I wish I could tell you what will happen in Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. The one thing I can tell you with absolute certainty is that these records will not be broken:
Fewest Points Scored
Record: 3 (Rams, LIII)
- The New England Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, 13-3.
- For the Chiefs or Eagles to break this dubious mark, it would almost certainly require being shut out.
- In 56 previous Super Bowls, none of the 112 teams have been shut out.
- The Eagles averaged 28.7 points per game in their 19 games this season. The fewest points they scored in a game this year was 10 in a loss to New Orleans, a game they played without starting quarterback Jalen Hurts. With Hurts, the team scored fewer than 20 points just once (Week 11 victory in which the team beat the Colts 17-16).
- Philadelphia has scored in seven of eight quarters in the postseason. The only time it didn’t was the third quarter against New York Giants when the Eagles led, 28-0.
- Kansas City has scored in all eight postseason quarters, In the Divisional Round game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chiefs scored 7, 10, 3 and 7 points. In the AFC Championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals, it was 3, 10, 7 and 3.
- The Chiefs also averaged 28.7 points per game in their 19 games. The fewest points they scored in a game this year is 17 (strangely enough, the Colts beat the Chiefs, 20-17, in Week 3).
In 2020, Andy Reid’s Chiefs scored just nine points in the Super Bowl against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That Chiefs team scored 38 points against the Buffalo Bills in the Championship Game and had averaged more than 29 points per game during the season. But they didn’t get shut out.
The unlikely possibility exists that a team fails to score a touchdown, as did the 2020 Chiefs. But the likelihood that one of these offenses will be shut out? Please, there’s a greater chance Tom Brady will play in next year’s Super Bowl.
Most Rushing Attempts
Record: 38 (John Riggins, RB, Washington, XVII)
The idea that one running back will get 38 rushing attempts is so small one would need a high-powered microscope to see it. John Riggins is a dinosaur, and backs like him will never roam the earth again … much as no pitcher will ever again be allowed to match or surpass Jack Morris’ 10 shutout innings in a World Series game.
- Riggins’ mark has stood for 40 years. In Super Bowl VIII, Miami’s Larry Csonka rushed 33 times against the Vikings. The next year, Pittsburgh’s Franco Harris rushed 34 times in the Super Bowl, also against the Vikings. That stood until January 30, 1983, when Riggins ran 38 times against Miami in a 27-17 victory for Washington.
- Riggins had 17 rushes in the first half, eight more in the third quarter, and 13 rushes in the fourth. He had 21 rushes in the second half. The last Super Bowl in which a running back had 20-plus rushes in a game: Super Bowl 50 when Denver’s C.J. Anderson had 23 rushes.
- No player got more than 15 rushing attempts in last year’s Super Bowl. No player got more than 16 rushing attempts the year before that (Leonard Fournette had 16 attempts in a blowout victory over the Chiefs).
- The Eagles ran the ball 44 times in the Championship game against San Francisco when no player had more than 14 rushes (Kenneth Gainwell 14, Miles Sanders 11, Hurts 11, Boston Scott 6, Gardner Minshew 2). For an Eagles player to get 20 rushing attempts would be a stretch … or a miracle.
- The Chiefs were led in the AFC Championship by Isiah Pacheco, with 10 rushing attempts. It’s more likely they will target their backs in the passing game.
- Pacheco has 39 rushes in the past four games, so 39 in one game would be crazy. He’s had one game this year with more than 16 (Week 12, he had 22 rushes against the Rams).
- This season, Josh Jacobs of the Raiders ran the ball 33 times in one game against Seattle. Derrick Henry of the Titans ran the ball 32 times in a game at Houston this year. That’s still not 38 times. And by the way, I don’t see Jacobs or Henry in this year’s Super Bowl.
Here’s what I’ll say about this unbreakable record. I have seen Bill Belichick devise regular-season game plans in which he makes a point of running, running, running (see: 2015 Week 17 against Miami, a first half that saw 21 rush attempts and five Brady passes. Or the 2021 Week 13 game in Buffalo in which Mac Jones threw only three passes the entire game). But even then, Belichick used multiple running backs, and it was in an extreme wind event. Again: I don’t see coach Belichick in this year’s Super Bowl. This Riggins record is safe.
Record: 11 (Brad Maynard, P, Giants, XXXV)
Call me crazy, but I cannot see Maynard’s record being broken in Super Bowl LVII for a couple of reasons. First, these Philadelphia and Kansas City offenses are just too good. They score and score often. Second, even if they don’t score (especially Philadelphia) both teams sustain long drives that limit the number of possessions.
- My best guess is each team will have 12 possessions. If you told me the Eagles or Chiefs will punt on all 12, or even 11/12, I’d bet the ranch against it. When the Rams scored just three points against the Patriots in the Super Bowl a few years ago, the Rams punted on nine of their 12 possessions, while also throwing an interception, making a field goal and missing a field goal.
- Unlike most of the Super Bowl era, coaches are keeping their offenses on the field on fourth and short much more often. You may not believe this, but in Super Bowl XXXV, Giants coach Jim Fassel lost, 35-9, and the Giants didn’t go for it on fourth down until the final 10 seconds of the game when Tiki Barber ran on fourth and 3 and the game ended. He kept sending Maynard out.
- The Eagles converted 22 of 32 times during the season on fourth down (about twice a game)
- The Eagles punted just 56 times in 17 regular season games (3.3 times per game).
- The Chiefs punted just 53 times in 17 regular season games (3.2 times per game).
- No team punted more than six times in last year’s Super Bowl. The year before that (Super Bowl LV), no team punted more than four. In Super Bowl LIV in 2020, neither the Chiefs nor 49ers punted more than twice. When the Eagles played the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, there was one punt the entire game.
There is no way Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend or Eagles punter Arryn Siposs approaches 11 punts in this Super Bowl. The Eagles in their past seven games have punted 19 times. The Chiefs have not punted more than six times in a game all season. Neither have the Eagles.
The only other punter other than Brad Maynard who had double-digit punting attempts in a Super Bowl was Baltimore punter Kyle Richardson, also in Super Bowl XXXV, who had 10 punts. In the other 55 Super Bowls, none of the 110 punters reached 10 punts.
Maynard, by the way, appeared in one later Super Bowl with the Bears, where he punted five more times for a Super Bowl total of 16. That is topped only by the 17 Super Bowl punts by Mike Eischeid (three total games with the Raiders and the Vikings), and Mike Horan (four games with Denver and the then-St. Louis Rams). Eischeid and Horan likely will hold that record for a long time.
Elliott Kalb has been known in the sports television industry as “Mr. Stats” for more than 35 years. He is a 13-time Sports Emmy winner as a writer, researcher and producer. Follow him on Twitter @MrStats50.