Someone asked B.J. Raji who he thought would win Super Bowl XLV. He was not amused. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
I put very little stock in what the so-called "experts" think will happen in sports. When I pick games better than many of them, I feel like I should be getting paid exorbitant sums of money to go on TV and be wrong 49% of the time too. I find it more interesting to look at what larger groups of people think, even if those people generally don't spend as much time watching and analyzing sports as professional sportswriters or media-types. In that vein, let me share with you some of the amusing or interesting things I noticed while looking at a variety of Super Bowl picks over the last few days.
The poll I find most interesting ESPN's SportsNation poll, which shows the population predicting Green Bay to win Super Bowl XLV by a 59% to 41% margin. Note the states that are divided or leaning towards the Steelers: Minnesota and Illinois, homes to the Packers' biggest rivals, and Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the states with likely the greatest proportions of Steelers fans. Throw Wisconsin and these states out of the discussion, and it seems pretty overwhelming that the average football fan thinks the Packers will win on Sunday.
ESPN listed its writers' and analysts' picks today. For those of you who listen to Mike and Mike, the radio guys are divided on this game. I'll let you guess who picks whom. Also, Gene Wojciechowski explains his reasons (or lack thereof) for picking Green Bay.
Also, a rather eclectic group of celebrities posted their picks, published by Scripps News Service. Here are some interesting or head-scratching things I skimmed out of all the foolishness:
- Actress and comedienne Cloris Leachman seems to think Aaron Rodgers is 0-2 against Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. She forgets that when the 2005 Packers lost to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Steelers, Rodgers was in his rookie year, and Brett Favre wouldn't be out of the picture for another two seasons. But I guess I'll cut her some slack since she's about 130 years old and was hilarious in Beerfest.
- The conservative talk-show host vote is split. Bill O'Reilly picks Green Bay, while Rush Limbaugh backs the Steelers.
- Maya Angelou apparently loves Wisconsin dairy products.
- Adam West of Batman fame has the most amusing reason for picking Pittsburgh: "What are you going to do...(put) a voodoo woman on Roethlisberger?"
- Meanwhile, old-timey sex symbol Mamie Van Doeren says Rodgers is "handsome" and the Packers offense is "unstoppable".
- In typical Yogi Berra fashion, he makes a memorable non-sequitur: "Green Bay 23-20. The best team should win and it could also be Pittsburgh."
For a final thought, I noticed that before each of the Packers first three playoff games, all the FOX pregame show analysts picked Green Bay to win - except Terry Bradshaw, who picked the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears. I would be shocked if Terry would pick the Packers against his beloved Steelers, so expect him to keep this mojo going.
Keep an eye out tomorrow for our official APC predictions post.