Good Thursday of Super Bowl Week to you all!

It’s that time of the year, again, when football fans get ready to knock down unhealthy portions of chicken wings, dive in headfirst to a plate of nachos, and indulge in their favorite beverages. They crowd around large-screen televisions or migrate to an area watering hole. It’s a holiday in winter, really.

On Sunday, the annual battle between the best team from the National Football Conference and the Patriots — I mean the best team from the American Football Conference collide. This year’s NFC representative to try and knock off the Patriots will be the Philadelphia Eagles — and truth be told that is my father’s and my brother’s favorite team, so there is some interest. Listen, nobody roots harder against the Patriots than I do — I think we all recall that Super Bowl mess back when Tom Brady rallied the troops to their first title beating my beloved Rams, who by the way had a pretty good season in 2017. That being said, last year took the cake as far as I was concerned with the rally from down 28-3. It would take a minor miracle (or two) to beat the Patriots in a Super Bowl.

WINK! WINK!

 

New York Giants receiver David Tyree, right, makes a catch against New England Patriots safety Rodney Harrison (37) during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl XLII.

 

 


New York Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham (82) makes a catch at the sideline as New England Patriots free safety Patrick Chung defends during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl XLVI.

 

As is tradition here at The Times-Tribune, we provide an opportunity for All-Region football players to make their picks for the Super Bowl. Last season, 17 All-Region football players correctly picked the New England Patriots to claim Super Bowl 51. There were 11 who had the Falcons and were probably throwing their plates of food at the televisions right around the final three minutes of the fourth quarter — like I did.

 

Some observations from this year’s selections: 

 

  • For the second straight year all of the Dunmore guys — Gavin Darcy, Nick Shoemaker, Jerry Longo and Steve Borgia — chose the Patriots. No surprise that quarterback Darcy went with the Pats and Tom Brady. Longo is trying to improve his career record to 2-1 having picked the Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Should he do so, I will allow him to ghost pick for me in Grid Picks next fall — WINK!

 

  • Delaware Valley players went 4 to 1 with the Eagles. Four of them have had enough of the Patriots and all their success, while Dylan Kelly is leaning on Brady. Last year, Kelly picked the Falcons because, and I quote, “I hate the Patriots and I’d like to see Julio Jones and Matt Ryan get a ring.” But this year, he won’t be fooled, again and is going with the Patriots.

 

  • Owen Hivner went with the Falcons last season and he is going with Eagles this year. Clearly, he is not a fan of the Patriots.

 

  • Last year, Matt Pidgeon, a die-hard Steelers fan, picked the Falcons to beat the Patriots. This year, his brother, Thomas Pidgeon, is going with the Eagles. Again, not happy with the Patriots and that Steelers outcome earlier in the year.

 

OK, so here are the selections for this season’s game:

 

OFFENSE

BACKS AND RECEIVERS

 

 

   

RB — RYAN OBISO

DELAWARE VALLEY

“The Eagles defense has a lot of depth and the Patriots defense has been struggling and I believe Nick Foles is going to tear it up. … But never underestimate Tom Brady.”
 

QB — GAVIN DARCY

DUNMORE

 “The Patriots, because Tom Brady is the best QB to ever live.”
   

RB — SETH VERNON

VALLEY VIEW

“Foles is good under pressure and the Eagles are hungrier for a SB win!!”
   

RB — MATT GILMARTIN

SCRANTON PREP

“The Eagles are my favorite team.”

WR — KY’RON HARBIN

SCRANTON

“Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever compete in the game.”
   

WR — THOMAS PIDGEON

LAKELAND

“I am a Steelers fan, and they aren’t in it, so I guess the other Pennsylvania team is all right.”
   

TE — CREE COCCODRILLI

SCRANTON PREP

“They’ve always been my favorite team and somebody needs to dethrone TB12 and his team. #flyeaglesfly
 
 

RB — BRENDAN MOZELESKI

OLD FORGE

“They feel disrespected and have played with great passion.”


 

 

IN THE TRENCHES

 

   

OT — JACOB ROCCABRUNA

DELAWARE VALLEY

“Fletcher Cox and a superior defense, as well as my hatred for the Patriots. I’m a Steelers fan and took that loss last year pretty hard.”
 

OG — JERRY LONGO

DUNMORE

“I’ll have to take the Patriots. You can never count out Brady and Belichick.”
   

C — MATT CAPUTO

NORTH POCONO

“The Eagles have a strong defense, pass rush especially, and they will do it for the city!!!
   

OG — ANTHONY ROSSI

SCRANTON PREP

“I believe it is time for the Patriots reign to end and time for the Eagles to fly, especially if they keep constant pressure on Brady.”
   

OT — SHAWN JONES

LACKAWANNA TRAIL

“I want them to win because they have never won one before. They have a solid defense and very explosive offense.”

 

 

 

DEFENSE

UP FRONT

 

   

DL — NICK SHOEMAKER

DUNMORE

“They have the better dynasty than the Eagles and more playoff experience.”
   

DL — BRENDAN HEANEY

DELAWARE VALLEY

“I am picking the Eagles, but the Patriots have the superior Super Bowl experience.”
 

DL — COLE FULLER

WESTERN WAYNE

“The Eagles have the ability to run the ball and with their defense, they will be able to put pressure on Tom Brady.”

DL — KYLE CWALINSKI

VALLEY VIEW

“Can’t ever go against Brady!! He’s the GOAT.”

 

LINEBACKERS

 

   

LB — SAM PITTSMAN

VALLEY VIEW

“Brady refuses to lose!!”

   

LB — JC GAUGHAN

NORTH POCONO

“The D-line is relentless, their defensive backs are physical, and defense wins championships!!”
 

LB — IVAN BALAVAGE

SCRANTON PREP

“Although my team is the Washington Redskins, I will be rooting for the Eagles. The Patriots are overpowered and it would be nice to have a new champion and see the Brady-era come to an end.”
 
 

LB — ANTHONY SCILLIA

DELAWARE VALLEY

“They are the underdogs and nobody thought they would get this far.”
 

LB — OWEN HIVNER

LACKAWANNA TRAIL

“I would love to see a team from Pennsylvania get the win.”

 

 

SECONDARY

 

 

DB — DYLAN KELLY

DELAWARE VALLEY

“Brady is just too good. He makes his whole team better and I don’t think the Eagles have the firepower to keep up with the Patriots.”
 
 

DB — SAM DICKSON

SCRANTON PREP

“I don’t have any interest in the Eagles or the Patriots. But, I really dislike the Patriots, so it makes me happy to say the Bird Gang is going to win the Super Bowl. Their intensity and they seem to be more pumped and excited for this game than the Patriots.”
   

DB — RHEYSE GREEN

SCRANTON

“My main reason is because they’re my favorite team and I also love Malcolm Jenkins and how he plays the game.  He’s my favorite player.”
 

DB — STEVE BORGIA

DUNMORE

 “I️ believe Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will win due to their experience being in big time games.”

 

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

   

P — ZACH MALDACKER

WALLENPAUPACK

“I am a Patriots fan. To be honest, I don’t want to give the Eagles fans the satisfaction of winning a Super Bowl!”
 

K — ALEC BUTTNER

SCRANTON PREP

 “Philadelphia just came off of a big win and are really hyped up and ready for the game. Plus, New England had trouble with Jacksonville. I personally believe that Philadelphia is a better team than Jacksonville.”

 


 

THE VERDICT

 

All of the votes are in, and by my count, there are 19 players who have selected the Philadelphia Eagles to claim their first Super Bowl. There are 9 votes for the Patriots, who just happen to be playing in their 10th Super Bowl.

And despite all the encouragement to try and use my Super Bowl jinx to my advantage by picking the Patriots, I am going with the guys on the All-Region team. I will pick the Eagles and likely be disappointed, for the sixth time.

I want to thank all the players for participating, and the help I received from the coaches and athletic directors in order to collect the selections this week.

ENJOY the game!