Forty-Four Facts About Super Bowl XLIV

Forty-Four Facts About Super Bowl XLIV With Super Bowl XLIV closing in fast, here are 44 things you should know while watching the Indianapolis Colts battle the New Orleans Saints for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

1. This is the first time the Saints have ever reached the Super Bowl. It’s the fourth trip for the Colts’ organization, which has won two titles, including its days in Baltimore.

2. Saints quarterback Drew Brees led the NFL with 34 touchdown passes and a 109.6 passer rating. Brees passed for 5,068 yards in 2008, which was 17 yards shy of breaking Dan Marino’s single-season NFL record.

3. The cameras will most certainly find shots of a couple of famous significant others. Colts wide receiver Hank Baskett is married to Kendra Wilkinson, and Saints running back Reggie Bush is dating Kim Kardashian. Both women are famous for, ahem, perfecting the concept of the new hit song, “Pants on the Ground.”

4. Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney has a sprained right ankle, which will greatly affect his impact in the Super Bowl. Freeney is one of the elite edge rushers in the league, and the Colts desperately need him to generate pressure because their secondary isn’t good enough to sell out on the blitz. Freeney had 13 1/2 sacks this season.

5. If Freeney can’t pose much of a threat, the Saints can instead concentrate on double-teaming Indy’s other great defensive end, Robert Mathis, who had 9 1/2 sacks and forced five fumbles this season.

6. Charles Barkley doing poetry? We’re all on board for that one. Sir Chuck has been in a Taco Bell promo that has teased to a Super Bowl ad, and it might be wise to spare an extra 30 seconds on your DVR.

7. What do you think you’ll see more of Sunday night — Manning commercials or pass completions? We’ll call it a push.

8. Patriots fans will be interested to know Scott Green will be the referee in this game. He is a veteran of two Super Bowls, working as the back judge in the Patriots’ victories against the Rams and Panthers.

9. Carrie Underwood will sing the national anthem. As the joke goes, we all knew Underwood would earn a trip to the Super Bowl before ex-boyfriend Tony Romo.

10. The Who will perform at halftime. Chances are, you’ll be watching the game with at least one person who thinks their famous song is entitled, “Teenage Wasteland,” instead of “Baba O’Riley.” Take a poll, win some money and send us a cut.

11. You already know about Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who is in the running for next year’s Madden cover. Wayne will be itching to have a big game after becoming the last person to get lost on Revis Island. Wayne had eight catches for 63 yards and one touchdown in the playoff opener against Baltimore, but he was held to three receptions for 55 yards against Darrelle Revis and the Jets.

12. Enter newbie wideouts Pierre Garcon and Austin Collie, who picked up the slack for Wayne. Garcon has 16 receptions for 185 yards and one touchdown in the playoffs, and Collie has 11 catches for 175 yards and two scores. The pair combined for 18 catches, 274 yards and two touchdowns against the Jets.

13. Indy tight end Dallas Clark has been pedestrian by his standards in the postseason, catching 11 passes for 94 yards and one score in two games.

14. Clark’s one touchdown came at the expense of former UMass safety James Ihedigbo, who got stuck too low in his zone assignment for the Jets. There are no UMass alums in the Super Bowl.

15. There are six players in the Super Bowl who have Patriots connections, including Indy kicker Adam Vinatieri, Saints fullbacks Heath Evans (injured reserve) and Kyle Eckel, tight end David Thomas, cornerback Randall Gay and defensive tackle Remi Ayodele.

16. Courtney Roby is the Saints’ talented kickoff returner. Remember, the Colts allowed Devin Hester to take the opening kickoff back for a score three years ago in the Super Bowl.

17. Defensive end Will Smith is the Saints’ version of Freeney. If Smith can boom, shake, shake, shake the backfield, New Orleans has a good shot to win.

18. The Colts hate running the ball. They’ve averaged 71.5 rushing yards per game in the playoffs, which is the fewest among all playoff teams that played at least two games. Indy doesn’t have any rushing touchdowns in the postseason.

19. Joseph Addai leads the Colts with 27 playoff carries for 103 yards. UConn alum Donald Brown has 12 rushes for 28 yards.

20. According to weather.com, the temperature will be in the 60s and sunny Sunday in Miami. Despite some heavy rain early in the week, the forecast looks like there will be a dry Super Bowl. In the event of rain — keep in mind it rained during the Colts’ Super Bowl victory against the Bears — it figures to favor the Saints, who have a better running game. Plus, the Colts’ defense excels because of its speed, which would take a hit on a soggy field.

21. In a world overtaken by me-first wide receivers, Saints wideout Marques Colston is one of the nicest, most humble men in the business. He also went to Hofstra, which just cut its football program. During the Super Bowl, please text “HOFSTRA” to 20222.

22. Keep an eye on Colts safety Melvin Bullitt, whose playing time has increased since Bob Sanders’ latest injury. Bullitt’s playing style suits his last name, and he’s bound to make a play that will cause you to raise your eyebrows.

23. The Saints have averaged 119.5 rushing yards per game in the playoffs. They rushed for 131.6 yards per game in the regular season, which ranked sixth in the NFL.

24. Think the Saints are just a high-powered passing team? Well, how’s this for balance: New Orleans averaged 35.3 passing plays per game in the regular season and 29.3 rushing plays per game.

25. Devery Henderson leads the Saints in the playoffs with eight receptions for 119 yards and two touchdowns.

26. Colston has eight receptions for 105 yards and one score. He’s a huge threat in the red area. If Colston is in single coverage, Brees loves to throw it up high and let his 6-foot-4 receiver make a play on the ball.

27. Count how many times CBS color analyst Phil Simms says, “I knew that play was coming” after a big play goes down.

28. Bush has 258 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. Interestingly enough, he’s only received 12 carries in the postseason, despite averaging 7.7 yards per rush. Of those 12 carries, five have gone for a first down and one has gone for a touchdown. By the way, during that touchdown run, Bush made seven Cardinals miss, and Bryant McFadden missed him twice.

29. The Saints scored 510 points this season, the ninth-most in NFL history.

30. Pierre Thomas leads the Saints with 27 carries for 113 yards and one touchdown.

31. The Colts practiced all week at the Miami Dolphins facility in Davie, while the Saints practiced at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.

32. The Super Bowl will be televised live to more than 180 countries and territories. It will be broadcast live in more than 30 languages, including 13 different languages from Sun Life Stadium.

33. The pregame festivities will include performances by Steve Winwood, Chris Daughtry and Queen Latifah, who will sing “America The Beautiful.” Seriously, this should be a cast assembled to perform prior to a Raiders-Lions game, not the Super Bowl.

34. If you watch the Celtics-Magic game Sunday afternoon, keep an eye on Louisiana native Glen Davis, who is a big Saints fan. Davis said he was the only player on the C’s rooting for the Saints to beat the Vikings, but it’s unclear if he’ll have any more teammates in his corner for the Super Bowl. It’s also worth noting his Celtics teammates have accused Davis of being a fair-weather fan, a claim he vehemently denied.

35. The Saints are one of 15 current NFL teams that have yet to win a Super Bowl.

36. New Orleans only has four playoff victories in the history of its organization. Before this postseason — and the Saints’ two playoff victories — there were eight NFL teams that had more Super Bowl titles than the Saints had playoff victories.

37. Manning is the son of Archie Manning, who is considered one of the greatest Saints of all-time.

38. The Saints are 5-4 all-time against the Colts.

39. Saints quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi is the grandson of legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, whose name is on the Super Bowl trophy. Vince died of cancer nine months before Joe was born.

40. Each team has already won in Miami this season. The Colts knocked off the Dolphins 27-23 in Week 2, while the Saints beat the Dolphins 46-34 in Week 7.

41. The Saints forced 39 turnovers in the regular season, one shy of the Packers’ NFL lead. New Orleans scored an NFL-best eight defensive touchdowns.

42. Since the whole world is expecting a high-scoring affair, it’s worth noting the highest-scoring Super Bowl in history was Super Bowl XXIX, when the 49ers beat the Chargers 49-26. Of the four highest-scoring Super Bowls in history, three were blowouts, so be careful what you wish for.

43. Players on the winning team receive $83,000. The losers receive $42,000.

44. It’s time for the Patriots to ante up and extend Tom Brady’s contract. The Colts and Saints have each said this week they’re on the verge of giving out new contracts to Manning and Brees. Brady’s market value is higher than Brees’, and it’s at least equal to Manning’s. Once that bar is set, the Patriots will have no choice but to pay Brady. If the Patriots are proactive, they might be able to save a little cash.

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