but pretty close to verbatim here):
Jaws: "Yeah. Yes. Absolutely."
Salisbury: "Yes. [Then, laughing with confidence:] You're talking to two quarterbacks here! We know how to look at those numbers!"
Jaws: "And the key will be: turnovers."
You all know where this is going, but here are the stats anyway:
9/21, 123yds, 0TD, 2INT. Passer rating: 22.6 (not a typo)
26/49, 273yds, 1TD, 1INT. Passer rating: 67.8 (still bad, mind you)
Go ahead, include Big Ben's rushing touchdown which he himself doesn't think he scored on. Who do you think Jaws and Salisbury would have picked if they only saw those stats?
Remember -- they both used to be quarterbacks. They know
how to read those numbers. And the key will be: turnovers.