FORT WORTH, Texas – I always looked at the eyes.
I would stare into the eyes of the Super Bowl participants, measure their responses to our weeklong inquiries, and by the weekend of the big game I would be emboldened enough to predict a winner.
Didn’t do badly, either, though I still don’t know how the Giants beat the Patriots three years ago. Something must have gotten in the Patriots’ eyes.
There is no science, however, I must admit, in predicting the winner of a Super Bowl.
Computers have tried it. Astrologers have tried it. Gamblers – especially gamblers – have tried it. All with varying results.
And yet we try.
Like the guy in New Jersey who uses Princess the Prognosticating Camel to predict the results of Jets and NFL postseason games. While I was looking into players’ eyeballs at Super Bowl XLII, Princess was correctly predicting the end of New England’s perfect season.
At the Portland, Ore., zoo, three orangutans – Kutai, Inji and Batik – have correctly selected five of the past six Super Bowl winners.
And in Sherwood, Ore., four cats somehow cooperated to predict the outcome of Super Bowl XLIII.
Of course, if cat food bowls and graham cracker treats aren’t reliable enough prognostication methods for you, you could always seek out more scientific means.
Like the German researchers who have been tracking the relationship all season between Green Bay Packers results and the sale of mozzarella stick cheese. I didn’t make that up.
Or you could get the computers at the website “whatifsports.com” to simulate the game 2,501 times, as advertised, and predict that Pittsburgh will win Sunday’s game 21-20.
Or you could consult the findings of two The College of Wooster (Ohio) graduate students, one of whom has never seen an NFL game in person, who have endeavored to predict the outcome based upon each team’s artificial neural networks.
I’m still liking the orangutans myself.
You could ask famous people what they think about the upcoming game, too.
Last year’s poll by the Scripps Howard newspaper chain included the predictions of, among others, Hulk Hogan, poet Maya Angelou, Roseanne Barr, Dick Clark, Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, Yogi Berra, Dawn Wells (Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island”) and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
Cuban nailed it, correctly predicting that the New Orleans Saints would defeat the Indianapolis Colts by 14 points.
Yogi also picked the Saints, memorably explaining, “I don’t know. I just know they’ve got a good quarterback and a good team, just like the Colts.”
The cleverest compendium of Super Bowl predictions, however, might have come from the McSweeney’s Internet site. Writer Shane Ryan headlined the piece, “Famous Authors Predict the Winner of Super Bowl XLII.”
Ryan deftly mimicked the styles of, among others, Ayn Rand, Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen and James Joyce and offered a final score in each author’s unique style.
Austen’s “prediction” sayeth thusly:
“Hyacinth and amethyst adorned the landscape of her heart, betrothed to fragrant oakmoss and blazing scarlet within the amorous love strokes of an incandescent horizon. In the shade of the gray branches, she put pen to paper. ‘I love you, Tom Brady,’ it began. ‘Though others call you wicked.’
“Prediction: Handsome Tom 46, Stern Aunt Louisa 9.”
Joyce’s stream of consciousness take on Super Bowl XLII worked in phrases such as “thricely slaked” and “briny frieze” and also asked the question that’s on everyone’s mind this week, “Did not Rapunzel cry from on high?”
Ryan finished with Joyce’s prognostication:
But don’t take James Joyce’s or Jack Kerouac’s words for it if you’re looking for advice on Sunday’s winner.
My wife says that her kindergarten class will be making their Super Bowl picks Wednesday. As usual, no hitting, no biting and no pushing will be allowed.
Meanwhile, our newspaper’s always trusty longhorn steer, Rusty, will be in Sundance Square on Friday to predict the outcome. Rusty gained notoriety in the 1990s by “selecting” the stock market. His pen was marked off in squares that corresponded to different stocks.
Wherever he went, they bought, so to speak.
Not sure how he’s going to do this Super Bowl thing, though. If it’s anything like his old stock market gig, watch your step.
Myself, I have always relied upon the eyes. I have looked into the eyes of the Super Bowl teams all week, and then made my prediction accordingly.
Except this time. Our deputy editor wanted our Super Bowl picks handed in a week early.
So put me down for taking Pittsburgh. I trust the orangutans.