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Gallo Goes There: Who Can Really Predict Super Bowl XLVIII?

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MetLife Stadium (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

MetLife Stadium (credit: John Moore/Getty Images)

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By DJ Gallo

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I have a terrible confession: I have absolutely no idea who is going to win the Super Bowl. Not a clue.

I’m sorry. If you want a bold, big game prediction or a red hot Super Bowl take, you can click out of this column and carry on with your day. No hard feelings.

If you are looking for a Super Bowl preview that attempts to dig into the match-up to reveal a stat or a tendency or an “x-factor” that the game could turn on, you have some options. A Google of “Super Bowl XLVIII preview” turns up “About 364,000,000 results.” Yes, 364 million. Of course, that’s a misleading number. When you factor in television previews, sports radio talk shows, podcasts, social media and all the other Super Bowl opinion sources Google doesn’t pick up, your Seahawks-Broncos preview options get closer to the infinity range.

You clearly have a lot of reading, watching and listening to catch up on, which is another reason to get out of here now and go find out who is going to win the Super Bowl. (Surely a general consensus has been reached among the gazillion pieces of content fighting for attention, yes? Remember: If someone ALL CAPS their opinion or yells it, then you know to give it special attention.)

Still here? Why?

Not only is their Super Bowl analysis available to you from humans – media, players and A-list down to R-list celebrities – but random animals have strong opinions, too.

Eli, an ape at the Hogle Zoo in Utah, has picked the Seahawks to win. Eli supposedly hasn’t been wrong with a Super Bowl pick since 2006! Book it!

However, the puppies from Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl have chosen the Broncos. And how can you side against adorable puppies?

That said, realize a “psychic” bunny named Fred has predicted the Seahawks will win, while a raccoon in Nebraska has sided with the Broncos. That’s just the tip of the animal predictions. A pig, a Komodo dragon, a rhino, a bear, we’ve gotten predictions from all of them. Put two paper plates of bacon on the floor, one with a “Seahawks” written on it and the other labeled “Broncos,” and suddenly your pet will be transformed into an all-knowing football sage, too.

Then we get to computers. Madden 25 has the Broncos, while Nate Silver’s vast collection of fancy formulas has the Seahawks.

Even a “Simpsons” episode from 2005 has a take:

#thesimpsons predicted it! @SuperBowl forecast in the “Bonfire of the Manatees” (S17) episode from 2005. #SB48 pic.twitter.com/cEPfaQlRrM

— The Simpsons (@TheSimpsons) January 31, 2014

Random people on Twitter have it all figured out, too:

#WhosGonnaWin Denver will kill the Seahawks.

— Don (@dlovell3) January 29, 2014

im so excited to see the seahawks kill the broncos in the super bowl

— (@strtfrdshawn) January 31, 2014

So it’s pretty humiliating to be me. Football experts, celebrities, computers, video games, even farm animals: they all think they know what’s going to happen. But I am 100-percent miffed.

There are some outcomes that wouldn’t surprise me. I’m not completely clueless. Lets run through them. The Broncos could win by a lot or a little. The Seahawks could win by a lot or a little. The big names – Peyton Manning, Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Wes Welker – could dominate the game. Or some no-name guys could make big plays. Or it could be a mix of big-name and no-name guys in the spotlight. The game could turn on a fake or a stupid turnover or bad call or a horrific turnover. Or no significant play or moment could define the game. Of all of this I am semi-confident.

How did I get to this place of total idiocy? It’s a sad tale.

Not long ago I knew the outcome of Super Bowls. My takes were strong and sure. I knew that Eli Manning was too inconsistent and turnover-prone to ever win a Super Bowl. Deal with it, Giants fans!

Okay. Well, no way would he ever win two. That first one was just a fluke. So, alright. Eli was the exception that proved the rule. Surely a mediocre QB like Joe Flacco could never play well enough for a whole month to win a championship.

Dear god.

But my failings aside, surely the true experts – former players and big-name broadcasters you see on national TV, and modern analytic geniuses like Silver — can be counted on.

And they can. Sort of. They’re good, in the case of ex-players, for giving those of us who never played at that level insight into what goes on on the field. And the Silvers of the world are outstanding at identifying trends. I’ll eagerly trust his opinion on a presidential election or a Super Bowl Best-of-7, but one football game? Eh. I suspect Eli the Utah ape has as much of a clue.

Show me the expert or computer simulation that predicted David Tyree catching a pass on his helmet in Super Bowl XLII. Which expert last year foresaw a 34-minute power outage changing the momentum of the game?

I didn’t. No one did.

Richard Sherman could trip and fall down on a late pass. A strong gust of wind could blow an easy, game-winning touchdown pass off the mark at the last second. Denver’s kicker could hurt his knee and not be available for extra points or field goals. Bruno Mars’ stage could damage the sod and ruin the footing at midfield.

I have no idea. And if everyone else was honest, took off their ALL CAPS and stopped shouting for a brief moment, they might admit they have no clue either.

It’s one game. Anything can happen in one game. And as soon as the ball is kicked off, all 364 million of those Super Bowl preview articles become officially irrelevant.

This article will not be among those. Because I’m content in my ignorance. I’m owning it. I’m just going to watch two great teams play a football game.

I have absolutely no idea who will win. And I couldn’t be more excited.

DJ Gallo is the founder of SportsPickle.com and has written for ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, The Onion and Comedy Central. He has appeared on SportsCenter, ESPNews, and G4 and is a frequent radio guest and published author. Follow him on Twitter at @DJGalloEtc, @sportspickle and @thatdjgallo.

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