Super Bowl XLII: Prediction and Preview

Jon Weissberg


I’ve been getting grief from friends about my disgraceful predictions regarding the NFL championship games a couple of weeks ago, and to be honest I can’t counter-argue these slanderous remarks. I am dreadful at predicting events and as a matter of fact I’m mediocre at giving advice in all realms of life. Although my intentions maybe sincere, I often “Ray Finkle” the situation.

Here is a recent example of my poor prophetic ways:

One autumn evening I returned home to Long Island to dine at a sportsbar with my Father and his close friend “The ButtonMan.” In between watching a fastball strike or a late hit on a kicker, we discussed new films, the ButtonMan’s grandchildren and the desperation of being a housewife.

At one point during the meal the ButtonMan asked me which horse I liked in the upcoming Breeders Cup race. I brazenly replied that it would be ludicrous if he didn’t bet his life savings on the European horse that went by the name George Washington. From there I broke into a tirade about how we must respect and fear any European, person or animal, with the confidence to bear the name of our national hero. Although I had not seen the horse gallop before, I was certain that if he were alive at the time, George would not have hesitated at the bank of the Delaware River.

Following my proclamation, I dipped a beer battered fry in the puddle of ketchup that was slowly invading the empty space on my plate and smiled at the thought of Bukowski looking down on me with paternal pride. Unsure whether he agreed with my views or consequently just wanted me to shut up, the ButtonMan assured me that George Washington was going to be the horse that he would put his money behind. But of course I never put my money where my mouth is.

Well, I received an email from the ButtonMan the morning after the race. Written in his constantly cheerful demeanor, the ButtonMan wished me a good week ahead and noted that he enjoyed spending the evening with my Father and myself. However he added a peculiar “p.s.” at the bottom of the message. In it he chivalrously requested that I not bet or recommend others to bet on him in the future. Why would the ButtonMan say that? Puzzled at the remark I continued reading the email to find out that “George Washington not only lost the race at the Breeders Cup but he was also euthanized on the track after dislocating and fracturing his ankle.”

Shit. No more advice from me.


Norv Turner, cmon man, for such an emotional coach what were you thinking when you chose to punt on 4th down midway through the 4th quarter in this past weekend AFC championship game in Foxboro Stadium. Didn’t you remember who you were challenging by punting that ball away? Did you really think that Tom Brady was going to go three and out in a clutch situation such as that. Didn’t you read the last column? Tom is way too handsome to fail.

What you should have done is take advice from the Michael Scott of NFL coaches––that my friend is the nonsensical and clock-management incompetent man named Herman Edwards. Remember his brilliantly stupid quote about why people play this sport that some call America’s game. “You play to win the game!”

C’mon Norv. You made it all that way with your Quarterback playing like a stud even though his ACL was torn and last years league MVP injured on your sideline. I honestly enjoy your coaching style and your passion for the game and your players but next time you have the ball in such a situation, whether its on the gridiron field or metaphorically in your everyday life, take a moment a reflect upon the reason why we play the game.


Super Bowl Preview

I attended Super Bowl festivities (not the game) two years back when it was hosted by the great city of Detroit. My friend Zack invited me to stay with him in a room courtesy of the NFL where we could explore the depths of our deviant dispositions. Even more enticing, the hotel was located in Windsor, Canada, a nefarious yet tranquil town that was only an underwater passage removed from downtown Detroit.

How American is that? The National Football League neglected to put money back into the pockets of one of its most economically damaged cities and instead choose to house their employees and sponsors in a town where they could engage in as many illicit acts as possible before they would have to return home to their mundane lives of wives, children and parent-teacher conferences…but then again who wants to stay in Detroit.

But this year the Super Bowl is in sunny Arizona and for once people are less focused on the parties and sincerely intrigued by the battle that will occur on the gridiron Sunday afternoon. The two teams challenged each other on the final week of the season resulting in the Patriots winning 38-35, but this time Plaxico Burress has predicted otherwise (I refuse to acknowledge such predictions though I will no longer refer to him as “plexiglass” as he has proven to be anything but). With the antics and bullshit masked by the main event, these teams appear to be focused and prepared to upstage the half time show for the first time in many years. No offense, Tom Petty.

There are many themes surrounding this years championship game including, “The Patriots and their Perfect Season”, “Tom and his ankle”, “Eli becoming a man” and the continuous “Boston/NY Feud” etc. Nonetheless, the Super Bowl has finally become a soap opera worth caring about, worth becoming emotionally involved in. The players on each side, no matter how much you may dislike them, are filled with sincerity and pride. Appreciators of football and those that simply admire competitors who fight with gallantry and honor have acquired an appreciation for the event and some have gone as far to develop a love for one team and hatred for the other. The polarity and magnitude of this Super Bowl epitomizes the supreme dichotomy between Bostonians and New Yorkers, especially since the curse was overcome.

Last night, I found myself wondering whether or not Tiki Barber regrets his decision to leave the pigskin behind for a headset and a position behind the podium? I honestly believe he is content with his decision, but is concurrently envious of how easy it was for the Giants to fill the void he hastily left.

In the past few weeks the Giants running game has been extremely impressive and versatile, particularly the young Ahmad Bradshaw. If the Gmen were to win on Sunday, I think he will be the one holding up the MVP trophy. That said, standing awkwardly yet proudly beside him would be Peyton’s little brother. Can we call him by his own name yet? I think so.

Eli Manning will be successful this weekend because he has nothing to lose and as his number one critic, I honestly believe this. Look at what Rex Grossman did last year. The Bears were better off with Rosanne Barr taking the hikes, yet somehow he still had a starting position waiting for him in Chicago. Eli will throw some poor passes and he may even throw a late game interception but he has solidified him self as the “ambassador to losers.” I anticipate and hope that he will lead the Giants to victory, then march toward Tiki Barber, grab his microphone and proclaim, “This is for all the socially inept individuals whose brothers are funnier, richer, better looking, stronger, more accurate and more charming than they are….yet supportive!!!"…Leaving all us regular folk at home, asphyxiating in his peculiar excellence.