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Las Cruces City Manager Ifo Pili has direct and personal connections to both teams squaring off this Sunday in Super Bowl LV. During his NFL career, Pili played for Kansas City Chiefs Coach Andy Reid and alongside Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
Pili was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles 2004 team that played in Super Bowl XXXIX. That Eagles team was coached by Reid, who became the Chiefs’ coach in 2013. Pili, a defensive lineman, signed with the New England Patriots the following season, where he played with Brady.
“I’m always rooting for Tom,” Pili said, but added that he has “a little bit more connection with Andy. “He’s a wonderful coach,” Pili said of Reid. Reid, like Pili, is an alumnus of BYU. He was offensive line coach at UTEP 1987-88.
Pili’s prediction for the final score of this year’s Super Bowl: Chiefs 35, Buccaneers 28.
“It’s going to be a good game,” Pili said.
City Quality of Life Director Lynn Gallagher, Ph.D., lived in the Tampa Bay area for several years and “actually worked the first Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium (where this year’s Super Bowl will be played) in 2001,” she said. As a result, Gallagher said she feels “obligated to support the Buccaneers,” and predicts they will win, 31-10.
“Personally, I’d prefer to watch the New York Yankees play baseball, so I really don’t have a favorite football team,” Gallagher said.
The Bulletin obtained Super Bowl LV predictions and comments from some other prominent Las Crucens, as well.
Mayor Ken Miyagishima: Bucs 34, Chiefs 28. I’m for the 43-year-old Tom Brady. As a Raiders fan, I want to see the Chiefs ‘go down.
Mayor Pro Tem Kasandra Gandara: Chiefs 42, Bucs 21. Favorite team: Pittsburgh Steelers.
City Councilor Gill Sorg: Chiefs 36, Bucs 31. Favorite NFL teams: Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos.
City Councilor Gabe Vasquez: Chiefs 31, Bucs. 28. Favorite team: San Francisco 49ers.
Las Cruces Police Chief Miguel Dominguez: Chiefs 27, Bucs 24. Favorite team: Las Vegas Raiders.
Casa de Peregrinos Emergency Food Bank Executive Director Lorenzo Alba: Chiefs 34, Bucs 30. Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys.
City of Las Cruces Airport Administrator Andy Hume: Chiefs 27, Bucs 23. Passing of the torch from Brady to Mahomes. Favorite team: Buffalo Bills. Happy to have something to cheer for after 25 years.
Interim Las Cruces Fire Chief Jason Smith: Chiefs 34, Bucs 27. Chiefs’ defense will find a way to slow Brady, but the points on the board will still climb. Tampa’s defense will have some success exploiting the loss of Eric Fisher. No one likes seeing that kind of injury or losing a starting offensive tackle. Favorite team: San Francisco 49ers.
State Sen. Bill Soules: KC by 10. Their ability to run deception plays and the athleticism of Mahomes will carry the day.
State Rep. Joanne Ferrary: Chiefs 31, Bucs 28. Chiefs with a field-goal win.
State Rep. Doreen Gallegos: Chiefs 24, Bucs 17. Go Chiefs!!
New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions Sec. Bill McCamley: Chiefs 31, Bucs 17.
Dona Ana County Commissioner Shannon Reynolds: Chiefs 42, Bucs 38.
NMSU President John Floros: Chiefs 34, Bucs 17. Go Chiefs!
NMSU Chancellor Dan Arvizu: Chiefs 38, Bucs 31.
NMSU Associate Vice President for Alumni, Board and Donor Relations Leslie Cervantes: Chiefs 34, Bucs 31. Favorite team: Denver Broncos.
NMSU Vice President for Advancement and president of the NMSU Foundation Derek Dictson: Chiefs 31, Bucs 27.
NMSU Black Students Association President Kiara Holloway: Chiefs 35, Bucs 27. Favorite teams: Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles.
NMSU Black Students Association Vice President Ignacio Alvarado: Bucs 20, Chiefs 10.
NMSU Creative Media Institute Assistant Professor Ross Marks: Chiefs 38, Bucs 35. Favorite team: Chicago Bears.
Former New Mexico Gov., NMSU Chancellor and President Garrey Carruthers: Chiefs 35, Bucs 27.
Doña Ana County NAACP President Bobbie Green: Bucs 28, Chiefs 24. I gotta go with Tom Brady and Tampa Bay. Favorite team: Pittsburgh Steelers.
La Casa, Inc. Executive Director Henry Brutus: Bucs will win. Favorite team: Miami Dolphins.
Las Cruces author and former city councilor Jack Eakman: Bucs 37, Chiefs 33.
Gospel Rescue Mission Executive Director Henry Young: I am choosing the possible upset: Tampa Bay in a close game. Favorite team: Dallas Cowboys.
Mesilla Valley Community of Hope/Abode, Inc. Executive Director Nicole Martinez: Chiefs KC 35, Bucs 14. Favorite team: San Francisco 49ers.
Bulletin Publisher Richard Coltharp: Buc 48, Chiefs 32. Tampa Bay becomes first team to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium, and Brady becomes the first quarterback to win a Super Bowl in both the NFC and the AFC. My favorite NFL team: I haven’t had an NFL team since Feb. 25, 1989.
Bulletin Editor Jess Williams: Baffling overeating/overdrinking on a school night. Normally rational people yelling/cheering/cursing at innocent televisions. Funny commercials. Profitable sporting all over the place.
Writer and Bulletin columnist Walt Rubel: Chiefs 31, Bucs 24.