There are dozens of factors that can affect the outcome of the Super Bowl: let’s talk Baltimore QB Joe Flacco’s amazing completion percentage, or the 49ers’ immovable defensive line, or the fact that Ravens coach John Harbaugh is one year and three months older than his brother, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh.
But without a slew of less-than-scientific models to predict who’s going to hoist the Lombardi trophy, well, it just wouldn’t be the Super Bowl. From video games to animals of all sizes and species, techniques abound when it comes to trying to guess the winner. Here are some of the wackiest predictors of who’s going to win this year’s big game.
Madden NFL 13 – Ravens
This annual bellwether is played not on the gridiron, but on the couch. The Madden gurus pitted the two teams against each other, in a game of Madden 13 on an Xbox 360. Final score? Ravens 27, 49ers 24. Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was crowned MVP after completing 70% of his passes and tossing two touchdowns. Sure, it’s just a videogame, but it’s a painstakingly accurate one: Madden’s simulation has successfully predicted seven out of the last nine Super Bowls, and came within two points of predicting the exact final score of Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.
Tecmo Bowl – 49ers
Going a bit more low-tech, this 8-bit video game antique is still good for a mock Super Bowl or two. This year, the simulation run by the gaming aficionados behind Tecmobowl.org predicts a 31-17 victory for the Niners over the Ravens. 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 88 percent of his passes, while Joe Flacco had a terrible day for Baltimore with two interceptions.
Computer Simulation – 49ers
For the ultimate in random predictions, look no further than a computer. The folks at PredictionMachine.com plugged in data from a season’s worth of statistics on the two Super Bowl teams and played the game 50,000 times. The 49ers won 66.9% of the time, with an average score of 28.6 to Baltimore’s 21.3.
Chicken Wing Bones – 49ers
Here’s one of the tastier ways to predict the Super Bowl. Food blogger and YouTube personality Chef John first enjoys some delicious chicken wings. Then he drops the eaten bones onto a plate and analyzes what shapes and letters they’ve made. This year, Chef John saw in the bones a rudimentary S and F, spelling out a clear winner. Before you laugh at his method, keep in mind it’s correctly predicted the winner the past two years. If only plunking money down on a bet was as simple as throwing chicken bones at a plate. Oh, wait.
Clairvoyant Camel – Ravens
Princess, a 26-year-old camel that lives at the Popcorn Park Zoo in southern New Jersey, has quite a track record: in seven years, she’s only picked the wrong team once. Bettors are surely clamoring to know Princess’s secret – it all has to do with a sweet treat. “She loves graham crackers,” the zoo’s general manager, John Bergmann, told ABC News. “In one palm we write down with one of these magic markers the 49ers, and on the other, the Ravens. We cover them with a graham cracker so she can’t see. Whichever she chooses to eat first is her pick.” She ate the one in the Ravens’ hand first.
Orangutan – 49ers
Perhaps this primate is a bit biased, but an orangutan named Siabu at the Chaffee Zoo in Fresno, Calif. has gone with the home team to take it all. Zookeepers delivered a box to Siabu this weekend containing two blankets: one in the black and purple Ravens color scheme and one in 49ersred and gold. The orangutan instantly pulled out the Niners-themed blanket, refusing to even lay a finger on the rival one. But zookeepers caution Siabu might not be the best model to follow: her picks are correct only about half the time.
Dr. Dre – Ravens
Shunning the team from his home state, the famed Compton-bred hip hop producer has chosen the Ravens to win the Super Bowl, TMZ reports. And it’s all about one player: “I’m excited for Ray Lewis,” Dre told TMZ. “He’s a good guy and I’m a fan of his … I’m wishing the best for him.”
Joe Montana – 49ers
Unsurprisingly, the quarterback who helmed the 49ers for 14 seasons and led them to four Super Bowl wins has chosen his former team as the victor in this year’s big game. Speaking to a Bay Area radio station Monday, Joe Cool said: “I think the 49ers are going to win, but it’s going to be fun. Both quarterbacks are playing well, both defenses are playing well.”
NFL Beat Writers – 49ers
Take it from those who’ve studied every sack and written about every reception. According to a poll of sports reporters covering the NFL, 55% of football journalists think the Niners will beat the Ravens this Sunday. The poll also asked the 30 writers from 22 markets to choose the MVP, whom most felt would be 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.
Verdict: In our extremely unscientific survey of extremely unscientific predictions, the San Francisco 49ers come out on top, 6 wins to 3. Those would be tough odds to overcome — if they meant anything at all. We’ll see how the real teams do on Sunday.