What’s the deal with safeties in the Super Bowl? They’ve happened in that game way more often than you would think.
I remember the Steelers getting safeties in back-to-back Super Bowls in the ‘70s, with Reggie Harrison blocking a punt to kickstart their rally past Dallas in Super Bowl X. The Bears and Giants scored safeties on sacks in the ‘80s. And there were safeties in Super Bowls three years in a row about 10 years ago, including a cheap one that involved the Ravens taking one to improve field position and kill remaining seconds.
|SAFETIES IN SUPER BOWLS
|Tarkenton tackled in end zone
|Grogan sacked in end zone
|Elway sacked in end zone
|Hostetler sacked in end zone
|holding in end zone
|Brady intentional grounding
|intentional in final seconds
|Bad snap recovered in end zone
In the 57 Super Bowls, there have been 9 safeties. Not a ton, but more than what you’ll get in a typical sample of 57 games.
In the just-completed season, there were 17 safeties in 272 games, a rate of 6.3 percent. Since the move to 32 teams in 2002, there have been safeties in 6.1 percent of regular season games. But in the 32-team era, there have been safeties in 4 of 21 Super Bowls, a rate of over 19 percent. (The rate drops to 15.7 percent if you want to include the Super Bowls played in the previous century.)
It’s such an obscure event that I wouldn’t recommend trying to play it as a prop. It’s a wild dart throw. You’re hoping that Brock Purdy somehow melts down under increased pressure of being on the big stage. Or that Nick Bosa dials up a big game (perhaps this is the week that the officials finally decide to start flagging Jawaan Taylor for lining up a yard too deep at tackle). and Kansas City’s blitzes.
The price tag on a safety bet isn’t set favorably. In typical sportsbooks, it’s offered at +1000, implying that you would break even if you bet for a safety in every Super Bowl and they occurred about 9 percent of the time. They’re not setting it down around 6 percent, which is suggested by the big-picture numbers – if there’s an increase likelihood of a safety occurring in Super Bowls, they’ve taken a huge bite out of that probability.
So I will pass on betting on the potential of a safety (then kick myself when we see one happen again, keeping this odd trend alive.)