Up and comers versus the entrenched; back-to-back versus the quest for four; Pete Carroll versus his replacement; Brady versus the LOB; Wilson’s versatility versus Belichick’s gameplan; and a beast on either side of the field — Gronk and the beast himself, Beast Mode.
Below are 49 things any stat lover should know for the big game.
49 Stats For Super Bowl XLIX
1) Super Bowl XLIX marks the first time that both starting quarterbacks threw for fewer than 10 interceptions in the regular season since Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Hasselbeck squared off in Super Bowl XL.
2) This will be the first Super Bowl matchup that will feature two teams that rushed for over 175 yards during the Conference Championship game since the Dolphins and Vikings clashed at the end of the 1972 season
3) Also for first time since Super Bowl XL, the Super Bowl will feature two teams that didn’t have a wide receiver go for over 1,000 yards during the regular season. (Gronkowski had 1,124 as a tight end for the Patriots in 2014.)
4) Tom Brady took 1086 snaps this season. Russell Wilson took 1090.
5) Seattle’s cornerback group of Richard Sherman, Byron Maxwell, Jeremy Lane, and Tharold Simon have given up 303 passing yards this postseason to Cam Newton and Aaron Rodgers.
6) New England’s corner group of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Kyle Arrington, and Logan Ryan have given up 215 passing yards this postseason to Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck.
7) New England’s Julian Edelman saw nearly as many targets himself (148) than Seattle’s Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse saw combined (176) in the regular and postseason.
8) Russell Wilson was only hit while throwing three times this season.
9) Tom Brady was hit while throwing 11 times, tied with Joe Flacco for most among all quarterbacks.
10) Brady also tied for the league lead with nine throws whilst being hit in 2013.
11) However, Brady had the football out of his hand third fastest among all quarterbacks this season, averaging just 2.39 seconds until throw.
12) Wilson held onto the ball longer than any quarterback, averaging 3.20 seconds until throw.
13) When targeting LaFell or Edelman, Brady had a QB rating above 100 this season.
14) When targeting Danny Amendola, his QB rating was 65.1.
15) When targeting Ricardo Lockette — which happened only 14 times in 2014 — Wilson had a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
16) Doug Baldwin had some of the best hands in the league in 2014, dropping the ball only 4.35 percent of the time, ninth best among all receivers.
17) Marshawn Lynch led all running backs with an elusive rating of 94.3. The PFF “elusive rating” is based on a combination of missed tackles forced, touches, and yards after contact averages.
18) Lynch has been one of the top six most elusive running backs for four straight years now.
19) Rob Gronkowski averaged 2.53 yards per route run in 2014. That’s the most among qualifying tight ends that’s been recorded since PFF began tracking the stat in 2008.
20) Gronk caught most of his passes (42) on passes throw 0-9 yards over the middle.
21) But he gained most of his yards on the 23 passes he caught 10-19 yards over the middle for a total of 464 yards. That's an average of 20.2 yards per catch.
22) Gronk only caught seven of his 92 receptions from the right side of the field this season.
23) Seattle’s tight end — Luke Willson — caught three of his four touchdowns this season on passes thrown over the middle; one each from a pass thrown 0-9 yards out, 10-19 yards, and 20-plus yards.
24) Willson's fourth touchdown came on a 20-plus yard thrown down the right side of the field.
25) Quarterbacks had just a 48.4 QB rating when throwing at Richard Sherman this year. Only three cornerbacks were stingier.
26) Revis and Sherman combined to give up only three touchdowns all season — and only one from Week 6 on.
27) Byron Maxwell and Sherman and both quick to tackle after the reception. Receivers averaged fewer than 3.5 yards after the catch when going against either corner.
28) Brandon Browner gave up an average of 3.97 YAC.
29) Revis gave up an average of 5.41 YAC.
30) Wilson may be the elusive one, but Brady is better at avoiding sacks when pressured. For Brady, 11.4 percent of the plays he was pressured on turned into sacks, fourth best among quarterbacks. That rate was 15.9 percent for Wilson, 12th best.
31) New England’s Jamie Collins was the most productive pass rushing inside linebacker in the league this season — generating more hits, hurries and sacks relative to the number of times he rushed than anyone else at his position this year.
32) New England’s Dont’a Hightower was the seventh most productive pass rushing inside linebacker.
33) Seattle’s Bobby Wagner was the eight most productive pass rushing inside linebacker.
34) Collins, Hightower and Wagner all ranked in the top five in PFF grades among inside linebackers in 2014. In other words, three of the five best inside linebackers in the NFL will all be playing this Sunday.
35) Russell Wilson was pressured on 46 percent of his drop backs this season, most among all quarterbacks. That’s the highest rate recorded since PFF began keeping tabs in 2007.
36) The matchup people are discussing is Kam Chancellor versus Rob Gronkowski, but Bam Bam Kam may be needed to help stop the run. Chancellor led all safeties this season with an 8.7% run stop percentage. That’s the percentage of his run defensive snaps in which he was responsible for the stop.
37) No safety has had a higher run stop percentage than Chancellor’s 8.7% since PFF began tracking the stat in 2007.
38) Only 26.7 percent of Seattle’s Jon Ryan’s punts were returned this season — lowest among all players with more than one punt.
39) Stephen Gostkowski made 94.6 percent of his field goal attempts this season, second best among all kickers with more than three attempts, behind Adam Vinatieri.
40) Steven Hauschka made 83.3 percent of his field goals, 18th among qualifying kickers.
41) In just 14 games, Matt Slater had 15 special teams tackles for New England, second most among all special teamers.
42) Every one of Slater’s 15 special teams tackles was a solo tackle.
43) Seattle’s leading receivers, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse, had an average depth of target (aDOT) of 9.4 and 12.4, respectively.
44) New England’s wideout leaders, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, had an average aDOT of 7.6 and 11.4, respectively.
45) Gronkowski’s aDOT was 10.1 in 2014.
46) Marshawn Lynch averaged 3.0 yards after contact, tops among all running backs with more than 40 carries.
47) Lynch forced 88 missed tackles this year, over 31 percent more than any other running back.
48) Russell Wilson threw the ball away 39 times this season, most among all quarterbacks. Next closest was Matthew Stafford and Eli Manning with 28 throw aways.
49) New England led the NFL with a net point differential of 155. Seattle was second at 140.
Enjoy the game!