TEMPE, Ariz. — As you know, Curtis, you silver-haired warbler, anyone who predicts Pittsburgh will win this Super Bowl is a fool. So when readers learn that someone in this fine newspaper is actually picking the Steelers, their reaction will no doubt be: “Hey, it’s Curt Sylvester!”

After all, you are the man who once said, “Trust me, Denver will win the Super Bowl,” a sentence that ranks up there with “Columbus, you will sail off the edge of the Earth and die.”

Frankly, Curt, we are all getting a little embarrassed by your wrong picks week after week. And besides, your doctor told us it wouldn’t be wise for you to make any more bad predictions, ever since that stock thing went sour and you had to move into a large cardboard box.

And so, being the loving, caring friend that I am — and also having lost the race for first pick in this debate — I will play your part, Curt.

First, let me dye my hair white.

Now spin me around until I’m dizzy.

OK! Pittsburgh will win!

Of course, I don’t believe this. But then, I didn’t believe in the tooth fairy, and I still checked under my pillow. You never know. Besides, anyone can pick the Cowboys.

To go with the Steelers? That requires creativity. You must paint a picture in which Emmitt Smith fumbles under the pressure of the Steelers’ defense, and Troy Aikman is rattled by the endless pressure of Greg Lloyd and Kevin Greene, and Deion Sanders is so blinded by the lens of his own NBC camera that he blows his coverage.

You must weave a tale in which the bearded Neil O’Donnell — who resembles a hairy Dennis Miller — plays the game of his life, and slices the Dallas defense to shreds, leading his team to victory.

Such a story requires great imagination, not to mention prescription drugs. This, normally, would be where you come in, Curt.

By the way. You don’t still think you’re Queen Elizabeth, do you?

How many fingers, Curt?

Listen, my aged friend. I know how badly you want to be a Cowboy. I see you wandering the Free Press halls in your cowboy boots, singing bad Willie Nelson songs. Remember this one?

Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be sports writers

Don’t let em pick bowl games, Or tell you the score

Make ’em be doctors

They’ll earn so much more!

You should have listened, Curt. We all should have listened. Instead, here we are, you blindly falling into the most obvious pick since the Grenada invasion, and me stuck picking a team that forgot to put the logo on one side of its helmets.

And so, with a heavy heart, I reveal the following score. My only solace is that, on Sunday night, you will probably have one nice gloating moment of happiness, before you return to your sad and pathetic fantasy world, in which you play Gene Autry.

By the way, you’re a little old for the part.

Pittsburgh 24, Dallas 21.

Now, please. Burn this newspaper.

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