16. James’ three big returns
POPS PROPS III, question #61. Which will be greater: LaMichael James’ (SF) total return yards or the fourth-round score for the Waste Management Phoenix Open winner?
Our field favored James by a 33-31-2 margin and they were proved correct. Phil Mickelson shot a final-round 67, and James returned three kicks for 75 yards.
15. Matsuyama bests Newton
POPS PROPS VI, question #80. Which sum will be greater: Cam Newton passing yards or the total four-round score of the Waste Management Phoenix Open winner?
A majority (58 percent) voted for Newton, who threw for 265 yards. But Hideki Matsuyama fired a four-day 270 for the crossover win!
14. Mickelson’s Monday-morning birdie
POPS PROPS I, question #54: Which will be greater: Ben Roethlisberger’s touchdown passes or Phil Mickelson’s fourth-round birdies at the Waste Management Phoenix Open?
Roethlisberger threw two touchdown passes. Mickelson shot two birdies before the tournament was suspended due to weather, then added a third birdie on Monday morning. That gave 33 players (61.1 percent) the crossover point.
13. Cooks soars past gold
POPS PROPS IX, question #80. Which number will be greater: (The price at kickoff of an ounce of gold in U.S. dollars, divided by 10) or Brandin Cook’s receiving yards?
Our field had a hard time reaching a consensus and leaned slightly toward gold (36-35-4). The gold sum was 131 at kickoff, which meant that Cooks needed 91 yards (plus 40) to tie. He picked up 120 in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl to take a surprising crossover win.
12. Bitcoin holds off Brady
POPS PROPS IX, question #82. Which number will be greater: (The price of a single Bitcoin in U.S. dollars, divided by 10) or Tom Brady’s total passing yards?
One year after Bitcoin was in the $8,200-$9,500 range, it had fallen all the way to the mid-$3,000s. At kickoff, it was roughly $3,300, which meant Tom Brady needed at least 331 passing yards to win this question. A majority (49 players) thought that was highly likely. Instead, Brady threw for just 262 yards in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl, handing the 22 players who picked Bitcoin the crossover point.
11. Bitcoin blows out Lewis
POPS PROPS VIII, question #80. Which number will be greater: Dion Lewis’s total yards gained, minus 20 or the price of a single Bitcoin in U.S. dollars, divided by 100?
Bitcoin’s value wildly fluctuated from the mid-$9,000s through the low-$8,000s in the weeks leading up to POPS PROPS VIII. It seemed Lewis would need about 110 total yards to be a sure bet for this pick. Most of the field (34-29-4) thought that was likely. But Lewis got only 84, 64 after taking away 20. Bitcoin was worth a little more than $8,200 at kickoff and took the crossover win.
10. Honduras Progreso/Vida tie turnovers
POPS PROPS VIII, question #83. Which number will be greater: Total number of turnovers or (total goals scored by Honduras Progreso and Vida, plus 1)?
A majority (36-22-9) picked Honduras Progreso and Vida, but the two teams scored just one goal in Progreso’s 1-0 victory. That meant 22 players would win the question if there were at least three turnovers. There was just a fumble and interception, giving the win to the nine players who thought “the two numbers will be equal.”
9. Dundee blasts field goals
POPS PROPS III, question #62. Which will be greater: Total field goals or the sum of Dundee and Greenock Morton goals in the Scottish Cup?
Most of the field (45 players, 68.1 percent) took the field goals, then watched in disbelief as Dundee pounded Greenock Morton 5-1 (6 goals). The Ravens and 49ers combined for five field goals.
8. Chelsea/Man U squeak past passing touchdowns
POPS PROPS VI, question #82. Which sum will be greater: Passing touchdowns or totals goals scored by Chelsea and Manchester United?
When Chelsea and Man U managed just two goals in a 1-1 draw, it looked like the 49 players (71 percent) who voted for passing touchdowns would be rewarded. But the Broncos and Panthers combined for zero passing touchdowns, giving soccer the crossover win.
7. Waste Management runnerup, total plays end deadlocked
POPS PROPS X, question #85: Which sum will be greater on Sunday: Total number of plays for the Super Bowl winner or (the final-round score of the Waste Management Phoenix Open runner-up, plus five)?
Tony Finau fired a final-round 70, which meant that a majority of players (39) would get this question right if the Super Bowl winner ran 76 plays. Anything above 72 is a tall order and usually means that one team dominated the time of possession. The Chiefs ran off exactly 75, giving the crossover question to two players who thought “the two sums would be equal.”
6. Explosive PAC-12 knocks off sluggish Rice
POPS PROPS III, question #58: Which will be greater: The sum of Ray Rice and Frank Gore rushing yards or (the sum of Oregon State and Stanford men’s college basketball points + 20)?
Our field favored Rice and Gore (36-29-1), and Gore picked up 110 yards himself. But Rice was held to 59 for a total of 169. Meanwhile, the Pac-12 teams combined for 154 points. Adding 20 made for a total of 174 and one of the closest large-number crossovers in PROPS history.
5. Wolverines/Spartans eke out the win
POPS PROPS II, question #57: Which will be greater: The sum of Ahmad Bradshaw and BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushing yards or the sum of Michigan and Michigan State points?
In our only crossover split decision, 25 players chose each of the sums. Michigan and Michigan State combined for 118 points, while Bradshaw and Green-Ellis combined for 116 yards!
4. Nelson single-handedly beats Buckeyes/Gopher
POPS PROPS I, question #53: Which will be greater: The sum of Ohio and Minnesota’s points in an afternoon men’s college basketball game or the sum of Jordy Nelson and Emmanuel Sanders receiving yards?
Thirty-three players (61.1 percent) picked Ohio State/Minn, and they combined for a surprisingly high (for a January Big Ten game) 151 points. It looked like the Big Ten sum would easily win the crossover after Sanders left the game with a broken foot (and just 17 yards) in the second quarter. But Nelson went off for 140, giving he and Sanders 157 overall and a stunning victory.
3. Silver crushes Mostert for fourth-straight win
POPS PROPS X, question #80: Which number will be greater on Sunday, Feb. 2? (The price, at kickoff, of an ounce of silver in U.S. dollars + 2) or Raheem Mostert’s rushing attempts?
The price of an ounce of silver had been hovering in the low-$18-range for months, which meant that Mostert would need 20 attempts to tie. The 49ers shared rushing duties for most of the season until the NFC title game, in which Mostert carried 29 times for a franchise-record 229 yards. Our field favored him a wide margin (43-20-2), but he had just 12 attempts in the Super Bowl. It was silver’s fourth crossover win in four appearances!
1. (tie) English League draws total turnovers
POPS PROPS IV, question #65. Which will be greater: Total turnovers or total goals scored by Nottingham Forest and Yeovil Town in the English League Championship?
Once again, the vote was close. Our field leaned slightly toward total goals (35-31-3), and once again, was feeling pretty good after the two teams combined for four goals. But the Broncos and Seahawks combined for four turnovers, giving the point to the three players who thought “the two sums will be equal!”
1. (tie) Scottish Premiership draws total sacks
POPS PROPS IV, question #64. Which will be greater: Total sacks or total goals scored by Celtic and St. Mirren in the Scottish Premiership?
Our field leaned slightly toward total sacks (34-32-3), and our consensus was feeling pretty good after Celtic and St. Mirren combined for just one goal. But the Broncos and Seahawks combined for just one sack, giving the point to the three players who thought “the two sums will be equal!”