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Photograph by Ken Yee. 

Hello and welcome to another Super Bowl Mailbag, where I try to convince you I don’t care at all about the New England Patriots, in fact, I’m not even mad they’ve been so successful, who cares, when really they occupy every inch of my small brain like a terminal tumor.

It’s been a fun year remembering when Nick Foles and the Eagles took down the Patriots, but we all knew it would only anger the beast. Tom Brady would start cutting meat out of his diet, and then water, until he was a walking mass of all the footballs he’d swallowed whole in the offseason. Bill Belichick and Ernie Adams would lock themselves in a room and watch film until even their wives thought they’d officially died, and the front office would go out and sign some scrappy receivers to go darting into every opponent’s secondary, so suspiciously open due to the 8 defensive backs jumping onto Gronk and riding him like a bull.

What I’m saying is, the moment the Eagles won we knew the Patriots would be back and we’d have to face our greatest nightmare anew.

I, for one, can’t wait until they all die.

Thanks to all who sent me questions. I really enjoyed them this year. Super Bowl!

I came to you in a time of need. A time of ignorance. And yet, a time of opportunity. In that moment, you advised me to select Le’Veon Bell as the first pick in my fantasy draft. Faced with the same decision, on the same night, in your own league, you decided to pick Todd Gurley. My question is simple: How do you sleep at night?

-Ryan B., Brooklyn, NY

Yeah, we need to get this one out of the way. First of all, I sleep on my side with a really great pillow under my head. Sometimes I face away from the bed – that’s where I do my best sleeping – but other times I roll over and face the other direction. I find that the more I drink the quicker I fall  asleep but the less rested I feel in the morning, so I’ve been trying something new: not drinking, occasionally. My dreams are so vivid, it’s like a glorious acid trip every time.

Secondly, though I admit most of the details in this question are, at heart, completely true, it does get one very crucial detail incorrect: about a week passed in between me recommending Le’Veon Bell number one overall (mid-to-late August) and me selecting Todd Gurley number one overall (early September). As we all know now, that was a pivotal week!

The Le’Veon situation really shocked me, and it’ll be interesting to see if he gets the big contract he’s aiming for next year. He’ll be 26 years old. A running back with plenty of mileage, and now some baggage too. Which, to be clear, is bullshit, but this is the NFL, where they’d rather sign you or me than a quarterback that several years ago led a team to the Super Bowl but had the audacity to protest black men being shot by the police. I think Le’Veon will get a decent three-year contract with very little money guaranteed and have to play for the Buccaneers, or something.

Ryan, if it makes you feel any better, Gurley kinda tapered off toward the end of the year and my team also started sucking and I didn’t even make the damn playoffs myself. As of now I’m never playing fantasy football again, which is something I’ll inevitably do a complete 180 on in, say, 7 months or so.

Everybody’s talking about it. How do we fix the overtime rules, once and for all?

-Sam B., Portland ME

A natural contrarian, I’ve already felt myself gravitating back toward: is overtime really broken? If you lose the coin toss, shouldn’t you be able to stop the other team if you’re clearly the better team? Take the two championship games which stirred this debate anew: the Saints started with the ball. Then the Rams made a play. If any Rams fans actually exist out there, I doubt they’re complaining about the overtime rules. In the game later that day, the Patriots started with the ball, and the Chiefs turned into a JV football team coached by the best Andy Reid impersonator I know of, Andy Reid himself. Naturally, Chiefs fans (and everybody who despises the Patriots) were pissed.

But we all like innovation, so fuck it, this is what I would do.

Penalty kicks, baby. That’s right, bring the kickers out. They start with a 30-yarder. First guy kicks. If he makes it, the other guy has to match. If they both make it, you move back 5 yards and repeat, over and over, until Greg the Leg and Stephen Gostowski are kicking 75 yarders into the bitter night. I haven’t decided yet if the other players normally involved in a field goal should be on the field or not, because I kind of like the image of the kicker out there, all by himself, nowhere to hide. 

In all seriousness, that is absolutely how ties should be broken during the regular season. In the playoffs you should just play another quarter, and then another until everyone has so many injuries NFL owners don’t ever have to pay anyone ever again, nobody loses. 

This is self deprecating as a Patriots fan… but if the patriots win how long will Brady hold his lips to his son’s lips? The line in Vegas has a 3-second over/under on this one I think.

-Tate O., Boston, MA

As the biggest Tom Brady Hater I know of, I have always felt this weird storyline was actually a little unfair. If dads want to kiss their sons on the lips, go for it. If Tom Brady wants to do it BURN HIS FUCKING HOUSE DOWN WE DON’T NEED HIM ANYWAY. But the all caps is unrelated to the kisses on the lips, I swear.

I feel like a 3-second kiss on the lips is pretty long, no? I think it’s sneaky long. Count with me… kiss… 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi, 3 mississippi…  I’m taking the under, no question, especially if “no kiss” counts as “under.”

Also, I have a joke.

Folks,,,,,,,

Not the first time that family members, kissing on the lips, and Mississippi have appeared in the same paragraph, AM I RIGHT?!?!?!

Is it all about the rings? Next question, how do I get my question answered this year?

-Sam C., Atlanta, GA

You get your question answered when I’m writing this the night before I’m intending to post it and I’m desperate for questions, Sam, that’s how.

I went on a long rant about this in last year’s mailbag, unfortunately, and it ended up being the title of the blog: that Americans care too much about winning. We think that’s what it’s all about, but truthfully, it’s about the struggle. It’s about being alive, feeling the pain with occasional pleasure, the two accenting one another like yin and yang. 

Well folks, not 3 months after I wrote that loser ass blog post last year my mind was changed once and for all.

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That’s right, the News of Orange Panthers SWEPT our Little League, going 10-0 in the regular season and then absolutely smacking other teams in the playoffs until they cried uncle. True story – the opposing pitcher in the finals was an Indians fan, and that’s how I knew we were going to win.

Anyway, we got little plastic rings that were surprisingly heavy and sometimes I wear mine around the house just to remind the dog that it is, in fact, all about the rings baby.

Last note, I swear: the kid on the far right and his little brother, front row, third from right, are absolutely going to be Major League Baseball players. I’m not going to tell your their names cuz that’s creepy, but let’s just say I’ve already attached myself to them and I’m expecting 10% of all career earnings (I’m not sure how well their parents understood this, there was a bit of a language barrier).

Will Tom Brady’s diet be the emphasis on the Patriots if they win? Will this spark a new fad diet?

-Casey L., Steamboat Springs, CO

Anybody who isn’t already talking about Tom Brady’s insane and ridiculous diet – a diet designed by a con artist – isn’t going to start talking about it because he wins another Super Bowl. They will rave about his perseverance (side note: took me 20 tries to spell that word), his guile, his talent, his grit, his determination, his UGH. That was a Freudian slip, but we will absolutely be talking about his UGGs.

I think one of the things that bothers me most about Tom Brady aligns nicely with what bothers me about the Patriots overall: they want it both ways. They want to be the underdog, but also respected as the greatest dynasty of all time. They are certainly the latter, by the way, but they can’t be both. Tom Brady is known as a guy who was overlooked, drafted in the sixth round, and willed his way to greatness, but is also so talented, so undeniably great at his craft that he is the best of all time. Then Patriots fans turn around and point out all the meaningless people who have COUHNTED TOMMY FOOTBAHLL OUT TIME AND TIME AGHAIN, but we’re still here! We’re still here!

Yeah, we know you’re still here you’ve played in the past 800 Super Bowls, you fucking pricks. Just because we try to will you into obscurity doesn’t mean anybody actually kids themselves into thinking the Patriots will ever lose an AFC playoff game, ever. 

Stop trying to have it both ways. Own how good you are. Believe that we believe it too, even when Max Kellerman is going off about how the 1-2 Patriots are finally done. He gets paid to do that, he doesn’t actually believe it. 

By the way, the diet is a false flag. The guy is taking steroids. And that’s fine! But he’s taking them.

This isn’t a football question, but have you seen the sites for the first couple rounds of March Madness? If you had to pick one of those cities to travel to, where would you go?

-Sam H., Brooklyn, NY

Let’s take a look.

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Woooooooooooooff. Seriously, the only way you come up with those 9 cities is if you sit around smoking pot trying to come up with which American city is the best punchline to any joke about how shitty a city is.

*puffs joint*

Tulsa!

(whole room erupts in laughter, one old white man spits out water across the table, another wets himself)

*puffs joint, giggling*

“Jack-”

(room laughs harder)

“-sonville!!!!!”

(old white men fall out of chairs, some start dancing on the table, holding head in hands)

Okay, enough of that, because all cities have something cool about them, right? I was sure Oakland sucked and then I moved there and it was the coolest. Let’s go ahead and write Des Moines off, because it’s in Iowa. I’ve got a twenty dollar bill that says Des Moines is one of those places that has an “international” airport because they have one flight per month to Toronto, so they count it.

Hartford goes next. My Nana passed away a couple of months ago – RIP, she was a great woman – and she lived in West Hartford, and I actually have to confess something. The night before her funeral, we went out to a restaurant that had the best pizza I’ve ever eaten, and the main street was super cute, but come on, it’s still Hartford, the strangest North American city to ever have hosted a major professional sports franchise. 

But pause here for the greatest song ever recorded:

I’ve heard Salt Lake City is sneaky cool but I’ve also heard you have to buy beer in a back alley from a man named Amos and it’s only 2% alcohol, so that city is out for me personally. 

Tulsa is in Oklahoma (but I know people who swear it’s cool!), Columbia is in South Carolina, and now we’re left with San Jose, Jacksonville, and Columbus. Fuck, man. Maybe don’t go? Or wait until the sweet sixteen? Let’s see what cities we are choosing from there…

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Fuuuuckkkkkk. Stay home. Spend the money on a bigger TV. Wait until next year when you can come down to Greensboro and stay on my couch.

Not sure if you’ve heard, but the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year. That’s, right the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl, did you hear? What do the Rams have to do to mercifully bring us two straight Patriots Super Bowl losses, because not sure if you heard but the Eagles won last year’s Super Bowl?

-Liz A., Philadelphia, PA

Ah, a sick brag disguised as a football strategy question! As someone who never played a down of football in his life but has spent the past 31 years screaming at the TV, cheering against the Patriots, I feel uniquely qualified to answer this question.

It’s always the same game plan, and (almost) nobody can ever do it. You gotta rush four people and hope they get to Tom Brady and knock him on his ass, and you gotta have corners and defensive backs that can play man coverage. Wait a second, that kinda sounds like… a certain team…

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Aaron Donald is going to be a mess for the Patriots to handle, but I’m sure Belichick will have some scheme where four fullbacks take him out and somehow there are 12 other players on the field to cover everyone else.

It shouldn’t be hard to score on the Patriots though, who’ve had a mostly pedestrian defense all year.

But we all know what you really need…

(chanting grows)

Big dick nick! Big dick nick! BIG DICK NICK!

Nah, anyway, we’re all fucked. The Patriots are going to win by 120 points and there won’t be enough alcohol in the entire world to drink it away. Speaking of…

Folks hold on to your hats and chase that shot of Yuengling you just drank with a bottle of whiskey, because you are now entering, the Gorski Zone™, wherein my friend Gorski, a mumbling Polish lush from Pennsyvlania, asks rapid fire questions. 

Will your fantasy league still let me play next year even tho I won the first year in? 

You know how fantasy sports is 10% paying attention and 90% luck and it’s annoying when people claim otherwise? Well, I can say with great consternation and concern for society that my friend Gorski (who is trying to be a doctor, otherwise I’d use his full name) is alarmingly good at fantasy sports and it’s really fucking annoying. He almost stockholm syndromed me into accepting a 3-for-1 trade that involved three players he didn’t need for Todd Gurley. It was the single worst trade offer I’ve ever received and by the end of arguing with him about it I was actually convinced that he was right. And he may have been! I still haven’t crunched the numbers on that, and I’m never going to because Gorski is never allowed in another fantasy league with me ever again.

Because I’m obviously not interested in this Super Bowl, who will Nick Foles be playing for next year?

Goddamn, love this question. Just to be clear, we’re talking about the backup quarterback that led the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl championship over the New England Patriots last year. That’s right, Nick Foles, who beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Last year.

So apparently the Eagles are sticking with Carson Wentz, and Nick Foles wants to be a starter somewhere, and who can blame him. I do worry that Carson Wentz kinda sucks though, don’t you? I know he was hurt and everything – apparently two years in a row – but shouldn’t that be part of the concern, an injury history? Meanwhile, all Nick Foles does is win football games as the starting quarterback of the Eagles.

But it sounds like he’ll go somewhere else, so I’ll recklessly set the odds at:

Jaguars: +400

Broncos: +400

Raiders: +600

Dolphins: +800

And one more! I actually think there’s a shot he returns to the Eagles.

Eagles: +1000

How many people do you think are actually rooting for the Patriots… I mean I figure most Patriots fans are actually hoping they lose just so they can complain all next season.

This is a really interesting question, especially when you consider the Rams have about as many fans as a high school punk band, and I could NOT agree more with the statement at the end. Patriots fans want to be miserable. They went so many years being tortured, watching an awful football team play in the frozen tundra, once getting completely dismantled by Brett Favre and the gang in the Super Bowl, just 10 years after being the statue to the ’85 Bears pigeon.

The last two decades have been so strange for them. I think that’s why they can’t stop doing the underdog thing, all this success has shaken them to their very core. They live in the worst weather climate imaginable, their favorite baseball team plays in a little league stadium they have to pretend to like, they can’t pronounce words correctly, and their idea of fun involves calling into the innumerable sports talk radio shows in  the Boston area and saying things like

“BOSTON ISN’T A RACIST SPORTS TOWN! WE JUST PREFER GUYS WHO LOOK LIKE US, LIKE MY PERSONAL LOHD AND SAVIOH, LARRY BIHD!”

Anyway, I imagine it’s about a 60/40 split, in favor of the Rams. The Patriots have a really large fanbase, the Rams do not, but I imagine there are enough people like me who are so sick of watching the Patriots win that we’ll cheer for anyone for the day. I’ll go 60/40, Rams.

Oh, and enough of this bullshit with people saying they aren’t interested in the game. Yeah, it hurts a bit to know we’re gonna have to endure Jim Nantz and Tony Romo deep throating Tom Brady and the gang for 4 more unbearable hours, but it’s fucking football, y’all. It’s the last real football game you’ll watch until September! And these are two really, really good football teams. Don’t be an asshole. Watch the Super Bowl.

The Prediction: 

I’m now 1-4 all-time picking Super Bowls, so why change it up? Gotta keep trying to jinx the Patriots.

Patriots: 31

Rams: 27

Merry Super Bowl. See ya next year.