Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Classroom spotlight: Super Bowl prediction party

The week before the Super Bowl, Dr. Alexandra Pfleging’s AP Language and Composition classes held Super Bowl parties, containing food, expert sources, and many opinions.
Students+in+conversation+during+Dr.+Pflegings+eighth-period+AP+Language+and+Composition+class.
Paige Geanopulos
Students in conversation during Dr. Pfleging’s eighth-period AP Language and Composition class.

The week before the Super Bowl, Dr. Alexandra Pfleging’s AP Language and Composition classes held Super Bowl parties, containing food, expert sources, and many opinions. This year in particular, the Super Bowl has gained a lot of traction, reflected in many students’ hypotheses, due to Taylor Swift’s prevalence in sports news.

To prepare, students researched using databases, websites, opinion articles, and interviewing people at Hills. Students’ information pertained to the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl winner determining factors, and football in general. 

Among Pascack Hills faculty, their thoughts on the Super Bowl, the National Football League (NFL), corruption, and even Taylor Swift reflected many of the class arguments during the AP Language and Composition Super Bowl parties.

Head football coach Evan Lampert speculated on the authenticity of the NFL and the Super Bowl, which fueled his prediction. 

“The Kansas City Chiefs [will win] because the NFL is rigged and with Taylor Swift, they’re going to make sure the Chiefs win because it’s a money business and Taylor Swift has brought a lot of money to the NFL…Actually, it’s not rigged, just corrupt. It’s right on script, let’s put it that way…[it all depends on] whoever can get in the referee’s pocket,” he said. 

I believe [the 49ers] are the better team, I think the Chiefs are arrogant, they don’t take care of the football. To be a better team you have to avoid the upset and I think the 49ers had their scare last game with Detroit

— History teacher Brooks Alexander

Coach Lampert also shared a fun fact about his football career concerning the ‘talk-of-the-town’ Travis Kelce. 

“I, Coach Lampert, played against Travis Kelce at Rutgers, 2009…Travis Kelce was a quarterback, his brother was the center…that was opening night at Piscataway…I had the opening tackle of that game,” he said. 

Assistant football coach Nick Evans shared his reasoning as to why the 49ers will win the Super Bowl and mentioned his alma mater as another reason.  

“I watch the Superbowl every year, and this year I think the 49ers will win…they have a better defense, and they have a couple more Rutgers guys on that team, so I’ll go that way. Mahomes is legit, but the Chiefs do not have as good defense,” he said. 

History teacher and football coach Brooks Alexander addressed why the 49ers are the better team and the Chiefs’ issues. 

“I believe [the 49ers] are the better team, I think the Chiefs are arrogant, they don’t take care of the football. To be a better team you have to avoid the upset and I think the 49ers had their scare last game with Detroit,” he said.  

Regarding suspicions of the NFL rigging the Super Bowl in any way, Alexander clarified his claims.

“I think that [the Chiefs’] media coverage has increased due to the Taylor Swift effect… Is the NFL corrupt? Without question. Do I think that they rigged the games so that the Kansas City Chiefs would make it? I do not,” he said.

Physical Education teacher Dana Amato gave credit to the Chief’s quarterback but stayed undecided on what team would win the Super Bowl. 

“I think Mahomes is a slightly better quarterback, but with the way things have been going this season, I think it is going to be about who has the best game and who makes the least mistakes… Not sure, but I want the 49ers to win,” she said. 

Principal Tim Wieland predicted that the Chiefs would win, but also cautioned about the corruption of the NFL hiding prevalent brain injuries while also cautioning against making Super Bowl bets. 

“I think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to win because I think that when they weren’t playing well, they were just in a slump, and I think that they are a better team now…I think the only NFL corruption is them not wanting people to research brain injuries…There are better uses for your money than betting on Super Bowl games,” he said.

I think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to win because I think that when they weren’t playing well, they were just in a slump, and I think that they are a better team now

— Principal Tim Wieland

Assistant Principal Derek Piccini showed his support for the Chiefs but also speculated on the Super Bowl being rigged and Kelce proposing to Swift. 

“The Chiefs…I was a former tight end, so yes [I am a fan of Travis Kelce]…The Chiefs are going to win and then there is going to be a proposal…there is evidence of a script,” he said. 

Business Education teacher Corin Gamgort made her predictions, and as a business teacher made it clear that Taylor Swift’s relevance in football is simply a marketing ploy not relating to corruption or ulterior motives by Kelce or Swift.

“I think it’s going to be the Chiefs…I know the 49ers are really hungry for it, but I think the Chiefs want another Super Bowl…I honestly don’t think the [NFL is corrupt], I think [Taylor Swift] brought in a whole new fan base, thinking of it at a marketing angle,” she said. 

Physics teacher Julia Abahazy believes that the Kansas City Chiefs will win the Super Bowl due to their quarterback and team dynamics.

“I think the Kansas City Chiefs are going to win…They have been a better team all season, more consistent, and I don’t want to bet against Mahomes. [Mahomes] works well with Kelce, and I feel like their dynamic is critical,” she said. 

Athletics director Steven Papa used his knowledge of football to determine who would win the Super Bowl, and he clarified that the NFL does not need Taylor Swift. 

“I played football all through high school…I think the 49ers are going to win because I think they have the better defense, and the defense always wins the championships…Because I played [football], I understand what [the players] do to predict based on what I see…The NFL is popular enough without Taylor Swift,” he said. 

Guidance counselor Steven Casamento made his predictions on what team would win the Super Bowl and reflected on the last Super Bowl when the 49ers and the Chiefs went head-to-head. 

“I am a Chiefs fan, but who do I think is going to win? The 49ers…[The 49ers] offense is way better than [the Chiefs]…[The Chiefs] had a better team [in 2020], but the team is different now,” he said. 

Regarding Taylor Swift and NFL corruption, Casamento shared his thoughts on the suspicions and new audience.

“I do not think the Super Bowl is rigged, but the NFL will exploit every ounce of money that they can get from Taylor Swift…I love [Taylor Swift’s connection to the NFL]…I am in an office full of women who didn’t like football before and now they talk about it, which is great,” he said. 

I love [Taylor Swift’s connection to the NFL]…I am in an office full of women who didn’t like football before and now they talk about it, which is great

— Guidance counselor Steven Casamento

Of those interviewed, the Chiefs vs. the 49ers is up for debate. The teachers who think the Chiefs are going to win include Deborah Horn, Dr. Alexandra Pfleging, Danielle Garretson, Evan Lampert, Tim Wieland, Derek Piccini, Corin Gamgort, and Julia Abahazy. The teachers who think the 49ers are going to win include Brooks Alexander, Steven Casamento, Nick Evans, and Steven Papa.

After each student gathered knowledge and decided on what team would win, the party began for each class. Students brought in chips, cookies, pizza, and more for their fun and informational seminar. 

Of the classmates, there were hosts, guests, and wallflowers. The hosts were usually football experts; they led the discussion by asking questions, mediating different viewpoints, and had the power to kick people out of the party. 

The period eight Language and Composition class hosts–Zach Slater, Logan Litt, and Samuel Lundgren–explained how they’re eligible to be hosts and Super Bowl result indicators.

“I play football…[when making predictions] look at the odds, consider if you think the odds are going to hit, and then make your prediction,” Lundgren said.

“I know football but I am also unbiased,” Slater said.

“We know football…[predicting] is all based on the feels. I like to predict that [my team] is going to win,” Litt said.

The guests participated in the conversation among their fellow guests and hosts, using their research to create syntheses between arguments while also proving their point as to who would win and why. 

The wallflowers observed the goings-on of the classroom debate, taking notes on statistics, opinions, behaviors, and how they would respond given their preliminary investigations. If the wallflower had a strong synthesis or point, they could interrupt to put their idea forward and evoke a new conversation in the circle.

At the parties themselves, the hosts would start with a question like, “What do you think is the most important thing for a team to win?” Then, each student would chime in with their different research results as arguments, including coaching, cohesiveness, strong defense, and even ‘the attractiveness of a quarterback.’

Junior Michael Dugan, a guest at the Super Bowl prediction party, sent out a survey to Hills for evidence on the following argument: the more attractive the team’s quarterback, the more likely they are to win. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to the results of his survey, more people found the winner (Option 1) of the Super Bowl more attractive than the loser (Option 2) as shown by the following results from four different Super Bowls.

Specific to this Super Bowl, many key names came up: quarterback Patrick Mahomes, quarterback Brock Purdy, running back Christian McCaffrey, tight end Travis Kelce, and singer-songwriter Taylor Swift.

Arguments pertained to the Chiefs relying solely on Mahomes’ skills, the 49ers being hungry for a win, the NFL rigging the results for publicity, and conversations even veered off to Taylor Swift being either the best or worst thing for the football community.

At the end of class, each student left with a full stomach, an increased interest in football, predictions made, and surprisingly strong opinions about Taylor Swift. Whether a Chiefs or a 49ers fan, Super Bowl Sunday will have high stakes for Hills students.

Who are you rooting for? Let us know in the comments!

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About the Contributor
Paige Geanopulos, School News Editor
Hills junior Paige Geanopulos is looking forward to being a part of the Trailblazer for another year. She joined the publication her freshman year as a staff writer and edited for the In-Depth section her sophomore year. This year, Geanopolus is excited to cover breaking news stories within the Hills community. Fun fact: Geanopulos loves the outdoors and hikes regularly.

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