You know where I’ll be today — watching Super Bowl LVI (56).
A few weeks ago, I figured it’d be the State Farm Bowl: Aaron Rodgers (Please sign with the Broncos!) and the Packers vs. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
As we soon learned, home field didn’t mean a lot in the postseason, nor did being the 1 or 2 seed.
And despite how everything played out, I firmly believe the NFL needs a more equitable way to decide the outcome in overtime. Both teams should get the ball at least once, not all but giving the win to the team that wins the OT coin flip.
As I’ve done annually since 2001, I garnered the local “experts’” picks on the game, asking who wins the Super Bowl and why, what’s the final score and who’s the MVP.
For the record, I say Rams win, 28-24, because of their potent offense, especially receiver Cooper Kupp, and new Rams QB Matthew Stafford finally getting his chance on the big stage. As for the MVP, I’m going with a defensive standout, the Rams’ Aaron Donald, because he’ll be pressuring/sacking Joe Burrow all game.
By the way, one of the coolest items about the game is IF the Bengals win, Joe Burrow becomes only the third QB in history to have won a national college championship and an NFL championship — cool because the other guys are also no ordinary Joes: Joe Namath (Alabama/New York Jets) and Joe Montana (Notre Dame/49ers).
The 70,000 seats have all been sold for ungodly prices, and it’ll literally be a hot one — temperatures could be in the 80s.
Now, on to the local experts:
Gerry Pannoni, RRHS football coach: Bengals 24, Rams 21. “Because Joe Burrow is a winner; he has ‘IT.’” MVP: Joe Burrow.
Robert Garza, CHS football coach: Bengals 34 Rams 31. “Led by a strong second half from Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase, the Bengals defeat the Rams on their home field. The Rams and Cooper Kupp keep it interesting, but the Bengals go down and kick a field goal to win the game. “ MVP: Joe Burrow.
Heath Ridenour, former Cleveland High coach, now UNM assistant: Rams 27, Bengals 24, “because it is (Rams QB) Matthew Stafford’s time.” MVP: Cooper Kupp.
David Howes, former Rio Rancho High coach, now UNM assistant: “No doubt, Rams 31-24 … because of defense and staff is due.” MVP: Matthew Stafford.
Tre Watson, former Storm standout and now Fresno State receiver: Rams 24, Bengals 21, “because they have a lot more experience than the young Bengals. MVP: Matthew Stafford.
Isaiah Chavez, former Rams standout and current UNM quarterback: Bengals 24, Rams 20, “because Joe Burrow’s gonna win.” MVP: Joe Burrow.
Matt Martinez, Cleveland High athletic director: Rams 35, Bengals 14. “The Rams, 27-21, with Aaron Donald and Von Miller and the defense are gonna make it hard for Joe Burrow.” MVP: Matthew Stafford.
Preston Dennard, areas resident and former UNM wide receiver who played in SB 14 with the Rams: “Rams win, closing out defensively in the fourth quarter.” MVP: Aaron Donald.