‘Beat The Putz’ champ crowned; Super Bowl winner next

Way back in Week 3 of the National Football League regular season, Tom Brady engineered a thrilling comeback, tossing five touchdowns as the New England Patriots rallied to defeat a budding young quarterback in Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans, 36-33.
Also that week (but some 90 miles or so west along Interstate-90), Westfield resident Gary Francis did what no other “Beat The Putz” contestant could do, reach the 10-win mark.

Gary Francis, of Westfield, second from left, stands alongside Manny’s TV & Appliances assistant manager Dave Loughman (Westfield store), third from left, Westfield News sports editor Chris Putz, second from right, Westfield News circulation manager (and chief “Beat The Putz” statistician) Melissa A. Hartman, far right, and Westfield News sales representative Ken Morrow, far left. Loughman presented Francis with a voucher for a flat-screen TV Wednesday after Francis’s entry was chosen from a random drawing of every weekly winner for the 2017 NFL regular season.

That week Francis went 10-4 to claim the weekly prize of a ‘Beat the Putz’ t-shirt and gift certificate to The Tavern Restaurant. He would eventually join the likes of local contestants James Vincent, Vicki White, Ruth Darling, Shell Faunce, Larry S. White, Dick Witherell, Alan Shia, Stephen Sabadosa, Jody Daly, Linda Zielinski, Jack Pelli, and John Pellan in their quest for the grand prize, a flat-screen television from Manny’s TV & Appliances.
Witherell and White won two weeks, and nobody beat yours truly (“The Putz”) in weeks 5 and 8.
On Wednesday, Francis was awarded the grand prize following a random drawing.
“I don’t know what to say because it’s pure guessing,” Francis said. Francis, who is a frequent guest of our very own, The Press Room, admitted that although he is not a diehard football fan (he claims he has a mild interest in rooting for the Patriots), “between guesswork and luck, it came through.”
The New England Patriots also hope things will go according to plan this weekend when they take on the underdog Tennessee Titans Saturday night in Foxboro.
Controversy, which has followed the Patriots from the very beginning with the “Tuck Rule” to “Spy Gate” and “Deflate Gate,” has reared its ugly head again with the ousting of Brady’s trainer from the locker room, alleged dissent between Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft over the trade of Jimmy Garopplo and questions regarding Brady’s age following some late-season regression.
Will the Patriots use this as fuel for their fire or will it lead to the ultimate implosion of this team? Dynamite or dynasty? We will soon find out.
With all that being said, I have one more prognostication for the postseason. While my heart says New England, my mind says Pittsburgh. (Although a less-than-100 percent Antonio Brown would sway my opinion.) And with that, my prediction for Super Bowl LII is the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the New Orleans Saints. (New England-New Orleans is also a distinct possibility.)

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