Super Bowl XLIX: Which Dark Lord will hold sway to lift the Lombardi?

Zebra stalking: brutal Bill Belichick even feasts on officials
Zebra stalking: brutal Bill Belichick even feasts on officials

Romilly Evans welcomes you to the "Bad Boys Bowl", where both head coaches aren't afraid to lose friends and alienate people in their relentless quest for success...

"Belichick has faced more gate-related issues than a border collie on One Man And His Dog"

Contrary to what you may've heard from your parents, kids, sometimes the bad guys win. Well, more accurately, one of them will this Super Bowl Sunday where two pantomime villains, Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll, take centre stage as the head coaches of the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks respectively.

This relationship is less a rivalry with one another (after all, by the league's geographic nature, AFC and NFC rivals don't meet too regularly) and more of a general enmity with the state itself. Indeed, it's hard to root for either man.

Instead, pick your poison. Perhaps you prefer Belichick's dark arts of deception? Spying (Spy Gate), alignment switches (Formation Gate - sure, it happened) and now deflating balls (Deflate Gate) for better control... he's faced more gate-related issues than a border collie on One Man And His Dog.

Or maybe you favour the self-serving insincerity of Carroll, who left behind some (in)glorious collegiate days at the USC Trojans with a mire of misdirection. Having been investigated by the relevant authorities for a suite of off-field concerns, star rusher Reggie Bush had to give his Heisman Trophy back and USC were hit with a range of fines and penalties which plague that operation to this day. For his part, Carroll just offered a few clueless courtesies, before happily heading off to collect his NFL pay-packet.

Despite being an enthusiastic extrovert to Belichick's hooded introvert, Carroll welcomes the comparison. Well, they say it takes one to spot one. But with his New England counterpart's impeccable record (winning slates against all 31 league opponents) plus multiple Divisional, Conference and Super Bowl wins, why wouldn't he?

Both are great leaders of men, although their styles may differ. Belichick makes ruthless tactics pay, relying on an elasticity of athletic playmakers (statuesque Tom Brady aside) whose versatility allows the New England roster to evolve but never devolve, even when injuries or agency strike.

Whilst it is Carroll's unbridled vigour, even at 63, that provides the missing link for his rag-tag band of misfits and successfully treads the tightrope between brave and brazen, energized and undisciplined.

If they auditioned for parts in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Carroll's two faces could play the first two roles in a tour-de-force performance. While Belichick, wooden gateway to mystical adventure that he is, would excel as the closeted lead.

So no matter for whom you root, at least Super Bowl XLIX should be a real page-turner.


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