Interceptions in Super Bowls
Posted Feb. 07 at 02:13 PM
I’m not sure if this is just a coincidence, but it seems like interceptions play a bigger role in Super Bowls than in regular NFL games. There seems to be more of them, and more of them wind up being big plays.
Rod Martin, way back when, was the star of Oakland’s win over Philadelphia in the Super Bowl following the 1980 season, intercepting 3 passes. And Larry Brown (Dallas vs. Pittsburgh), Chuck Howley (Dallas vs. Baltimore), Jake Scott (Miami vs. Washington), Dexter Jackson (Tampa Bay vs. Oakland) and Dwight Smith (Tampa Bay vs. Oakland) played big roles in Super Bowls by intercepting 2 passes each.
Mostly, though, I notice that more of these interceptions wind up resulting in touchdowns. It’s now happened in three of the past four Super Bowls. Tracy Porter sealed this year’s game with a 74-yard touchdown after an interception. James Harrison delivered a pivotal 100-yard interception last year at the end of the first half. And the Colts got a touchdown return from Kelvin Hayden in their win over the Bears.
By my count, there have been 7 touchdowns scored on returns of interceptions in the last 10 Super Bowls. Ty Law got a big Pick Six against Kurt Warner in New England’s upset of the Rams. Duane Starks returned a Kerry Collins interception for a touchdown to help Baltimore beat the Giants. And the Buccaneers returned 3 interceptions for touchdowns in their Super Bowl against Oakland.
In contrast, in a typical NFL season, you will see an interception returned for a touchdown about once every five games. There are 256 regular-season games in an NFL season. In 2009, all 32 teams combined to score 48 touchdowns on interceptions. The previous four years, there were 47, 49, 52 and 52 such plays – so about once every five games.
Unless it’s a Super Bowl.
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