That was fast.
It was exactly 18 weeks ago that I warned you this time -- Jan. 1, 2018 and an end to the regular season would occur quicker than you could imagine. I was right.
We saw it all. Guys from Tennessee and California won. A woman from Florida, formerly from the North Shore, won twice.
Picking football games is a not just a local thing any more.
Despite a few weeks there in a row earlier this month, we still gave away a record number of "I Beat Burt" T-shirts, which is OK with my bosses apparently. Because it seems T-shirt records occur every other year yet they still ask ... or request .. we continue to yearly contest.
The 2017 season was a watershed moment for the "I Beat Burt" Contest, as it turned 21 years old. It became an adult.
The new New England Patriots have changed the landscape around here. While football caught baseball around the country before the turn of the century, it the Patriots and football caught the Red Sox in recent years.
Most people around here are homers and most picked the Patriots every week. Me included. But why mess with a great thing when you are pretty much guaranteed of picking 13 out of 16 games every year.
I do enjoy talking football and picks with local fans. While betting on pro sports is technically illegal, at least betting dollars is, picking games for a measly T-shirt is fair game.
And, I have to admit, the sports tech T-shirts from Optimum Sportswear are the real deal.
Anyway, thanks for playing in 2017.
I'll be seeing a lot of you the second weekend of September for season No. 22 in about 248 days. But who's counting?
An average ending
After maybe the best four-week run of my "picking" career, I ended the 2017 with a bit of a flop, selecting eight winners out of the 16 games.
It was a tough week because five teams decided to play their JV squad, about two more than I had expected. But two of those teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, still pulled off the win.
All of the T-shirt winners in Week 17 were within two points of the Patriots point total (26) and had at least 10 correct selections.
Each week a maximum of 10 T-shirts are awarded.
Week 17 winners
Deb Parlatore of East Hampstead, N.H.
Gladys Ruediger of Methuen
Jim Ahearn of Haverhill
Mitchell Heidler of East Hampstead, N.H.
Dave Gramling of Chelmsford
Paul A. Roger of Newton, N.H.
Al Longo of Salem, N.H.
Mark Welch of Methuen
Lyn Ann Riopelle of Methuen
Brian L Tremblay of Georgetown