Howard Herman | Designated Hitter: Breaking down Super Bowl entrants Philadelphia and New England


The time has come. It's Super Bowl Sunday.

For the past two weeks, we all have been inundated by analysis and opinion on whether the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles are going to win the big game.

It has even come to the point where there was a story circulating in Minnesota that Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank was pretty steamed at Patriots owner Robert Kraft because the rings that honor the winners of last year's game had 283 diamonds in each one. You might recall that 28-3 was the score the Falcons led by at halftime.

Talk about your epic trolling.

Back to the matter at hand, my end-of-the-line analysis of the two teams and today's game in Minneapolis. It's the analysis that you all are, by now, used to getting in this space.

When we compare, the point will go to the Patriots, the Eagles or a push.

So without further ado, let's begin.

Local delicacy: Let's say it's New England Clam Chowder vs. Philly Cheese Steaks. If you go to Geno's in South Philly, it's a win for the chowder. Otherwise, advantage Eagles.

Famous statuary: Philadelphia erected a statue in honor of Rocky Balboa, who isn't even a real person. Boston erected a statue of Bobby Orr scoring the most famous goal in Bruins history. There is also a nice Red Auerbach sitting on a bench at Quincy Market. Advantage, Patriots.

Rematches: This is the sixth time in Super Bowl history that there is a rematch. Of the previous five, only one has amounted to a split. That came in Super Bowl VII and XVII when Washington and Miami split. Otherwise, Pittsburgh went 2-0 against Dallas, San Francisco went 2-0 against Cincinnati, Dallas went 2-0 against Buffalo and the Giants went 2-0 against the Pats. So, teams that have won once tend to have an advantage in the rematch. Advantage: Patriots.

It's only a game: As in game shows, two of Philadelphia's favorite sons were game show legends. The great Dick Clark hosted the Pyramid game shows, while Chuck Barris created the Dating and Newlywed Games, and hosted the Gong Show. Advantage, Eagles.

First fans: Bradley Cooper might be the Eagles' No. 1 fan. The Wahlberg brothers, Donnie and Mark, are huge Patriot fans. But you might recall that Mark Wahlberg left last year's game early with the Pats down. Brother Donnie told 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston, "We're going to the game and we're waiting to see if my brother's coming. We have a car waiting for him at halftime to get him the hell out of there." Advantage, push.

Sports icons: Philly has a bunch, so does Boston. Two of the biggest, literally and figuratively, are Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain was a scorer, and Russell was a champion. Advantage, Patriots.

Give me some of that rock and roll music: The Cars, J. Geils, Aerosmith, New Kids, James Taylor, all from up here. All are Hall of Famers. However, were it not for 50s icons like Chubby Checker, and the more modern Gamble and Huff and Hall and Oates, the Boston music might not have happened. Advantage, Eagles.

So, there you have it. Three for the Patriots, three for the Eagles and one push. We need a tiebreaker.

So, to break this tie, we have the six degrees of the Montreal Expos.

Did you know that Tom Brady was almost a Montreal Expo?

"I'm always impressed by Coach Belichick and what he's done," Dan Duquette said.

Duquette, who runs the Baltimore Orioles, met the Patriots coach at a Belichick Foundation event. The two got to talking.

"I said to Coach Belichick, 'Coach, when we were with the Expos in '94, our scouts really liked your quarterback.' The Expos had drafted Tom Brady out of high school," Duquette said at Thursday's Western Mass. Baseball Hall of Fame inductions. "He was big, tall kid, a left-handed hitting catcher, great arm and great feet. All the qualities that make him a great quarterback would have made him a great leader on a baseball team."

Obviously, Brady turned down the Expos to go to Michigan, and the rest is history. Almost.

"Coach Belichick was signing a picture. He didn't even look up," said Duquette, "and he goes 'That was a wasted pick.'"

Mic drop.

And the Patriots will mic drop the Eagles and win Lombardi No. 6.

Howard Herman can be reached at, at @howardherman on Twitter, and 413-496-6253.


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