I thought it might be true but wasn’t positive. Or maybe I had blocked the truth from my mind the way one does an unsettling childhood memory like that time I saw Gramps kissing Santa Claus. So I looked it up. I wished I hadn’t. Because it was true.
Just this past Sept 6, my pick to win the Super Bowl was the Houston Texans.
As it turned out, Houston would go 2-14 and instead win the overall No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
My Super Bowl prediction could only have been worse if I had foreseen the Vince Lombardi Trophy being hoisted by the Toronto Maple Leafs or North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
On the bright side, I had the Seattle Seahawks at least making the Super Bowl, so I still have a shot there. This amounts to the most desperate use yet of the phrase “one out of two ain’t bad.”
Moving on (quickly), we welcome NFL Wild Card Weekend by ranking 12 playoff qualifiers top to bottom on overall likelihood they will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, although it will probably be snowing so hard in New Jersey that night that the entire postgame ceremony will be obscured in a life-threatening blizzard:
1. Broncos: Peyton Manning and that record-setting offense cannot be stopped. I pretty much mean that literally.
2. Seahawks: Russell Wilson is 15-1 at home, which is about the odds of any team beating him in Seattle before Peyton does in the Super Bowl.
3. Patriots: The Pats last won it all in 2004, and, after all they’ve overcome, I give them an outside shot to be playing for it all again.
4. Packers: Aaron Rodgers is back and the team is playoff savvy. I think they will upset the Niners, so how can I rank them lower?
5. Niners: I could prove to be way wrong, but I just think San Fran might be slightly less the team it was a year ago.
6. Saints: Drew Brees and a much better defense give this team a chance, but tailing off on the road is a big issue for a wild-card team.
7. Bengals: Cincy has a major-league defense, but is Andy Dalton the man you trust to win in the playoffs?
8. Panthers: Defense is stout, but postseason inexperience and Cam Newton inconsistency come into play.
9. Eagles: Explosive as Chip Kelly’s offense is, I’m not sure if Philly’s defense is built for a deep playoff run.
10. Colts: I just don’t see Indy as more than the fourth- or fifth-best team in its own conference.
11. Chargers: The season Philip Rivers is having gives San Diego a chance in most games, but team is too erratic overall.
12. Chiefs: Remember when they were 9-0? Umm, they’re 2-5 since, and that once-feared defense hasn’t been anything special for a couple of months.
Come to think of it, can we just fast-forward to that inevitable Broncos-Seahawks Super Bowl?
Our King Sport 2013 season awards, briefly:
—Peyton Manning, Broncos quarterback: No yeah-buts or arguments for anyone else, please. Won’t hear it. If the vote isn’t unanimous, I’m suing somebody.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
—Manning: He broke the all-time passing records for yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) in a season. Any questions?
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
—Robert Mathis, Colts linebacker: Led the NFL with 19â€‰Â½ sacks and won two player-of-the-month awards. Seahawks CB Richard Sherman and Panthers LB Luke Kuechly also have a strong case.
OFFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
—Keenan Allen, Chargers wide receiver: Had 71 catches for 1,046 yards and eight TDs, with only five drops. Was a fountain of youth for Rivers. Packers RB Eddie Lacy also a top candidate.
DEFENSIVE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
—Kiko Alonso, Bills linebacker: Finished third in NFL in tackles and was so strong in coverage that he never came off field. Also a shoutout to Jets DT Sheldon Richardson.
COACH OF THE YEAR
—Andy Reid, Chiefs: He took over a 2-14 team. They’re in the playoffs. Should be a comfortable winner over Carolina’s Ron Rivera.
—Ryan Tannehill, quarterback: The last two games didn’t help; Tannehill’s late fizzle coincided with Miami blowing a playoff bid. But his 3,913 yards and 24 touchdown passes showed marked improvement over his rookie year.