Super Bowl Inquisitor: Let's begin with the National Anthem. Country singer Luke Bryan will be performing the Star Spangled Banner. You OK with that?
Brad Carlson: Seems only fitting that a singer with two first names performs in a game where the 2 quarterbacks are named Tom Brady & Matt Ryan.
SBI: The last time the Super Bowl was in Houston, singer Janet Jackson had a "wardrobe malfunction" and Brady led the New England Patriots to victory. Do you expect the same this game?
BC: I am definitely hoping for the latter. But since Janet is about 50, dunno if I care to contemplate the former.
SBI: Well, Lady Gaga is the headlining act for the halftime show. Any chance a faux pas can occur with her costume?
BC: Given Miss Gaga's reputation, being fully clothed is probably a malfunction in and of itself.
SBI: Are you rooting for the Patriots due to being bitter towards the Atlanta Falcons for denying your Vikings a Super Bowl appearance 18 years ago?
BC: That's like having two German Shepherds named "Rex" in your lifetime and being angry at Rex II for the late Rex I taking a dump on your nice carpet. So, no.
SBI: Are you impressed that, at age 92, former president George H.W. Bush will perform the opening coin toss so soon after being hospitalized?
BC: Hmmm. The man served in World War II, was Ronald Reagan's Vice President, served as President of the United States himself, went skydiving at age 90 and has been married to Barbara for more than 70 years. I'd say this may be his least impressive feat.
SBI: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not shown his face in Foxborough, MA since hammering the Patriots with revoked draft picks, fines and suspensions over Deflategate. How awkward will it be if he has to hand the Vince Lombardi trophy to the Pats' brass?
BC: Did you happen to see the initial Oval Office meeting of then President-elect Donald Trump and then President Barack Obama?
SBI: And if the Falcons win, they'll have more Super Bowl victories than your Vikings.
SBI: Sorry, couldn't resist.
OK, time for a quick quiz. Tom Brady will be making his 7th career Super Bowl appearance, surpassing which NFL player with 6?
BC: Mike Lodish.
SBI: If Brady's Patriots emerge victorious, he'll have 5 Super Bowl rings. Who is the only other player with 5?
BC: Charles Haley.
SBI: Who's the only starting QB in Super Bowl history to have a losing playoff record going into the big game.
BC: Why that would be Atlanta QB Matt Ryan.
SBI: How did Falcons owner Arthur Blank make his fortune prior to purchasing the NFL franchise?
BC: Co-founder of Home Depot.
SBI: What is the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse?
BC: Uh, Victor. His name is Victor.
SBI: How the hell did you know that?
BC: Everybody knows that.*
SBI: Yeah, yeah.
OK, let's wrap it up. The Patriots are a 3-point favorite over the Falcons. Who ya got?
BC: The Patriots are downplaying it, but don't think for a second they don't wanna make Goodell feel sheepish by handing them the trophy. The Pats also look to solidify themselves as the NFL's 21st century dynasty as well as shut down their detractors. As such, they're motto ought to be "One For The Middle Finger."
Patriots win, 31-27.
And despite the gratuitous shots at my Vikings club, I thank SBI for his annual jaunt to my blog.
Against the Spread: 8-2
Straight Up: 9-1
*Yes, we know that bit is from the movie A Christmas Story. That's the joke.