The News Tribune sports writers pick their Super Bowl winners and explain why.
Tom Rackers - Flipping and flopping
As the final seconds ticked off New England's dismantling of Indianapolis two weeks ago, the nation's attention turned to the Super Bowl against Seattle in what looks like a matchup of the two best teams in football.
Mine turned to the News Tribune picks. Who to take?
The Patriots looked good with deflated footballs in the first half against the Colts, then even better with the proper amount of air in the second half.
New England it is!
But after a comeback for the ages in the NFC title game against the Packers, the Seahawks sure look to have momentum on their side.
Flip to the Seahawks!
But New England is looking to make history with its fourth Super Bowl win in its eighth appearance.
Flop back to the Patriots!
But Seattle overcame the odds as the defending champion. The Seahawks are looking to be the first team since the Patriots in 2003-04 to repeat as Super Bowl champions.
Flip back to the Seahawks!
Maybe the answer can be found in looking back at the regular season. On Sept. 29, the Patriots lost 41-14 to the Chiefs. Six weeks later, the Seahawks lost 24-20 to the Chiefs.
No help there as I get sidetracked trying to figure out what the heck happened to the Chiefs this season.
My ability to pick the Super Bowl winner in recent years has been terrible. But after more misses than I want to admit, I got it right last year by taking Seattle to beat Denver.
Two in a row is a streak, right?
- TOM RACKERS PICK: NEW ENGLAND 23, SEATTLE 20 (OT)
Tony Hawley - A deflated feeling
After two weeks of not talking about the game itself, the Super Bowl is finally here. So while I'm not going to dwell on allegations the New England Patriots doctored footballs, I'm going to talk about a different kind of deflate-gate.
That would be the deflation I felt when I realized two teams I hate would be playing for the NFL title, leaving me no one to root for.
Why hate, you ask, for the Seahawks? Look no further than their fan base. Just like it grates on my nerves when followers of the Cardinals annoint themselves the best fans in baseball, listening to Seattle fans praise themselves for doing what fans should do - create a great home-field advantage - starts to bother me in short order.
The only thing that bugs me more about Seattle is the tired act put on by running back Marshawn Lynch and his unwillingness to follow NFL rules and talk to the media. He's lucky I'm not the commissioner, because his fines would be rising so fast following each successive occurrence he'd burn through his salary in no time.
And it's hard to root for a New England team we know has cheated once (see Spygate), has likely cheated again (see Deflate-gate) and probably cheats in a ton of other ways they haven't been caught for yet.
So I guess I could root for the teams to beat each other up and hope they both suffer during the contest, but that seems cold-hearted.
It appears I'm stuck rooting for a close, compelling game that's worth watching, and I'm pretty sure that's what we'll get.
- TONY HAWLEY'S PICK: SEATTLE 27, NEW ENGLAND 24
Brandon Foster - A punishing pick
As a Rams fan, I find choosing a winner for this game to be bordering on cruel and unnecessary punishment.
On the one hand, you have the Patriots, the team that triggered the end of the Greatest Show on Turf with a single field goal. (And don't get me started on SpyGate.) On the other, the Seahawks, NFC West foe and the team that will spend years keeping the Rams out of the playoffs.
And, of course, I can't wait to watch. It is the Super Bowl, after all.
If you're looking at the game from a simple Xs-and-Os standpoint, this looks like a great, and very equal, matchup. Vegas has had a hard time choosing a significant favorite, and these are the two teams that have been playing the best of late (minus the beginning of that NFC Championship game). It's should be a great contest - though, I'm sure I said the same thing last year.
From a narrative standpoint, the Seahawks are the exciting team coming in off a miraculous overtime comeback win, whereas the Patriots are the team everyone is sick of hearing about thanks to the deflated-ball allegations.
It's the gritty underdog Seahawks versus the cheating, always-winning New England - if you're into oversimplifying things.
From a personal standpoint, I think the whole Marshawn Lynch thing has been hilarious and has made sportswriters as a whole look ridiculous, which is a tad terrifying as a sportswriter myself but nonetheless incredibly fun to watch. Also, I'm a big fan of Skittles.
- BRANDON FOSTER'S PICK: SEATTLE 34, NEW ENGLAND 28