New York athletes by the numbers

Over the years, New York athletes have worn some of the most famous numbers in all of sports. Icons like Babe Ruth (#3), Lou Gehrig (#4) and Joe DiMaggio (#5) sit atop a long and storied list of Yankees, who will have retired all single digit numbers as soon as they get around to Derek Jeter (#2). Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson wore #42, which has now been retired by major league baseball. Willie Mays wore #24 when he roamed center field for the New York Giants.

And there are so many more. Legends such as Lawrence Taylor (#56) with the New York Football Giants, Joe Namath (#12) with the Jets, Walt Frazier (#10) with the Knicks and Wayne Gretzky (#99) with the Rangers, just to name a few.

As you might expect, since there are more players per team and higher numbers in football, the Giants top our list of top New York athletes by number with 36. Every team is represented, even the Giants and Dodgers, who left New York for California in 1958. There are 21 Yankees, 16 Jets, 7 Mets, 6 Knicks, 4 Rangers, 3 Dodgers and Nets, 2 Devils and an Islander and baseball Giant on the list. If you’re counting with me that adds up to 101, with Casey Stengel (#37) getting the nod as both Yankee and Met manager.

Here are the top New York players by number from 0-99, with other candidates also listed. Competition was tough in some spots, most notably #10, where Walt Frazier edged out Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto and Fran Tarkenton, and #42, where Mariano Rivera and Charlie Conerly failed to make the cut.

The New York numbers list:

0 – Orlando Woolridge (Nets)

Shane Larkin

1 – Pee Wee Reese (Dodgers)

Eddie Giacomin, Billy Martin, Earle Combs

2 – Derek Jeter (Yankees)

Brian Leetch

3 – Babe Ruth (Yankees)

Bill Terry, Harry Howell, Ken Daneyko

4 – Lou Gehrig (Yankees)

Mel Ott, Duke Snider, Tuffy Leemans, Scott Stevens

5 – Joe DiMaggio (Yankees)

Denis Potvin, David Wright

6 – Joe Torre (Yankees)

Tony Lazzeri, Carl Furillo

7 – Mickey Mantle (Yankees)

Mel Hein, Rod Gilbert, Ken O’Brien, Carmelo Anthony

8 – Yogi Berra (Yankees)

Bill Dickey, Walt Bellamy, Gary Carter

9 – Richie Guerin (Knicks)

Roger Maris, Graig Nettles, Andy Bathgate, Adam Graves, Clark Gillies, Hank Bauer, Charlie Keller

10 – Walt Frazier (Knicks)

Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto, Fran Tarkenton, Brad van Pelt

11 – Mark Messier (Rangers)

Carl Hubbell, Lefty Gomez, Phil Simms

12 – Joe Namath (Jets)

Dick Barnett

13 – Don Maynard (Jets)

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Jackson, Odell Beckham, Dave Jennings

14 – Gil Hodges (Dodgers)

YA Tittle, Bill Skowron

15 – Thurman Munson (Yankees)

Red Ruffing, Earl Monroe, Dick Mcguire, Jeff Hostetler, John McLean

16 – Frank Gifford (Giants)

Whitey Ford, Dwight Gooden

17 – Keith Hernandez (Mets)

Vic Raschi

18 – Darryl Strawberry (Mets)

Don Larsen, Phil Jackson

19 – Willis Reed (Knicks)

Bryan Trottier, Dave Righetti, Jean Ratelle

20 –Allan Houston (Knicks)

Jorge Posada, Monte Irvin, Jimmy Patton, Joe Morris

21 – Paul O’Neill (Yankees)

Tiki Barber

22 – Mike Bossy (Islanders)

Dave DeBusschere, Allie Reynolds, Dick Lynch

23 – Don Mattingly (Yankees)

Bobby Nystrom

24 – Willie Mays (Giants)

Bill Bradley, Derrell Revis, Robinson Cano, Ottis Anderson

25 – Bill Mclchionni (Nets)

Dick Nolan, Jason Giambi, Joe Pepitone, Bill Cartwright, Mark Collins

26 – Patrik Elias (Devils)

Wade Boggs, Orlando Hernandez

27 – Rodney Hampton (Giants)

Scott Niedermayer, Alexi Kovalev

28 – Curtis Martin (Jets)

Al Leiter

29 – Catfish Hunter (Yankees)

Alex Webser

30 – Martin Brodeur (Devils)

Bernard King, Henrik Lundqvist, Dave Meggett, Eddie Lopat, John Davidson

31 – Dave Winfield (Yankees)

John Franco, Mike Piazza, Billy Smith

32 – Julius Erving (Nets)

Elston Howard, Sandy Koufax, Al Blozis

33 – Patrick Ewing (Knicks)

David Wells

34 – Charles Oakley (Knicks)

John Vanbiesbrouck, Don Chandler

35—Mike Richter (Rangers)

Mike Mussina

36 – David Cone (Yankees)

Jerry Koosman

37 – Casey Stengel (Yankees/Mets)

38 – Bob Tucker (Giants)

Johnny Blanchard

39 – Roy Campanella (Dodgers)

40 – Joe Morrison

Lindy McDaniel, Mark Pavelich

41 – Tom Seaver (Mets)

Matt Snell

42 –Jackie Robinson (Dodgers)

Mariano Rivera, Charlie Conerly

43 – Spider Lockhart (Giants)

Jeff Nelson

44 – Reggie Jackson (Yankees)

John Riggins, Ahmad Bradshaw

45 – Emlen Tunnell (Giants)

Tug McGraw, John Franco

46 – Andy Pettitte (Yankees)

Bill Baird

47 – Luis Arroyo (Yankees)

48 – Jacob deGrom (Mets)

Andy Pafko, Kenny Hill, Bobby Humphrey

49 – Ron Guidry (Yankees)

Erich Barnes

50 – Ken Strong (Giants)

51 – Bernie Williams (Yankees)

52– Buck Williams (Nets)

Jon Schmitt, CC Sabathia

53 – Harry Carson (Giants)

Don Drysdale

54 – Goose Gossage (Yankees)

55—Hideki Matsui (Yankees)

Ray Wietecha

56 –Lawrence Taylor (Giants)

57 – Johan Santana (Mets)

John Wetteland, Mo Lewis

58 – Carl Banks (Giants)

59 – Kyle Clifton (Giants)

Michael Boley

60 – Larry Grantham (Jets)

D’Brickeshaw Ferguson, Brad Benson

61 – Rick Nash (Rangers)

62 – Al Atkinson (Jets)

Joba Chamberlain, Carl Hagelin

63 – Karl Nelson (Giants)

64 – Jim Burt (Giants)

65 – Joe Fields (Jets)

Bart Oates

66 – Jack Stroud (Giants)

David Diehl, Randy Rasmussen

67 – Dave Herman (Jets)

Bill Ard, Kareem McKenzie

68 – Kevin Mawae (Jets)

Jaromir Jagr,Dellin Betances

69 – Rich Seubert (Giants)

70 – Sam Huff (Giants)

Leonard Marshall

71 – Dave Tollefson (Giants)

72 – Ose Umenyiora (Giants)

73 – Joe Klecko (Jets)

74 – Nick Mangold (Jets)

75 – George Martin (Giants)

Jim Katcavage, Winston Hill

76 – Rosey Grier (Giants)

Jumbo Elliott, Chris Snee

77 – Dick Modzelewski (Giants)

78 – Jerome Salley (Giants)

Marvin Powell

79 – Roosevelt Brown (Giants)

80 – Victor Cruz (Giants)

John Elliott, Wayne Chrebet, Jeremy Shockey

81 – Andy Robustelli (Giants)

Amani Toomer, Gerry Philbin

82 – Mario Manningham (Giants)

Mark Ingram

83 – George Sauer (Jets)

84 – Harland Svare (Giants)

Zeke Mowatt

85 – Del Shofner (Giants)

Wesley Walker

86 – Verlon Bigggs (Jets)

Lionel Manuel

87 – Howard Cross (Giants)

Pete Lammons, Domenik Hixon

88 – Al Toon (Jets)

Pat Summerall, Eric Lindros

89 – Mark Bavaro (Giants)

90 – Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants)

Dennis Byrd

91 – Justin Tuck (Giants)

John Tavares

92 – Michael Strahan (Giants)

93 – Marty Lyons (Jets)

94 – John Abraham (Jets)

95 – Frank Ferrera (Giants)

96 – Barry Cofield (Giants)

97 – Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants)

98 – Jesse Armstead (Giants)

Fred Robbins

99 – Wayne Gretzky (Rangers)

Mark Gastineau, Steve DeOssie


Strange finishes for NHL legends

Bobby Orr a Blackhawk. Bryan Trottier a Penguin. Canadiens heroes in Ranger uniforms. As incongruous as it seems, these 10 Hall of Famers and others finished their careers in strange and unusual places

1. Bobby Orr – The man many consider the greatest hockey player ever – and certainly the greatest defenseman in NHL history – Orr played his first two seasons with the Boston Bruins, winning eight straight Norris Trophies, three Hart Trophies, two Conn Smythe Trophies, and a pair of Art Ross Trophies as the only defenseman ever to  lead the NHL in scoring. Orr also had a record +124 rating in 1970-71. He wound up playing 26 games over two seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks before knee injuries forced him to retire in 1978.

2. Ray Bourque – Another legendary Boston defenseman, Bourque won five Norris Trophies and scored 395 goals during his 20-year career in Boston. Bourque then went west to Colorado for two seasons, finally winning an elusive Stanley Cup with the Avalanche in 2001. He still holds NHL records for goals (410), assists (1,169) and points (1,579) by a defenseman.

3. Brian Leetch – Like Orr and Bourque before him, Leetch won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. He also won the Norris Trophy twice, and a Conn Smythe Trophy with the Rangers in 1994. After 17 years in New York, Leetch was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for prospects Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immon, and future first and second round draft picks in 2004, then closed out his career in Boston a year later.

4. Bryan Trottier – He’s the all-time Islander leader in a multitude of team categories, including games, assists and points. He won a Calder, Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smythe Trophy. And he led the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles beginning in 1980. Trotts signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the 1990 season and won two more Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. He retired after the 1994 season.

5. Guy Lafleur – This Montreal winger was already a Hall of Famer and retired for three years when he made a comeback with the Rangers in 1988. A five-time Stanley Cup champion with the Canadiens with three scoring titles and two MVPs, Lafleur, right, played his final two seasons with the Quebec Nordiques.

6. Doug and Max Bentley – The Bentley Brothers from Delisle, Saskatchewan, had similar careerr paths, Doug, the elder brother, broken into the NHL in 1939 and played 12 seasons with Chicago Blackhawks. Max joined Chicago the following year and was traded to Toronto in 1947, where he won three Stanley Cups. The Bentleys finished their careers wearing the Rangers crest in 1953-54. Max scored 245 career goals and Doug 219.

7. Bernie Geoffrion – Boom Boom played 14 years in Montreal and was one of the first players to score 50 goals in a season before he retired in 1964. Geoffrion won six Stanley Cups and Calder, Hart and Ross Trophies with the Habs. He joined the Rangers in 1966, and retired again in 1968. Boomer later coached the Rangers, Atlanta Flames and Canadiens.

8. Eddie Giacomin – The popular goalie played 11 seasons with the Rangers before being placed on waivers and claimed by the Detroit Red Wings on October 29, 1975. Giacomin was an outstanding netminder with the Blueshirts. Ironically, Giacomin’s first game with the Red Wings was Halloween, two days after he joined the team. Madison Square Garden partisans voiced their displeasure with the deal, and cheered on a 6-4 win for Giacomin, left. Seeing limited duty, Eddie finished his career with Detroit in 1978.

9. Ching Johnson – The Hall of Fame defenseman played 10 years with the Rangers and was a member of the 1928 and 1933 Stanley Cup champions. He was signed as a free agent by the New York Americans, and was scoreless in 31 games in his final campaign.

10.Sid Abel – A member of Detroit’s famed Production Line with Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay in the late 40s and early 50s, Abel won the Hart Trophy in 1949 and finished in the top five in scoring four times. He was traded to Chicago for cash before the 1952 season, and retired a year later.

Honorable MentionMarcel Dionne, fourth all-time with 731 goals, drafted by Detroit, played most of his career with the Los Angeles Kings and wound up with the Rangers; Bernie Federko, ended his career with the Red Wings in 1990 after 13 seasons with the St. Louis Blues; Pierre Pilote, three-time Norris winner with Chicago was traded to Toronto for Jim Pappin where he played one-year before retiring in 1968: and Bjore Salming, the first Swedish born player to earn an All-Star berth, signed as a free agent by Detroit after 16 seasons in Toronto.


Wallflowers missing out on the ‘Big Dance’

Fans storm the court after Albany buzzer-beater denied Stony Brook its first NCAA ticket.

For dozens of big-time programs, an invitation to the NCAA Tournament is all but presumed every year. Failure to make the tournament is considered a huge disappointment. Coaches have been fired for less.

But not so for the vast majority of teams, some who have played Cinderella and many others who have never made the cut. Perfect example, Stony Brook. The Seawolves were literally less than a second away from the first NCAA berth in the team’s history when Albany State crushed their dreams with a dagger three-pointer at the buzzer in the American East championship game.Oh my.

Only five of the original 160 NCAA schools have never made the tournament, which began in 1939. They are Army, The Citadel, Northwestern, St. Francis (NY) and William & Mary. St. Francis came close this year, advancing to the championship game of the Northeast Conference tournament this week, only to bow out to Robert (Bob) Morris, 66-63, on their home court in Brooklyn.

Army never made it despite being coached by two all-time greats, Bob Knight and Mike Krzyzewski. But Northwestern may be the most puzzling of all the NCAA wallflowers. Northwestern began men’s basketball in 1901, was retro-picked as national champion in 1931, and even hosted the first NCAA championship game in 1939 and the Final Four in 1956. Playing in the Big Ten, the Wildcats have not had a winning record in conference play since 1968, when LBJ was President. They finally managed their first 20-win season in 2009.

All told, there are 44 Division 1 teams that have never tasted March Madness. Some notables beyond the five originals mentioned above are Maine, New Hampshire, Hartford, Bryant College, Youngstown State, Grambling and Presbyterian.

Finally

Meanwhile North Florida, UC Irvine and Buffalo are going to the tournament for the first time. North Florida’s Ospreys got the automatic bid after knocking off another NCAA virgin, the South Carolina Upstate Spartans, 63-57 in the Atlantic Sun championship game. And the University of California-Irvine punched its ticket after beating Hawaii, 67-58, in the Big West title game. For the Anteaters, it’s the first tournament appearance in the 38-year history of the school’s basketball program. And Buffalo cracked the brackets with ts first Mid-American Conference Tournament championship, an 89-84 win over top-seeded Central Michigan

In 2013, Florida Gulf Coast, the 15th seed in the East, won the Atlantic Sun title, and ran off two straight wins in its first NCAA, beating second-seed Georgetown and seventh-seed San Diego State before losing to Florida in the round of 16.

Last year, both Cal Poly and North Carolina Central cracked the NCAA code with first-time tournament appearances.


The Babe, Huff, Joe Willie, Clyde and more — 12 New York sports icons in strange threads

The winningest goalie in hockey history and a future Hall of Famer retired recently after a brief seven-game stint with the St. Louis Blues. Wrong church, wrong pew. And wrong uniform. Brodeur will always be remembered as a Devil – he registered 688 wins during a 21-year run in New Jersey which started in 1991.

Here are a dozen iconic New York sports figures, legends on Broadway and Hall of Famers all, who wound up their careers in strange threads. Presented in chronological order:

1. Babe Ruth – The Sultan of Swat started and finished his career in Boston, but made his biggest mark in New York, where he hit 659 home runs and batted .349 during his 15 years with the Yankees. He left the Bronx in 1935 to join the Boston Braves, where he played 28 games and hit .181 before retiring. In one of his last appearances, on May 25, Ruth, right, belted three titanic home runs in a game in Pittsburgh, including his final home run, #714, the longest homer ever hit at Forbes Field. The Babe began his career as a pitcher for the Red Sox and won 89 games over six seasons before he was sold to the Yankees for $100,000 before the 1920 season.

2. Sam Huff – During his eight years as a New York Giant, Sam Huff never missed a game. He played in six NFL championship games, winning a ring in 1956, his rookie year. Huff was on the cover of TIME magazine at age 24, and was the feature subject in a CBS documentary called “The Violent World of Sam Huff.” Huff was traded to the Washington Redskins for defensive tackle Andy Stynchula and running back Dick James after the Giants lost the 1963 championship game to the Bears. He retired after the 1967 season, then returned to play for Vince Lombardi, a former offensive coach with the Giants and legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, in 1969.

3. Yogi Berra – It appeared as though Yogi Berra had played his last game in 1963. Yogi went to the dugout, where he managed the Yankees to the 1964 American League pennant. In a stunning development, Berra was fired after the Yankees lost a seven-game World Series to the Cardinals. He signed with the Mets as a free agent, and became a coach. However, Yogi played in four games with the Mets, catching in two of them, and had a pair of singles in nine at bats in his strange last hurrah. In his final game against the Milwaukee Braves at Shea Stadium, Berra struck out three times and was 0-for-4.

4. Willie Mays – The Say Hey Kid started and finished his career in New York, playing with two different National League franchises. separated by a 15-season stay by the bay in San Francisco. He began as a Giant in 1951 in New York, where he was National League Rookie of the Year. Mays, left, went West when the Giants moved to San Francisco for the 1958 season, and was traded to the Mets for pitcher Charlie Williams and $50,000 in 1972. Mays finished out his career in the 1973 World Series and knocked in the winning run with a 12-inning single against Oakland A’s reliever Rollie Fingers in Game Two. That Mets team, managed by another transplant Yogi Berra, lost to the A’s in seven games.

5. Don Maynard – The great wide receiver began his career with the Giants in 1958 and saw action in the 1958 NFL Championship game against the Colts, where he returned a pair of kickoffs, including one in overtime. Maynard then sat out the game for a year before joining the New York Titans in 1960. Maynard played 13 years for the Titans/Jets, where he had 633 receptions, 88 for touchdowns. He had a two-game, one-reception stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973. Maynard finished his career with the Houston Texans – Shreveport Steamer of the World Football League (WFL) in 1974.

6. Eddie Giacomin – On October 29, 1975, Eddie Giacomin was placed on waivers by the New York Rangers and claimed by the Detroit Red Wings. One of the most popular players in Blueshirts history, Giacomin was an outstanding netminder in his 10 plus seasons with Rangers. Ironically, Giacomin’s first game with the Red Wings was Halloween, two days after he joined the Red Wings. Madison Square Garden partisans voiced their displeasure with the deal, and cheered on a win for Giacomin. Seeing limited duty, Eddie finished his career with Detroit two years later.

7. Tom Seaver – Tom Terrific, aka The Franchise, was the heart and soul of the New York Mets. He finished 25-7 in 1969 when he won his first Cy Young Award and led the Miracle Mets to their first World Championship. Seaver won Cy Young Awards in 1973 and 1975 as well, and in nearly 12 seasons with the Mets won 198 games, still the most in team history. Then on June 15, 1977, the Mets traded Seaver to the Cincinnati Reds for four players – Doug Flynn, Steve Henderson, Dan Norman and Pat Zachry. Seaver pitched for the Reds for nearly six seasons, returned to the Mets for one year in 1983, and wound up his career with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox before retiring after the 1986 season.

8. Joe Namath – Broadway Joe of Beaver, Falls, PA., quarterback under coach Bear Bryant at Alabama, signed a $400,000 contract after the 1965 NFL draft to play in New York, and soon owned the town. Namath, right, played 12 years for the Jets, becoming the face of the American Football League (AFL) when he led the Jets to an upset win over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Before the 1977 season, Joe Willie was waived and picked up by the Los Angeles Rams. He won two of his first three starts, then had a horrible Monday night in a loss to the Chicago Bears. He backed up Pat Haden the rest of the season, and never threw another pass.

9. Walt Frazier – Clyde was a first round pick out of Southern Illinois in the 1967 NBA draft and played 10 years with the Knicks. Frazier was a key piece of the Knicks only two NBA champions. In Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Lakers, the Willis Reed game, Frazier scored 36 points and added 19 assists in a Knicks blowout. Prior to the 1977 season, Frazier was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers as payment for free agent Jim Cleamons. Frazier played his final two seasons and three games of the 1979-80 season with Cleveland before retiring. Clyde’s 4,791 assists are still the most in Knicks’ history.

10. Bryan Trottier – He’s the all-time Islander leader in a multitude of team categories, including games, assists and points. He won a Calder, Art Ross, Hart and Conn Smythe Trophy. And he led the Islanders to four consecutive Stanley Cup titles beginning in 1980. Trotts signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the 1990 season, and won two more Stanley Cups in 1991 and 1992. He retired after the 1994 season.

11. Patrick Ewing – The number one overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft, Ewing quickly turned things around and made the Knicks a contender. The Georgetown product is the franchise leader in just about every major category, including games, points, rebounds and blocked shots. But after 15 seasons in New York and losses in the 1994 and 1999 NBA Finals, Ewing was sent to Seattle in 2000 in a multi-team deal in which the Knicks also traded Chris Dudley to Seattle and received Glen Rice, Luc Longley, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, Larazo Borrell, Vernon Maxwell and two first and two second round draft picks. Ewing played a year with the SuperSonics and a year with the Orlando Magic, then retired.

12. Brian Leetch – One of the best defensemen in NHL history, Leetch helped the Rangers win their first Stanley Cup in 54 years in a seven-game series in 1994. Leetch won the Conn Symthe Trophy that year as playoff MVP, and also won two Norris Trophies as top defenseman and the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year. But late in the 2003-2004 season he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for prospects Maxim Kondratiev, Jarkko Immon, and future first and second round draft picks. Leetch played his final season with the Boston Bruins and retired in 2005.


Pete Carroll lives with worst call in NFL history

If Pete Carroll had a chance to do it again, he would have run the football.

20 years ago, I met the man who would go on to make the worst play call in NFL history. Yep, I sat next to Pete Carroll on a flight from New York to San Francisco.

We had a wonderful conversation about the New York Jets and the Grateful Dead. Little did I know that two decades later this man would make an infamous decision that would cost the Seattle Seahawks a Super Bowl.

The Seahawks were one yard from making history and winning the Super Bowl for the second year in a row. They had a beastly back named Marshawn Lynch who is built for situations like this. Lynch nearly scored on the previous play, and was primed for a short run into Super Bowl history and MVP honors.

But instead of making the obvious call, Carroll had Russell Wilson throw the ball on a short slant pattern and Patriots’ rookie Malcolm Butler made the biggest Super Bowl interception ever.

C’mon Pete. Go with your best. Go with your beast.

Instead of Carroll and the Seahawks repeating, Bill Belichick, the coach he replaced in New England, took home the ring. Belichick and Tom Brady now have four championships together, the same as Chuck Noll and Terry Bradshaw of the Steelers.


Covering it all, from Joe Willie to Deflategate

Picture 075

Joe Namath and the SportsLifer going over the game plan prior to Super Bowl XXV in Tampa. Here’s 10 observations while wading through the interminable hype and waiting for the kickoff.

1. Giant break: The Patriots are just happy they’re not facing the Giants. Admit it, New England fans.

2. Who let the air out? Here’s my theory on Deflategate. The Patriots have been doing this for years, they finally got caught. Somebody, probably from the Colts, tipped off the league and they measured the balls. The ball boy will take a fall, but if a high-level individual like Belichick or Brady can’t be fingered, the team will pay a price. To paraphrase a recent Yogi Berra tweet, if you’re gonna cheat, you better not get caught.

3. Crusader investigator: Ted Wells, who is leading the Deflategate investigation, attended the College of the Holy Cross and graduated a year ahead of me. We’re hearing his name an awful lot these days.

4. If the Seahawks win, they will be first two to repeat since the Patriots in 2004-05. It’s happened eight times. The Steelers have done it twice (1975-76 and 1979-80), and the Packers (1967-68) in the first two Super Bowls, Dolphins (1973-74), 49ers (1989-90), Cowboys (1993-94) and the Broncos (1998-99). There has never been a Super Bowl three-peat.

5. If the Patriots win, they will join the Packers and Giants with four Super Bowl rings. Only the Steelers with six and the Cowboys and 49ers with five have more. This is New England’s eighth appearance in the Super Bowl, matching the Steelers and Cowboys.

6. What happened to the old highlights? Not big on the avalanche of pre-game hype. Years ago. someone aired those classic half-hour highlights of each Super Bowl, game by game. May have been ESPN Classic, but can’t find anything out there now. If anyone knows, let me know.

7. Broadway Joe: Pete Hamill once wrote: “Joe Namath legitimized his team and his league, the old AFL, and more than any other player, he transformed the Super Bowl into a national event instead of a post-season payday.” Now that sounds about right.

8. Silent treatment: Does anybody really care what Marshawn Lynch has to say? He’s getting my silent treatment. And there’s no fine.

9. Attitude: Roger Goodell once more shows his arrogant side responding to a question from CNN reporter Rachel Nichols.

10. Rick’s pick: Going with my pool numbers, picking Seattle 21-19 in a low-scoring. New England scores late, but is denied on a two-point conversion.


10 things to know about Super Bowl odds

It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you beat the point spread. Super Bowl XLIX is upon us, and if the odds hold true, this will be one of the closest Super Bowl games in history. The Patriots are favored by one point over the Seahawks, the tightest spread in 33 years. Impress your family and friends with the 10 things you need to know about Super Bowl odds:

1. One is Enough: This year’s spread equals the closest in Super Bowl history. The 49ers were favored by one over Cincinnati in 1982 and the undefeated Dolphins by one over the Redskins in 1973. Both favorites won, San Francisco, 26-21, and Miami, 14-7.

2. ATS and Straight Up: Overall, Super Bowl favorites have gone 26-18-2 against the spread and 33-15 straight up.

3. The Push: Only two Super Bowls have ended in a push – 2000, when the Rams (-7) beat the Titans, 23-16, and 1997 when the Packers (-14) beat the Patriots, 35-21.

4. Underdogs: Have won 10 of the last 13 Super Bowls.

5. Favorites: Won 10 of the first 14 Super Bowls.

6. Biggest Spread: 49ers (-18 1/2) over the Chargers in 1995. San Francisco justified the odds with a 49-26 victory.

7. Biggest Upset: Jets  (+18) beat the Baltimore Colts, 16-7 I,n 1969.

8. Over/Under: The cumulative mark is 24-24. There was no over/under in Super Bowl I.

9. Failed to Cover: Six teams have won but failed to cover the spread. Steelers 2009, Patriots 2005 and 2004, Cowboys 1996, 49ers 1989, and Steelers 1976.

10. Out of Luck: Four teams have never had a Super Bowl line – they never played in the big game. The Lions and Browns both won NFL championships before the Super Bowl. The Jaguars and the Texans were expansion franchises.

Historic odds courtesy of Las Vegas Insider.


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