Saturday, February 4, 2017

Another David and Goliath Super Bowl?


The match up in Super Bowl LI between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons resembles the matchup in New England's first Super Bowl win.  Super Bowl XXXVI (37 in Arabic numerals) was a match-up between the Patriots and the St. Louis Rams.  In 2002, the Patriots had an unproven young quarterback in Tom Brady and the Rams had NFL MVP Kurt Warner.  The Patriots had an 11-5 record while the Rams had a 14-2 record in the regular season.  This year the Falcons had an 11-5 record while the Patriots were 14-2.  In 2002 the nation was still smarting from the 9/11 attacks while this year the nation is coming to terms with Trump's victory in November.  Bill Maher has a funny take on the game and Brady and coach Bill Belichick's relationship with Trump. 


In the game the Patriots allowed over 400 yards of offense but forced the Rams to commit three turnovers and held them to three points for almost all of the game.  The Rams came up with two late touchdowns to tie the game at 17.  Tom Brady then dove the team down the field to the game winning field goal by Adam Vinatieri.

An upset of the Patriots by the Falcons may not be an upset on the same order as the Jets beating the Colts in Super Bowl III or the Giants beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII but those who like to root for the underdog will certainly be rooting for Atlanta.  Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com gives the Patriots a 61% probability of winning.  His model gave Donald Trump a 28.6% probability of winning the White House and we know how that tuned out.  It is the desire to beat the odds that makes sports so exciting.  This isn't always the case in politics.

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