This week's Numbers Game gives you a head start on crunching those Super Bowl digits, while examining a long streak that was snapped and one particular past high school football star who shined on a big stage once again.
But before we unveil this week's edition, some kudos are in store for State College of Florida.
During last Saturday's annual SCF alumni baseball game, each member of the alumni team wore the number "7" in tribute to longtime Manatees head coach Tim Hill Sr., who passed away last month.
Having each player don one of the two numbers Hill wore during his tenure, and the one he wore the longest, added a special touch to Saturday's contest.
Now ... onto this week's Numbers Game!
Consecutive extra points New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski converted before Sunday's pivotal miss in the AFC Championship game. That streak is an NFL record, and Gostkowski nailed all 60 previous extra point kicks in his playoff career. His first PAT miss in nine years meant the Pats needed to go for two to force over
time following a late fourth quarter touchdown. But New England's attempt failed when former Tampa Bay Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib deflected quarterback Tom Brady's pass away from his intended target. Brady was hit a season-high 23 times, and the errant two-point conversion meant Gostkowski had a final chance to redeem his earlier miscue with an onside kick. However, Denver recovered to seal a 20-18 victory. Gostkowski, who finished the season 2-for-3 on onside kick attempts, was the only kicker to have two successful onside kicks this season.
Combined interception yards for former Southeast star Brian Poole on two All-Star game returns for touchdowns. The Florida Gators senior had a pick-six that covered 98 yards in last weekend's East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. He also returned an interception for 93 yards to set an Under Armour All-American Game record at the same venue back in 2012 when he was a Southeast senior.
For the third straight year, the Super Bowl champion will be a No. 1 seed following Denver and Carolina's victories in Sunday's conference title games. Seattle and New England were top seeds when they became world champions the last two seasons. Those Super Bowls, in which Seattle beat Denver and New England beat Seattle, also featured both sides as No. 1 seeds from their respective conferences. Before the current streak of a No. 1 seed winning football's grand prize, only two of the previous 13 Super Bowl champs were the top seed.
Peyton Manning's winning percentage in four AFC title games. Yes, that's not a misprint. Often labeled for struggling to win the big game, with just one Super Bowl ring and his winless record against the University of Florida during his college career at Tennessee, Manning has thrived in the AFC Conference championship. In fact, that 3-1 record is entirely against Tom Brady-led Patriot clubs! Brady has yet to beat Manning in the AFC title game since the latter's arrival in Denver, while the pair split two meetings in that game when Manning played quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.
Consecutive seasons that Manatee County advanced at least one girls soccer program past the first round of the state playoffs. All four county schools and Out-of-Door Academy exited in the regional quarterfinals of their respective classifications last Thursday. That was the first time nobody got through that round since 2004 when Lakewood Ranch, Manatee, Saint Stephen's and Southeast were all eliminated.
This year's group included Braden River, Bradenton Christian, Lakewood Ranch, Manatee and ODA.
The Pirates have been eliminated in the first round four out of five postseason trips, while Manatee lost in the first round for the 11th time in 12 trips since 2000.
BCS made its playoff debut and ODA suffered a first-round setback in back-to-back seasons.
Lakewood Ranch had previously secured passage to the second round of the state playoffs 13 times out of 16 trips, before Thursday's extra-time defeat to Tampa Wharton.
Jason Dill, sports reporter, can be reached at 745-7017 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jason__Dill and like his Facebook page at Jason Dill Bradenton Herald.