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Fine wine vs predictions

Long-term readers of this far out corner of the website may recall that back in the distant, mist-shrouded days that were January 2014, a simple question was posed: “Is there a correlation between great Super Bowls and great fine wine vintages?”

Russell Wilson – zen quarterback – photo credit: Peter Yang

There is of course absolutely no correlation in any strictly scientific sense but this series has no time for ordinary, mortal science and so I tweaked the rules and proved there definitely is – you can remind yourself how here.

I also predicted a good ball game and a good vintage on the back of it. Was I right?

Well, yes and no.

Viewed from a more measured standpoint the game was disappointing. The Seattle Seahawks shut down the Denver Broncos and gave the otherwise feared Rocky Mountain pain train a 43-8 shellacking.

It could’ve been a lot closer and more exciting, tense and drama-filled. If you were a casual spectator which I, a passionate Hawks fan, was not.

For me it was a brilliant game! As soon as Denver’s first snap of the ball whipped over Peyton Manning’s head and led to an undignified scramble in Denver’s endzone and a safety to boot it was clear how the whole game was going to pan out.

A zen-like Russell Wilson out-quarterbacked the veteran Peyton, Percy Harvin scampered gleefully all over the pitch and Marshawn Lynch mowed down Denver’s secondary while Seattle’s bushwhacked Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas & co all night long.

Seattle were 36 to the good before Denver even got on the score sheet in the third quarter and by then it was too little too late. All the commentators said they’d never seen so good a team picked apart so thoroughly. So I loved it, as did my father who is likewise a firm Seattle fan and armed with our beer and hotdogs we had a gay old time as The Flintstones would say.

Also having a gay old time

But I can see that it wasn’t for everyone, not least Denver fans, so if we temper my enthusiasm for the game with the somewhat calmer reviews, we get (in my opinion) a game that was good if not one of the greats.

How does that compare to the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux and beyond?

Well, interestingly enough, it seems fairly accurate. The word on the street in Bordeaux is that 2014 is a good vintage – not a vintage of the century like 2009 or 2010 but certainly better than the 2011s, 2012s or 2013s and probably of slightly higher calibre than the 2008s.

The Burgundians seem pretty happy too, the Californians have said their 2014s are “excellent”, the wines of Ribera del Duero are “beyond exciting” according to Peter Sisseck and even English winemakers have been able to say their wines are “near perfect”.

Only South Africa has spoiled the party by saying it was “stressful” but maybe they’re Peyton Manning fans.

So my flight of fancy proved correct, in a way and if the en primeur tastings next year cast the 2014s in an even better light this crazy idea will be doubly justified. This Super Bowl predictor may become a regular fixture, though next year’s vintage should be an easy one to call right off the bat as it’ll have a five in it and they’re always gangbusters as vintages go.

It’s not yet clear which teams will be facing off in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX next year, the regular season isn’t yet over and the football gods are silent on the issue for now.

I will tell you this though, the Seahawks are rounding into their old form at the moment after a slightly shaky start to the season. They have a crucial road game against divisional rivals the Arizona Cardinals this weekend but if they win that they can clinch the division and, possibly, the number one seed in the NFC which would mean the road to the Super Bowl would once again go through Seattle and few teams get out of there alive.

Meanwhile, despite an odd away loss to the Buffalo Bills last week, over in Wisconsin the Green Bay Packers represent a serious challenge to (almost) anyone – though Seattle whupped ’em 36-16 in the very first game of the season and they’re a team that doens’t like aggressive defences beating up on them which Seattle certainly would.

As for potential rivals in the AFC, Peyton Manning and his merry men have quietly been racking up the wins as usual but there are hints Manning, now a grand old man at 38, may be going into decline.

Also in the mix are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots who are on fine pigskin-slinging form. Will the AFC’s other premier franchise be the next to face Seattle and the Legion of Boom in the greatest show on turf?

It’s a tasty prospect and if it does prove to be the case or even if Aaron Rodgers and his Green Machine manage to make it to the big game next year, the forecast for 2015 will be off to a very good start indeed, sports fans, a very good start indeed.

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