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Pandemic Pigskin Predictions

It is going to be a Super Bowl like no other, that’s for certain.

We’ve got the Kansas City Chiefs — who are the reigning Super Bowl Champs, versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are being led by the winningest quarterback in NFL history. The game will be at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, meaning a Super Bowl team will be playing at home for the first time in Super Bowl history. Oh, and all this is going to happen in the middle of a global pandemic with just 22,000 (about 1/3 capacity) fans in attendance, 7,500 of which are frontline health care workers.

Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan will be performing the National Anthem, while H.E.R. will be singing “America the Beautiful.”

The Weeknd is scheduled to take on the half-time show, so be sure to start brushing up on your “Blinding Lights” lyrics now. Just kidding, anyone near anything Super Bowl-related for the last two weeks hasn’t been able to escape that song.

Miley Cyrus is headlining something called the ‘TikTok Tailgate,’ and I have no idea what that means, but it should be interesting.

The Chiefs took the Bucs in week 12 in Tampa, so the big question is, can they do it again under the pressure of a ring on the line? Or will Tom Brady once again show up to take home the Vince Lombardi trophy?

As always, I hit the streets to ask around about how others thought the game is going to shake out. And by hit the streets, I mean emailed, texted, and used social media — I don’t hit the streets these days because *gestures vaguely to everything around me*.

Anywho…on to the predictions!

Let’s start with the local sports’ scene, shall we? First up, the Moose himself. Mike Mussina seems to think the Chiefs have too many weapons and will come out on top 38-28.

Jersey Shore’s Tom Gravish, who also got to finish his season on the big stage this year, thinks that KC will provide just enough defense with their pass rush when it matters. He predicts a Patrick Mahomes TD pass with only a few seconds left, leading to a very close, 31-30 Kansas City win.

Over in Loyalsock, Ron ‘CI’ Insinger — who is no stranger to winning — doesn’t see this ending in another win for Tom Brady. He thinks KC is going to pick up a 32-24 win.

Webb Weekly Live’s own Paul Bo is also in the Chiefs’ corner. He thinks Mahomes will be the difference. He sees Kelece and Hill having big games and KC coming out with the 31-27 win.

FastMaz, Marilouise Mazzante, says, “I think the young gun is going to outduel the ageless wonder, and Kansas City is going to win 42-37.”

Over at Lycoming College, Head football coach Mike Clark is another Chiefs fan. “I see the Chiefs defeating the Bucs in a high-scoring game – 35-31. The teams are almost identical in terms of scoring, offense, and defense. In the end, I think the Chiefs are more explosive and will find a way to outscore Tampa Bay.”

We got a couple of predictions of up on the hill at Williamsport. Head football coach Chuck Crews is firmly in the Chiefs’ corner. He thinks KC will take it 41-38. “KC scores early and often. Brady and the Bucs make a furious second half run, but it falls short. The torch gets officially passed to Mahomes. Plus, not even Tom Brady can be this dang lucky! First-year in a new town, that town hosts the Super Bowl, and you win the Super Bowl in the new town that’s hosting? Only in Hollywood!”

I didn’t think it would take this long to find a prediction for Tampa Bay, but here we are! Sean McCann, AD at WASD, believes the TB will overtake KC 38-34. “Tampa Bay can score with KC, and their defense has been making plays during the playoffs. Tampa Bay has an outstanding receiving crew to go along with Tom Brady’s experience, plus I like the fact that they are playing in their home stadium.”

While we are in Williamsport, let’s find out what Mayor Derek Slaughter has to say. “As great of a player as Mahomes is, I do not think you can bet against Brady at this point, so I’m going with the Bucs, 42-38. I think it will be a fun offensive game to watching between these two QBs.” Well, at least we’ve found a couple of people rooting for the Bucs.

We always like when local politicians think alike, and County Commissioner Scott Metzger agrees with the mayor. Scott predicts a 38-35 TB win. He thinks Tom Brady will continue to make history, and the pirate ship cannons will be firing in victory.

The voice of the Susquehanna Valley, Gary Chrisman, foresees a 38-35 TB win. “Brady just seems destined. I was never a Brady fan and probably rooted for him only in his first Super Bowl, but now, what a great story. I think KC is the best team, but more Brady magic becomes the sports story of the year.”

There is some division among the Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships crew. Leslie Howard thinks that TB will win 38-31, but Blaise himself feels differently. “Before I give you my prediction and my score, I want to tell you that I think Tom Brady, to the amazement of every football fan out there, like him or not, has truly risen to the task. He comes into a brand-new town with a brand-new team, suffers a couple of losses early, and then absolutely takes control of the end of the season and the playoffs. What a fantastic exclamation point Brady puts on his career. Like Peyton Manning, sort of coming off the bench and pulling off a miracle. So, Tom Brady and the Buccaneers are certainly capable. On the Kansas City side, they also have that once-in-a-lifetime quarterback, Mahomes, and like the Bucs, they have the receivers and the running backs. So, my prediction, but first, on a more personal note, I am a huge fan of the General manager of the Chiefs. His name is Brett Veach, and he is also a graduate of my alma mater, Mount Carmel Area High School. So, to answer your question, I think the Chiefs take this one in a barnburner, 42 to 38.”

Speaking of car dealerships, Brian Peace from Murray Motors thinks that home-field advantage will come into play and that Tampa will grab the win 38-35.

You can’t talk car dealers without insurance, and Rennie Rodarmel from Allstate thinks that Brady’s magic will run out, and KC will take it 37-24.

Kyle Hetner from Steinbacher, Goodall & Yurchak said, “Time to take the G.O.A.T. out to pasture! Patrick Mahomes will use his speed and agility to outduel Tom Brady in a battle of two future hall of fame quarterbacks.” He’s calling a score of 33-28, KC.

Mike Rupert from Rupert’s Specialty Meats is keeping it simple with a 34-31 KC win.

Chet Ruth from Frosty Beverage in Muncy, thinks that Tom Brady is hard to beat, but the Chiefs are going to come out ahead 31-21.

Whew! Getting tired yet?

On to the Facebooks! I reached out on the Webb Weekly FB page and had a few people give me their predictions. Mike Keebaugh said, “Tampa 35, KC 30 with Brady leading a winning drive in the final two minutes after Mahomes and the Chiefs take the lead just before the two-minute warning.” Darcy Ireland is predicting KC 27-TB 13. The rest of the responses were fairly well split between KC and TB.

We are fairly split around the office as well. Charlie thinks that TB will make the Chiefs walk the plank when they win 21-14. Curt feels the same but believes it will be a closer game at 24-21. Team Mingle both think KC is going to win. Ron has the score at 31-28, and Alys sees a close one at 34-31. Wes isn’t a big football fan, but he still is putting his money on KC. Jaimie says she doesn’t know much about football but is calling a Bucs win at 31-27. “Kristy” predicts a 34-24 Kansas City win, but I think that she probably had some help with that!

JWebb added his two cents too, “It’s amazing what Tom Brady has done in Tampa in his first season. The franchise with the lowest winning percentage in the history of the NFL that hasn’t been in the playoffs in 13 years, now has a home game in the Super Bowl. TB12 is definitely the GOAT. He will be making his 10th Super Bowl appearance, winning six titles and selected game MVP 4 times. I would never bet against Michael Jordan or Tom Brady. Lebron James and Patrick Mahomes have a long way to go to be in their league. Buccaneers 42 Kansas City 24.”

Lou Hunsinger Jr. thinks it’s going to be a close one too. He believes the Bucs are going to come out ahead though, 22-19.

Bernadette Ulsamer let me know that she has no skin in this game, and although her hubby will most likely be watching, she’s going to curl up with a good book since she won’t even have the caliber of commercial she’s used to for entertainment.

Scott Lowery is really looking forward to Super Bowl 55, “Super Bowl LV is a sportswriters dream. Great story lines on both sides. Can the existing GOAT defend his home turf with a new team against the challenge from the young kid? Legitimate arguments on both sides. They are 2-2 in past matchups and Brady is the king. But the Mahomes-led offense plays like a basketball fast break and the KC secondary has been playing like they are bullet-proof. In a shootout, Chiefs prevail 35-24.”

To save the best for last — lol j/k, it’s me — I’m thinking that Chiefs are gonna take it again this year. I do think it’s going to be close, though. I’m going to predict a 27-24 KC win. It’s going to be a battle of the offense, for sure. Which QB will come out on top? Mahomes is young, fresh, and coming off a Super Bowl win, but Brady is considered the GOAT. But is he past his prime, and is it time to pass on the torch?

The boys at home gave me some insight too. Steve is taking KC, but only because he trusts the betting lines more than his football knowledge. I asked Kiddo what he thought, but it turns out that he’s still really mad about the Patriots cheating, and then the bus came, so I’m assuming he will be taking the Chiefs also.

If like me, the commercials are one of your favorite parts of the Super Bowl, you may be slightly disappointed this year, as many of your favorites are opting out of multi-million-dollar ad spots in favor of donations to COVID vaccine awareness and support. “Like everyone else, we are eager to get people back together, reopen restaurants and bars, and be able to gather to cheers with friends and family,” Budweiser, vice president of marketing Monica Rustgi said in a statement. “To do this, and to bring consumers back into neighborhood bars and restaurants that were hit exceptionally hard by the pandemic, we’re stepping in to support critical awareness of the COVID-19 vaccine.” Budweiser plans to donate some of its advertising airtime throughout 2021 to the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative, a coalition of experts in health, education, and the economy.

According to USA Today, a Coca-Cola spokesperson told CNBC earlier this month that the company would not air a Super Bowl ad to “ensure we are investing in the right resources during these unprecedented times,” while a Hyundai spokesperson told Ad Age that “this was a decision based on marketing priorities.”

Pepsi, meanwhile, said it is simply prioritizing its sponsored half-time show. “Instead of buying a traditional 30-second in-game Super Bowl ad, we decided to double down on the 12 minutes Pepsi already has in the middle of the game — the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show,” vice president of marketing Todd Kaplan said in a statement.

So, this year’s Super Bowl may look and feel a bit different this year, but let’s face it, pretty much everything else does too, so it’s par for the course (yard for the down? IDK — you figure out the pun).

No matter what is different, make sure you celebrate Super Bowl Sunday safely!

If also like me, half the reason you watch the Super Bowl is because of the food, remember to support our local restaurants, breweries, distributors, and supporting businesses/stores for your Super Bowl brews and snackies!

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