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James White, not Tony Romo, was the real oracle of Super Bowl 53 predictions

“Goff’s gonna give us one watch. He’s trying to make a home run right now”

Super Bowl LIII - New England Patriots v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

James White knows a little bit about Super Bowl comebacks. After all, he scored three touchdowns and hauled in a record 14 passes when his Patriots overcame a 28-3 third quarter deficit to stun the Falcons in Super Bowl 51.

So when he took one look at the Rams’ fourth-quarter drive into Patriots’ territory trailing 10-3 and dismissed it, his teammates were right to trust his judgment.

The NFL’s parabolic mics picked up a decidedly unpanicked White observing the game as Los Angeles drove toward its strongest scoring opportunity of an otherwise disastrous Super Bowl. As Jared Goff pushed his team to the New England 27-yard line, the Patriots tailback observed the third-year quarterback was trying to do too much under the spotlight, and that he was “gonna give [the Patriots’ defense] one, watch.”

Moments later, New England sent a six-man blitz that forced a split-decision throw from the Rams quarterback. His floating pass was an easy target for Stephon Gilmore, who capped off an All-Pro season with the biggest interception of his career.

One 72-yard drive later, the Patriots held a 13-3 lead and were comfortably on their way to a sixth Super Bowl title — White’s second.

Of course, White’s prediction wasn’t exactly a longshot. Goff’s first Super Bowl appearance was a miserable one. The young QB missed open receivers all evening, struggled to identify New England’s coverage basics, and was battered by a relentless, blitz-heavy pass rush. He was the alpha and omega of his team’s offensive struggles (though the team’s inability to run the ball was also a handful of Greek letters in that alphabet).

White had better Super Bowl predictions than Tony Romo

Romo lit the football world ablaze by analyzing the Patriots’ pre-snap alignments and adjustments and predicting what would come next in the AFC title game. That put some heavy expectations on his shoulders for the Super Bowl — expectations Romo politely shook off.

Romo’s most famous prediction related to last Sunday was that the final score would be 28-24 and the losing team would have the ball last. He overshot the point total by a mere 36 points and missed the fact Tom Brady would kneel out his sixth NFL championship — but he was still closer than most expert predictions along the way.

So, for one play at least, James White usurped Tony Romo’s spot atop the NFL’s prognostication rankings. We’ll have to wait seven months to see if Romo’s “The Dead Zone, but for running plays” gift roars back to life in 2019.