Let Punxsutawney Phil pick the winner

By Lou Christine

Super Bowl XLVIII’s contenders were determined January 19 when the Denver Broncos upended the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks overcame the San Francisco 49ers. Despite both NFL franchises being early favorites to win their perspective AFC-NFC Conferences, they still had to play out the grueling 17-week season and then survive the playoffs.

Both experienced tumultuous seasons. Their reward for triumphing the physical rigors, the monotony, the injuries, the criticism, the travel, not to mention the fierce and violent competition, is to vie in what is likely to be a frosty Super Bowl played outdoors, on February 2, in North Jersey of all places! Are you kidding me?

I guess some NFL suits decided to reward North Jersey for their immense contributions to professional football. Super Bowl fans used to partying in the balmy Crescent City’s French Quarter or Miami’s South Beach can do their partying and twerking at some truck stop where a slick and frozen Jersey Turnpike meets the Garden State Parkway. Tailgating should be especially celebratory  offering fans opportunities to mix with Eddie-the-Kneecap and Nanook of the North.

Sheesh! Can you believe it? Still, there’s a game to play and, whatever the weather, it should be a great game, along with lots of sideline stories featuring the hallmark players who by now have become household names to those who’ve followed the teams all season.

But who’s gonna win? Don’t expect a pick from me. I’ve been humbled by too many Super Bowls. After so many crushing defeats why would I want to go out on a limb and spoil my losing reputation? Been there, done that.

Yet, I can’t suppress the wise guy in me and I often come up with an angle. You know, some street-corner philosophy having me feel invincible like, “that’s the ticket!”  So here’s the deal on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2. Pay attention! Do what I am going to do, just before I call my boyhood buddy, Gus, back in the old neighborhood, who serves as my trusty bookie.

My gutsy prediction is that on February 2, Punxsutawney Phil will determine if it’s Seattle or Denver. You see, February 2 is Groundhog Day. Tradition dictates how many weeks of winter the Southwestern Pennsylvania town has in store if Phil sees his shadow! Folklore says if it’s cloudy, (ahem), like it often is in Seattle, spring will come early! Legend also says if it’s sunny (ahem), like it is often in Denver, and Phil sees his shadow, he’ll quickly scamper back to his burrow to endure at least another six weeks of winter.

So there you have it. If it’s cloudy up in the great Northeast corridor, it’s the Day of the Seahawk, and if it’s sunny, Peyton and the Broncos will rule.

My advice . . . Right after you wake up on Groundhog Day, just Google to see if Phil did or did not see his shadow up in PA.

Then call Gus.

Forget about Terry, Howie and the TV talking head bunch, forget about what some smart ass is telling you up in the Jardin and forget about the pick stemming from the chimpanzee, the one in Germany who’s picked every winner in the last 20 years. As for the rest, “Forget about them too, the Eagles ain’t in it!”


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