Sunday, January 30, 2005

Pats win by CCLXXVII

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Super Bowl XXXIX is coming up. I don't know a lot about football, but I do know my Latin. "XXXIX" means "39."

Anyway, just VII days from now, our mighty New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles. One team will emerge from the Super Bowl triumphant, to grace its home city with a victory parade where all fans young and old will share in the glory.

The other team will have a long bus ride home. They will not stop for ice cream along the way.

I predict the Eagles will be that latter team. You heard it here first, or at least you heard it here as one of the many places you've heard it.

Normally, I don't like football. There are a lot of rules and players who perform tasks that are beyond my understanding. But I do like talking trash. Therefore: the Eagles will lose.

It's not just because I'm from New England and in the newspaper business, and I have to root for the home team or be fired. It just makes sense that the Patriots will win the Super Bowl. They've been playing well, and the Eagles are a team that wears teal. You do the math.

Many other factors went into my pro-Pats prediction.

Due to the blizzard, the Patriots will have spent much of the time before the big game digging out their cars and cleaning off the field. I myself dug out two cars recently, and take it from me -- it builds incredible amounts of rippling muscle.

Also, shoveling snow increases endurance and tolerance to cold weather. That will work in the Patriots' favor, big time. The temperature in Jacksonville, Fla., often dips into the low 70s or even the 60s once the sun goes down.

The Eagles, on the other hand, will have spent the two weeks between their NFC championship game and the Super Bowl in Philadelphia. In the cold. Without as much shoveling to do. You know what that means. They'll just sit on the couch and eat, eat, eat. Chocolate, hoagies, cream cheese, cheesesteaks.

I have relatives in Philly, so I'm intimately familiar with that fair city. Throw a stick in any direction and you'll hit cheese. It's one of the fattest cities in America--recent surveys show that the entire metropolitan area had to poke a new hole in its belt with a barbecue fork. I once saw a homeless guy standing on a milk crate holding a sign that said, "Sober veteran. Will work for large cheesesteak, no onions, large chili cheese fries and X-large chocolate shake." Long story short, before next Sunday, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb will develop a thick layer of paunch that will inhibit his throwing motion. And unless there's a platter of cocktail weenies waiting, there's no way any Eagle will be running all that way to the end zone.

I also snuck behind enemy lines, to the Philadelphia Eagles Web site, so I could figure out their strategy.

No such luck. Their latest article is about the Eagles sponsoring a book mobile on their way to a Super Bowl victory. That's right, football fans. A book mobile.

"On Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Eagles started 'booking it' to Jacksonville as the Eagles Book Mobile departed from Philadelphia on a four-day, 1,600-mile journey," reads the article. "In cities and towns along the way, they want to help make the dreams of less fortunate children come true by using the Eagles Book Mobile to inspire children to read and by giving them new, free books to do so."

Oh. So it's books, is it? Giving them away for free, no less? That's an interesting pre-game training technique. Let me just check how many librarians have won the Super Bowl...

But, hey! If a bunch of needy kids show up on the field and the NFL suddenly decides to hand out points for giving them books, then look for the Eagles to get on the scoreboard early.

Just for kicks, I visited the Patriots Web site. Their top story: something football-related. "The Pats will throw the linebackers at Westbrook the way they handled St. Louis Rams do-it-all back Marshall Faulk in the Super Bowl three years ago." I didn't understand this sentence, so it's probably important to the game.

Also factoring into my prediction: The Eagles play at Lincoln Financial Field, and the Patriots play at Gillette Stadium. One is named for a president with a funny beard. The other is named for a razor company. Razors shave beards. No contest.

I should probably throw some play details in here. Look for Pats QB Tom Brady to throw the ball to a guy who will run with it to the end of the field and dance. My score prediction: 278-0.

There's only one thing about the Eagles that could prove troublesome.

In my online research, I compared the two cheerleading squads. Now, don't get me wrong -- the Pats cheerleaders have a lot going for them. There aren't too many Jennifers, and the team is well balanced between blondes and brunettes. According to their biographies, they have a combined 319 years of cheerleading and dance experience. That tells me they're gutsy veterans who've worked hard to get to this point.

But before I could log on to the Eagles cheerleaders' site, I encountered a warning of "age-appropriate content." An interesting sign. Clicking past that brought me to an extremely salacious photo of what appeared to be a cheerleader's tight end. Many other pages contained bios and photos and ads for the 2005 lingerie calendar that's rather light on the lingerie (just $13.99). There was so much deep cleavage it was like watching a Grand Canyon slide show.

Be warned, Pats fans. This squad is lifted, tucked and prepared to push themselves higher than I've seen in a while. They're not ready to play -- they're ready to WIN. Mark my words: If the Eagles cheerleaders can start their jumping-up-and-down-in-place routine early, look for a seriously distracted Pats offense.

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