Sizing up the Super Bowl teams by the criteria that truly matters

Time to go ahead and smash open your child’s piggy bank.

Yeah, there will be tears and protests and lingering feelings of betrayal, but then you explain to your sobbing toddler why you’re emancipating her Tooth Fairy loot.

You see, baby doll, Sunday is the Super Bowl, an elaborate series of TV commercials and an ancillary sporting event that doubles as a surefire money-making opportunity when you successfully bet big on the victor — hence the need for all the cash in the house.

To win, though, you have to know how to handicap the game like a boss in all the areas that truly matter.

That’s where we come in with this indispensable, X’s-and-O’s-free analysis of who has the real edge between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots:

Head coach’s sartorial bona fides

Patriots coach Bill Belichick dresses like every day is laundry day, you know, when you’ve exhausted every last piece of clothing and have to hit the washing machine in your high school letterman jacket and snow pants.

Seriously, when you’re a grown man wearing cargo shorts to a press conference, the only cargo you’re really carrying is shame.

But do you know why Belichick doesn’t have time to step up his no-sweatshirt, no-care wardrobe?

Because he’s too damn busy winning.

Unlike Belichick, Rams coach Sean McVay is decidedly more dapper, meaning he’s most likely used an ironing board for something other than an impromptu desk to draw up a new variation of the bubble screen after awakening from a fever dream at 3 a.m.

Plus, there’s that impeccably sculpted, topiary-esque facial hair, trimmed less like a beard than one of Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai trees.

But … winning.

Edge: Patriots

Fan base fortitude

Cheering for the Patriots is like rooting for the dealer to win at blackjack or offering robust vocal encouragement to the poacher clubbing his umpteenth baby seal.

Enough with the one-sided-ness, m’kay?

Thanks, guys, for turning the Super Bowl into a gridiron “Groundhog’s Day” to the delight of a fan base as spoiled rotten as as some unspeakable, please-God-never-let-it-happen family union between the Kardashians and the cast of “The Hills.”

Yeah, we’re just jealous.

As for the Rams backers, look at what those poor punching bags have been through since their last Super Bowl appearance nearly two decades ago: The team squandered five seasons with Jeff Fisher as coach, got uprooted for the fourth (!) time in 2016, currently plays in a “home” stadium where there are routinely as many fans of the opposing team and, most demeaning of all, clearly comes second in side-splitting thought exercises like this one.

Edge: Patriots

Pom-pom supremacy

The Patriots’ cheerleaders are Lee Marvin-tough, no doubt, having to do their thing each winter in freezing Foxborough, Massachusetts. That’s like having to bring the pep in a meat locker while not making enough to afford any of said meat (NFL cheerleaders reportedly earn a miserly average wage of $100 to $150 per game, vastly less than even the team mascot).

The Rams’ squad might not make much money, either, but it will be making history: For the first time, the Super Bowl will feature male cheerleaders, Quinton Peron and Napoleon Jinnies, meaning at least they’ll be earning a measure of equality in terms of gender, if not pay.

Edge: Rams

Mascot v. mascot

In this corner, we have Pat Patriot, New England’s mascot, whose Jay Leno-to-an-exponent-of-10 chin juts from his maw like a cattle guard on a 20th-century locomotive. That thing should definitely be tested for performance-enhancing substances — not that the Pats have ever been known to bend the rules.

And in the other corner, we have Rampage, an anthropomorphic ram named after a period of violent and uncontrollable behavior. Rams have excellent vision: They can see clearly for distances of up to a mile, meaning ol’ fire-hydrant-faced Pat isn’t sneaking up anybody.

Edge: Rams

Celebrity skin in the game

Captain America vs. Walter White? Marky Mark vs. the beefy dude from all those Old Spice commercials? Will Hunting vs. Machete?

Yeah, the Patriots’ bandwagon is wicked packed, kid, loaded like a clown car (or cahhhhh, in the Queen’s Bostonian) with famous New England thespians such as Chris Evans, Mark Wahlberg, Elizabeth Banks and Matt Damon, to name a few.

But guess where they all live now?

Los Angeles, where the Rams reign, cheered on by celebrity fans such as Bryan Cranston, Kendrick Lamar, Terry Crews and Danny Trejo.

That’s right, Danny frickin’ Trejo.

Machete don’t text.

And he don’t come up short here.

Edge: Rams

Final tally: Rams 3, Patriots 2

Bet the rent accordingly.

Contact Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.xxx

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