It’s that time of year, again. Super Bowl Sunday is on its way. It’s regarded as a national holiday to most, me included.
Of course, like rain on your wedding day, the New England Patriots are playing to ruin an evening I look forward to all year. For those who do not know, I despise the Patriots. And I am not a football fan, who pulls any punches. If the Patriots beat your favorite team, I bet, you wouldn’t be happy either. And since they rarely lose, guess what? We who root against them are all on the same bandwagon.
Let’s recap the source of all my anger. Picture a 31-year-old sports writer, much darker (and longer) hair, a fan only two seasons removed from celebrating a Super Bowl title and ready for his team, the Rams, to be declared a dynasty. He had a stomach bug that fateful day, his team did everything right leading up to the game. They had their individual players announced, just as every team before them. Ah, but there were stronger forces as work here. What’s this? The Patriots are being announced as a TEAM! Wait, what? Is this allowed? Of course it’s allowed. Nobody told the Rams, though. And, this sentimental audience bought it hook, line and sinker. An inspiring scene worthy of the underdog Rocky taking on Apollo Creed. This was Hulk Hogan coming to the ring to face the Iron Sheik!
As the game played out, it seemed too perfect. The Rams, who could not be slowed all season, couldn’t muster a first down, let alone a touchdown. It almost seemed like the Patriots knew the plays. Terrific scouting report and game plan by the master Bill Belichick, who at that time was only known as a former coach of the Cleveland Browns and a defensive wizard. Just relentless instincts by the Patriots defenders to slow The Greatest Show on Turf. Tom Brady, who was a backup to Drew Henson at Michigan for crying out loud, dissected the Rams late and a star was born. A legend, really. And of course, it came down to that horrifying scene of Adam Vinatieri drilling a field goal.
Why am I so bitter, you ask? Well, the Patriots have since won three more Super Bowls, played in two others, won 3,000 AFC East championships, and are Jim Nantz’s favorite team. The Rams have won 87 games in 15 seasons since and have as many No. 1 overall draft picks as the Patriots do Super Bowl titles! If you don’t think it’s important to cherish a Super Bowl appearance, ask any Rams fan!
So, yeah, I’m mad. And I will never forgive the Patriots for ruining my NFL experience and destroying the Rams franchise like Luke Skywalker did the Death Star, and Lando Calrissian did the Death Star II, and Poe Dameron did the Starkiller, which is actually just the Death Star.
Any way, I always take this opportunity to allow the All-Region football players to pick the Super Bowl. Why anybody would believe after Pete Carroll chose to pass the ball on the 1-yard line two years ago that resulted in a Malcom Butler interception, earning the Patriots, of course, a narrow win, that the Falcons are going to win is beyond me. However, 11 of the 28 All-Region players are rooting for Atlanta in what would be a monumental upset.
Some interesting things I found out:
- Riverside’s Nick Sottile, a young man who I thought was on my side, is a Patriots fan for goodness sake! He’s lucky I didn’t know that during the season! WINK!
- Matt Craig of North Pocono is a longtime Falcons fan. I’m rooting for you buddy, but you know the deck is stacked against you.
- Several of the defensive All-Region players went with the Patriots.. Maybe because their defensive coordinator is my twin? Defensive Player of the Year Ben Dial, however, went with the Falcons, and I am told it has nothing to do with North Pocono and Atlanta having the same colors.
- Scranton Prep players were unanimous in taking the Patriots. Must be that spread offense and swarming defense coach Terry Gallagher is preaching.
- No surprise, either, that Dunmore players were UNITED, in choosing the Patriots.
- They may need to “build a wall” if Logan and Owen Hivner are watching the game together. Logan chose the Patriots and Owen likes the Falcons.
- Both Nick Haydu and Zach Rode, who are headed to Cornell University, went with the Falcons.
OK, I know — the question on everybody’s mind is, who am I picking. … TAKE A GUESS!
I would like to see Atlanta win, because the NFL needs a breath of fresh air. However, much like my misery back when the Patriots beat the Rams, and when they beat the Panthers, and when they beat the Eagles, and when they beat the Seahawks. … I think we know where this is going. … New England will win. Steve Bennett will brag and will remind us all this the greatest group of players who had to overcome so much adversity. Tom Brady will be declared the greatest of all time, because that’s what we do today. And the Patriots will continue to be my Evil Empire.
Here are the picks. … Good luck!
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Delaware Valley, QB
“I’m gonna have to go with the Patriots. Not because I like them, but because Brady is too good. Their offense will put up good numbers and points, and will control the game. Strategically they will be able to shut down Julio Jones and still not allow anyone else to make many plays.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
North Pocono, LB
“They are able to put up big numbers and not just rely on one weapon. Their defense is also on a roll which I think they will carry into the game to help win.”
OK, the votes are in and by my count the Patriots received 17 votes and the Falcons received 11 votes.
Now, I am no expert in polling, but it seems to me the Patriots are favored by the members of the All-Region Football Team. And to me, folks, these guys are the real experts. They have no hidden agendas. They are true fans of the game.
I can’t thank each of these guys enough for helping out and getting me their picks. I sent out messages last week and I got almost all of the responses back in minutes.
I must say, I had a little fun with this project, and it is something I look forward to each season for a couple of reasons:
- I get to reach out and talk to some guys who I haven’t seen in a while.
- It’s neat to see how they look at a game and break it down.
So, I hope as fans you all like this on Facebook and share it with your friends.
As always. … ENJOY!