Today's pro-football players tend to be bigger and have a greater body mass than players from days of yore. Hall of Famer Wilbur "Pete" Henry (nicknamed "Fats") was one of the NFL's largest and most dominant linemen in the 1920s at 5 feet 11 inches and 245 pounds, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Today, he'd seem downright petite next to Broncos' right guard Louis Vasquez, who clocks in at 6'5" and 335 pounds.
In this photo, Vasquez (#65) takes a cell phone movie as he and center Manny Ramirez (#66) look around the field during their "walk-through" session for Super Bowl XLVIII at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, February 1, 2014.
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The NFL reported that its players suffered 271 concussions during the 2015-2016 season, up from 206 a year ago. Three Broncos players and six of the Panthers have been diagnosed with a concussion earlier this season, including 25-year-old Broncos linebacker Danny Trevathan (#59, pictured here in a Jan. 24, 2016, game against the New England Patriots), who was injured in December.
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Most likely injury
When it comes to injuries, football is riddled by more than concussion problems. "The most common thing is a musculoskeletal injury," Dr. Edward Laskowski, co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, told CBS News.
"The ligaments are at risk in football. The ACL [anterior cruciate ligament of the knee] is one of the more problematic injuries that you can have. It's often not a result of contact but of rapid deceleration; change of direction. You're running down field, you plant, then change direction significantly, pivot, and that can create stress on ligaments to the point that they tear," said Laskowski, who is also a consultant to the NHL Players Association and an Olympic team physician.
He said a number of positions on the field are at risk: halfbacks, wide receivers, safeties, and quarterbacks.
"In linemen, we don't see ACL injuries as much because they're not going down the field as often," Laskowski said.
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Injured football players in televised NFL games get six more seconds of camera time than celebrating players, said Kory Gill, Texas A&M Family & Sports Medicine Program Director.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, seen here during a media availability for Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif., on February 3, 2016, says his arm has never been quite the same since a neck injury four years ago.
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Chances of a concussion
There's less than a 50 percent chance a player will suffer a concussion in this weekend's big game, estimates Dr. Christopher Giza, director of the UCLA Steve Tisch BrainSPORT Program and a professor of pediatrics and neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.
Giza told CBS News that the highest-risk sports for concussions are referred to as "combat sports" - those in which purposeful collisions are part of the competition. They include football, boxing, wrestling, rugby, ice hockey and men's lacrosse.
Data collected from special helmets with sensors worn by college football players suggests that a hit to the crown of the head creates a force that can most often lead to a concussion, said Giza. But players are also at a higher risk when they are blindsided and can't anticipate a hit.
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Why players huddle
"The huddle in football was first started by a deaf football player, Paul Hubbard, because he couldn't hear the play calls," Kory Gill, Texas A&M Family & Sports Medicine Program Director, told CBS News.
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David Earnest, professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, said when it comes to feeling rested up, the Carolina Panthers could be at a disadvantage because they have to cross from the Eastern to Pacific time zones to play in Sunday's game.
"So they will face more potential problems with jet lag than the Broncos, who only have to travel across one time zone. And sleep problems will be a factor for the first three to four days after their arrival in Santa Clara," said Earnest.
He said the teams aimed to adjust for sleep setbacks by arriving in San Francisco a full week ahead of the Super Bowl.
Helmets weren't mandatory for football players until 1939, Texas A&M Family & Sports Medicine Program Director Kory Gill, D.O., told CBS News.
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Breakfast of champions
The Panthers have a staff of five to eight chefs on any given day cooking up breakfast and lunch for the players. Two faves, according to a statnews.com interview with the team's nutritionist, are an omelet bar stocked with veggies, turkey sausage, and salsas, and a 24-hour smoothie station.
"They're out there constantly making smoothies," Jennifer Brunelli said in the interview. She noted some of the Panthers consume up to 9,000 calories a day. That's at least three times more than the average Joe. Most men need between 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day, depending on their activity level, according to the USDA.
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1.3 billion chicken wings
This Super Bowl weekend, Americans will chow down on 1.3 billion chicken wings, according to the National Chicken Council. To give a sense of just how many barbecued, baked, and fried wings that looks like, imagine a trail laid end-to-end, stretching from Bank of America Stadium in the Panthers' hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, all the way to the Broncos' Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver -- 53 times over.
Super Bowl fans are predicted to consume some 278 million avocados -- more than 139 million pounds of them -- during game week, according to the Haas Avocado Board. That's enough to fill a football field, end zone to end zone, over 53 feet high, up to eight feet above the goal posts, they say. As far as game food goes, avocados are on the healthier side, containing about 20 vitamins and minerals and low in saturated fat.
Antacid sales increase by 20 percent the day after the Super Bowl, and six percent of Americans will call in sick the day after the big game, according to Kory Gill, Texas A&M Family & Sports Medicine Program Director.
A recent Tulane University study also found evidence that Super Bowl parties may help spread the flu. Between 1974 and 2009, cities with teams in the big game experienced 18 percent more influenza deaths that season.