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If you’re an Indianapolis Colts fan—and please remember your Catholic teachings about forgiveness and evangelization when you encounter the lost souls who are not—you will be happy to learn about the prediction from the woman who is nationally known as the “Super Bowl Sister.”
Marking her 25th year of predicting the Super Bowl winner, Providence Sister Jean Kenny believes the Colts will beat the New Orleans Saints on Feb. 7 by a score of 31-22. (Related: Shepherds place friendly wager on big game; schools out on the day after the Super Bowl | Priest to be a part of second Super Bowl as Colts’ chaplain)
“It didn’t take me more than 15 minutes to pick the Colts. I’m very confident in Manning’s leadership,” says Sister Jean, referring to Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, the record-setting-four-time Most Valuable Player of the National Football League.
Speaking of records, Sister Jean has a record of 18-6 in choosing the winners of the Super Bowl, including last year’s game when she predicted the Pittsburgh Steelers would beat the Arizona Cardinals, 23-17—a game that ended 27-23.
One of her few misses occurred in 2007 when she predicted that her favorite professional football team, the Chicago Bears, would beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLI, a game the Colts won 29-17.
“I learned my lesson,” says Sister Jean, a longtime subscriber to Pro Football Weekly, which she regards as the bible of the NFL. “This time, I know better.”
Still, some people have questioned how the religious sister chose not to pick a team called the Saints.
“I’m usually with the saints, especially because of St. Mother Theodora Guérin being the eighth American saint,” says Sister Jean, referring to the foundress of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, who started the order in Indiana. “I’m with the real saints, not the football Saints.”
Sister Jean’s Super Bowl predictions have made her a media favorite at this time of year, building a resumé that has included appearances with late-night talk show hosts Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien. She will once again give her Super Bowl prediction on CNN on the morning of this year’s game.
The fun tradition began in 1986 when the Bears made it to the Super Bowl and Sister Jean entered a poem-writing contest for a Chicago radio station. She wrote a poem about Bears’ player William “The Refrigerator” Perry that made her one of the contest winners.
“ ‘Monday Night Football’ heard about it and they brought a camera crew to my classroom,” recalls Sister Jean, who now is a substitute teacher and a rectory assistant at St. Francis Borgia Parish in Chicago. “They taped my students reading the poem with me. That’s how it started.”
She has been making predictions and writing poems about each Super Bowl ever since. This year’s poem is titled “Manning’s Miami Masterpiece.”
Her connections to Indianapolis and Indiana extend beyond her Super Bowl prediction.
In 2008, Sister Jean predicted that Indianapolis would be chosen by the NFL to host the 2012 Super Bowl. When her prediction came true, Colts’ owner Jim Irsay gave her three tickets to the Colts’ first regular season game in Lucas Oil Stadium on Sept. 7, 2008. Sister Jean attended the game with two friends, Providence Sisters Barbara McClelland and Rita Ann Wade, who are Colts fans.
Sister Jean also enjoys returning to the motherhouse at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.
“I’m happy and proud to be a Sister of Providence,” she says. “I come to Indianapolis throughout the year. I’ll probably be there on President’s Day weekend. I’m sure you’ll still be celebrating then.” †
Welcome back fans to the Sunshine State,
See the galloping Colts sprint out of the gate.
Sean Payton’s “Who Dat!” team is dealt their bridesmaid fate,
While the “BLUE Dat!” winners go on to celebrate.
The penalty-prone Saints are confused and slow,
Drew Brees experiences a knock-out blow.
Gentleman Jim Irsay’s team is focused and ready to go.
Coach Caldwell’s game plan unfolds well at the NFL’s biggest show.
Freeney shows “Hoosier Hospitality” as he inflicts some pain.
The saddened Saints fall from grace and are sore and lame.
They played hard but could not live up to their name,
The Colts stampede in Miami again and win the big game! †