Jimmy Fallon lets puppies pick, an eagle made a debatably predictable choice, even internet sensation April the Giraffe got to weigh in with a hopeful Super Bowl LII winner. But in Florida, we let sea creatures have the final say.
Mote Marine Laboratory’s resident manatees, Hugh and Buffett, took opposing views on who will bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy from Sunday’s game.
“We have a house divided,” said Kat Boerner, manatee research supervisor in a news release. “Buffett weighed his options carefully and ultimately picked the Philadelphia Eagles. Hugh was pretty clear on his choice, the New England Patriots.”
The Patriots and Eagles face off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Buffett has a history of picking winners. He has successfully predicted the winner eight out of 10 times, but missed the mark last year when the Patriots beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Hugh puts in a good effort, but has only been right six of 10 times, a provided history of the manatees’ picks shows.
Hugh went with the Patriots for his pick last year, too. The last time Buffett picked the Patriots to win it all was in 2015 against the Seattle Seahawks.
The opinion in the tank, it seems, has long been divided. Hugh and Buffett have only picked the same team to win four times in the 11 years of selections (the Baltimore Ravens in 2013, the New York Giants in 2008 and 2012 and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2009).
But picking teams isn’t all fun and games, it’s exhibiting some of the manatee’s training.
“By having the manatees trained to go to targets, we are able to maneuver them around the exhibit and ask them for a variety of behaviors. This helps during veterinary procedures and during our research training sessions, which focus on manatee senses and physiology. The Super Bowl predictions are much like target training; we place a square PVC structure in the exhibit with a photo of each of the teams competing in the Super Bowl. Hugh and Buffett take it from there to touch one of the two team logos,” Boerner said.
Dolphin makes determination
Meanwhile in Pinellas County, Nicholas the dolphin has surfaced to make his Super Bowl selection.
Nicholas, a rescued dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, has become a Tampa Bay celebrity with his accurate sports game predictions. He is currently 6 for 7 in his predictions, with a perfect 3 for 3 with his football game predictions.
Nicholas, who makes his pick by swimming up to and selecting between one of two footballs that have the competing teams logos on them, chose the New England Patriots football for Sunday’s Super Bowl LII championship against the Philadelphia Eagles.