In the most unprecedented series of events, Boston College finds itself in a conflicted position for Super Bowl LI. Though the school's location lends itself to bleed red and navy, the Heights' (perhaps) all-time best quarterback is at the helm of the team up against the Patriots. Several Gavel sports editors have offered their two cents on the big matchup:
Ellen Gerst: Because the majority of the games in the football season were played in 2016, I’m going with the Falcons on this one. 2016 was the year that ended droughts in major league sports, so why would the trend stop now? The Cavs won the NBA Championship, the Cubs took the World Series, and I really wish the Sharks had won the Stanley Cup so I could drive this point home. Cleveland went 52 years without a championship until 2016 and the Cubs ended their 108-year drought just four months later. Guess how long it’s been since the World Series? That’s right—four months. Atlanta has NEVER won a Super Bowl in its 51-year existence in the NFL. These are heady days for teams who are fed up with going too long without a championship, and the Falcons are going to be next to claim their long-awaited prize. Also, I would really love to see the Patriots (and Tom Brady) lose for once. GO RAMS! Prediction: Falcons 31, Patriots 24.
Ryan Fennell: Betting against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl is an unpopular decision. After all, Coach Bill Belichick and his seemingly immortal 39-year-old quarterback Tom Brady boast four Super Bowl victories. With a 14-2 record, and two convincing playoff wins, the Patriots have showed little signs of weakness this season. But Super Bowl LI will be different. The Atlanta Falcons, after posting 457.5 yards per game to lead the NFL in total offense for the regular season, are flying high on their own hot streak. Matt Ryan has put on an MVP-caliber year, but he’s hardly the only Falcon to watch. Julio Jones, possibly the best receiver in the league, has been nearly unstoppable. During the postseason alone, Jones has 15 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns. Paired with Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, a dynamic duo at running back, the Falcons are stocked with playmakers. Sit down, don’t double-dip your nachos, prepare for a political statement from Lady Gaga at halftime, and enjoy the game. Prediction: Falcons 31, Patriots 28.
Carter Montgomery: This season, Tom-Brady-led Patriot teams have played the following quarterbacks: Charlie Whitehurst, Andy Dalton, Landry Jones, Tyrod Taylor, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jared Goff, Joe Flacco, Trevor Siemian, Matt Moore, Brock Osweiler, and Ben Roethlisberger—Roethlisberger without his best weapon, Le’veon Bell, who was injured for much of the game. New England’s No. 1 scoring defense beat one, maybe two (if you think Joe Flacco is elite) truly good quarterbacks in the last 14 games. Without question, Atlanta will be the best offense the Pats have seen by a wide margin. If the score of this game is above 30, Matt Ryan will finally win the title he should have brought to BC in 2007. Prediction: Falcons 38, Patriots 31.
ET: Who doesn't want to see the Brady-Belichick duo dethroned? As a Philadelphia native burdened by the trials of the Eagles, the natural decision is to choose the underdog in the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons hail the should-be MVP quarterback, Matt Ryan, alongside the number one receiver in the game, Julio Jones. Tom Brady might still be reeling from Deflategate, but Atlanta brings a deep, consistent O-line to Houston, one that can overpower the Pats' high-scoring offense. Besides, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn has a few tools in his belt to know a thing or two about how a Bill Belichick offense works (GM Thomas Dimitroff, assistant GM Scott Pioli), and it must be bad luck to bet against a team whose QB was just on the Heights a mere three months ago. Matty Ice has flown under the radar all season, but it's time for the Falcons to soar against New England. Prediction: Falcons 27, Patriots 24.
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