By TIM KELLY
The women have spoken, and this time they agree with the men.
Despite Tom Brady’s matchless resume of Super Bowl championships, despite the fact he and his coaches and teammates are sleeping in their own beds and playing in their home stadium, most of the women who responded to our call for predictions go along with Las Vegas.
They’re picking Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs to defeat Tampa Bay and take their second straight Super Bowl title on Sunday.
Why are women so important in our survey?
According to the NFL, the league’s fan base demographics have shifted dramatically in recent years. Pro football fandom is now comprised of 44 percent women. That’s 88 million people – the fastest-growing segment of the NFL’s business model.
Alyssa Milano and Erin Andrews have already cashed in with established lines of NFL women’s fan gear, as have the individual teams.
It doesn’t stop there. At the current rate of growth, it won’t be long until female fans equal men in numbers.
“Next stop 50 percent!” crowed the website footballgirl.com. In the near future, there could be more women fans than men, which seemed inconceivable just five years ago.
Thus, our annual survey of “expert” predictions (all male) is mixed in with a sampling of local female perspectives on the big game, which kicks off on CBS at 6:30 p.m.:
Dawn Otto, Ocean City: I am a Tom Brady fan and have been for years. I hope he wins, and I think his calm and experience will get them to the championship. I love Brady’s work ethic and the way he embraces his teams. I realize he is a guy a lot of people love to hate, but that’s because he’s the greatest and he’s still got it. I have no beef with KC and I like Andy Reid, but I think Brady takes charge and wins another one. Old guys rule!
Bill Whiteside, Ocean City, a member of a national championship football team at Notre Dame and who is 3-0 in Super Bowl picks for OCNJDaily.com and SeaIsleNews.com: This should be a great game. I’m not a guy who dislikes Brady and it’s really tough to go against him. Mahomes is an up-and-comer and might be the greatest in the future. He does a great job passing and running that Chiefs’ offense. It could come down to coaching, and I have to give the edge there to Andy Reid, so I’ll pick the Chiefs.
Jane Evans Walker: I have to go with Mahomes and KC. Looking at the stats, it could go either way. Brady is undoubtedly one of the best ever, but I would like to see the kid outplay him, although nothing could be as satisfying as when we were watching him lose to Philly.
Tom Williams, Ocean City, broadcaster, journalist, proprietor of Prime Events: Tom Brady is in the Super Bowl – again. He is the greatest of all-time, a sixth round draft pick in 2000 (198 players were picked before him, including three kickers and a punter) and he is known for his performance in the big games. He has won six times in his nine Super Bowls – the Eagles got him once and Eli Manning’s Giants twice.
This year he took a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that had eight losing seasons the last nine years into the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. There were a few good players there but it was the 43-year-old QB’s talent, leadership and approach to the game that turned things around.
His Bucs will face the defending champs, and their talented young quarterback, Mahomes. They also met earlier this season right after Thanksgiving with Kansas City holding off a Bucs’ rally for a 27-24 win. Brady and Mahomes combined for over 800 yards passing in that game.
Sunday’s game should be another great one. Aside from the QBs, both teams have solid defenses, with the Bucs having a very slight advantage. Look for Brady to win number seven and for former Patriots teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski, to make at least one critical play.
Jodi La Rosa, events coordinator and marketing team member, Deauville Inn, Strathmere: “Both teams are great, but the Chiefs have a better running game. Brady could be the all-time greatest quarterback, but Patrick Mahomes has already won and is ushering in the new era. Plus, Andy Reid gives the Chiefs an edge. I’ll go with Andy and the Chiefs to win their second straight ring.
Pete Thompson, 97.3 ESPN, Shore Local sports and entertainment columnist: I’m really looking forward to Super Bowl LV as I think it features two high-powered offenses and two great quarterbacks. Those two will get a lot of the spotlight, but in the end, to me, it’s going to come down to which defense can make the most plays.
Tampa has the flashier defense, but I think they are going to struggle to slow down the Chiefs’ air and ground attack. I have people I’m rooting for on both sides, as I still am friends with some that are under Andy Reid in KC, and I also have a connection to the Bucs GM Jason Licht.
In the end, I’m going to say the 3-point line holds up and I’ll predict KC wins 34-31.
Mimi Mannel-Petruncio: Not Brady.
Lyn Breeden: Brady, hands down.
Kevin Smith, head football coach, Ocean City High School: I am really looking forward to the matchup. Brady vs Mahomes has to be a dream scenario for the league. The past and present versus the present and future. I never like to bet against Brady. He’s killed my Steelers far too many times throughout his career. However, I think Mahomes and the KC offense are just too good. I’m taking the Chiefs in what I think will be a great game. Something like 34-27.
Dee Dale Wright, Cherry Hill, longtime Eagles season ticketholder: Andy is going for two. Two Lombardi Trophies in a row, not two points to win the game!
Tim Lenahan, Ocean City, head men’s soccer coach Northwestern University: I love Andy Reid and I was rooting for him last year, like the Eagles. This year I’m rooting for the Bucs because what Tom Brady has done at age 43 is amazing. So maybe it’s one old veteran rooting for another.
Monica Roman-Gagnier: I love Mahomes but Brady’s got something to prove. I like Tampa Bay.
Mike Monichetti, lifelong Eagles fan and owner of Mike’s Seafood & Dock Restaurant, Sea Isle City: I think the Kansas City Chiefs will win a great game that should go down to the wire. If Mahomes runs the ball, he’s going to confuse the Tampa Bay defense. If I were a betting man, the best wager is the “over” (54 combined points in the game according to bleacherreport.com). Mahomes and Brady are going to light it up and KC will win a close one.
Christine Jeckot: Too close to call! But I would love to see Mahomes and KC get the job done.
Billy Schweim, 97.3 ESPN talk show host: My heart says Brady, my head says KC. That offense with Mahomes at the helm is unstoppable. Hill, Kelce, Edwards-Helaire. Lay the points and take the Chiefs. With that said, Brady is the greatest of all time and you can never take that lightly.
Shanda Hoque: Mahomes has the skill and the benefit of youth. I take KC, and not because I despise Brady.
Karyn Grace: Brady and Tampa Bay. Experience!
Bob Barr, Ocean City, City Council President and longtime rabid Chiefs fan: I think the Chiefs will win for the simple reason we have Patrick Mahomes and they don’t. I call this a passing-of-the-torch game. You can argue (Brady) as the best of all time, but if (KC) is able to win, then nobody will have won as many Super Bowls under the age of 26. And nobody has three-peated. He’s chasing history. There’s a scenario for Tampa to win, if our injury-depleted offensive line doesn’t hold up. Having said that, I think a (KC) win and score of 31-24 sounds about right.
Martha Esposito: KC and Mahomes. He’s younger and he’s already won on the big stage. And I don’t think he buys into the hype.
There you have it. For those keeping score at home, we had 19 total respondents, eight male, 11 female. The men predicted KC six times to two for Tampa Bay. The women went with the Chiefs seven times, the Bucs three.
It says here the majority is correct and Kansas City will rule Super Sunday, America’s unofficial national holiday.