Jim Nantz interviews Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots after the Patriots defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 36-17 to win the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images
Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images

Second Thoughts: Patriots have Brady, and that will be enough

My one rule on Super Bowl Sunday: no parties. But I’m suspending my rule tonight because I have little interest in watching the Patriots or Falcons. So bring on the cold beer and good conversation, which always seem to cease during the commercials. The talking, I mean.

There is a game to be played between the ads for Budweiser and high-end automobiles, so let’s discuss Super Bowl LI. The key to the Big Game: Can the Falcons get to Tom Brady? Simple as that. Atlanta will blitz enough to make Jon Gruden drool, but I don’t think it’ll be effective. Brady gets rid of the football faster than my teenage son eats a cheeseburger.

The Patriots won’t fumble in the red zone and will pummel Atlanta, sticking to the theme of the 2017 playoffs. Only two of the first 10 postseason have been close. Two! Roger Goodell will plaster on a fake smile and present the trophy to Bob Kraft and shake Brady’s hand. Then he’ll go punch a wall. Patriots 35, Falcons 20.

Lady Gaga is performing at halftime. That’ll be interesting. I predict a major wardrobe malfunction that will make Americans totally forget about the game. Afterward, the media will speculate that Goodell staged the whole thing to take the spotlight off those cheating Patriots. BTW, a recent poll found that only 27 percent of Americans will be cheering for New England.

Sounds like Josh Cunningham will return to the UD lineup sometime this month. It would be great to see him on the court when the Flyers host VCU on March 1. They’ll need some help boxing out Mo Alie-Cox and his pals.

Too bad Cunningham can’t handle the ball. It’s become painfully obvious that the Flyers have just one reliable option at point guard in close games. The five or six minutes Scoochie Smith rests have become cover-your-eyes time.

Reds fans gotta love the fallout from the hacking drama involving the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards must forfeit their top two picks in this year’s draft and pay the Astros $2 million because a former employee hacked Houston’s computers. The guilty party, Chris Correa, was sentenced to nearly four years in jail. That judge must be a Cubs fan.

The Reds are giving Bronson Arroyo another chance and the Tribe has signed Wily Mo Pena. What is this, 2007? Arroyo might work his way up to the mound at Great American Ball Park this season, which would be cool. I always liked Arroyo. His fastball probably tops out at 74 mph, which could befuddle batters. Wily Mo in Cleveland’s lineup? Not a chance.

Trending up: Gonzaga, Roger Federer, Chelsea Welch. The Zags are ranked No. 1, much to the chagrin of the snooty major conferences. Basketball is not football, though. You can build a great hoops team around three or four great players. The Zags aren’t really a mid-major, either. Some of the teams they’ve already defeated: San Diego State, Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, Washington, Tennessee, Saint Mary’s, BYU.

Trending down: Xavier, Kevin Love, New York Islanders. Xavier is reeling after losing point guard Edmond Sumner to a torn ACL. I’m sure all of you UD fans are really bummed. The Musketeers dropped out of the Top 25 and lost four of seven prior to Saturday’s game at Creighton, another team trying to recover from the loss of its point guard to a knee injury.