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The biggest day of the year for football has finally arrived. On Sunday, the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks are set to face off in Glendale, Arizona at the University of Pheonix Stadium for Super Bowl XLIX. This year’s game will take place in the midst of a scandal involving the Patriot’s most recent game against the Colts for the AFC Championship. ESPN and others have reported the NFL found 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots during the first half of the game were underinflated, making them easier to grip and harder to fumble. So, we wanted to know: “Who do you think will win the Super Bowl this year? Why? Side question: Do you think the Patriots should be disqualified and instead have the Colts play due to the deflated footballs scandal? Why or why not?”

Seahawks

“Seahawks for sure. The Patriots are annoying and don't deserve to win.” — Amanda Rutherford

“Praying the Seahawks win!” — Mary Stacy Heffelmire

“I also think the Patriots are going to have a much tougher time playing Seattle, especially when the balls are inflated like they're supposed to be.” — Travis Williams

Patriots

“New England.” — Lynnsiee Davis

“The Patriots will win by 6 in overtime. Brady will be the MVP of the Super Bowl.” — Nathan Dunn

“Patriots all the way.” — Anna Long

Colts Question — Yes

“New England should have been disqualified and the AFC championship game should have been replayed between the Colts and the Ravens. I refuse to watch or listen to the game because of this scandal. Thank God NASCAR is coming back around in a few weeks.” — Tom Osborn

“I think the Patriots should be disqualified regardless of the score with the Colts. Cheating is cheating and this isn't their first time doing it. I can't stand the Seahawks and I used to love the Patriots. The NFL has suspended three players this year because of their own personal business and have basically allowed the Pats to get away with this, so my decision is to avoid the Super Bowl and not promote cheating!” —Jessica McCombs

“The Patriots have been caught cheating before. It is time the NFL did more than just give them a slap on the wrist. Cheating is cheating and should not be tolerated. Tom Osborn said it best, New England should have been disqualified and the AFC championship game should have been replayed between the Colts and the Ravens. Cheaters should not be rewarded. We will not be watching the game.” — Stacey Doolin Piekarski

Colts Question — No

“Unbiased observer here. (Packers fan.) Patriots win and there's no way they should be disqualified. The Colts used regulation footballs when they had the ball and scored 7 points. They lost by 38. Do the Patriots really lose with a bit more air pressure in the ball? No way. Punish ‘em with a fine and some draft picks lost and be done with it.” — Justin Raborn

“I don't think the Colts played well enough (and I am a Colts fan) to get another stab at the Super Bowl, but something needs to be done.” — Debbie Todd Cannon

“No. The deflated balls had nothing to do with how the Colts played. I mean, maybe how they threw the ball but not how the defended (or didn't defend). Sorry, the Colts didn't show. The deflated balls isn't enough to get them into the game by default.” — Helen Perry

Don’t care

“I don't really care. Bring on the commercials!” — Sacha Teague

“Do I root for complete arrogance and disrespect to the fans, or do I root for cheaters and disrespect to the fans and league? I guess I'm watching the commercials this year.” — Matt Ray

“This is my final year watching football. Never again. Gonna use my jerseys to clean with. Pure trash and corruption. Might take them down to the homeless shelter, actually.” — Kenneth Rogers

Our answers

“I want Tom Brady to hop in his Rolls-Royce, drive back to his million-dollar mansion, hug his supermodel wife and burst into tears because he didn’t win a 2-foot trophy. Then, I want Malala Yousafzai to slap him in the face.” — Steve Mullen

“Seattle looks like a slight favorite to me based on how the Seahawks have played since a mid-season lull. Seattle's defense has been extremely stingy the last eight games and seems to find answers offensively despite not looking as potent statistically as other contenders. Looks like a very close game at this point. Often, Super Bowls look that way and then aren't, but right now it's hard to pick. New England's infraction is minor. More troubling is that the organization seems to like getting away with things. I can't think of any team in major American sports that gets docked a win, replaced in playoffs, or anything like that. Such things only happen well after the organic process played out and has no real impact (like when the NCAA vacates victories or titles years after the games were played). To boot New England and replace NE with the Colts would require a much larger type of cheating, the likes of which we don't see in this country.” — Pedro Velazco

“I generally pay only the barest minimum of attention to sports in general, so here is my totally unqualified opinion: It’s clear the Patriots would have won the game against the Colts no matter how inflated the balls were. That doesn’t really seem to be the reason they won. However, if this did occur, it is concerning and should be dealt with. I’m not sure how, though, since it’s too late to replay any games and a fine seems like a slap on the wrist. I think the purity of the game is an illusion and any athlete or team in any sport who wants to give themselves an advantage should be allowed to, provided they are public about it and it doesn’t injure players for the other team. As far as who will win the Super Bowl, I’ll go with the Seahawks for the following reasons: my favorite color is green, I used to live in the Pacific Northwest and I’ve always loved birds. I mean, how else am I supposed to pick? I will say this week’s press conferences with Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch where he answered every question with some variation of, ‘I’m just here so I won’t get fined,’ were awesome. I really don’t understand why the sports journalists in attendance were so mad at him for this. I guarantee this was more interesting than anything else anyone else said the entire day. If you can’t make a story out of that, I don’t know what business you have calling yourself a journalist.” — Rob Burgess

Rob Burgess, Tribune night editor, may be reached by calling 765-454-8577, via email at rob.burgess@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at twitter.com/robaburg.

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