Beginner's luck? Or is it untapped talent?
For years, Mark Kingman of Bradford has watched the "I Beat Burt" contest from afar, picking games on his own, but never officially entering.
Well, he entered in Week 1 of this 2018 season and he, well, won a T-shirt.
Kingman, 43, a former Timberlane Regional soccer all-star (Eagle-Tribune in 1992) and two-time captain, has always been a big Patriots fan and decided to finally give the contest a shot.
A typical NFL Sunday for Kingman goes something like this:
"I get up bright and early and fire up the smoker and get something good cooking," said Kingman. "Next, I bring my son Liam (4) to gymnastics. Then we come home and play a little catch in the back yard; me wearing a Ben Coates or Kevin Faulk jersey and Liam with a Gronk jersey.
"Then we lunch just before the game and then it's into the recliner I go for the Patriots game," said Kingman. "Following the game it's usually back out in the yard with Liam and his neighborhood friends. I love it."
Kingman is married to wife Lynn and works in sales and recruiting.
He says he usually picks the Patriots every week, "Because they're better," he said.
Kingman said he has one other tradition that occurs a few weeks during the season.
"If the Patriots are losing at halftime," he said, "I'll change my jersey."
Burt gets walloped
Score one for the challengers. Lots and lots of challengers.
Year 22 of the "I Beat Burt" Contest is underway and while it wasn't really an eventful week of pro football games, with a few minor upsets, it was a very eventful in the contest.
Normally, there are 10 T-shirt winners every week. But there is a stipulation that if someone picks more winners than me -- Bill Burt -- and correctly picks the first tiebreaker (Patriots point total), that entry is guaranteed of winning.
Well, in Week 1 there were 27 entries that picked more winners than I did -- 7-7-1 -- and thus will be awarded T-shirts.
It was not a "typical" week with the home team winning eight of the 15 weekend games. The favorites only won eight games, too.
My "problem" was I picked only one underdog, Seattle over Denver, which really was an "even" type of game (Denver was favored by 3 points).
But most of our entries took a lot of risks and were rewarded for it.
Week 2 entry blank will be on-line later tonight and in tomorrow's newspaper.
Week 1 winners
Debbie Kasabuski of Saugus
Al Ferruolo of North Andover
Khloe Rios of Methuen
Kevin Kozuchowski of Newburyport
Brian L Tremblay of Georgetown
Mike Davis of Salem, N.H.
Chip DiPietro of North Reading
Debby Eskenazi of Peabody
Bill Camasso of Haverhill
Patrick Dowe of Reading
Mitchell Heidler of East Hampstead, N.H.
Donald Markey of North Andover
John Miranda of Lowell
Chuck Mack of Hampstead, N.H.
Lee LaPorte of Methuen
Arthur Graichen of Newton, N.H.
Eric Pellerin of Methuen
Ed Schroeder of Windham, N.H.
Ed Bonenfant of Haverhill
Cory Marcinuk of Methuen
Joan Sumner of Andover
Mark Kingman of Haverhill
Dave Muldowney of Haverhill
James Freeman of Salem, N.H.
E. J. Lennon Jr. of Methuen
Tom Kenny III of Salem, N.H.
R. LeFebvre of Methuen