It’s that time of year again – time for the annual gridiron spectacle. No, not the Super Bowl, but the 21st annual Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll. The rich and famous from entertainment, sports, politics and pop culture predict the winner of Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints. Keep an eye on the final score. The celebrity who picks the winning team and comes closest to predicting the score will win the Super Sage Award trophy.
MAYA ANGELOU, poet and author: Indianapolis, 28-16. Sadly, I must inform the New Orleans Saints that I will not be in their number. I plan to be with the other team when the Colts go marching in.
SERENA WILLIAMS, tennis star: Indianapolis. I’m going for Peyton. I know him, so I’m definitely going for Peyton Manning.
LEBRON JAMES, Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star: Indianapolis, 38-28. Both teams are very talented, but Indianapolis has been in this position before and I think their experience will be too much for New Orleans to handle.
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star: New Orleans, 34-23. This is going to be very special for the great people of New Orleans and Louisiana. The Saints have the talent AND the resilience to win. Who Dat?
KOBE BRYANT, Los Angeles Lakers basketball star: Indianapolis … Peyton Manning is the best of all time.
MIKE HAYDEN, former CIA director: Indianapolis, 38-24. Retired from the CIA and now separated from the clandestine sources and methods that once sustained me, I hesitate to project any confident choice. But what the heck! A racetrack for both teams for perhaps the first half, but then reality sets in. Saints falter; they almost let that old man beat them – in their own dome!
APOLO OHNO, Olympic short-track speedskater: Indianapolis, 35-24. Peyton Manning. He is a professional the way he handles himself on and off the field. Hard to pick against that in the big game.
JACK NICKLAUS, golf Hall of Famer: Indianapolis, 31-28. It’s hard to go against Peyton Manning. He will do just about whatever he has to do to win the football game. He’s the best.
ARNOLD PALMER, golf Hall of Famer, 2003 Super Sage Award winner: Indianapolis, 34-21. Manning is sharp.
CAL RIPKEN JR., baseball Hall of Famer: Indianapolis, 38-27. Honestly, I don’t know who I will root for. Most years I go into the game that way and end up finding myself cheering for someone late in the game. This year it would be an amazing story for the Saints to win and great for New Orleans. On the other hand, I know Peyton and respect him a great deal so I would always be happy to see him win.
BILL O’REILLY, Fox News: Indianapolis, 27-20. Peyton Manning will be the difference. The Saints won’t be able to stop him.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH, former governor of Illinois: Indianapolis, 38-31. The Colts offense is better than the Saints’ high-powered offense because they have the most valuable player in football, Peyton Manning. And the Colts defense is better and faster than the Saints defense.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, R-Ariz.: Indianapolis by three points.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-La.: New Orleans, 35-31.
PAT ROBERTSON, reverend, 2008 Super Sage Award winner: Indianapolis, 35-28. It all depends on the quarterback for the Colts, Peyton Manning, who is the best in the country.
BOB WEIR, guitarist, Grateful Dead, 2004 Super Sage Award winner: New Orleans, 30-28.
DREW CAREY, host, “The Price is Right”: Indianapolis, 28-24, because they’re slightly favored by the sports books. No other reason. Honestly, flip a coin.
MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ, actress, “Avatar”: New Orleans, 31-23. I think the Saints have heart and determination to bring home a ring. The mixture of heart and discipline will persevere. Go Saints!
ED ASNER, actor: Indianapolis, 21-14. They’ve got a monster of a quarterback. I think he’ll carry the game. I think he’ll devise a way to overcome any leads the other team may have. The other day, I believe, he made a touchdown in a minute and a half. He’s a blitzkrieg quarterback.
PENN & TELLER, magicians, 2007 Super Sage Award winners: Indianapolis, 35-31. And the FCC levies a one-million-dollar “wardrobe malfunction” fine against the Who when Roger Daltrey shows up in a fringe jacket.
DICK VITALE, broadcaster: Indianapolis, 27-21. Peyton Manning. I think he’s a difference-maker and just a terrific player.
JOHN WOODEN, legendary basketball coach: Indianapolis by a couple of touchdowns. Overall, it seems to me, I’ve watched them a little bit, that Manning could be the difference.
YOGI BERRA, baseball Hall of Famer: New Orleans. The score, I don’t know. I just know they’ve got a good quarterback and good team, just like the Colts.
TYSON GAY, track, America’s fastest sprinter: Indianapolis, 35-21. Peyton and his offense know how to get it done when it comes to the big game.
JENNIE FINCH, Olympic softball star: New Orleans, 31-28. I’m going with the underdog. Who Dat? Da Saints! I’m a big Peyton fan, but it would be so incredibly special to the city of New Orleans to bring back the championship after all they have been through. Plus, Casey (my husband) is a Louisiana boy. I gotta pull for the Saints!
ANDY WILLIAMS, singer: New Orleans, 28-14.
DICK CLARK, TV host: Indianapolis, 28-24.
DON RICKLES, comedian: Indianapolis, 21-13.
PHYLLIS DILLLER, comedian, New Orleans, 35-33. The Saints have got to win it. It’s their first time in the Super Bowl. It’s time for something wonderful to happen to them. I believe all this energy that goes into the universe could really make the game go that way.
CRYSTAL HARRIS, Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend, “The Girls Next Door”: New Orleans, 42-28. I’ll be rooting for the Colts because Kendra’s (Wilkinson) husband, Hank Baskett, plays for the Colts. However, with this being the Saints’ first trip to the Super Bowl, I don’t think anyone should underestimate the passion the Saints will bring to the game.
MAMIE VAN DOREN, legendary sex symbol: New Orleans, 28-24. The reason is it’s time for the Saints to come marching in. They’ve been a hard-luck team and they deserve it!
VALERIE BERTINELLI, actress: New Orleans, 24-21. With those two quarterbacks, there has to be some scoring because they are both brilliant. The Saints have a deep offense and the defense is so good, they will hold them back. It will be a great game no matter what … especially when the Saints win.
CHUCK YEAGER, first man to break the sound barrier: Indianapolis, 33-24. Go Peyton Manning. We’ve met him and he’s a really great guy.
BOBBY THOMSON, former New York Giants baseball player who in 1951 hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”: Indianapolis, 28-17. New Orleans is scary, but Indianapolis is well rounded and consistent. I’m rooting for the Mannings.
RALPH BRANCA, former Brooklyn Dodger who threw the famous pitch to Thomson: Indianapolis, 45-38. It will be high scoring. Both are passing teams.
BOB COUSY, basketball Hall of Famer: Indianapolis by about 17 points. I think they’re the best team in the league based on what I’ve seen this year. And obviously Peyton seems to be the premiere quarterback.
CHRIS PAUL, New Orleans Hornets: New Orleans, 34-31. New Orleans is my hometown, and I’m a big Saints fan.
BOBBY PLUMP, whose winning shot for Milan (Ind.) High in 1954 inspired the movie “Hoosiers”: Indianapolis, 35-28. I just think the Indianapolis Colts defense and with Peyton Manning at quarterback are probably a touchdown favorite.
TYLER HANSBROUGH, Indiana Pacers: Indianapolis, 35-24. Both teams were at the top all year and deserve to be there. I think the Colts with their experience in the Super Bowl, particularly Peyton, will carry them in this one.
MARK CUBAN, owner, Dallas Mavericks: New Orleans, 42-28. Lots of scoring, but the Saints will get the stops at the end of the game when they need to.
MIKE ERUZIONE, Olympic hockey star: Indianapolis, 31-27. Peyton Manning’s going to have the ball last, and he’s going to find a way to win.
SCOTT ADAMS, cartoonist, “Dilbert”: Saints are obviously favored by the Almighty Creator of the Universe. Colts are hoofed beasts that poop wherever they’re standing. Advantage: Saints. The score will be infinity to 666.
JERRY MATHERS, actor, “Leave it to Beaver”: Indianapolis, 38-31. It’s going to be an offensive shootout.
FLORENCE HENDERSON, Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch”: Indianapolis, 21-7. I picked the Indianapolis Colts because I’m also from Indiana and we Hoosiers stick together!
BARRY WILLIAMS, Greg on “The Brady Bunch”: Indianapolis, 35-21, because of Peyton Manning.
CHRISTOPHER KNIGHT, Peter on “The Brady Bunch”: New Orleans by 1. The voodoo being brewed in the Bayou will be too much for Peyton. That and Reggie Bush being well schooled by Kim (Kardashian) on going wide to get out the room!
SHIRLEY JONES, actress: Peyton Manning is unquestionably the greatest quarterback in history (with a father-brother legacy that is super-extraordinary), and so my practical “game bet” senses tell me Indianapolis will probably take it by three to seven points (at the least).
RUSSELL JOHNSON, The Professor on “Gilligan’s Island”: Indianapolis, 30-28.
DAWN WELLS, Mary Ann on “Gilligan’s Island”: New Orleans, 27-24. I’m going with my heart, not my head.
CARESSA CAMERON, Miss America: New Orleans, 38-35.
KRISTEN DALTON, Miss USA: Indianapolis, 35-24. The Saints defense will not be able to stop Peyton Manning and the Indy receivers. Last week, the Vikings ran all over the Saints defense and only lost because of all the Vikings turnovers.
ROSEANNE BARR, comedian: New Orleans, 35-27. The Colts are a great heartland team, but I feel like fate owes New Orleans a reason to REALLY get their party on! They’ve had more than their share of tough times. The Saints are my sentimental favorite to win it all this season!
ELLIE KEMPER, actress, “The Office”: New Orleans, 27-17. New Orleans because, based on everything I’ve read, New Orleans stands at least a 50 percent chance of winning. 27-17 because, based on everything I’ve read, such a score is mathematically possible in football. If I had to think a little more outside the box, I would predict that Indianapolis will win, with a final score of 26-21. I say this because I have also read that Indianapolis stands at least a 50 percent chance of winning, and I remember that 26-21 was a final score at one of my little brother’s high-school football games several years ago (so again, I know that the math checks out).
NEAL MCDONOUGH, actor: New Orleans, 37-34. If it’s going to be a shootout, I’m going with New Orleans. That’s who I’m rooting for.
MYKELTI WILLIAMSON, actor, “24”: New Orleans, 38-32. My intellectual favorite is Indianapolis based on stats and the undeniable talent of Peyton Manning. My heart favors New Orleans. I feel that the aggression and passion of New Orleans will cause mistakes and penalties by the Colts late in the game. New Orleans will take advantage of those mistakes and convert them into a Super Bowl win and a huge gumbo party. You heard it here first.
FRED WILLARD, actor: Indianapolis, 34-28. New Orleans played a tough game against Minnesota and was lucky to win. Although Drew Brees is a great quarterback, Peyton Manning seems unbeatable.
JOE MANTEGNA, actor, “Criminal Minds”: New Orleans, 28-17. I think it’s time for New Orleans to have a little good come their way, and since Indianapolis felt an undefeated season was unimportant, let’s keep it that way.
RICHARD SCHIFF, actor: New Orleans, 38-34, because the city of New Orleans needs it. They have that Cajun black magic going.
SHEILA KELLEY, actress: Indianapolis, 31-27. I prefer riding colts. They’re just a better breed of animal and, quite frankly, more athletic than any saint I’ve ever known!
STACY KEIBLER, actress: Indianapolis, 34-28. I think this game has the chance to be one of the most exciting Super Bowls yet. Two fantastic offenses vs. two underrated defenses. I am secretly rooting for New Orleans because I know Reggie Bush, but in the end, though, I think Peyton Manning’s experience will be the difference. I just don’t think that New Orleans will be able to stop him consistently.
PATRICK WARBURTON, actor, “Rules of Engagement”: Indianapolis, 34-30. I don’t have “a dog in this fight.” I like both teams a lot. This will be a great game, mark my words. Simply put, the team that turns the ball over least will win. I give it to Indy because of experience, but New Orleans is an awesome force!
JAMES DENTON, actor, “Desperate Housewives”: Indianapolis, 34-23. The Colts for a number of reasons, but here are two: The Colts scored 24 unanswered points on the No. 1 defense in football, and the Saints gave up 475 yards and 31 first downs to the Vikings at home.
EVA LA RUE, actress, “CSI: Miami”: New Orleans, 27-12. I like the Saints because they have fleur-de-lis on their helmets. They are therefore “more fashion forward.”
JILLIAN MICHAELS, fitness trainer, “The Biggest Loser”: New Orleans, 33-27. The Saints defense forces turnovers and the combo of their running game and Drew Brees will be too much for the Colts to handle.
KERRI WALSH, Olympic beach-volleyball star: Indianapolis, 28-17. Two great teams, two great quarterbacks. Peyton Manning and Dallas Clark … my favorites. Can’t wait to watch!
LINDSEY VONN, Olympic ski racer: New Orleans.
KELLY KULICK, first female bowler to win PBA event: Indianapolis, 21-14. I’m a huge Colts fan and I think Peyton Manning is a helluva quarterback. Indianapolis’ offense will override New Orleans’ defense.
MOVER SCOTT, singer/actor, Imagination Movers: New Orleans, 38-24. Sadly, Peyton will leave the game late in the third quarter with a twisted knee. Nothing serious, but enough to keep him out while his backup, Chris Painter, tries his best.
TRACE ADKINS, country singer: New Orleans, 28-21. I just think it’s destiny. You know what, I’ve totally bought into the whole destiny thing this year.
SAMANTHA BROWN, Travel Channel host: New Orleans, 34-31.
CANDICE OLSON, interior designer/HGTV host, “Divine Design”: Indianapolis, 28-21. The Colts have All-Star quarterback Peyton Manning, and with someone who looks that good on the field, how could they possibly lose?!
DUANE “DOG THE BOUNTY HUNTER” CHAPMAN, bounty hunter: New Orleans, 38-35, when the Saints come marching in!
TONY SIRICO, actor: Indianapolis, 44-21. New Orleans has no defense.
STEVE SCHIRRIPA, actor: Indianapolis, 38-31. Peyton Manning will pick apart New Orleans’ defense. They cannot stop him. He is the best quarterback in NFL history.
JESSE MARTIN, actor: Indianapolis, 35-14. Manning will excel.
TOBIN BELL, Jigsaw in “Saw” movies: Indianapolis, 35-28. Peyton sees all. He’s a great field general and nearly unstoppable. The Saints defense is their weak point.
STEPHEN ROOT, actor: Indianapolis, 21-13. The Saints are certainly the fairy-tale story. However, I think it will be a defensive game. Manning will be able to figure out the Saints defense. Now if Reggie Bush has the game of his life, it could be another story.
TED MCGINLEY, actor: Indianapolis, 34-14. Manning is the smartest QB ever to play the game. The Indy defense was able to walk over the Jets. I’m afraid that they will eat the Saints for breakfast. (But) my heart is with the Saints. I love Brees, Reggie Bush and all the people of New Orleans.
SHERRI SHEPHERD, co-host, “The View”: Indianapolis, 30-27. I have to go with the tried and tested Colts with proven prior Super Bowl experience over the eagerness of the Saints.
JOHN STOSSEL, Fox Business Network: Indianapolis, 31-17. Because the spread favors the Colts. I believe in people who put their money on the line.
LEROY NEIMAN, artist: Indianapolis, 28-17. The Indianapolis Colts under Peyton Manning’s leadership and the high quality of the Colts team will own this Super Bowl.
JIM COURIER, tennis star: Indianapolis, 27-17. You simply have to go with Peyton.
BOB BRYAN, half of world’s No.-1 ranked tennis doubles team: New Orleans, 34-28, because New Orleans is hungry for a big-time celebration.
MIKE BRYAN, half of world’s No-1 ranked tennis doubles team: Indianapolis, 34-28, because Peyton is a born winner and has the experience to carry his team to victory.
SCOTT TUROW, author: Indianapolis, 34-31.
MALCOLM GLADWELL, author: New Orleans, 45-42.
HULK HOGAN, wrestler: New Orleans, 35-6. New Orleans has an amazing new energy this year, both as a team and a city. They survived Hurricane Katrina, and if they could survive that, they can survive anything.
DENNIS FARINA, actor, 2005 Super Sage Award winner: New Orleans, 31-27. I hate to bet against Peyton Manning because I think he’s probably the best quarterback since Dan Marino. However, for some reason, I think New Orleans is destined to win because I just think it’s their year and it’s hard to beat that.
GORDON CLAPP, actor: New Orleans, 38-31. Brees is unstoppable and Manning will make a key mistake. Emotion will be a big factor.
JOAN JETT, rock star: New Orleans, 45-33.
DR. JOYCE BROTHERS, psychologist: Indianapolis, 28-17. Their quarterback, Peyton Manning, is the best there is and they’ve got such incredibly excellent defense. He’s also 6-foot-6 and throws over everybody’s head.
JOE MAZZELLO, actor, “The Pacific”: Indianapolis, 38-28. The Colts are the more disciplined, consistent and experienced team. I think giving Manning two weeks to prepare for a defense that relies mostly on turnovers is more than enough for him to dominate the game. But with that said: Go Reggie! Fight on!
JON SEDA, actor, “The Pacific”: Indianapolis, 38-24. The reason I’m picking the Colts is simple: I’m a New York Jets fan, so the team we lost to better win it all!
MATTHEW SETTLE, actor, “Gossip Girl”: The Saints are going to win because they have the better defense and offense. And Reggie Bush is going to burn up the field!
JANA KRAMER, actress, “One Tree Hill”: Indianapolis, 35-28. I picked Colts because they have been strong all year. I love the Saints, too, but Peyton Manning is a phenomenal quarterback and I think he will bring the Colts to a victory with their power-horse defense and incredible offense!
MASI OKA, actor, “Heroes”: Indianapolis, 39-38. I think it’ll be a shootout, but a close one. The Saints definitely have the momentum and it would mean tremendously for their city, but the Colts’ experience, hunger and their pride will carry them through. They have to win to make up for their sacrifice of the perfect season.
CARLOS MENCIA, comedian: New Orleans, 38-35. They seem to win the games that they shouldn’t win, seems like it’s their destiny. And maybe it’s an emotional pick, but how can you not root for the Saints after what all New Orleans has been through.
PATRICIA DE LEON, actress, 2009 Super Sage Award winner: New Orleans, 27-24, if it rains. 37-31, if it doesn’t rain. They deserve to win the game not because they overcame the tragedy of Katrina, but because they have proven their strength as a team. So I can’t wait for the Saints to show everyone what they’re made of and finally bring victory back to New Orleans. And who dat gonna change my mind? Ain’t nobody!
HALEY JOEL OSMENT, actor: New Orleans, 38-31. I’m expecting a close, classic game, and New Orleans has an emotional edge that should propel them to victory.
SUSAN ANTON, entertainer: Indianapolis, 35-31. Peyton Manning is having an unstoppable year and he has been under Super Bowl pressure before and he knows how to close the deal. The Colts will win in a shootout! I think the Saints are going to fight hard and put up big numbers, but the Colts will hoist the trophy at the end of Super Bowl 44.
JOANNE WORLEY, comedian: Indianapolis, 25-14. I chose them because I’m from Indiana. I chose the score by asking someone who knows about scores.
CAROL CHANNING, entertainer: New Orleans, 13-10. Oh, I’m really not the best at following football, but I have become a Super Bowl junkie since I performed at halftime in 1970 at Super Bowl IV. My husband Harry, who happens to be a Bronco fan, seems to think that the final will be 13-10, Saints.
TED GIANNOULAS, AKA THE SAN DIEGO CHICKEN: Indianapolis, 39-27, because there’s too much DNA in the Manning living room. Brother Eli played against these Saints. Dad has surely seen them all year and Peyton studies like it’s a bar exam.
Out of the 100 famous folks who made predictions, 60 believe that the Indianapolis Colts will win Super Bowl XLIV, while 40 picked the New Orleans Saints. The celebrity who picks the winning team and whose guess at the final score comes the closest to the actual final score wins the Scripps Howard Super Sage Award. Last year’s winner was actress Patricia De Leon, who picked the Pittsburgh Steelers to beat the Arizona Cardinals, 27-24 – just one point off the actual final score of 27-23. This year De Leon picked New Orleans to win, 27-24, if it rains, and 37-31, if it doesn’t rain. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova (1998) and actor Dennis Farina (2005) are the only two celebrities in the history of the Scripps Howard Celebrity Super Bowl Poll to have picked the winning team and gotten the score exactly right.