This will not be one of those Super Bowls that features a lovable underdog.
New England is a monolithic machine, of course, and the Patriots are easy to dislike under the “They’ve won too much already” theory. But the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t exactly cut from the cloth of “Hoosiers” – in large part because they have the reputation for having the very worst, most belligerent fans in pro sports (they famously booed Santa Claus, among many other things).
My old friend at the Miami Herald, Greg Cote, has christened this game the “Unlike-A-Bowl,” and that’s about right.
But no matter how much you want both teams to lose Sunday, that’s not going to happen. What will?
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Well, before we get to that, can we talk about the great tradition of betting on bizarre things at the Super Bowl? Besides the game itself, you can legally bet (if you are in Las Vegas) on such things as:
▪ Will the national anthem that Pink sings be over or under two minutes long?
▪ What color will Bill Belichick’s shirt be?
▪ Will Justin Timberlake be wearing a hat when he starts his halftime show?
▪ How many tweets will President Donald Trump send out during the game? (The over/under is 3.5.)
In any case, feel free to add these or other bets to your own Super Bowl gathering for some “Dilly Dilly” kind of fun (and can you believe the “Dilly Dilly” guy is from Charlotte?)
As for the game itself:
You’re probably best not listening to me on predictions. Let’s get that out of the way. I missed both championship game picks. I chose Jacksonville to upset New England, and a number of people have congratulated me for being “almost right” on that one, but another definition of “almost right” is “dead wrong.”
But again, I’m not that sold on these Patriots. Yes, I know it’s Tom Brady and Belichick and yada yada yada.
But I am applying the “Panthers lens” to this game. I witnessed in person Carolina losing at home to Philadelphia this season but the Panthers winning on the road at New England.
All that was months ago, yet I can’t shake the feeling that the Eagles are simply the better overall team and that Nick Foles will do just enough to complement that hard-core Philly defense.
My prediction: Philadelphia 31, New England 26.