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Super Bowl XXXI: Green Bay is Back!

Column by Chris Brocoum
sports columnist

I love to jump on the home team bandwagon. Especially for something as big as the Super Bowl. How can anyone not get caught up in the excitement?

Unfortunately, I have a serious problem with the Patriots. Namely the Steelers. I know, I know, the Patriots stomped the Steelers fair and square, and I should just stop whining. I just want to make a plea to the Birthday Gods out there, however, that I am losing faith. It just so happens that my birthday is on Super Bowl Sunday, and I am very disappointed that my Steelers won't even get the chance to play, let alone win.

I am very forgiving, however, and therefore I will hedge my losses. Now all I ask is for a close game, a down-to-the-wire, two-minute drill, hard-hitting, hail-mary conclusion to the world's most over-hyped game. Let's see some real football, folks.

The only problem is that I have a feeling Green Bay won't cooperate. As much as I'd like to back the underdog Patriots, the evidence is overwhelmingly in Green Bay's favor. In almost every aspect, Green Bay has the advantage. Offense, defense, everything except maybe the funky cheesehead hats.

Green Bay even seems destined to win. Since the beginning of the season, the Packers have been Super Bowl favorites, and with just a few noticeable blunders, Green Bay looked like the team to beat week in and week out.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have been long shots the entire season. Nobody can argue that they didn't have a little luck on their side in the playoffs, especially when Jacksonville dethroned the AFC king Broncos.

Of course the argument is that it doesn't matter, that the Patriots are in The Show and that is what counts. For the Patriots' sake, I hope the players don't subscribe to that idea. I truly hope the Patriots don't forget that being in the Super Bowl is a miniscule accomplishment when compared to playing in the Super Bowl and then winning the Super Bowl. I'm sure Bill Parcells won't let that happen. And that is why I am excited about this year's game.

After all, the Drew Bledsoe vs. Brett Favre matchup is a potential blockbuster show. Both are very capable quarterbacks, the next generation of greats. I say, forget the defense, unleash the aerial assault, and let's see a Super Show for a change. I think that would probably be the best scenario for the game because in a battle of defenses, I don't think the Patriots can come close to the Packs' bruising wall.

The stage is set, let the game begin. But just a word of caution, however. There are few things that can motivate a team more than being 14-point underdogs. So don't write off the Patriots until at least the second half, or even better, the end of the third quarter.

The Patriots can't avoid destiny, but I hope they can stall it long enough to inject a little doubt and excitement into Super Bowl XXXI. The NFL has come full circle. The Green Bay Packers defeat the New England Patriots 3527 in the Super Bowl.

Final season record: 9767 (plus one, of course, when the Packers win). Not bad.