Amid all the arguments about Polamalu and Matthews, Rodgers and Roethlisberger, AFC and NFC, the football experts have overlooked the biggest determining factor of Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV.
Sure, games aren’t won on paper and you still have to play it out and all that good stuff. But let’s face it: Recent history points overwhelmingly to a Pittsburgh victory on Sunday, simply because the Steelers will be wearing white.
Each of the past six and 10 of the past 12 Super Bowl champions have worn white in the NFL’s big game. Once John Elway and the Broncos finally put an end to the NFC’s pesky 13-game winning streak in Super Bowl XXXII, color of uniform has become the most commonly shared trait of NFL champions.
How does the 10-2 record posted by the team in white stack up against more football-related stats, you ask? Really well, actually. In that dozen-year span, the Super Bowl favorites are only 8-4. The team with the higher regular-season point differential is 8-4. The team with the better defense is 7-5. The team with the better turnover margin is 7-5. The team with the better offense is 5-7. The team with the better record is 4-5 and the team with the better seed is 4-7.
Thus, the Patriots may have been better than the Giants by any and every statistical measure in 2007. But they couldn’t overcome the magic of the white uniform. (New York, in fact, was a mediocre 6-6 in blue jerseys that season and an invincible 8-0 in white.)
The only reasonable conclusion is that a team’s sartorial style has more to do with the outcome of the Super Bowl than its playing style. The Steelers at least seem to know this, having elected to wear their white uniforms for Super Bowl XL against the Seahawks after they had won their first three playoff games in road whites. Faced with the same circumstances this year, the Packers decided to stick with their home green jerseys.
It might be a mistake of staggering proportions.