Six ways to win the Super Bowl

If history holds, following these guidelines will lead to a trophy in Jersey

Originally Published: January 27, 2014
By Scott T. Miller | ESPN The Magazine

Joe FlaccoRobert Deutsch/USA TODAY SportsEight of the past 12 Super Bowl winners racked up more penalty yards than their opponents.

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Stop caring about penalties
Eight of the past 12 Super Bowl winners were flagged for more penalty yards than their opponents. This is a clear departure from the regular season, in which teams that are flagged more have just a .452 winning percentage since 2001. So memo to all Broncos and Seahawks: Bump, interfere and hold all you want. If history holds, you'll be leaving Jersey with a nice trophy.

Don't load the box
Since 2006, Super Bowl offenses that faced a loaded box on more than 20 percent of snaps are 5-1. The reason? Overall, the stats from the past seven Super Bowls indicate that crowding the line of scrimmage with more defenders than the offense has blockers nearly triples the likelihood that the offense will score a touchdown on that play.

Start the second half with the ball
Since 2001, teams have averaged 2.11 points per drive in the second half of the Super Bowl, compared with 
just 1.52 points per drive in the first half -- a 39 percent difference. Post-halftime drives have netted nearly 5 percent fewer points in the regular season over that same span.

Control the clock
The past 12 Super Bowl winners have had, on average, a time of possession advantage of 4:51, and teams 
that control the clock are 9-3 in the big game since 2001. That .750 winning percentage is higher than even 
the .678 mark compiled by teams with a positive time of possession margin in the regular season since '01.

Leave the blitzes on the bus
Since 2006, defenses have employed a standard pass rush on nearly 75 percent of QB dropbacks in the Super Bowl. The reason? Bringing four or fewer pass rushers nets a sack on 6.1 percent of dropbacks -- nearly double the 3.2 percent sack rate when D's blitz.

Throw the ball outside the numbers

Six of the past seven Super Bowls have been won by teams whose quarterbacks have thrown more than 50 percent of their passes outside the numbers. Why, you ask? Since 2006, passes toward the boundaries have a 1.3 percent INT rate, compared with 4.5 percent on throws inside the numbers.

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