Gladys Ruediger was just following the lead of her favorite player, the G.O.A.T., Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season.
She was the MVP ... Most Valuable Picker.
In Week 1 of the "I Beat Burt" Contest, Mrs. Ruediger was a perfect 15 for 15 in her picks. That happens only a few times per year -- My last "perfect" hit was 2017.
The 66-year-old retired grandmother from Methuen, who resides with her husband, Richard, has another connection with Brady.
A non-athlete growing up, she started watching pro football games when Brady started his ascent up the charts as a Patriot near the turn of the century.
"I honestly was never a fan until Tom Brady started playing," she said. "I love what he has done for football. I watch now every week."
A typical Sunday at the Ruediger household goes something like this:
"We go to our grandsons youth football games earlier in the day," she said. "If those games go later, we DVR the Patriots games and watch it afterward. Otherwise, we are glued to the TV. Of course, we have our picks right in front of us to follow throughout the day."
As for the 2019 Patriots, like every year, Mrs. Ruediger's expectations are very high.
"I'm hopeful," she said. "They have a lot of talent and I honestly believe we are going to go all the way to the Super Bowl again."
The Antonio Brown acquisition caught her off guard, but she loves his talent.
"But I'm concerned about the allegations," she says, "And pray they are not true."
Now back to her perfect week. What was her secret? What is her secret going forward.
"Honestly, nothing special," she said. "For the first week I go by how the team played the last year and if I believe they will continue to win or lose this year. I follow the other teams a little bit."
Wild second week
It isn't often that picking nine winners is considered a decent week, but it was Week 2.
I had nine correct picks compared to six losses, two of which were very embarrassing -- Minnesota and Cincinnati. It cost me a very good week, trying to be cute.
Of the 323 entries, just over 100 picked 10 or more winners, which is well below the average of 170.
Each week a maximum of 10 T-shirts are awarded. The first tiebreaker is amount of points the Patriots scored (43) and all of this week's winners were within one point.
Week 2 winners
John McElroy of North Andover
Mark Mazzone of Methuen
Matthew Rock of North Andover
Hawkiya Miles of Haverhill
Dennis Privitera of Methuen
Doug Subocz of Chattanooga, Tn.
Abe Abdulla of Lawrence
Antonio Rodriguez of Haverhill
Richard Kasabuski of Saugus
Joshua Rodriguez of Methuen