FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
4:50 PM EST, February 2, 2013
"Going so soon? I wouldn't hear of it. Why my little party's just beginning."
— Wicked Witch of the West, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum
The Wicked Witch never invites me to her parties. When you can't get an invitation from her, you know you are not doing well. If you don't get invites, too, on this Super Bowl Sunday, there is an obvious answer — have your own party.
No, not by yourself. You know, a party where you invite other people. But there are things you need to know. Secrets that the party people don't tell the rest of us. Secrets such as these:
•Pizza. Wings. Chips and dip. Repeat as needed.
•Clean your bathrooms until they shine — and then clean them again. Otherwise, the opening remark about your party from everyone who was there will be, "Did you go into the bathroom? OMG!" — And empty your medicine cabinet. Anything you leave in there will somehow become a topic of conversation.
•Remove all heavy portable objects from any room that has a TV 'cause there's bound to be one drunk Ravens fan who screams: "Another Flacco interception! I can't stand this!" There goes your new 60-inch Samsung. (Make everyone take off their shoes at the door.)
•Make all "prop bets" addicts turn over their phones. Otherwise they will spend the night punching in the number of some Internet gambling site, yelling: "I just know there's gonna be a costume malfunction tonight!"
•Chances are you'll have at least one New England fan who will begin sobbing in the second quarter. Lock him in the spare bedroom with a video of old Patriots Super Bowl highlights.
•You're out of beer again.
•And if a guy brings a pretty date who says: "Did the guy with the tattoos just kick a touchdown?" you immediately kick him out of the party. She can stay.
And now, spoilers, it's time to tell you who's going to win in case you are having a party of one and plan on spending the evening watching the Puppy Bowl.
Your Super Bowl XLVII mortal lock
San Francisco (13-4-1 straight up, 10-6-2 ATS) vs. Baltimore (13-6 SU, 9-9-1 ATS) - Niners favored by 3.5
Despite the gadzillion words written and spoken in the last two weeks about the Super Bowl finalists, few have focused on the amazing fact that both teams got here despite taking an incredible risk on offense late in the regular season. Baltimore's John Harbaugh fired his offensive coordinator Cam Cameron on Dec. 10 and replaced him with Jim Caldwell, who had not earned a spot in the Hall of Fame as head coach of the Colts. But brother Jim Harbaugh took even a bigger risk for the Niners by switching quarterbacks despite incumbent Alex Smith ranking among the league's best in 2012. Colin Kaepernick, of course, now looks like the most dangerous run/pass performer in the game. He's hot as a pistol. (See what I did there?)
That both these gambles by brothers paid off with Super Bowl berths is stunning.
I like Baltimore. Ray Rice has been on my fantasy team for the last two seasons, so I pull for the Ravens. And they are this season's "destiny's child" with their surprising wins at Denver and at New England. Joe Flacco suddenly looks like the rebirth of Terry Bradshaw with his deep-pass accuracy and a trio of WRs in Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Anquan "Better Not Leave Me in Single Coverage" Boldin. Finally, there is that veteran defense which, according to Ray Lewis, clearly has the Lord on its side (and perhaps a lot of dead deer, too).
But I love San Francisco. I love that offensive line that averages 6-5 and 317 pounds. I look like a member of the line (except that I'm eight inches shorter than the rest). Then you have Frank Gore to take advantage of that blocking along with Kaepernick. And with a healthy DE Justin Smith, they may have the best defense playing. I've called their run defense the biggest factor before and suspect it will be the biggest factor again. They also love playing in domes, which Baltimore does not. David Akers has had a terrible season kicking but I doubt if he will fail here.
Summation: I wanted to pick Baltimore, because I like supporting the underdog and am a big fan of Poe. But I can't. The Niners look too good.
San Francisco 34, Baltimore 23.
Best commercial: Believe it or not, Tide has a funny one, but they will never top "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker."
These are the notes, folks
•Did you see how PETA wanted to refer to an imaginary girlfriend to promote "faux chicken wings?" I can't decide if that is inappropriate or a rare sign of PETA having a sense of humor.
•Will Alex Rodriguez be remembered as A-Rod or A-Fraud? Really looking like his career is going to fade away when he once looked like a sure-bet legend in the making.
•If you hear an all-wise commentator today say that a cornerback is "speed-deficient," I think that means he's slow.
•How about this: Dwight Howard vs. Pau Gasol in a "LLL" Steel Cage Match. Loser Leaves Lakers.
•BTW, Atlanta Falcons — We were right. You weren't that good.
All hail "The Super Bowl Shuffle"
Don't know if the 1985-86 Chicago Bears were the best team of all time but they were surely the most amusing team, especially during their week in New Orleans before winning the '86 Super Bowl. And no other American sports team has ever scored musically the way they did with "The Super Bowl Shuffle." If you want to know everything about it, Jake Austen quotes everybody connected with it for Grantland. Check it out here: http://es.pn/XM0yoo
Warning: If you are having a Super Bowl party, Jerry likes to drive around neighborhoods looking for a lot of parked cars. Then he just walks in and tries to eat all your wings and pizza. After that he talks about it and other stuff Monday through Friday during The Beat of Sports, hosted by Marc Daniels on 740theGame from 9 a.m. to noon. Send comments to email@example.com and have a Super Sunday.
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