By TIM KELLY
Super Bowl LIV is nearly upon us, and that means virtually everyone has an opinion on the game, pitting the San Francisco 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs.
More of a cultural phenomenon than a football game, Super Bowl Sunday is undoubtedly the nation’s biggest undeclared holiday. Naturally, Ocean City and Sea Isle City folks were not bashful when our call went out seeking their thoughts on the Big Game.
As of Sunday, Las Vegas oddsmakers had installed the Chiefs as a one-point favorite, which basically makes the game a toss-up from a betting standpoint.
Fittingly, the responses reflect this. Great arguments were made for both teams from a football standpoint.
There were also plenty of sentimental thoughts in support of Chiefs Coach Andy Reid, the former Eagles coach who took the Birds close to the promised land but who couldn’t quite get there in three bitter defeats in NFC championship games and the 2004 Super Bowl.
There were a few Eagles fan respondents who do not want Reid to win with another team after so many near-misses with their team.
Weighing in along with people from Ocean City, Sea Isle and environs, were a number of voices from the media.
Here is a sampling of some of the responses:
Bill Whiteside, Ocean City, member of two Notre Dame national champions (1946, ’47): Whiteside is 3-0 in his Super Bowl selections for OCNJDaily. “I would love to see Andy finally win the Super Bowl,” Whiteside said, “I’m picking the Chiefs who to me are just a better team.”
Lt.Patrick Randles, Ocean City Police Department: “Chiefs, because my 7-year-old son Gunnar is obsessed with Patrick Mahomes and I constantly remind him that all Patricks are champions.”
Kevin Smith, Ocean City High School head football coach: “This is an interesting game. These are two teams with very different styles. Kansas City uses a lot of shifts and motions and misdirections and San Francisco tries to pound the ball down your throat. It’s going to be a great game but in the end I think Patrick Mahomes makes a few big plays and the Chiefs win.”
Mike Monichetti, owner of Mike’s Seafood in Sea Isle City and Ocean City: “The Mike’s Seafood prediction for Super Bowl LIV is 41-27 … with Kansas City beating San Fran by 14 points. Both teams have high-powered offenses, but K.C.’s defense will prove too much in the second half and they will shut down the 49ers. Andy Reid and the Chiefs will get their much-deserved Super Bowl rings.”
Joe Mason, journalist, via Facebook: “San Francisco. They run the ball, play defense and are not coached by Andy Reid.”
John Walton of Ocean City, back-to-back Mr. Mature America first runner-up: “I’m going with the Chiefs, but not because of Andy Reid. In my estimation Reid blew many games with the Eagles because of his clock mismanagement. His press conferences were infuriating. I was happy to see him go. I just think the Chiefs remind me of the 2017 Eagles, a team of destiny. Even if they falter at the start, if they right the ship, with some help from Andy perhaps, they’re unstoppable!”
Tom McQuillen, Sea Isle City Police Chief: “I like the Chiefs with a score of 35-21. I want to see Andy Reid finally win a Super Bowl. Since my Eagles aren’t in it, I want to root for the ex-Eagles coach.
Kathy Moran, Ocean City High School Athletic Trainer: “Even though I want the Chiefs to win because I want Andy Reid to win a Super Bowl, I think the Niners are going to win because defense wins championships and they have a killer defense.”
Kevin Hanley, Cleveland sports talk show host: “Kansas City. Too much firepower even for that San Fran defense. Mahomes is just on a whole different level right now. I’d like to see Andy Reid and Tyrann Matthieu get rings. Matthieu’s story is the perfect example of how someone can make the most of a second chance.”
Bob Barr, Fourth Ward Councilman, Ocean City, and huge Chiefs fan: “Chiefs. Better team, better coach. We have Mahomes, they don’t. He’s fast, he can make all the throws, he’s smart. He’s tough to beat, he’s only lost 8 games in his career, by a total of 36 points.”
Leonard Desiderio, Mayor of Sea Isle City: “With the Eagles not playing, there hasn’t been too much chatter or excitement. I’m going to go with the 49ers because my friends, Councilman Bob Barr and Sea Isle legend Paul Dever, are two of the most loyal Chiefs fans that I know and it would be good to have some fun with them in a game that should be a good one. Go Niners!”
Judy Stoy Meehan, Beach Haven: “The Eagles are not in the Super Bowl, but our former coach is. I’d love to see Andy win. He’s come a long way and bounced back after being fired for that crazy man (Chip Kelly).”
Frank LaSasso, OCHS Football assistant coach: “KC has too many weapons on the offensive side of the ball, while proving they have the ability to stop the run on defense. I would love to see Big Red (Reid) finally win the big one. Andy having two weeks to prepare is a big advantage. Love both of these teams but at the end of the day, KC’s playmakers take over.”
Billy Schweim, O.C. summer resident, hosts “The Locker Room With Billy Schweim on 97.3 ESPN radio: “I think the Chiefs win 24-20. Despite the Niners tough defense I think Mahomes is too much for them.”
Dave Wyche, former sportswriter for four different newspapers, via Facebook: San Francisco because of Austin Miles, the Niners’ assistant offensive coach. A Jersey guy, grad of Monmouth University, former Eagle and a good guy.”
Sean Matthews, OCHS football defensive coordinator: “I’m a big Chiefs fan for the Super Bowl. Would love to see Andy Reid get a win. The guy is class act in all areas of life.”
Dave Buch, Ocean City, longtime Niners fan: “I think the 49ers take it. They’ve shown in the playoffs they have a running game. I give Kansas City a lot of credit, they are very hard to stop offensively, and they don’t get rattled when they are behind. But if they are behind in this game, I don’t think (the Niners defense) lets them come back.”
Chuck Darrow, longtime entertainment writer who also covered Ocean City and other shore points: “Niners. Reid will choke yet again. It’s who he is and what he does.”
George Masters, Jr., longtime South Jersey coach, via Facebook: “Offense wins most Super Bowls and I think San Francisco relies on the run too much. I’m going with the Chiefs, just a hunch. My son won’t like this pick because he bet on the Niners.”
Paul Callahan, OCHS Assistant Coach: “All things being close to equal, I go with the team with the best quarterback, so I’m going with the Chiefs and Mahomes.”