Interview-Gate: I really like Marshawn Lynch...when he's running the ball, not when he isn't running his mouth, if that makes sense.
Deflate-Gate: I agree that rules are important and they should be followed. But the deflate-gate issue brings up a number of other factors that may make it difficult to determine an appropriate punishment for the Patriots.
Injury Report-Gate: It has always bothered me that the NFL wants to distance itself from gambling, yet they require every team to publish an accurate injury report. Unless you have money on a game, what purpose does that report serve? And in an era when player safety is a major issue, why give an opponent information on whether and where a player might be banged up? Am I the only one with this concern?
Fire Alarm-Gate: The fire alarm in the Patriots' hotel in Phoenix has sounded twice this week. I'm sure if it was at the Seahawks' hotel, fingers would be pointing to Bill Belichick as the culprit.
I've never been particularly effective at predicting the outcome of the Super Bowl. The 49th edition is particularly difficult, as it matches the top two seeds for only the sixth time since 1990. That means we have a match-up between the best teams from each conference, and in this case, they are both on incredible rolls that got them to Arizona. Coming off a 45 - 7 beatdown of the Colts, the Patriots seem to be the fashionable pick to win, especially since the Seahawks were a bit fortunate to beat the Packers. But Seattle has a great defense, a creative quarterback and a terrific running game. And, let's not forget that they dismantled the Broncos in last year's game, taking on another future Hall of Fame quarterback.
Then there are the Patriots, who are in the fourteenth season of the Brady - Belichick era and winners of three Super Bowls. But the last of those victories was over a decade ago, losing in their last two trips to the Giants in 2008 and 2012. So where is this mystique? I tend to be a "what have you done for me lately" kind of guy, and Seattle has done a lot lately. This isn't to diminish the accomplishments of the Pats behind their Hall of Fame quarterback and coach, but the Seahawks have put together quite a team, one that seems intent on continuing their run.
It's now time for my prediction. Since I'm generally wrong, we'll have to see how far off I can be. While I would like to pick the Patriots, it just seems that with two weeks to prepare, the Seahawks should be able to stop New England from doing a lot of what they like to do, including generating long, time-consuming drives. On the other side of the ball, Marshawn Lynch will probably be able to break enough runs to keep the Pats' defense on its heels. I know no team has repeated as Super Bowl champs since, you guessed it, the Patriots did it in the prior decade. There have been repeat winners in every decade since the Super Bowl's inception, and this could be it for this one.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS 24 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 23
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