Sunday, February 3, 2019

And the winner is...

Well, here it is, Super Bowl Sunday, and I haven't made my prediction yet.

Possibly because it pains me to do so.

Once again, there's a battle raging between my heart and my brain.  The trouble is, my heart really isn't in it. The trouble is, this appears to be a no-brainer.

As I illustrated last week, there seems to be a lot of Patriot fatigue out there in real-world land because the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots are in their ninth Super Bowl this century. Unless you are from New England (or Los Angeles, I suppose), the ennui appears to be palpable.

Although, I concede, it could be just me.  But I don't think so. I talk to people. I exercise with people, some who happen to be football fans, every morning at the YMCA. I ask them their feelings about the Super Bowl. The ho-humism is nearly overwhelming.

Like most, I'm as tired of seeing the Patriots' annual appearance in the Super Bowl as anybody else.

But then, 40-plus years of sports writing forces me to make this concession: if you can't beat the Patriots in the playoffs, then shut up. As much as we might not like it, they earned it. In spite of the Spygates and Deflategates, the organization is consistently superior in its drafting and player acquisitions. And Brady, the leader on the field, has demonstrated he is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete and we should see it as a privilege to be a witness to his greatest-of-all-time career.

Really, who's been better? Starr? Farve? Unitas? Graham? Elway? Baugh? Staubach? Manning? Montana? Namath?

Just look at the statistics, people. Just count the Super Bowl rings. If the Patriots win today, Brady will own a six-pack of championship rings. Sheesh. And yikes.

As the Philadelphia Eagles showed last year, Brady and the Patriots are beatable, and when you do beat them, it makes victory all the sweeter because you've beaten the very best.

Last year, there was a sense of upset in the air.

This year, there seems to be a confluence of talent, fate, karma and history coalescing in the ozone (if not the end zone). Even the weather seems to be cooperating.

And so, it comes to this: Patriots 35, Rams 21.

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