Patriots primed to pocket sixth Super Bowl ring

SUPER BOWL Sunday has finally arrived.

Unfortunately, we have to wait around till 6:30 for the New England-Los Angeles kickoff. A 4 p.m. start would work much nicer for TV viewers, especially for those in the Eastern time zone.

Amazingly this is the ninth Super Bowl for New England quarterback Tom Brady. He is 5-3 so far in the big game which has cemented him in NFL laurels as the best ever QB to play the game.

The Patriots – love them or hate them – are a remarkable story. Brady has made it to the Super Bowl nine times in 18 seasons.

That is a string of success that only Otto Graham could equal. Graham led the Browns to 10 straight championship games, winning seven times.

Brady is still at the top of his game at age 41. He was at his best in beating the Chiefs in the AFC championship game, converting three third-down-and-long situations in a game-winning overtime drive.

Moreover, his offensive line is playing lights out. Brady was not sacked once against K.C.

While Brady is the G.O.A.T., his boss may also be one. Bill Belichik is the only coach to win five Super Bowls and has more post season wins (30) than any other coach. He is on the Mount Rushmore of NFL coaches alongside Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll and George Halas.

The Rams, meanwhile, are playing with house money. If not for one of the worst officiating gaffes in NFL history at New Orleans, they would be spectators today.

Los Angeles is a franchise on the rise. Sean McVey is the hottest commodity in coaching circles while QB Jared Goff is growing into star status. The Rams also have the league’s best defensive player in Aaron Donald of Pitt.

Two weeks ago, I said it was nonsensical to pick against the Patriots in the AFC title game against the Chiefs. So, it would be nonsensical to pick against the Pats tonight.

My call, Patriots 27, Rams 24.

BUBBA’S BITS

FORMER WHEELING Park all-state quarterback Cross Wilkinson has received a nice honor with the University of Toledo football team. The talented freshman earned the “Rocket of the Week” Award during the program’s “Rocket Winter Competition” which is composed of performance in the classroom, training sessions and community. Wilkinson has just recently been redshirted by the Rockets.

FORMER LINSLY School hoop standout Dylan Harrison is enjoying a solid sophomore season at Ohio Valley University. The talented forward is averaging 9.4 points and 3.2 rebounds per game for the 6-11 Fighting Scots.

WHEELING PARK hoop standout Keondre King is a nominee for the prestigious McDonald’s All-American basketball game.

SAINT VINCENT College in Latrobe, Pa. is enjoying a banner men’s basketball season under the guidance of former Wheeling Park hoopster D.P. Harris. The Bearcats are 18-2 overall and 11-0 in the PAC.

THE AUSTIN College (Sherman, Tx.) women’s basketball team is rolling this season, compiling a 16-3 mark. The Kangaroos are coached by former St. John Central two-time all-Ohioan Michelle (Bielanski) Filander. She scored 1,436 points, winning three OVAC titles and gaining a hoop scholarship to Robert Morris.

KUDOS GO out to former Wheeling Park all-state point guard Kylie McKennen. The 5-6 dandy turned in a sparkling performance Wednesday, leading Washington & Jefferson past Westminster. She dished out an amazing 15 assists, one short of the school record. For the season, McKennen is averaging 5 points and 5 assists for the 14-6 Presidents. She has started all 20 games.

FORMER UNION Local all-Ohioan Haley Porter is enjoying a sparkling freshman season at Waynesburg University. The talented guard tossed in 17 points Wednesday night to lead the Yellow Jackets past Geneva. Porter is averaging 11.5 and 3 assists a game this winter.

PHIL BLEDSOE is coming up big for the Glenville basketball team. The former Wheeling Park star and Marshall University transfer is averaging 19.1 points and 11.1 rebounds for the 7-12 Pioneers.

MEREDITH MILLER had a career game for Western Michigan last Saturday. The 5-11 senior forward, with Ohio Valley roots, drained seven treys in leading the Broncos back from a 14-point, fourth quarter deficit to beat Ball State, 65-62. She meshed four treys in the critical final period. She has started all 17 games for 8-9 WMU, averaging 8.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Miller has a 3.92 GPA and will graduate this spring with a degree in business administration. She was an all-Academic Mid-American Conference honoree last year. Meredith is the daughter of former Shadyside High athletic great Pat Miller, an OVAC Hall of Famer.

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