Records will be broken in Super Bowl LI. That’s a guarantee with the Patriots set to add to their lengthy Super Bowl resumé.
But don’t count out the Falcons, not only to win this game but to also break a few Super Bowl records themselves.
Both teams also could combine for a Super Bowl record or two if Super Bowl LI is as competitive as it’s hyped up to be.
Record: 3 (Terrell Davis, Super Bowl XXXII)
The Falcons were last in the league in red-zone defense this season, allowing touchdowns 72.13 percent of the time according to Team Rankings. They’re also vulnerable to the run. They gave up 4.5 yards per carry this season, tied for 25th in the league.
Paging LeGarrette Blount.
Blount led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns this season and 11 of them came from a yard out. He ran for four touchdowns in a 43-22 win over the Colts in the 2013 AFC divisional playoffs. If he breaks Terrell Davis’ Super Bowl record, it would not only be the record for rushing touchdowns but also total touchdowns in a Super Bowl.
It also would make for a long night for the Falcons.
Record: 215 (Jerry Rice, Super Bowl XXIII)
Julio Jones is the leading candidate to take down this record. He’s had more than 215 receiving yards in a game twice in his career. His 300 receiving yards against the Panthers in Week 4 is the sixth-highest in NFL history. He also amassed 259 receiving yards in Week 14 of the 2014 season at Green Bay.
The Patriots are ranked 12th against the pass, but Rice rang up those 215 yards on a Bengals defense that ranked 10th against the pass in 1988. Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown often are interchangeable as the Big Three in conversations about the best receivers in the NFL. He can separate himself from the other two with a Super Bowl ring.
Yards from scrimmage
Record: 220 (Jerry Rice, Super Bowl XXIII)
Julio Jones has the potential to break this record on receiving yards alone, but another candidate is Devonta Freeman.
The Falcons’ running back chalked up 207 scrimmage yards in a 45-32 Week 3 win over the Saints, with 152 of those yards coming on the ground.
The Saints’ defense bears no resemblance to the Patriots’ defense, but as a dual-threat back Freeman has a chance to run and catch his way into the record books. Freeman was fifth among running backs in receptions (54) and receiving yards (462) this season.
Patriots’ running back Dion Lewis is a dark-horse choice to break this record. He’s played 14 games over the last two seasons and caught a total of 53 passes.
Record: 414 (Kurt Warner, Super Bowl XXXIV)
Super Bowl LI will be a duel between the two best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Matt Ryan has the league’s best passer rating (117.1) and Tom Brady is second (112.2).
The Patriots ranked 12th against the pass, but they haven’t faced a quarterback with a passer rating in the top 10. Passer rating is one of seven categories in which Ryan leads the NFL. Ryan has thrown for more than 414 yards three times in his career, including a 421-yard game against the Patriots in 2013.
Brady has done it six times, and he’s coming off a 384-yard game against the Steelers. That’s his personal best in the postseason. Now he faces a Falcons defense that ranked 28th against the pass.
Kurt Warner occupies the top three spots on the passing yardage list for a Super Bowl. Brady is sixth with the 354 he threw in Super Bowl XXXVIII.
If Super Bowl LI delivers on the offensive fireworks that it promises, Warner’s record could be vulnerable.
Record: 13 (Demaryius Thomas, Super Bowl XLVIII)
The only player in Super Bowl LI who has caught more than 13 passes in a game is Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola, who caught 15 for the Rams in a 2012 game. That was a lifetime ago in NFL years.
Patriots receiver Julian Edelman has caught 13 passes twice in his career, both times in 2013. Teammate Martellus Bennett caught 12 passes in a 2014 game. Julio Jones caught 12 passes in his 300-yard game this season.
Five players are tied for second place in the record book behind Demaryius Thomas with 11 receptions. Three of them are Patriots of the Brady-Belichick Era. Shane Vereen caught 11 in the Patriots’ 28-24 win over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Edelman caught nine passes in that game. Wes Welker caught 11 passes in the Patriots’ Super Bowl XLII loss to the Giants. Deion Branch caught 11 passes and was named MVP when the Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
The Falcons allowed 422 completed passes in the regular season, second-most in the NFL. The Patriots allowed 368, tied for 15th. Three of the six players who caught 11 or more passes in a Super Bowl played on the losing team. Thomas set his record in a 43-8 loss. So that record could fall regardless of game script.
Record: 75 (49ers vs. Chargers, Super Bowl XXIX)
The over-under for Super Bowl LI through Friday was 58, according to Sports Book Review. If it stays at that number it will be the highest over-under in Super Bowl history, edging out the 57-point total for the Saints and Colts in Super Bowl XLIV.
The oddsmakers aren’t going to set the over-under at 75 because they like to eat, but perhaps the highest over-under will correlate to the highest-scoring game in Super Bowl history.
The 49ers routed the Chargers 49-26 in Super Bowl XXIX. The winning team has scored 30 or more points in 25 of the 50 Super Bowls. There’s never been a Super Bowl in which both teams scored 35 points or more, but the Patriots are favored by three over the Falcons, so if Super Bowl LI breaks the record for total points and stays close to the betting line both teams would get into the high 30s.
That could set a record for holes punched in walls over Super Bowl box pools.
First Super Bowl overtime
No Super Bowl has gone to overtime, but it’s long overdue.
According to Pro Football Reference, 86 overtime games have been played in the NFL over the last five years including regular season and playoffs.
That means 6.4 percent of NFL games are tied after 60 minutes, or about one in every 15 since 2012.
By that calculation, at least three Super Bowls should have been decided in overtime by now. The Patriots haven’t won or lost by more than four points in any of the six Super Bowls they’ve played in this century. This game figures to be another close one.
Would former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush flip the coin again if Super Bowl LI goes to overtime?
Most quarterback wins
Record: 4 (Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana)
Unless you think Deflategate has something to do with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats, then you’re probably aware that Tom Brady can win his fifth Super Bowl on Sunday and that it would move him ahead of Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana for the all-time record.
Brady wouldn’t be the only player with five Super Bowl rings. He’d share that honor with Charles Haley, but Haley didn’t win all of his with the same team. He won two with the 49ers and three with the Cowboys.
With a win over the Falcons Sunday, Brady would own the record for most Super Bowl wins with the same team regardless of position.
Most coaching wins
Record: 4 (Bill Belichick and Chuck Noll)
Unless you think Super Bowl LI is being played in the Astrodome, you’re probably aware that Bill Belichick would have the coaching record for Super Bowl wins all to himself if the Patriots beat the Falcons Sunday.
This goes hand-in-hand with Brady’s pursuit of an unprecedented fifth Super Bowl win by a quarterback. Brady and Belichick will have to earn their respective records. However, just by showing up Sunday, both will set new Super Bowl marks.
Most games, coach
Record: 6 (Bill Belichick and Don Shula)
There’s no “could” about this one. Assuming Bill Belichick gets to NRG Stadium on Sunday, he will coach in a record seventh Super Bowl.
He’ll break the tie with Don Shula, who lost Super Bowl III as the Colts head coach and went 2-3 in Super Bowls as Dolphins head coach.
Belichick’s head coaching career began in 1991 with the Browns at age 39, the same age Tom Brady is now. Brady was only 14 then, so Belichick had to wait a decade before getting to the Super Bowl.
Most games, player
Record: 6 (Tom Brady and Mike Lodish)
The Patriots will play in their ninth Super Bowl, more than any other team, and Tom Brady will become the first player to appear in seven Super Bowls.
Brady has been tied with Mike Lodish, a defensive lineman who played in all four Bills Super Bowls and the two Broncos Super Bowls that John Elway won.
This could be the first of several records Brady breaks on Sunday.