As has been the case every year for a long time now on the Sunday night after all the regular-season finales have been completed, Pro Football Weekly editors were asked this past Sunday evening to revise their Super Bowl picks should they choose to for our print publication previewing the first round of this year’s “Second Season.”
Way back in the late summer, I boldly wrote in the PFW 2010 Kickoff Issue that the Packers would beat the Ravens in this year’s Super Bowl. On Sunday night, I stuck to my guns as far as the Packers are concerned, once again boldly predicting that they would somehow find a way to upend the mighty Patriots in a stirring rematch of their Week 15 prime-time game, won none too easily by New England.
I doubt too many of you reading this will find fault with this prediction, assuming that most, if not all, of you are probably big-time Packers Kool-Aid drinkers morning, noon and night. It’s possible, though, that my more level-headed app amigos might wonder a little just how much my objectivity might have been swayed by the fact that — and here comes a major confession from a born-and-raised Chicagoan who grew up living and dying on every snap of every Bears game — I have fallen in love with this particular Packers team after chronicling their season 24/7 since attending their training camp in late August.
The two days I was at that camp along with fellow PFW editor Dan Parr, I immediately sensed that something was special in the air. After getting up close and personal with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews, I came away sincerely believing that both of them were going to have tremendous seasons. I wasn’t so sure about new kids on the block like Bryan Bulaga, Morgan Burnett and Sam Shields. But I was struck by how privileged these youngsters seemed to feel, having become members of such a storied franchise with such a unique following.
Put simply, the team really, truly appeared to have its act totally together. And then the season started, and one starter after another started dropping like flies, but the Packers just kept grinding away, remaining in the hunt as one replacement part after another masterfully rose to the occasion when called upon.
Making predictions is a very small part of what I do for a living, and I learned a long time ago that you’re playing with fire whenever you start patting yourself on the back when all of your picking seems to be clicking. But I’ve had one of my best handicapping years in some time, with a 135-111-10 record against the spread and a 32-18-1 record on best bets (three per week) having become a matter of record in the pages of PFW's print edition.
And for what it’s worth, I’m here to tell you that I really, truly like the Packers’ Super Bowl chances.
And I am not afraid at all to rant about it.