OPINION COLUMNS

It’s Denver by a hair

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, February 1, 2014

Predicting the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl is a major industry right now. I’m not a gambler (other than the fact that I drive) but I checked the odds and as I write, the Denver Broncos are 3-point favorites over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s game.

Bob Buckel

Bob Buckel

That means the experts (whoever they are) believe it will be a close game. No one’s going to get a huge payout by picking one team or the other.

Still, I’ll bet there’s a ton of betting – from friendly wagers among buddies as they await the chili-cheese dip, to whichever team Charles Barkley decides to lay his millions on with the professionals in Las Vegas.

I’m going to a Super Bowl party myself, and the hosts always have a little board where you can make your prediction and win some small prize.

In past years I haven’t played. I’ve cared little and known less about the teams, and besides, it involves picking a score every quarter. That gets complicated and gives me tired-head and furthermore, I’m busy eating.

But this year, I have devised a system.

Quarterback Peyton Manning is absolutely one of my all-time favorite people in sports. I have lots of company there because he’s one of the most popular athletes in any sport, at any time. I’ve seldom liked an athlete more.

But I can’t pick based on whose jersey I wear, who I’m Facebook friends with, who I follow on Twitter or who my sons accuse me of having a man-crush on.

So I’ve narrowed this down to two criteria: hair and Texans.

Peyton’s hairstyle looks, unfortunately, a lot like mine. That’s because he’s nearly as old as me, depending on how you define “nearly.”

He looks like he gets his haircuts from Floyd’s barbershop down on Main Street in Mayberry.

Quarterbacks have a lot going on inside their heads. They don’t have the luxury of focusing that much on their hair, and they certainly don’t need anything that restricts their peripheral view of those blitzing linebackers.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson has very normal-looking hair, too. But his teammate, Richard Sherman, is at the other end of the spectrum – almost as famous for his dreadlocks as he is for trash-talking opponents.

They have another high-profile player, running back Marshawn Lynch, who also sports dreads and is famous for not talking. Go figure!

So I was going to go with Seattle based on hair alone. The team with the most dreads wins.

But guess what? Roster research reveals Denver has more players with dreads. In fact, Denver has seven while Seattle just has three.

So the dreads vote goes to Denver. It’s not even close.

What about Texans? Seattle, surprisingly, has the edge there even though most Texans dream of retiring to their own little piece of Colorado. (Few Texans dream of retiring to Seattle, shivering in the rain while sipping expensive coffee in grungy clothes.)

But hey, the numbers don’t lie. Seattle has six Texans on their roster while Denver has just five.

That is not enough of a margin, however, to overcome the hair factor. So the prediction is Denver. The margin of dreads (plus four) minus the margin of Texans (minus one) makes the Broncos a three-point favorite.

The Dreads-to-Texans ratio. Maybe that’s the same system the experts use …

Bob Buckel is editorial director for the Messenger.

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