The unofficial national holiday called the Super Bowl is almost upon us.
While beer and pizza makers nationwide celebrate, what should football fans in Texas make of the February 4 shindig? (For those not yet following along at home, the New England Patriots—five-time previous winners—play the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday in Minneapolis. Justin Timberlake has the halftime show.)
We’ve again turned to longtime sports journalist Rick Cantu for his take on the 52nd Super Bowl.
First, how would you compare the performance in the NFC and AFC championship games on January 20 by the two “Texas” quarterbacks? [Ed. note: the Eagles’ Nick Foles, played at Westlake; and the Vikings’ Case Keenum, played college ball for the University of Houston after Abilene’s Wylie High School.]
Unfortunately, there is no comparison. Nick played the game of his life. It will be no surprise if another NFL team makes a trade offer to have him start for them next season. He’s going to need a similar effort for the Eagles to get by Brady and Company. Keenum should be remembered for a great season, not just for one unfortunate game.
Before the championship games, your best guess was that Texas football fans wanted Jacksonville and Minnesota to be in the Super Bowl. Now that New England and Philadelphia are the last two teams standing, is there any comfort for fans in the Lone Star State?
For true fans of Texas NFL football, there is little intrigue about the Super Bowl. Some diehard fans from the Austin area will probably pull for Foles, even though they might despise the Eagles. Others will pull for Philadelphia just because they don’t want New England to win again. All anyone really wants is a competitive game that goes down to the wire.
Will it be yet another Super Bowl win for the Patriots February 4?
New England is the Vegas favorite, and for good reason. The Patriots have been there before and Brady never seems to have a bad game when everything is at stake. My guess is Philadelphia will hang tough for three quarters but the Patriots find a way to win.
Anything else you’d like to say about the Lone Star State angle?
The most pivotal player with Longhorn ties is Malcom Brown, defensive tackle for the Patriots. Former UT linebacker Jordan Hicks has had multiple good seasons in Philadelphia but he was injured this year and will not play.
Patriots receiver and former Texas Tech standout Danny Amendola was a critical player in the January 20 championship against Jacksonville, catching the game-winning touchdown. Former Longhorn Marcus Johnson, now in his second season with the Eagles, is a special teams specialist.