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George R. R. Martin's "Fantasy" Football Preview

The Game of Thrones author (and die-hard Giants and Jets fan) weighs in on the season ahead.



1. BETTER LUCK NEXT YEAR, JETS
In the '70s I wrote a story called “The Last Super Bowl” that took place in 2014 between the Green Bay Packers and the Hoboken Jets and was played in New Jersey. Other than the location of the Super Bowl, I got everything wrong. The premise was that computers have taken over, and real football was dying, the Jets having gone from the New York Jets to the Newark Jets to the Hoboken Jets. And this was the last Super Bowl ever, and it was basically played before empty stands. Well, the Super Bowl is indeed going to be played in New Jersey in 2014, and while I’d love to see the Packers and Jets in the game, I don’t think it’s going to happen. The Packers might get there – they’re a very strong team – but the situation with the Jets is just depressing. 

2. BILL BELICHICK WILL CONTINUE HIS REIGN OF TERROR
On my blog I call him Evil Little Bill. He’s like Darth Vader: he’s very successful at being evil. I just have a horrible feeling that when the Jets are playing the Patriots, he’ll bring Tim Tebow in and drive a spike straight through the hearts of Jets fans like me. I don’t like the lack of loyalty that a team like the Patriots has; they’re just ruthless when it comes to getting rid of guys, like Wes Welker. I want my teams to show loyalty.

3. FANS WILL OVERREACT TO JUST ABOUT ANYTHING
I’ve often wondered at the intensity of fans’ feelings when it comes to football, and in some ways it’s akin to fiction. If you followed the reaction to the “Red Wedding” episode of Game of Thrones, there was this enormous grieving for fictional characters, and it’s similar to my reaction to football. When the Giants win the Super Bowl, I feel so wonderful, like I’ve actually accomplished something, and of course I have nothing to do with it. I’m just some guy watching at home on my television. Sports and fiction are alike in that we get involved with these things, and they really engage our emotions and passions in amazing ways.

4. THE SUPER BOWL WILL BE COLD
I’m all for the game being played in New Jersey, and I don’t care if it’s freezing or snowing. In my story it was freezing rain, and I think football should be played in those conditions. That’s what you want. You remember these great “weather” games: the “fog bowl,” the “ice bowl,” games where the conditions were terrible, where the field had turned to mud, It’s part of the history and lure of football. I mean, wasn't it great when the Giants beat the Packers at Lambeau Field a few years ago, and Tom Coughlin’s face froze off?

5. AND IT WILL FEATURE THE PACKERS AND THE PATS…OR NOT
In the NFC, it’s got to be the Packers and the 49ers, or maybe Atlanta. Nobody’s expecting anything from the Giants, and I like that because the Giants seem to do best when no one’s expecting anything from them. Eli Manning is always capable of putting together a hot streak, but I still think the Packers and the 49ers are the two strongest teams. In the AFC, Evil Little Bill and the Patriots are always a threat. I don’t think the Ravens will be back; they’ve lost too many players. The Texans seem to have a very good up-and-coming team. And then there’s the Broncos. You never want to underestimate Peyton Manning.

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