NO REASON TO DELAY SUPER BOWL PICK

I’m a week late in telling you this, but I’m still six days early. So for your sanity, please listen up.

Make your Super Bowl prediction now!

Otherwise, your brain will turn to mush, your ears will clog with statistics, you’ll see Michael Irvin and Tom Jackson arguing in your sleep, and you will only make your pick next Sunday on what you’ll tell yourself is thorough, brilliant analysis when it is, in fact, and I want to use a scientific term here, blah, blah, blah.

Nothing happens.

Remember that phrase. Nothing happens.

That is the summation of the two weeks between two Sundays ago, when the confetti fell, and this Sunday, when the Bears and Colts meet for the title. Nothing happens. No games are played. No one is traded. No one is drafted. No one improves. No one who is not injured will suddenly get injured, unless he pulls a neck muscle looking at a South Beach hottie.

Nothing happens. Except interviews.

Those will begin today when the Colts arrive, they will continue tomorrow in a stadium full of reporters, they will drone day after day until Friday, when players and media will blessedly leave each other alone, having finally covered the topic, “Which is more effective after a game – Dial or Irish Spring?”

And then the players will retreat to their hotels to prepare for what is still, believe it or not – despite giant inflatable beer cans, hospitality tents the size of New Mexico, a Prince concert at halftime, and at least one new commercial that will involve an animal doing something God never intended it to do – a football game.

And the Colts should win easily.

What you’ve seen this season

Ha! You thought I was saving that until the end, right? You figured I’d drag you through another 10 paragraphs of witty prose and sterling metaphors before making a prediction.

Well, that would be wrong. Because that is exactly what I’m warning you against. Don’t drag it out. Don’t say “I have to study more.” For mercy’s sake, man, how much more could you possibly study about these teams?

If you’re a football fan, you already watched Indianapolis shut down Kansas City, go on the road and beat the mighty Baltimore Ravens, then stage a magnificent comeback against their arch-nemesis Patriots to win the AFC.

You’ve already seen Chicago squeak past Seattle, and beat a New Orleans team that seemed hell-bent on trying to win a game without actually having possession of the football.

You’ve already seen Peyton Manning engineer five scoring drives in the second half against New England. You’ve seen Rex Grossman muddle his way through another Sunday that had the right score at sunset, no matter how bad he played in the daylight.

What more do you need? Get out on the limb. Make the pick on what you know already.

Watch. It’s like this. Colts will win big.

Uh-oh. I see you shaking.

Lots of useless information coming your way

Don’t tell me. You feel unworthy. You feel guilty making a prediction so soon, without heeding the avalanche of information heading your way.

And starting tonight, it really gets going. The historical footage of George Halas and Johnny Unitas. The strength-of-schedule analysis. The interior lineman one-on-one matchups.

Come Tuesday they’ll be into the weak-side linebacker comparisons, who-plays-better-in-warm-weather data, and X rays of Peyton Manning’s thumb.

By Wednesday and Thursday, they’ll be offering you the wide receiver tendencies, the tale of the tape between nose tackles and centers, the snap-count analysis, the curfew schedule, and which team has better radio reception inside its helmets.

And we haven’t even gotten to the weekend, when the heavens open, and down pours the precious info about Rex Grossman’s body fat, Marvin Harrison’s fast twitch muscles, how the Bears “aren’t getting any respect,” how the Colts “are getting too much respect” and who plays better when the humidity is over 80%.

Listen. I’m warning you. You dive into that pool, you will never come out. By Sunday, up will be down, left will be right, the favorite will seem the underdog, and NOTHING WILL HAVE HAPPENED.

So you can do it now or regret it later. Watch how easy a prediction is. Here we go:

Colts by 14.

I’m going to take a nap.

Wake me when they start the anthem.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or malbom@freepress.com.

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