It’s always about the measurables, right? Emotions disappear as soon as the ball is kicked off. Past results are fuel for pregame talk but a new game is a new event with its own, unique set of dynamics. And the vagaries of good and bad luck seem to even out over the long run.
The real insight comes from the stats, or at least that’s what we like to think. Stats is our name, after all.
We asked ESPN analysts what they thought would be the key stat Sunday night when the New York Giants meet the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, and we posed that same question on the SIG Twitter feed to sports fans.
So what did they say?
A lot of them responded “points,” which made us smile. Yes, the point totals on the scoreboard will prove to be very significant. But other fans had other ideas.
Teams to Win Super Bowl
Lost Turnover Battle
Turnovers margin was a common theme. One fan wondered which team was the last – if it’s ever happened – to win the Super Bowl despite losing in the turnover-margin column. That's happened only three times in Super Bowl history, with the last instance coming in 2006.
Other suggestions included Tom Brady’s average time in the pocket, average yards on first down, average yards on third down, yards per pass attempt, even kick return yards and sacks by Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul.
We’ve narrowed the list to our three favorite suggestions and are asking you to vote on which one you want us to track Sunday. We’ll write a blog post about it after the game.