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The ACC And Super Bowl Sunday

An under appreciated tradition

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
December 21, 2019; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers offensive guard and former Duke Blue Devil Laken Tomlinson (75) celebrates after the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Levi’s Stadium. 
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

A few ACC traditions endure. We’ve still got an ACC game on Super Bowl Sunday, an historic pairing that receives scant attention from the conference and its TV partners.

Maybe that will change this month, as a clash of clubs vying to slip into NCAA consideration, Miami at Pitt, will be televised on the in-house ACC Network on Feb. 2.

ACCN has a golden opportunity to celebrate the rich link between the conference and America’s football holiday, a bond dating to mid-January 1973, when an undefeated NC State squad led by David Thompson edged a comparably gifted Maryland team 87-85. A late score by Thompson, the ACC’s greatest player — a tip-in of a missed shot at the buzzer — sealed the outcome in a rare national telecast of college ball matching No.3 and No.2 in that pre-cable, pre-dunk era.

Given the formidable stature of the opponent, the Wolfpack’s win at Maryland also marked a crucial step in maintaining the second and last unblemished season in conference history. (On probation in 1972-73, NC State was banned from amplifying its 27-0 mark in postseason play.)

The ACC contest brimmed with drama, in sharp contrast with the lackluster 14-7 Super Bowl that followed. The Miami Dolphins handily won despite the close final score, concluding the only undefeated NFL season (17-0) since the 1967 advent of the Game Of Multimillion Dollar Commercials.

The most memorable, and comic, play in Super Bowl VII was a 41-yard field goal attempt that was blocked late in the game. The Dolphins’ left-footed kicker, Garabed “Garo” Yepremian, recovered and tried to pass the ball, only to have it intercepted and run back for a touchdown.

That was it for scoring by Washington, among eight teams that failed to reach double digits in the first LIII Super Bowls. Among that group — the LA Rams, a supposed new sort of offensive force who tallied a field goal and were decisively outplayed by New England in 2019.

Last season, in the ACC prelim Clemson secured its first win in four tries on Super Bowl Sunday. The Tigers crushed Wake Forest 64-37, the puniest offensive output by a Clemson opponent last season. The victory lifted the ACC’s premier 21st century football school to a .250 winning percentage on the big day, still worst among all ACC participants.

Wake dropped to 3-7, a .300 success rate that matches Georgia Tech among the ACC’s worst Main Event appetizers. Only three league teams have played more often on Super Bowl Sunday. Strangely, Duke with its competitive pedigree is not among them.

The Blue Devils have appeared prior to fewer Super Bowls (7) than NC State (15), North Carolina (14), Maryland (11 while in the league), Florida State (10), Georgia Tech (10), Wake Forest (10) and Virginia (9).

Then again, why expend one of your premium viewership draws on a day devoted to another sport?

NC State, at 10-5, remains the most successful and prolific ACC team playing in tandem with the Largest Halftime Show on Earth, although it last appeared as a Super accouterment in 2008. (Miami has an identical winning percentage in three appearances.)

Boston College’s 2018 inclusion reduced the number of former Big East teams to four that have yet to participate as ACC members in pre-Super festivities (Louisville, Notre Dame, Syracuse, and Virginia Tech). BC, Miami and Virginia Tech have been in the ACC since the mid-2000s, the Irish, Panthers and Orange since 2014. Louisville came aboard in 2015. When Pitt played – and lost – prior to the Super Bowl in 2014, its sole doubleheader opener as an ACC member, the NFC’s Seattle Seahawks won handily.

Panthers head coach Jeff Capel played twice for Duke on Super Sundays, splitting with Maryland in 1996 and 1997. NFC teams won both times.

Miami’s three appearances yielded one win each for the NFL’s two divisions. An original AFC team, New England, won when the Hurricanes lost in the prelude basketball contest.

The Super Bowl is at Miami in 2020 for the 11th time. This is the first chance for UM to play basketball prior to a Miami Super Bowl as an ACC member. The Canes will be at Pittsburgh.

ACC Records When Playing Same Day As Super Bowl
Team W-L W Pct.
Boston College 1-0 1.000
Clemson 1-3 .250
Duke 4-3 .571
Florida State 5-5 .500
Georgia Tech 3-7 .300
Louisville 0-0 .000
Maryland 5-6 .455
Miami* 2-1 .667
North Carolina 9-5 .643
N.C. State 10-5 .667
Notre Dame 0-0 .000
Pittsburgh* 0-1 .000
Syracuse 0-0 .000
Virginia 5-4 .556
Virginia Tech 0-0 .000
Wake Forest 3-7 .300

Date Super Bowl Result Basketball Result
2/2/20 Kansas City v. San Francisco Miami at Pittsburgh
2/3/19 New England 13- Los Angeles 3 Clemson 64-Wake Forest 37
2/4/18 Philadelphia 41-New England 33 Boston College 80-Georgia Tech 72 (OT)
2/5/17 New England 34-Atlanta 28 Florida State 109-Clemson 61
2/7/16 Denver 24-Carolina 10 Miami 75-Georgia Tech 68
2/1/15 New England 28-Seattle 24 Florida State 55-Miami 54
2/2/14 Seattle 43-Denver 8 Virginia 48-Pittsburgh 45
2/3/13 Baltimore 34- San Francisco 31 Georgia Tech 66-Virginia 60
2/5/12 N.Y. Giants 21-New England 17 Miami 78-Duke 74 (OT)
2/6/11 Green Bay 31-Pittsburgh 25 North Carolina 89-Florida State 69
2/7/10 New Orleans 31-Indianapolis 17 Maryland 92-North Carolina 71
2/1/09 Pittsburgh 27-Arizona 23 Duke 67-Virginia 49
2/3/08 N.Y. Giants 17-New England 14 NC State 67-Wake Forest 65
North Carolina 84-Florida State 73 (OT)
2/4/07 Indianapolis 29-Chicago 17 Florida State 68-Duke 67
2/5/06 Pittsburgh 21-Seattle 10 NC State 62-Maryland 58
2/6/05 New England 24-Philadelphia 21 North Carolina 81-Florida State 60
2/1/04 New England 32-Carolina 29 NC State 81-Maryland 69
Florida State 88-Savannah State 73
1/26/03 Tampa Bay 48-Oakland 21 Wake Forest 71-Florida State 60
NC State 86-North Carolina 77
2/3/02 New England 20-St. Louis 17 Maryland 89-NC State 73
Missouri 81-Virginia 77
1/28/01 Baltimore 34-N.Y. Giants 7 North Carolina 60-NC State 52
1/30/00 St. Louis 23-Tennessee 16 Virginia 76-Wake Forest 67
1/31/99 Denver 34-Atlanta 19 Wake Forest 85-Maryland 72
North Carolina 75-Georgia Tech 66
1/25/98 Denver 31-Green Bay 24 Wake Forest 74-Missouri 65
NC State 56-Georgia Tech 51
1/26/97 Green Bay 35-New England 21 North Carolina 61-Clemson 48
Maryland 74-Duke 70
1/28/96 Dallas 27-Pittsburgh 17 Duke 83-Maryland 73
Connecticut 76-Virginia 46
1/29/95 San Fran 49-San Diego 26 Georgia Tech 81-Florida State 68
1/30/94 Dallas 30-Buffalo 13 North Carolina 85-Wake Forest 61
1/31/93 Dallas 52-Buffalo 17 NC State 72-Clemson 70
Florida State 96-Georgia Tech 77
1/26/92 Washington 37-Buffalo 24 NO ACC ACTION
1/27/91 N.Y. Giants 20-Buffalo 19 Georgia Tech 88-North Carolina 86
1/28/90 San Fran 55-Denver 10 Virginia 71-Wake Forest 70 (OT)
Duke 88-Georgia Tech 86
1/22/89 San Fran 20-Cincinnati 16 Illinois 103-Georgia Tech 92 (2OT)
1/31/88 Washington 42-Denver 20 NC State 71-DePaul 66
1/25/87 N.Y. Giants 39-Denver 20 Kansas 74-NC State 60
1/26/86 Chicago 46-New England 10 North Carolina 73-Notre Dame 61
1/20/85 San Francisco 38-Miami 16 NO ACC ACTION
1/22/84 L.A. Raiders 38-Washington 9 NO ACC ACTION
1/30/83 Washington 27-Miami 17 Arkansas 68-Wake Forest 65
1/24/82 San Fran 26-Cincinnati 21 Virginia 74-Louisville 56
1/25/81 Oakland 27-Philadelphia 10 Virginia 89-Ohio State 73
1/20/80 Pittsburgh 31-L.A. Rams 19 Maryland 92-North Carolina 86
1/21/79 Pittsburgh 35-Dallas 31 Duke 75-NC State 69
1/15/78 Dallas 27-Denver 10 North Carolina 71-Wake Forest 69
1/9/77 Oakland 32-Minnesota 14 Maryland 87-NC State 80
1/18/76 Pittsburgh 21-Dallas 17 NC State 68-North Carolina 67
1/12/75 Pittsburgh 16-Minnesota 6 NO ACC ACTION
1/13/74 Miami 24-Minnesota 7 NC State 80-Maryland 74
1/14/73 Miami 14-Washington 7 NC State 87-Maryland 85