The Kansas City Chiefs’ shocker loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s wild card playoff game has reverberations in New Jersey.
The Chiefs broke Missouri hearts with their fourth-quarter collapse and in the process, the team also undermined the credibility of an Essex County groundhog.
Clover, the resident weather prognosticator at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, predicted that the Chiefs would win the first-ever Groundhog Day Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
She made her selection by scampering towards a chunk of fruit placed under a mini Chiefs football helmet.
At the time, the Kansas City team was at the tail end of a glorious autumn. They won nine straight games, with a formidable defensive unit that led the league in sacks. Running back, Jamaal Charles made history, scoring four touchdowns before halftime when the Chiefs took on the Oakland Raiders last month and secured a wild card playoff slot.
Clover’s Kansas City leanings were understandable and it looked like the stars were aligning for the Chiefs in Indianapolis on Saturday. At halftime, they had a 21-point edge over the Colts. During the third quarter, however, Indianapolis rallied to recover from the deficit with three touchdowns. The Colts caught up and surpassed the Chiefs in the fourth quarter, capping a wild night with two more touchdowns. The final score was 45-44.
The groundhog may have been off selecting the Chiefs as top team in the AFC but her NFC pick, the New Orleans Saints, could make it to the Super Bowl. They defeated the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday 26-24. Next week, the Saints will square off against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Saints proved they could excel outdoors in the cold with their triumph on a frigid day in Philly but next weekend is going to be a challenge. The last time the Saints visited Seattle, on Dec. 2, they fell to the Seahawks 34-7. During that game, the fans at CenturyLink Field set a world record for the loudest stadium roar. Saints quarterback, Drew Brees and the rest of the players actually wore earplugs to mitigate the noise but it didn’t seem to help.
Super Bowl XLVIII is going to be the first outdoor championship in a cold locale so we asked Clover for a game day weather forecast. She predicted clear skies in New Jersey on Feb. 2.
Mind you, we consulted with her at the zoo before winter hit Jersey with the fury of a marauding linebacker. A volatile weather pattern has brought a series of snowstorms to the Garden State and Fargo-like overnight lows.
There’s an ongoing debate about the predictive skills of groundhogs. The National Climactic Data Center created a chart comparing average February and March temperatures with the forecasts of famed groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. According to folklore, if the animal sees its shadow, wintry conditions will continue for six more weeks.
The NCDC statistics indicate that Phil’s forecasts are about 57 percent accurate. Phil has predicted an early spring 7 times in 25 years. His prognostications matched warmer temperatures 4 times, according to NCDC.
Clover has a good track record, said Brint Spencer, acting director of the Turtle Back Zoo. He was actually a bit disappointed that the groundhog predicted pleasant conditions on Feb. 2. A football purist, he’s rooting for inclement weather to heighten the drama of the big game at MetLife.
The zoo will be hosting its annual Groundhog Day festivities on Feb. 2 at 11 a.m. Visit turtlebackzoo.com for details.
In : #EssexCounty
Tags: lisa rose the star-ledgerkansas city chiefs' stunning loss undermines n.j. groundhog's super bowl predictions
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