Can you believe it?
The Las Vegas Hilton has made the New England Patriots the 4-to-1 favorites to win next year's extra-large Super Bowl XL, while the Philadelphia Eagles are the top NFC pick at 6-to-1.
Didn't we just do that?
Right now, I'm picking the Patriots to beat anyone they play in the next Super Bowl ... by 3. I don't care if they play France -- I'm picking them by 3.
Actually, I'll give you France and 10.
But perhaps that's a trifle premature. Before we move on, we do need to sweep up and turn off the lights after Super Bowl XXXwhatever. So let's clean up after ourselves:
- Now that's a candy bar: As you can see, the highlight of my pre-Super Bowl week in Jacksonville was getting up close and personal with the biggest Snickers bar in the world. Actually, it's phony. My good friend Priest Holmes eventually popped out of it after being named Snickers' Hungriest Player of the Year. Not quite NFL Player of the Year, but close.
- Best result: That's easy. Terrell Owens did not score his 15th touchdown of the season, meaning Big-Boned Coach Andy Reid does not have to keep his promise of wearing tights.
- I had a long talk with Arena Football League Commissioner David Baker, who had five assistants with him in Jacksonville. They were looking for ideas on how to sell their next ArenaBowl in its new permanent site -- Las Vegas. You'll think of something, commish.
- What if? Many have forgotten Bill Belichick was head coach of the Jets for one day before Patriots owner Robert Kraft made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Let's hope it didn't involve the head of a horse.
- Why didn't Owens ask his buddy, the Lord, for two extra minutes in the fourth quarter -- or at least a clock?
- About the ads: We saw Gladys Knight, Burt Reynolds, the Jolly Green Giant, the Pillsbury Doughboy and Mr. Clean, among other old-timers. Are graying boomers now the coveted age demographic at last? We'll know it's true if they bring back Barnaby Jones.
- But that "Baby Bob" for Quiznos subs is plain freaky.
- Fox sold $142 million in Super Bowl ads. How do you think it will use the money? Coming soon: When Good Cheerleaders Go Bad!
- Despite his name, Tedy Bruschi already has appeared as a Got Milk? poster boy. If I sell beer in Boston, I'm changing the name of my brew to "Bruschi." Then it's, "Hey, bartender, give me another Bruschi!"
- I saw Paula Abdul. She is tiny. And she had no interest in hearing my rendition of "Are You Lonely Tonight?"
- Sir Paul McCartney. Sir Elton John. Why can't we do that? I'd like the sound of Sir Chubby Checker.
- Trust me on this: NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue really wanted to announce Friday that he had a new deal with ABC and ESPN. He's hacked that ABC is being reluctant to fork over the usual fortune for his game.
- I still say the halftime show would have been a thousand times better with the marching bands from Florida A&M, Bethune-Cookman and Grambling saluting Ray Charles.
- Last Super Bowl note: The game needs one thing to become our greatest national holiday -- exchanging gifts. We could have legends about old St. Vince coming down from Green Bay, bringing presents to good little boys and girls.
- Jacksonville: Joking aside, Jacksonville appears to be a decent place to live, and the volunteers were incredibly pleasant, as volunteers often are. But that doesn't make it a good site for a Super Bowl.