Unscrambling who will winWritten by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
For most people, the inundation of Super Bowl coverage can be too much.
The two weeks between the conference championships and the big games can involve so many story lines that by kickoff everyone knows the backup punter’s dietary habits.
This is my time to shine. It is my best chance to create a theory, based on the quarterback’s name, that will predict who will win the Super Bowl.
Let me take a step back. Three years ago, when the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, I noticed a pattern in every playoff game. The quarterback whose last name was worth more in a game of Scrabble won all but one game leading up to the Super Bowl.
This was like discovering the wheel, electricity and a cure for cancer all in one.
There was no way the Seahawks would have lost to the Steelers because Matt Hasselback’s last name was worth 21 Scrabble points, while Ben Roethlisberger’s last name was only worth 20.
In fact, I even took it a step further, saying the Seahawks would win by that very score, 21-20.
Now, while this was wholly incorrect (the Steelers were the team that scored 21, while Seattle only scored 10), the point is that a couple of major news outlets in Seattle and Los Angeles mentioned my theory during the admittedly slow news week.
With Roethlisberger back in the Super Bowl, it was time to find a new theory, and this time the pattern is much simpler and doesn’t require the tedious task of calculating numbers using a formula invented by Hasbro.
To discover who will win Super Bowl XLIII, you just need to know the alphabet. Let’s look at each playoff game to date and how the quarterback whose last name was lower in the alphabet (closer to “Z”) fared:
- Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles beat Tarvaris Jackson and the Minnesota Vikings.
- Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals beat Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
- Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers beat Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
- Chad Pennington and the Miami Dolphins lost to Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.
- Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Rivers and the Chargers.
- McNabb and the Eagles beat Eli Manning and the defending champion New York Giants.
- Warner and the Cardinals beat Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers.
- Flacco and the Ravens beat Kerry Collins and the Tennessee Titans.
- Warner and the Cardinals beat McNabb and the Eagles.
- Roethlisberger and the Steelers beat Flacco and the Ravens.
If you kept track, that’s a 9-1 record for the alphabetically lower quarterback. This, of course, leaves Warner and Roethlisberger in the Super Bowl, and conventional wisdom dictates that the Cardinals should win the championship. If one wants to take this a step further, they can take the first letter of each quarterback’s name and its place in the alphabet. “W” is the 23rd letter, while “R” is the 18th letter. So maybe a sound prediction is that the Cardinals win 23-18.
But wait — the last time we used this logic, we were flat wrong. Roethlisberger was supposed to lose Super Bowl XL, according to a crackpot theory, so maybe he also bucks the trend and leads the Steelers to another win, scoring 23 points, while the other team scores half of the losing team’s projected total (9). Or maybe Warner gets hurt in the first play of the game; backup Matt Leinart has to play the game; the Steelers win and the alphabet theory holds true yet again when Arizona’s “W” quarterback turns quickly into an “L.”