Difficult Super Bowl Trivia: Part 1

Difficult Super Bowl Trivia: Part 1

Five really tough questions you're not likely to get right

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It’s the 20th anniversary of the Tuck Rule Game, or the Snow Game, depending on whether or not you’re from New England. That was the night in Foxboro that the Patriots got the benefit of a controversial call on what appeared to be a Tom Brady fumble, tied and won the game on Adam Vinatieri field goals, and launched a dynasty that lasted nearly two decades.

As we continue to marvel at Brady’s career and a legacy that he continues to build, there’s already a good amount of trivia that stems from his near-omnipresence in the Big Game. So, as we begin Super Bowl Trivia, we start with a package of questions stemming from Brady’s performances.

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Question 1

Question 1

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Who did the Patriots beat to advance to Brady’s first Super Bowl?

The tuck rule drama and incredible images of Vinatieri’s field goals can make you forget that it was the AFC divisional round. They still had to win another game to secure their spot as underdogs against the defending champion Rams at the Superdome.

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Answer

Answer

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Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s easy to forget how shaky the foundation of the GOAT career was. Not only did it depend on a unique rule interpretation in a snowy divisional playoff game, and a short field to set up Vinatieri for the winning field goal in that first Super Bowl, even getting there required a full team effort — including from the man Brady replaced at quarterback, Drew Bledsoe.

Brady was 12-of-18 passing for 115 yards in the AFC title game, and had to leave with an ankle injury. Bledsoe wasn’t great in his first action since getting blown up by Mo Lewis of the Jets in September, but he did throw the game’s only touchdown pass, an 11-yarder to David Patten, 58 seconds before halftime, that made it 14-3.

The Patriots’ other touchdowns in their 24-17 win in Pittsburgh? A 55-yard punt return by Troy Brown and a 49-yard blocked field goal return by Antwan Harris. And don’t forget that Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart threw three interceptions and lost a fumble on a day when Slash went 24-for-42 throwing the ball.

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Question 2

Question 2

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Rob Gronkowski has caught five Super Bowl touchdown passes from Brady, making them the most prolific duo in the title game’s history. Who are the three other men who have scored multiple touchdowns catching Brady passes in the Super Bowl?

Gronk and Brady already had hooked up for three Super Bowl touchdowns, the most of any duo this century, before last year’s pair of scores in the Buccaneers’ win over Kansas City.

Others with two touchdowns in the Big Game since 2000? Doug Baldwin, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings, Keenan McCardell, Muhsin Muhammad, Ricky Proehl, Hines Ward… and three guys that Brady threw to with the Patriots.

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Answer

Answer

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Danny Amendola, David Givens, and Mike Vrabel

Amendola scored key touchdowns in a pair of Patriots comebacks. His four-yard catch in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XLIX got New England within 24-21 against the Seahawks before Julian Edelman caught the game-winner with 2:02 left. Two years later, it was a six-yard pass, followed by a James White two-point run, to get what once had been a 28-3 Falcons lead down to 28-20 with 5:56 left. Amendola returned the favor by catching a two-point pass to tie the game with 57 seconds left after a White touchdown run.

Givens caught short passes for touchdowns in the second quarter of back-to-back Super Bowls, five yards in XXXVIII against the Panthers and four yards in XXXIX against the Eagles. A seventh-round pick in 2002, Givens had 35 career playoff receptions, and seven of them were touchdowns.

Now the coach of the Titans, Vrabel also scored against the Panthers and Eagles, on even shorter passes — one yard against Carolina, two against Philadelphia. Not bad for a linebacker, a job that Vrabel also was doing quite well for the Patriots then. He had two sacks in New England’s 32-29 win in Super Bowl XXXVIII, plus another the next year.

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Question 3

Question 3

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Who is the only person other than Brady to have a throw turn into a touchdown in the Super Bowl and get to laugh about it later because they won?

When Robert Alford returned a Brady interception 82 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter of Super Bowl LI, it gave the Falcons a 21-0 lead. Little did anyone know at the time that Atlanta would build its lead to 25 points before the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history allowed Brady to get off the hook for the pick-six.

Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Fran Tarkenton, and Daryle Lamonica are among those who have had their mistakes wind up in the wrong end zone in the Super Bowl, but they all lost.

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Answer

Answer

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Garo Yepremian

Officially, the Miami kicker had a fumble returned 49 yards for Washington’s only touchdown of Super Bowl VII — the capstone to the Dolphins’ perfect 1972 season. That’s not because Yepremian’s field goal attempt was blocked — a blocked kick that stays behind the line of scrimmage can be picked up and passed.

The ball never hit the ground after Yepremian tried to pass. Mike Bass grabbed it out of the air and ran down the sideline to paydirt. But the key was that Yepremian only tried to pass, and had the ball come loose after bopping it on his own helmet.

Because it was ruled a fumble and not an interception, Yepremian is one of two players, along with Terry Bradshaw in Super Bowl XIII (returned by Mike Hegman), to lose a scoop-and-score for a winning team in the Super Bowl, while Brady is the only player to lose a pick-six for a winning team in the Super Bowl. As a bonus, Tom Tupa is the only player to have a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown, and still go on to get a ring, in part because Tupa’s Tampa Bay teammates had three pick-sixes against Rich Gannon of the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.

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Question 4

Question 4

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Brady has won the Super Bowl seven times and been Super Bowl MVP five of those times. Which of his teammates won MVP honors?

The first Super Bowl MVP that Brady won remains one of the biggest jokes in the award’s history, as the first-year starter went 16-of-27 passing for a mere 145 yards — 220 fewer yards than losing quarterback Kurt Warner. The winning drive was nine plays, 53 yards to set up a 48-yard field goal by Vinatieri as time expired.

Vinatieri could’ve been MVP of that game. So could Ty Law, who had a 47-yard pick-six. So could Antowain Smith, who ran for 92 yards on 18 carries. Even Ken Walter, the Patriots punter, had eight boots in the game, all but one of which resulted in the Rams starting from inside their 25. Of course, the one was the last one, setting up the tying touchdown.

Mostly, Brady has earned his MVPs, but two of his Super Bowl wins have featured other players taking the hardware.

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Answer

Answer

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Deion Branch and Julian Edelman

Branch had 11 catches for 133 yards, on 12 targets, against the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. Four of those receptions, including a 27-yarder and 21-yarder, came on New England’s first drive after halftime, a 69-yard march that culminated in Brady’s two-yard touchdown pass to Vrabel. On the drive that set up Vinatieri’s field goal to ice the game, Branch had a 19-yard catch, with 15 more yards tacked on for roughing the passer, to get New England into the red zone.

Super Bowl LIII was another one where a specialist was high in the running for MVP honors, as Rams punter Johnny Hekker averaged 46.3 yards on his nine boots, constantly pinning the Patriots deep until a 39-yarder in the fourth quarter set New England up for a five-play, 69-yard drive for the game’s only touchdown.

Edelman had one catch, for 13 yards, on that decisive drive, part of a game in which he caught 10 balls for 141 yards. Really, though, that MVP should have gone to Sony Michel, who ran 18 times for 94 yards, including seven for 41 on the fourth-quarter drive when the Patriots were doing nothing but run to bleed the clock and the Rams’ timeouts, and came away with a 41-yard Stephen Gostkowski field goal to put the game out of reach.

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Question 5

Question 5

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Which two players have sacked Brady more than once in the Super Bowl?

The other team’s quarterback must go down, and must go down hard. Brady has played 10 Super Bowls, and been sacked a grand total of 19 times.

More than a quarter of those sacks came in one game, which is a hint to answering this question. Generally, if a defender gets his hands on Brady, it’s only happening one time. But there are two players who have recorded multiple Super Bowl sacks of Brady.

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Answer

Answer

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Justin Tuck and Grady Jarrett

Tuck had two of the Giants’ five sacks of Brady in the perfection-ruining Super Bowl XLII, including one that forced a fumble, recovered by Osi Umenyiora, that kept it a 7-3 New England lead heading into halftime — huge with the Patriots getting the ball to start the third quarter of that game.

Four years later, Tuck recorded another pair of sacks, including one with 48 seconds left that forced the Patriots to burn their final timeout early in a desperation drive that came up short. A man can benefit from the Tuck Rule, but be undone by the fact that Tuck rules.

While Tuck got to Brady twice in two Super Bowls to earn the title of the man who brought him down the most, Jarrett did it three times in one game, including twice in a span of three plays in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LI.

Those sacks appeared to be a big moment in Atlanta holding off the Patriots’ comeback attempt, as New England had gotten down to first-and-goal at the 7 before Jarrett’s sacks made it fourth-and-goal from the 15 and forced a field goal to make it 28-12 with 9:44 left. It didn’t work out that way, but Jarrett did his part to try to help the Falcons hold on.

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