Okay, everyone that can add basic numbers is taking the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
My favorite radio personality, Tom Tolbert of KNBR in San Francisco, has had a parade of football people stop by his broadcast spot on media row at the Super Bowl and seemingly without exception all have predicted a Carolina win. That goes for players, coaches, team executives and fellow broadcasters.
In the midst of this onslaught of people picking the Panthers is the consistent voice of Tolbert himself. The one-time second round draft choice of the Charlotte Hornets who played four seasons with the Golden State Warriors and before that on an Arizona team under legendary head coach Lute Olson that advanced to the final four, likes Denver in this game.
Tolbert is one of the few athletes I have met that can make a distinction between pure talent and the motivational and situational factors that more often dictate results. Many athletes and coaches, John Madden at the top of this list, disdain the thought that their performance could be governed so dramatically by anything other than their skill and game plan.
It is as if talented athletes and coaches would like to think they are immune from the human condition and instead driven by some force that they totally control. By their assessment, if they prepare well and do their job they will succeed despite any influences beyond their control. In fact, their preparation and game day performance is tied to nature just as surely as a person gets wet when walking in rain and hot on a sunny day.