Column: New England Patriots will steal Super Bowl XLIX
Football pumps will cringe in fear. Ragged hoodies will run and hide. “Cheaters” can start making plans for an Emmy.
I hate writing this as much as I hate Tom Brady’s smug grin under that silly ski cap, but I have no choice.
Super Bowl XLIX — the game whose Roman numerals make it sound like a laxative — is going to be cleaned out by the New England Patriots.
Sad but sad, Sunday’s game at University of Phoenix Stadium here will be stolen by the most calculating, corner-cutting, coldblooded villains to come out of Boston since that city’s Olympic organizing committee.
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the most unsettling tandem since liver and onions, will win. The Sweet Pete Seattle Seahawks, who are only here because they don’t want to get fined, boss, will lose.
The final score will be 14.5 to 12.5, this being the first football game decided strictly by pounds per square inch, and this being the 1,256th prediction column that is going to squeeze every last bit of air out of the deflated football scandal.
Seriously, did you see who is in charge of the Super Bowl game balls? The equipment manager from the Chicago Bears? The league is placing its most important piece of offensive equipment for its most important game in the hands of the guy who spent the season preparing the football for Jay Cutler. Should be a real shootout.
This game won’t be decided by the inflation of the football, though we can expect at least one Patriots scrub to be placed on the inactive list just before kickoff after injuring his cheek trying to secretly blow one up. And no, the game won’t be decided by Belichick’s monkey hand puppet, though has there ever been a more unsettling optic in organized football history?
The game will be decided Blountly
The Patriots will be winners because of their quitter. The Seahawks may have a powerful defense, but they haven’t proved able to handle a rolling rock such as LeGarrette Blount, the powerful Patriots running back who joined the team in November after walking out on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Seahawks gave up 267 yards rushing in their two playoff games. During the regular season, they were pounded for 159 yards by Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles and 115 yards by Dallas’ DeMarco Murray. Even though everyone expects the Patriots offense to run through Brady, this Belichick guy is smart enough to punch the Seahawks in the gut before setting his pretty boy loose.
To those who think the Patriots will be equally crushed by that powerful mute, Marshawn Lynch, not so fast. Two giant words: Vince Wilfork. Expect the 325-pounder to pull the Patriots from danger the way he pulled that woman out of an overturned car on the highway after the AFC championship game.
“I might be doing a lot of running, more than I usually do in a game,” Wilfork said, perishing the thought. “If that’s what it takes, that’s what I’ll do.”
The game will be decided by the Legion of Limp
The Seahawks strength can be found in their secondary, but right now their Legion of Boom nickname is looking a bit lame. Richard Sherman’s elbow is dangling, Earl Thomas’ shoulder is hurting, and in Seattle’s last full practice Friday, Kam Chancellor limped off the field.
Brady knows this. He knows how to attack this. This season he ranked second to last among starting NFL quarterbacks in percentage of downfield throws, but here’s guessing he’s ready to make an exception.
The most game-changing defensive backs on the field Sunday play for the Patriots. The best cornerback is New England’s Darrelle Revis — when a cornerback has the word “Island” attached to his last name, you know he’s good. The most brutal cornerback in the game also plays for New England, Brandon Browner. He is not just a former Seahawk, but will always be a Seahawk because of a Legion of Boom tattoo on his arm. He has publicly called for someone to attack his former teammates’ injuries, telling ESPN, “I’m going to tell my teammates to go hit that elbow, hit that shoulder … try to break it if you can,” he said.
Nice guy. Perfect Patriot.
“You notice their DBs, obviously,” said understated Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.
This game will be decided by the Patriots going Gronkers
The Patriots’ most valuable player is their unstoppable tight end, Rob Gronkowski. One of the Seahawks’ weaknesses is stopping tight ends. Cover your eyes and do the math.
Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers scored three touchdowns against the Seahawks. Jason Witten of the Cowboys scored one. Jacob Tamme and Julius Thomas of the Denver Broncos each scored one.
Gronkowski, who has scored in each of the Patriots’ last five games, made big news after the AFC championship game when he danced on the sidelines. And this week he proclaimed himself the best dancer on the team, which is a little like being the best surfer in Worcester, Mass.
“Since I’m the only one who whips out my dance moves, I’d have to go with myself,” he said.
Gronkowski will be using the ultimate move on Seahawks defenders, something that never happened to Seattle during last year’s Super Bowl blowout of the Broncos, something that will set the tone for the game and immediately change everything.
He will be hitting them first, and hitting them harder.
This game will be decided by the psst
This unemotional Patriots team does its best work while carrying a chip. After spending two weeks hearing their beloved quarterback and respected coach called cheaters because of the deflated football scandal, they have that chip.
An emotional Seahawks team plays from the heart, but their hearts were nearly wrung dry in a tearful, miraculous comeback win over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. How can they have enough left?
Patriots win. Tough to swallow. Most of America is going to need a minute, man.
Follow Bill Plaschke on Twitter @billplaschke
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