Their names are Joan Marcotte and Mary Dowling; they are 71 and 61 years old, respectively; one is enjoying retirement, one really is looking forward to it. They have done what Curt, Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Michael Strahan could not do; what J.B., Dan, Shannon, Boomer and Coach Cowher could not do, at least not while I was watching: They picked the two Super Bowl teams months in advance.
They have betting slips from Sun Coast and LVH to prove it.
They - I should say Joan, because Mary is a solitary person, and didn't seem all that crazy about having her name and picture in the newspaper - wrote an email about their pro football forecasting skills. From its tone, it was clear that Joan wasn't interested in seeing her name and picture in the paper, either. It was more like she just wanted to tell somebody.
When I called to set up an interview, she seemed surprised, embarrassed almost - "They're only $5 tickets," Joan said.
It wasn't about the money, I said. It was about picking the Super Bowl teams in March, or at least betting the 49ers in March, which she did, on March 3, at 12-1 odds. She didn't wager on the Ravens until July 20, at 8-1. Her roommate Mary bet $5 on Baltimore on July 29 and $5 on San Francisco on Aug. 18.
They each made only one other futures bet: Joan on the Packers, Mary on the Saints.
These little gray-haired ladies hail from Philadelphia. But there really was no need to ask why they didn't bet the Eagles, because the Eagles (stink), and wagering on them would be like opening a window at their comfortable ranch home near Summerlin and throwing good money right out of it.
No, said Joan, a former softball player and physical education teacher and Army staff sergeant. She looks for value when she bets football - "8 to 1, or 12 or 13 to 1," she says - "and what kind of team they were last year."
"But it's mostly luck," she added.
Yes, it's mostly luck, but it's not all luck. Because there's the Appalachian State factor. That's where Joan went to college.
On the wall as you walk into the living room, there's a framed photo with an inspirational saying, taken from high in a giant football stadium on Sept. 1, 2007. And in the foreground of the photo there's this tiny white and black speck with yellow trim.
"I forget his name but he plays for the Chargers," Joan says, about the white and black and yellow-trimmed speck that seems to be headed toward the end zone of the giant football stadium in the framed photo.
The speck was Corey Lynch, who does, indeed, play for the Chargers. But on Sept. 1, 2007, he played for Appalachian State, and he blocked a field-goal attempt on the last play of the game, preserving tiny Appalachian State's monumental upset of mighty Michigan in Ann Arbor.
And part of the reason Joan bet $5 on the Ravens to win the Super Bowl during the heat of summertime is because they are quarterbacked by Joe Flacco, and she likes Flacco, because Flacco played at Delaware, and Delaware lost to Appalachian State, 49-21, in the 2007 Division 1-A championship game when Flacco was there.
See, you gotta have a system when it comes to betting pro football.
Joan says she also has a system for betting college football, a new system: Refrain from wagering on the side with fake girlfriends. She also had a futures ticket on Notre Dame to win the national championship.
"We don't bet a lot, but who knew we would pick the two teams that would go to the Super Bowl?" she said.
Joan and Mary are major sports fans. There's a Phillies welcome mat on the doorstep and an Eagles blanket on top of an easy chair in the TV room, where a 65-inch TV screen for watching football and the other sports looms larger than the bronze statue of Rocky Balboa at the old art museum.
Sometimes they watch Eagles games at the Madison Avenue bar and grill on East Twain owned by Tony Radovich, a student in the Pennsbury School District back in Philly when Joan was teaching.
They serve Philly cheesesteaks and Philly Benedict eggs and Philly Bloody Mary pitchers and Philly Tastykakes at halftime at Madison Avenue. And when the Eagles aren't playing well, they boo and swear at the TV screens, which is a bigger Philadelphia tradition than Tastykakes.
It was Sunday afternoon when we spoke, about three hours before the Pro Bowl was to start. And you could tell Joan Marcotte and Mary Dowling were serious football fans, because when I asked if they were going to watch the Pro Bowl, they answered nearly in unison, "no way."
Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ron Kantowski can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0352. Follow him on Twitter: @ronkantowski