Here at the Norwalk Reflector, we decided to put local high school football players to the test making predictions on the big game. They put their own sports reporter cap on and gave us some analysis for how they think things will go down.
The results were split right down the middle. Pitting teammates against teammates, the results provided some interesting insight on who our local athletes think will take home the Lombardi Trophy.
St. Paul seniors Derek Gross and Colton Service may have shared a nearly unstoppable backfield this fall, but they had different ideas on who to go with on Sunday.
“I say that the Pats are going to win,” Gross said. “Tom Brady has been to the Super Bowl before. Many of the Falcons’ players have never been there. Atlanta had only been to one pro championship in the city’s history. Pats all the way 36-14.”
Service had a different vision of how things will go down on Sunday and isn’t afraid of the Falcons’ inexperience.
“I feel as if the Falcons will win,” Service said. “The last couple years they've gotten better and better, but were always a step or two away from greatness. This year, I believe that their team chemistry has had a major role in their success and has also propelled them through the playoffs. The Patriots have always been good it seems, they have a system that works and they build off of it each year.
“With that being said, I still think they are weak, simply due to injuries. The Falcons have only been to two Super Bowls, their last one being 18 years ago. The Patriots seem like regulars when it comes to Super Bowls, which is another downfall; they may come out with an arrogance. I feel that due to emotions and adrenaline, the game will start off close and be tied 14-14 at the half. Coming out of half time I think the camaraderie from the the Falcons will give them the edge. At the end of the game I predict that the score will be 34-24 in favor of Atlanta. Many people will see the Falcons as a ‘sleeper’ team, but this year, I see them as the next champions.”
The St. Paul backfield are not the only ones split on this decision. Norwalk quarterback Trenten Morrow and center Garrett Underwood may be an inseparable pair as both signed to play college football at Sienna Heights on Wednesday, but they too have different ideas for the next Super Bowl champs.
Being a quarterback, of course Morrow is going with Tom Brady and the Pats. Underwood went a different route maybe because former Cleveland Browns center Alex Mack heads up the Falcons’ offensive line.
“I feel like it will be a shootout,” Morrow said. “The Falcons are playing extremely well right now and Matt Ryan has given this team high hopes, but I feel like Tom Brady will have his eyes locked in on his fifth ring and go get it. I think the Patriots will shutdown Julio Jones and stop the run right off the bat. I see the Patriots winning 35-21.”
Underwood did his best Lee Corso impression saying, “Not so fast my best friend.”
“Falcons 21, Pats 14,” Underwood said.
“The Pats are a tough team, but I believe if Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman get going early on in the game that it could even be a blowout on the Falcons part. If the Falcons can stay on the Pats early and not let up, it's going to be a pretty one-sided game. On the other hand in the Pats mean defensive line and an outstanding defensive backfield play like they have been, I think it's going to be tough for Julio Jones to get going, but if he does, it's all downhill from there. I have faith in the Falcons that they can take down the Patriots. And let's be honest, everybody is tired of Tom Brady.”
Monroeville running back Colten Millis offers is explanation to why he is going with the Falcons on Sunday.
“I'm going to go with the Falcons,” Millis said.
“Yeah, Tom Brady has a lot of post season wins under his belt, but the way Matt Ryan performed in the Falcons’ playoff game was amazing. He's really hitting his peak and it's dominating other teams. When he hooks up with Julio Jones, they're unstoppable. Julio ran all over the Packers and doesn't seem to be slowing down.”
To even things out, Western Reserve’s Luke Buck, an Oberlin commit, made it an even 3-3 going with the Patriots to take home the title.
“My pick is the Pats over the Falcons, 34-28,” Buck said.
“I've never been a huge Tom Brady fan, but it's hard to pick against him in a big game. He's just going to outplay the Falcon's defense when all is said and done. Sure, their secondary is crazy athletic and do a good job making plays when the opportunity arises, but they don't have the kind of experience Brady does, especially on the big stage. They might pick him off a time or two, but he'll find a way to get it done.”
So there you have it. Local experts say it is split right down the middle when it comes to Super Bowl LI. Depending on the outcome, there may be a couple of teammates with bragging rights until next year.