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Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene

Souhan: My Super Bowl pick

My stupid Super Bowl prediction:

Six reasons why I’m picking the Rams, 29-27…

  1. While I don’t see either defense dominating, I think Aaron Donald makes one or two big plays.

  2. Belichick’s genius will be at least somewhat offset by the Rams’ Sean McVay and Wade Phillips.

  3. Todd Gurley has to be much healthier than he was two weeks ago and a combination of him and C.J. Anderson should give the Rams a lot of manageable downs. Goff is not good under pressure but is very good when using play-action. The play-action game should be available to him today.

  4. Goff did not play all that well during the second half of the season but played extremely well at New Orleans in the NFC title game in the second half. If he can handle that noise and pressure, he should be able to handle a lesser defense at a neutral site.

  5. You have to be fearless to beat the Patriots. The Eagles were last year, as Doug Pederson called the Philly Special near the goalline. McVay does not coach scared. Neither does Phillips.

  6. The Rams have more talent and the Patriots are a couple of plays from having a five-game Super Bowl losing streak.

My favorite quote of Super Bowl week, from Rams cornerback Aqib Talib, who also played for Bill Belichick and the Patriots:

``The key to being a head coach in the NFL is leadership. If you’re not a leader, it doesn’t matter what else you do, you will lose the team, lose the lockerroom and get fired. These guys, McVay and Belichick, are leaders.’’

 

Remembering Wade Wilson: A decent, kind man on a chaotic Vikings team

ATLANTA — Wrote about the death of former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson in today's paper. Our coverage dictated a straight byline story instead of a column. I thought I"d pass on more personal thoughts here.

I moved to Minnesota to cover the Vikings in 1990. Wade was the Vikings' starting quarterback, and the team was the reigning NFC Central champion.

It wasn't always a pleasant lockerroom. Some players thought general manager Mike Lynn was a racist because he lived in a mansion in Mississippi, and a team filled with headstrong stars wasn't always happy about the allocation of money and attention.

Amid the chaos, Wilson was a kind, welcoming figure, always happy to chat. He had a strange habit of not smiling even when he said something funny. Once you grew used to that, you would find him to have a dry wit.

He got along well with his teammates and had to live under the pressure of being the starting quarterback on a team with Super Bowl aspirations in a maket that always wished the Vikings had a better quarterback.

As Brad Johnson told me yesterday, at one point in the spring of 1991, the Vikings' quarterbacks were Wilson, Johnson and Rich Gannon. Johnon and Gannon would meet in a future Super Bowl representing different teams, and Wilson would bounce around the league before retiring and becoming a quarterbacks coach.

Wilson had been dealing with severe effects of his diabetes in recent years. As a player, he kept himself in excellent shape. One of my strongest memories from that time was Wilson, Gannon and Johnson, all players who pushed themselves hard during every workout, sprinting laps around the practice field.

Fans tend to remember statistics and big moments. Writers tend to remember how athletes handle themselves in good and bad times. Wilson had his highlights as a player, but the strnogest memories he generated are of him being a decent and kind man.

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