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Houston vs. Dallas: How Super Bowl Performers Stack Up

Dallas and Houston have never officially met in the Super Bowl, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find a good way to pit them against each other ahead of Sunday night’s Super Bowl 50 bonanza. Both metro areas fancy themselves as the state’s No. 1 football hotbed, but which really comes out on top when it comes to producing the most primetime performers? 

For an answer, I scoured the record books of each of the previous 49 Super Bowls for most DFW and Houston metro natives to have ever done something in a Super Bowl on the offensive or special teams side of the ball. Then I took all those native sons’ statistics and put them up against each other. Here, the criterion for “native son” is solely based on the metro area where the Super Bowler played high school football.

Data sources include official NFL records, The Ultimate Super Bowl Book and the invaluable databasefootball.com and www.pro-football-reference.com. I went through each Super Bowl roster and gathered biographical information such as the players’ high schools along with their statistics. From there, it was a matter of some serious filtering to get the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and Greater Houston players.

I didn’t gather defensive stats, primarily because many tackle and sack statistics were not considered official in previous decades. They were not as well kept as the offensive and special teams statistics. Where helpful, there are links below to full data sets, soirées and notes posted on blogs I run. 

In terms of prep football prowess, DFW sure wears some mighty high boots, but it isn’t stepping as high as Houston. DFW high school alumni have totaled only 348 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown in all previous Super Bowls, compared to 498 rushing yards and five rushing TDs by Houston.

It gets worse in receiving yards. There, Houstonians have accumulated 843 yards and 11 touchdowns compared to 285 and 3 TDs by DFW-ers. And it would be a lot worse without Dallas Carter alum Michael Crabtree’s 109 yards for San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII. 

Things get even worse in quarterbacking. DFW alumni have had such a difficult time getting into the Super Bowl, it's downright Romo-esque. No DFW-er has yet completed a single pass in The Game. It’s not too much better for Texas at large, which hasn’t yet capitalized on becoming a fertile hotbed of big-time quarterback talent. Indeed, only two high school Texan quarterbacks — Gary Kubiak and Drew Brees — have thrown passes in a Super Bowl.

But the 288 yards Brees mustered in Super Bowl XLIV gointo the Austin metro area’s ledger. That leaves ol’ “Koob,” the Broncos’ current head coach, who leads Denver against Carolina on Sunday as six-point underdogs. Kubiak, who attended Houston’s St. Pius X High School before becoming an Aggie, also played for the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI and XXIV. He totaled 76 yards and five completions on seven attempts in the two games.

Special teams provide our last points of comparison. Here, DFW finally gets it together.

In the kickoff department, DFW-ers have completed a total of 272 yards on 13 returns, compared to Houston’s 148 yards on seven returns. In punt returns, DFW nearly laps Houston, with 82 yards on eight returns to their 42 yards on three.

Field goal kicking is another area where Dallas reigns supreme. Here, DFW kickers have made 12 of 16 field goals in all Super Bowls, while chipping in all 19 extra point attempts. Poor Houston metro, meanwhile, has only a single Super Bowl field goal kicker. That would be Curt Knight, of Mineral Wells, who missed his only FG attempt for Washington in a losing Super Bowl VII effort.

As we head into the fourth quarter, Houston metro does flip the field a bit with punting. Here, the area has produced three punters to pierce Super Bowl skies, including The Woodlands’ Lee Johnson, who netted 221 yards on five punts in Super Bowl XXIII.

Dallas’ sole representative is Curley Johnson, a Woodrow Wilson alum who kicked it at the University of Houston before heading to the NFL, where he played for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. 

So, who wins?

Houston definitely has the upper hand in total yardage, touchdowns and all that glamor position jazz, but let’s not blow the final whistle yet. There’s one last battleground. The actual match up.

To set it up, I count two things. The first is the number of times these players’ teams won. I also counted the number of times metro area alumni made unique contributing appearances in Super Bowls. This means that I count only players who tallied at least one stat in the game. I don’t let players double qualify for the same Super Bowl, so nobody is included twice even if they got receiving and rushing yards, for instance.  If somebody went to two Super Bowls, and got stats in each, that is considered two unique contributing appearances.

With that legalese out of the way, here’s the final verdict:

All-Time DFW Appearances: 31
All-time DFW Wins: 19
Winning percentage: 61.3%

All-time Houston metro Appearances: 46
All-time Houston metro Wins: 21
Winning percentage: 45.7%

So, there you have it, it's Dallas by a thin margin.  Not unlike the Houston Texans in so many a regular season, Houston shows promise early on but fades down the stretch.  

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