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GOATS, Hearts and Hand-Offs

Well folks, great news, we have reached the middle of February. We all get to enjoy more than 45 minutes of daylight than just a short time ago at the beginning of January. Punxsutawney Phil has put in his one day’s work and returned to his posh pad for another year. I would expect nothing else but six more weeks of Winter in the wonderful area we call home. That’s just common sense, and as long as it’s only six more weeks, I’m overjoyed. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report for Spring training in the upcoming week. And if that’s not a true harbinger of Spring, I don’t know what is. This coupled with the fact that February is the shortest month of the year, and when the calendar flips to March, that’s my unofficial beginning of the season that the robins represent.

Speaking of those robins, I’ve been seeing them for weeks, which always brings a smile to my face. It also makes me wonder if the leader of the flock, you know, the captain of their flight plan who didn’t pick a far enough Southern destination to avoid the snow and cold weather, faces scrutiny from the other birds? They all probably believe they were heading for Miami and ended up in Montoursville; I can’t imagine this sits very well with the flock.

The big news this week is that Super Bowl Sunday also falls on a long Valentine’s Day weekend, which is officially celebrated on Monday as the calendar reads. I will warn all the men reading my column, a Super Bowl party complete with all the trimmings — you know, wings, pizza, buffalo chicken dip, and your favorite adult beverage, does not constitute taking the wife out for Valentine’s Day. Nor does hosting the party at your home fall under the category of romantic couples’ dinner. Please be careful, gentlemen, or you might become the first sack victim of this Super Bowl/Valentine’s Day weekend.
If your significant other is good with the combination of these two events, immediately give them one of those big Tom Brady hugs I’ve witnessed over the years. You know Tom hugs everyone after winning the Lombardi Trophy. As a matter of fact, tell them you’re giving them a Tom Brady hug; that might even score you some extra points.

Speaking of Tom Brady, his retirement was the big news across the NFL world this past week. Maybe I should just say the world in general. Believe me, every team and fanbase other than the one TB 12 is throwing touchdowns for is celebrating.

The 6th round pick out of the University of Michigan is simply the best that ever was. There is only one number you need to know to prove this — 7. Quarterback Tom Brady had led his team to seven Vince Lombardi Trophies. That is more Super Bowl championships than any individual franchise has won. TB 12’s six with the New England Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tops the Pittsburgh Steelers and Patriots total of six. And that is why Tom Brady is, and will always be, the G.O.A.T — Greatest Of All Time — until somebody matches that most important number in professional football. Then let the conversation begin.

I am a lifetime Pittsburgh Steeler fan, and it was great to see the sendoff the Steeler Nation gave Ben Roethlisberger. I appreciate everything Big Ben did for the Steelers and the City of Pittsburgh. The Black and Gold’s lucky number 7 led the team to two Super Bowl titles. However, the same reason, TB 12 is the overall GOAT of the NFL, The Original TB 12 — Terry Bradshaw — is the greatest Pittsburgh Steeler QB. Bradshaw led the Steelers to four Super Bowl championships without a defeat. This in an era when defenses could knock the living stuffing out of the quarterback. The Oakland Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Houston Oilers’ game plan wasn’t to sack Bradshaw — it was to hurt Bradshaw and knock him out. This often occurred even before the AFC playoffs began. Then come Super Bowl time, you had the Minnesota Viking “Purple People Eaters,” the Dallas Cowboys “Doomsday Defense,” and the Rams “Fearsome Foursome” all taking shots at Bradshaw, which was just part of the game at the time. He just kept getting back up, although sometimes he ran to the wrong sideline. If you hit a quarterback in today’s NFL like that, they would take you off the field in handcuffs.

Speaking of the Bengals and Rams, what a great matchup in Super Bowl LVI. The young gunslinger for the Bengals, Joe Burrow, seems destined to be the next great quarterback. He also seems to have that magic dust throughout his young QB life, as in his teams always win. On the other side of the field, the LA Rams quarterback, Matt Stafford, has been around a long time, his talent seemingly wasted in Detroit. Burrow recently won a National Championship at LSU; Stafford had his Georgia Bulldogs on the brink many moons ago but couldn’t get it done.

What is my Super Bowl prediction? You will have to flip over to Editor Steph’s annual prognostications; she’s got it all covered from many sources. Thank you to everyone for sharing their football thoughts.
Enjoy the Super Bowl, don’t forget about Valentine’s Day, and as always, God Bless America.

Jim Webb