The Super Bowl and Massachusetts go hand in hand.
Patriots fans and state residents alike patiently wait for the launch of legal sports betting in MA. Luckily, many state lawmakers are also behind the push. 2022 could be the year it finally happens.
In the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of six little-known Super Bowl facts just in time for celebrations.
#1 The prize has changed
Iconic Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls in 1967 and 1968. The team’s reward at the time? The “World Professional Football Championship Trophy.”
That rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?
Back then, the NFL was styling its playoffs like Major League Baseball. The NFL billed its World Championship game like the World Series with the champs from two separate leagues meeting.
According to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame, when Lombardi died Sept. 3, 1970, the league moved to change the name of its trophy a week later. It was handed out for the first time at Super Bowl V.
Now the Lombardi trophy is the symbol of pro football excellence – thank goodness the NFL got rid of that original name.
#2 Spread the news
Football fans and sports bettors in Massachusetts will love to geek out on this.
The most famous NFL point spread was in Super Bowl III, where the Colts were 18-point favorites over the Jets. Jets fans are still celebrating how that turned out.
However, the biggest point spread in Super Bowl history was Super Bowl XXIX. In this game, the 49ers were listed as 18.5 point favorites over the San Diego Chargers.
The 49ers covered the spread, dominating the Chargers 49-26.
#3 Big favorites, big wins?
Thirteen times in Super Bowl history a team has been favored by 10 points or more. Of those 13, nine times the favorite won the game, seven times it covered the spread.
The Packers were favored by 14 points in Super Bowl XXXI and won by 14, so it was a push. The Cowboys were favored by 13.5 in Super Bowl XXX and won but failed to cover in a 27-17 win over the Steelers.
If you’re looking for a trend – and who isn’t? – the last three times a team was favored by more than 10 points in a Super Bowl, it lost the game outright.
#4 Two MVPs?
Great trivia question for your Super Bowl party this year. If this is Super Bowl 56, how many Super Bowl MVPs have there been?
The correct answer is 56.
Super Bowl XII in 1978 was billed as Dallas’ Doomsday Defense against Denver’s Orange Crush unit. The game was a dud of epic proportions. Denver was atrocious in a 27-10 loss but it resulted in the only time there were co-MVPs of the Super Bowl.
Cowboys defensive linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White were named Co-MVPs that year, helping Dallas force eight Bronco turnovers.
#5 MVP breakdown
Everyone starts wondering who the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl will be near the end of the game. And if there’s any more bean dip left.
You can bet on who you think it might be.
Of the previous 56 MVPs named, nine times it has gone to a player on defense. We’re counting Harvey Martin and Randy White as two.
The safest bet would be the guy behind center. Quarterbacks have won the award 31 times, wide receivers seven times and running backs six.
#6 One shining moment
There are Super Bowl heroes who become legends of the sport, see Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady.
Then there are those who have special moments in the Super Bowl and then never get heard from again. Call it the Jack Squirek Theory.
Squirek, a completely unknown reserve Oakland Raiders linebacker, intercepted a lazy screen pass near the end of the first half of Super Bowl XVIII. He then carried it back five yards for a touchdown to give the Raiders a 21-3 lead on their way to a shocking 38-9 win.
The play got Squirek on the cover of Sports Illustrated and that was about it. After that, Squirek was injured in pre-season the next year, played two more years with the Raiders before retiring in 1986.