CIOs are a clever bunch: methodical, plotting — crafty, some might say. So when Government Technology writers wanted advice about which team to put their money on for Super Bowl 50, they turned to the most diligent, numerate people they knew — the public sector’s tech leaders.
Vegas has it that the Carolina Panthers will edge out the Denver Broncos, with an opening line of 3.5 points. It’s the team’s second appearance at the Super Bowl after having lost to the New England Patriots in 2004. And though a young organization, many say Panthers Quarterback Cam Newton is unstoppable, even against Broncos’ five-time league MVP Quarterback Peyton Manning, who many expect to retire after the game.
“My pick is Carolina," said Michigan CIO David Behen. "It’d be nice to see Denver win just because of Manning, but I just think Carolina, it’s their year. They’re going to be unstoppable, I think. I think Cam Newton’s awesome, so we’ll see.”
Behen says he's a Lions fan, "so it doesn’t get much worse than that."
And though he said he hopes he can stay awake for the big game's duration, he's not sure he will. "I love watching football, but it goes too late," he said. "And usually they are blow-outs, so if it’s a good game, I’ll stay up and watch it all.”
Missouri CIO Rich Kliethermes and David Couch, CIO of the Kentucky Department of Education, are also rooting for Carolina, while Mississippi CIO Craig Orgeron and Nebraska CIO Ed Toner are placing bets on the Broncos.
"I am a Texas Aggie, so Gary Kubiak is a Texas Aggie, actually graduated the same year as me from Texas A&M, and of course Von Miller, so gotta go with the Broncos. It’s Broncos by 7," Toner said, adding that he’s not worried about Cam Newton, because he’s less experienced than Peyton Manning.
“It’s the old guy. His experience will come through. He’s been there before, so I’m going to go for the loyalty factor and I really think they’re the better team.”
For Wyoming CIO Flint Waters, football's not particularly front of mind. “I’m really more of a Quidditch guy," he said, referencing the competitive sport seen in Harry Potter's wizarding universe. "It’s probably embarrassing, but I’ve heard Denver’s playing … and I don’t know who else is. I don’t follow sports at all. We like to go online afterwards and check out the commercials.”
In the Panthers' hometown of Charlotte, it's no surprise CIO Jeff Stovall is rooting for his home team. “I can’t even believe that you would ask me such a question. It’s just the wrong question to ask. The question is, how many points are the Panthers going to win by?”
Stovall scoffed at the Vegas odds and gave his team a 10 point margin to win. “[Vegas] is underestimating the ability of our Panthers, that’s for sure. But I’m not making any bets!”
Before getting Minnesota CIO Thomas Baden’s pick, GovTech wanted to know how he felt about the Minnesota Vikings’ season, which ended with a botched 32-yard field goal. Baden saw the glass as half-full.
“You know what, it’s still an excellent year, really entertaining football and I think where the coach and the team is going is outstanding, so it’s a heck of a lot better than going 3-13 or something like that. We’ve had a tough couple of years in a row, so I’ll take a team on the rise that made it to the playoffs and lost in a heart-breaker.”
“I think the Panthers. Both defenses are incredible, but I think Cam is the MVP, he’s the difference-maker.”
And in San Francisco, CIO Miguel Gamiño isn't laying money down on either team.
“In a lot of ways, I would like to see Peyton Manning ride out in the sunset, because the rumor is this is the end of the road for him, and being such a great impact on the game, I think it would really be a storybook ending," he said. "Elway I think has ties to the Bay Area, so there’s that connection, too. And Cam Newton’s story is pretty awesome. Their season has been real spectacular, so I’m giving you a classic non-answer, but I think either one of them could be a really great story for a league that could use some good stories. I hope Cam scores a bunch of touchdowns, though, because I’d love to see kids get Super Bowl footballs. That’d be pretty cool.”
Colin wrote for Government Technology from 2010 through most of 2016.