ESPN experts' Super Bowl picks

Why the Broncos will win

Why the Falcons will win

Numbers say Falcons will fly

Quick reads from ESPN experts

  Sunday, Jan. 31 11:33pm ET
Celebs divide loyalties for Super Bowl
Scripps Howard News Service

It's that time of year again. Time for the annual gridiron spectacle -- no, not the Super Bowl, but the Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll. Personalities from the worlds of politics, entertainment and sports make their picks.

JIM FASSELL, N.Y. Giants coach, lost to Atlanta and beat Denver this year: I think Denver will win because when you have a team that can run it, throw it and play good special teams, it's hard to beat a team like that. There is no area in which you can expose Denver. I think right now Denver is a pretty focused group of guys. I don't see Atlanta surprising them.

AL GORE, Vice President: I think Super Bowl XXXIII will go down in the history books as one of the best games ever. Both teams have played well all season, and I think it's going to come down to the wire. That said, I predict Super Bowl XXXIV will be a blowout with the Tennessee Titans on top of course.

  Bill Goldberg
 Goldberg is sticking with his hometown team.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, Secretary of State: I am proud that Denver is my first American hometown and I will be rooting for the Denver Broncos for the Super Bowl.

LUCIANNE GOLDBERG, literary agent, Clinton antagonist: I pick Denver because if they were good enough to beat the Jets in the playoffs, they are worthy.

ELISABETH SHUE, actress: I guess I want the Broncos to win, because of Elway. It would nice to see him win again. I think it definitely will be close.

SCOTT ADAMS, "Dilbert" creator: I pick Denver because they come from the Mile High City, which I assume is based on the same principle as the Mile High Club. I have to admire any team that can concentrate under those conditions.

JEFF MILLAR and BILL HINDS, co-creators, "Tank McNamara": Denver, but it doesn't count. The Broncos go up by 28 in the second quarter and there's massive tune-out. Rather than give expensive make-goods to its advertisers, FOX orders the game replayed Feb. 14 with bigger-market teams.

GREGORY PECK, actor: I've got to go with Elway and the Broncos. The Falcons are remarkable to rise to the top like that. A lot of sentiment goes to their coach (Dan Reeves). Five weeks later (after bypass surgery), he's getting nervous, he's yelling, he's his old self. There's a strong underdog sentiment. But I have to go with Elway. They're a powerhouse.

  GEORGE BUSH, former president: I don't care. I don't have a dog in the fight because Dallas and Jacksonville aren't in it.

GARRISON KEILLOR, author, creator of "Prairie Home Companion": The Minnesota Vikings, of course, would win by a large margin, were they only there, but in the shock of their loss, I have forgotten who is playing in the Super Bowl and why.

KIRSTEN DUNST, actress: I don't even know who's playing! ... I thought the Vikings were supposed to go! That makes me upset. Those are my people, the Swedish!

PETER KRAUSE, actor, Sports Night: I really think there should be a do-over of the NFC championship (He's a Minnesota native.) I'm in a 12-step program right now and am still experiencing a little shock and denial.

RED McCOMBS, owner, Minnesota Vikings: I doubt if you can use me because I intended to win it myself, I honestly never dreamed I wouldn't, and I haven't even given (Denver-Atlanta) a thought. I'm still nursing the hole in my gut from not getting there. I can't think about it. I'm still in the wounded stage.

RUDY GALINDO, figure skater: First of all, I need to know the color scheme of their costumes. I'll go for the Denver Broncos, 15-love. I'm not really into football. I just watch it when it counts. Too busy skating, you know?

PAUL KARIYA, hockey player, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim: It's great to see teams that have struggled, and organizations that have struggled, have success. It goes to show if you're doing the right things consistently, you'll be successful. I was hoping for the Jets to make it, because I like (coach Bill) Parcells. It's unbelievable how he turns teams around so quickly. They were my team. Now I don't really care who wins.

PATRICK RAFTER, tennis star: Atlanta. Wait, what's the name of the Denver team? Broncos? Well, my rugby team is the Brisbane Broncos and I think there's some affiliation, so I'll have to go with Denver.

MICHAEL LANDSMAN, commissioner, Electric Football League: The team that wins will be the one with the most electrifying plays and have the added spark necessary to last 60 minutes.

DAWN STALEY, Women's National Team member: The Eagles aren't in it, so who cares!?

SARAH JESSICA PARKER, actress: The only thing that matters to me is baseball.

JACK LEMMON, actor: I think Denver will win in a close one. By seven points.

JOANNE WOODWARD, actress: My heart's with Atlanta, but I think Denver will win.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA, tennis legend: It'll be 31-21, Denver. I nailed it last year (including the score of the Broncos' 31-24 win over Green Bay) so I'm very confident this year.

HENRY AARON, baseball's all-time home run leader and Atlanta Braves executive: Of course Atlanta, but that's only because my team the Ravens aren't in it. (Aaron was a long-time Browns fan before they moved to Baltimore.)

GOLDBERG, pro wrestler, former Falcon: Without a doubt, the Falcons are the team to beat. They've had an incredible season, and I should know -- I used to be one.

EVANDER HOLYFIELD, heavyweight champ, Atlanta resident: The Falcons will win because they have the best of everything, including the best coach and the best players. The score will be Falcons 28, Denver 14.

MIKE TYSON, boxer: I have to go with the Atlanta Falcons. I've been friends with Jamal Anderson for 10 years. (Anderson's father, James, is head of Tyson's security.)

JOHN WOODEN, former UCLA basketball coach: My mind says that it will be Denver. They have a better well balanced team with the greatest running back in the country and one of the great quarterbacks of all time. They've also got fine receivers and a tremendous offensive line that gives Elway a lot of protection. Like many, though, my heart would be with Atlanta, who came out of nowhere to make the Super Bowl. I've known Dan Reeves since he was with the Dallas Cowboys and they were training at Cal Lutheran College at the same time I was doing summer basketball camps there. Sentimentally, I'd like to see him win it. But I think it will be Denver.

MIA HAMM, world's best women's soccer player: Being a life-long Redskins fan, I'm really not rooting for the Falcons or the Broncos. If the Redskins were in the Super Bowl, I'd pick them. Since they're not, I'll say Elway goes out in a blaze of glory. Broncos by 10.

JOHN GODINA, world's best shot putter: It's gotta be Denver. They are overly talented at running back unless he (Davis) gets hurt. There's too much there. He opens everything up for everyone else. I was bragging to my girlfriend that at the start of playoffs the last three years, I've picked the Super Bowl teams. 35-21.

BOB DENVER, actor, "Gilligan" on Gilligan's Island: I think Denver's going to take it. I've got to pick Denver. Colonel Denver who founded the city is somehow related to me. The score is going to be tough. In the playoffs, they figured it would 40-38 at halftime and it was 0-0. Denver by two touchdowns. I've got a dollar bet on the game with Dawn Wells.

DAWN WELLS, actress, "Mary Ann" on Gilligan's Island: I think Denver is probably going to win, but I'll have to go with Atlanta because I'm betting on them. Maybe it's Elway's swan song. But there's such energy with Atlanta, with their coach coming off surgery and never having been there before. Maybe that little bit of adrenaline will win it for them. That's why I'm betting on them. Atlanta, 21-20.

RUSSELL JOHNSON, actor, "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island: I wish the Jets would (have made it). I think that Denver will win. Terrell Davis makes all the difference in the world. Chandler is a great quarterback, but Davis can't be beat. I'll pick Denver by a touchdown.

AL LEWIS, actor/politician, "Grandpa Munster" on the Munsters: Green Bay Packers? No, they're out. Minnesota Vikings are not playing. Jets are not playing. Philadelphia? No. San Francisco is not playing. I know what it is. It's not the Chicago Bulls. They're out. That town has at least 200 sports apparel stores. I predict before the year is up, there won't be 10. I'm a 'dog man. So I go with Dan Reeves. 28-21, Falcons.

PHYLLIS DILLER, comedienne: Atlanta is going to win. 37-32. I'm reading Tom Wolfe's book, 'A Man in Full.' I think they're a team in full.

JOHN O'HURLEY, actor, "J. Peterman" on Seinfeld: Denver will win 32-30 because John Elway is a golf buddy of mine.

LARRY KING, talk show host: I'm picking Atlanta. They are a special team and I followed them all year. The quarterback is terrific and the underdogs really come to play. It's gonna be a great Super Bowl. Picking the score is the hard part but if I had to guess the score, I'd say 30-27, Atlanta.

DICK VITALE, college basketball analyst: My heart says Dan Reeves, but my head says John Elway. Broncos 28, Falcons 21.

SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, NBA star: Atlanta. Because of my cousin, Jamal Anderson. 24-21.

KOBE BRYANT, NBA star: Denver. Because Terrell Davis works so darn hard. He deserves it

GREG GERMANN, actor, Ally McBeal: I'm picking the Denver Broncos because it's John Elway's swan song. As well as the teams match up, I think destiny is on the side of Denver. And if I don't pick Denver, I can never go home again.

NOAH WYLE, actor, E/R: I'm an underdog fan. I'm going with Atlanta.

JON STEWART, host, The Daily Show: I want the Atlanta Falcons to win. I feel like Dan Reeves -- if you come through open-heart surgery and come back a month later, you deserve a Super Bowl. I just think that in itself, that guys the MVP. So I'm rooting for the Falcons.

CHRISTINE LAHTI, actress, Chicago Hope: I really want Atlanta to win because they're the underdogs. So they're going to win.

ROBERT STACK, actor: The high-flying Broncos over the low-flying Falcons by seven. John (Elway) is the real celebrity. He's going to pull an Eliot Ness on them.

MARIA CONCHITA ALONSO, actress: Denver will win, 30-26, because I like to ski in Denver.

JULIE MORAN, co-host Entertainment Tonight: Atlanta. This is a pick of the heart, not the head. I'm Georgia-born and bred and I am pulling for the home boys.

BILLIE JEAN KING, tennis legend: Denver. They're a better team. It's not even close. Broncos. 30-14.

CHRIS EVERT, tennis legend: Atlanta. They seem to have momentum, and they weren't even expected to be (in the Super Bowl). I always pull for the underdog. Plus, even though I live in Colorado for half the year, I like disagreeing with my husband.

TODD ELDREDGE, five-time national champion figure skater: Denver, 28-21. Mostly because of Elway and Terrell Davis. I just think they have a better team.

VIKTOR PETRENKO, Olympic gold medalist figure skater: Broncos 28-14. They've been pretty good during the year, and they've almost losed none games, like maybe one or two.

PHILIPPE CANDELORO, figure skater: Falcons 19-17. We know much better soccer than American football. Everybody says Denver is going to win, so I am going to say Atlanta.

TEEMU SELANNE, hockey player, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim: I'm rooting for Denver. I don't know anybody on Atlanta. I was hoping for Minnesota and Denver. I like John Elway and Terrell Davis. I've always liked (certain) players more than teams.

  Paul Kariya
  Paul Kariya doesn't really care, now that the Jets are gone. But teammate Teemu Selanne likes Denver.
SCOTT HAMILTON, Olympic gold medalist figure skater: It's going to be the Broncos. It will be 38-17. Ed McCaffrey is going to catch four touchdown passes and win MVP, and Dan Reeves is going to feel real bad.

TARA LIPINSKI, Olympic gold medalist figure skater: Denver. I don't know, 38-17, because Scott Hamilton said so.

KRISTI YAMAGUCHI, Olympic gold medal figure skater: Once again, I'll have to go with the Denver Broncos. I think it's going to be a close game, about 34-27. They just have worked hard, are focused and have the experience behind them.

ROSALYNN SUMNERS, figure skater: Denver, absolutely. I'm not picking any point spread because I'm not good at that. I think they are still riding a high from last year, and I think Elway is just sort of at the peak of his life. That's like the coolest thing to see in an athlete, and that will carry them through.

EKATERINA GORDEEVA, two-time Olympic gold medalist figure skater: Oh, Denver, of course. Score? I have no idea. I don't know how it works. It has to be two numbers? Let's do 32-23.

TOMMY MOE, 1994 Olympic downhill champion: 41-17, Broncos. Elway, Sharpe and Davis are too strong.

AL UNSER Jr., two-time Indy 500 winner: Denver. It would really be great to see Atlanta win for Coach Reeves, but I would have to put my money on Denver.

RICK MEARS, four-time Indy 500 winner: Atlanta. I'm going with Coach Reeves because it's his destiny to win the Super Bowl.

STEFFI GRAF, tennis star: They're both good teams but it would be good for Atlanta to win because they never have before. I know like almost every year, I'll be watching the game from my hotel room in Tokyo where I'll be playing a tournament. It's on at 8 a.m. on Monday morning there.

SERENA WILLIAMS, tennis star: I love Green Bay and they're not in it this year, so I guess I have to root for Atlanta and against the Broncos because their the team that beat the Packers last year.

  Anna Kournikova
 Anna Kournikova likes rooting for the underdog.
ANNA KOURNIKOVA, tennis star: Atlanta. I think it's their turn and I like to root for the underdog.

ROBBIE ALOMAR, Cleveland Indian and fiancee of tennis star Mary Pierce: Denver. They have a great defense, a great quarterback, and one of the best backs in the business in Terrell Davis.

MARY PIERCE: Ask Robbie, he's always got the remote control.

JIM COURIER, tennis star: If I had to go out on a limb I'd say Broncos by 10.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS, tennis star: Denver again. They're too solid, too big and too strong. 21-10 will be the score.

ANDRE AGASSI, tennis star: Denver 41-23. They'll answer Jamal Anderson with Terrell Davis. They'll answer Chris Chandler with John Elway. They're playing on grass and it won't be close.

NELL FORTNER, USA Women's National basketball team coach: Denver! I am from Colorado now so I have to root for Denver.

LISA LESLIE, Women's National Team member: Denver all the way, because of Terrell Davis -- he's all that and a bag of chips!

RUTHIE BOLTON-HOLIFIELD, Women's National Team member: The Dirty Birds. I'm going for Atlanta, Atlanta is going to win, I'm telling you that right now.

NIKKI MCCRAY, Women's National Team member: I'm going to have to go with Atlanta because of Chuck Smith. He was a senior when I was a junior (at Tennessee). This is a great opportunity for the team and for him. It's the first time Atlanta has had this chance and with them being from the South so I'm going for them. It would be good for them to win and Dan Reeves is such a great coach, I'd like to see him win a Super Bowl because he's been there with Denver and not won. I do like Denver also, especially John Elway and Terrell Davis, but I'm for Atlanta to win.

SHERYL SWOOPES, Women's National Team member: Denver. They were there and won it last year and I think they'll do it again.

BOBBY THOMSON, former baseball player, hit the "Shot Heard 'Round the World" in 1951: Obviously Denver should be favored. But I'll be rooting for Atlanta. I rooted for Elway to win last year his first Super Bowl. I pick Atlanta. I'll get off the fence. How about 28-17?

RALPH BRANCA, former pitcher, gave up the "Shot Heard 'Round the World": All those guys. They can't play our sport. But I think Denver will win. They've been there before. They have the edge. They know all the hype. If you're rating quarterbacks, the other guy is good, but I've got to give the edge to Elway. To me it will be similar to the Jets game, very close in the first half, then Denver will wear them down. 27-13.

Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service

Copyright 1995-98 ESPN/Starwave Partners d/b/a ESPN Internet Ventures. All rights reserved. Do not duplicate or redistribute in any form. Privacy Policy (Updated 01/08/98). Use of this site signifies your agreement to the Terms of Service (Updated 01/12/98).