If you're like me and you're tired of the New England Patriots, apologists and all, in the post-season every year, you'd have to root for NFC champion Atlanta to win tonight's Super Bowl.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan, in his 9th season out of Boston College, was named league MVP at their NFL Honors awards show last night. Whereas Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn't have all of his weapons---in particular injured TE Rob Gronkowski--, Ryan has a surplus, including WR Julio Jones, who knows a thing or two about playing for a championship, having been on a national title team at Alabama. Mohammed Sanu came over from Cincinnati as a free agent to bolster the Falcons' receiving corps. On defense, Brady will be reacquainted with an old nemesis in Dwight Freeney, who knows about the frustration of going through New England's offensive line from his days in Indianapolis. Partnered now with Vic Beasley, Freeney may finally get that 2nd Super Bowl ring.
There's also the local factor that we've talked about. New England Defensive Coordinator Matt Patricia is a graduate of RPI. RB Dion Lewis' career has been resurrected in Foxborough, as we've noted. Across the field, defensive lineman Joe Vellano, a grad of Christian Brothers Academy, is in his 2nd Super Bowl in 3 years, even though he wasn't on the active roster when the Patriots escaped Super Bowl 49 with a last second win over Seattle. However, the Patriots didn't keep him around the last two seasons. Lord only knows what the decision making process is with coach Bill Belichick, who's looking for his 7th ring overall. Another Falcons lineman, Josh Keyes, played his high school ball in Chatham. The home district will have plenty of eyeballs looking at this game, that's for sure.
Maybe Brady's pal, President Trump, can do us all a favor and give Belichick his dream job----with the CIA---after the game, win or lose. Just sayin'.
For all the drama over commissioner Roger Goodell having to hand the Lombardi Trophy to Patriots owner Robert Kraft after the game, assuming New England wins, it would be a even more Bromo worthy moment if the sheep among the press name Brady game MVP again. He didn't deserve it 2 years ago, as it should've gone to Malcolm Butler for his game saving interception in the final seconds, a play that wouldn't have been made if Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wasn't having a severe brain fart at the wrong time.
Brady & Ryan will air it out all night. I expect to see a shootout, and I know you do, too.
The pick: Falcons, 34-30.
Of course, I could be wrong.