Super fans voice views from Carson Valley |

Super fans voice views from Carson Valley

Dave Opsteegh, left, and Jason Janota show their support for the New England Patriots this week with snow-capped Jobs Peak in the background. Fortunately, snow will now be a factor Sunday when Super Bowl LI is played between the Atlanta Falcons and Patriots in Houston.
Dave Price |

Who is going to win today when the 51st Super Bowl is played between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons?

Of course, that depends on who you talk to, and even here in Carson Valley, both teams have die-hard fans who support their team no matter what. And some have been at it for quite some time.

Dave Opsteegh and Jason Janota, who posed for a photo wearing Patriots jerseys, have been devoted fans for nearly 25 years.

“It’s been going on since about 1993-94 … my cousin got me interested,” said Opsteegh, who grew up in Carson Valley.

Added Janota: “I started right in there, about 1995. That was right before (quarterback Drew) Bledsoe … before the dynasty. I was living in L.A. at the time, I wasn’t a Rams fan or Raiders fan back then, so I chose another team and stuck with it.”

Joey Jacobsen was even younger when he began to follow the Patriots. “When I was 4 years old, my dad and my mom’s entire family are huge Vikings fans,” Jacobsen said in a 2015 interview during his senior year at Douglas High School. “I asked my mom (Robbi) one day, ‘If you weren’t a Vikings fan, what team would you like?’ She said, ‘Well, I’m patriotic first, so I’d like the Patriots.’ And I’ve been a fan ever since.”

Jacobsen sustained what were at the time life-threatening head injuries in a woodcutting accident before Christmas in 2008 and now watches games from his wheelchair. His enthusiasm has not diminished one bit.

In fact, he watched first-hand on Nov. 20 when New England defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 30-17, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. A friend, Mike Dillon, and his father, Tim Jacobsen, helped get him on the field with a pass and wearing his blue No. 12 Tom Brady jersey.

“It was a dream come true,” Jacobsen said this week. “Once I got on the field, I had a chance to go by tunnel before the game, and one thing kind of led to another … Patrick Chung came up and gave me his gloves, the offensive line coach gave me one of their game balls, (team owner) Robert Kraft gave me a pin, and obviously the best thing was having my picture taken with Tom Brady.”

Other fans responded this week to an inquiry posted on The Record-Courier’s Facebook page — all in good football fun:

Jennifer Kashuba wrote: “Born and raised north of Atlanta! Been a Falcons fan since I was a toddler … and that was awhile back … SOOO excited for my Falcons to #RiseUp #InBrotherhood. This is their time to shine and I’m loving very minute of watching them!!!”

Tracy Thomas: “I’m a Seahawks fan, through and through. If I could have picked any other team to make it to the SB, it was the Falcons. Matt Ryan is a stud.”

Diane Clinton: “I am a die-hard New England Pats fan from Boston and am so looking forward to watching lucky # 7 Superbowl. GO PATS! My dog loves them, too.”

Glenn Gerhardt, former sports director for KGVM Radio in Gardnerville, who grew up in Carson Valley (as a Rams fan) and now lives in Idaho: “Best offense in the NFL against the best defense. I will go with the Pats and that strong defense. Hoping for a good game and funny commercials.”

Jeff Holden: “In 1985 I was a drummer in my high-school marching band. The Portsmouth High School Patriots in Rhode Island. We had the honor of playing for the New England Patriots send-off party at TF Green Airport for their first SB … Super Bowl XX. Was awesome to be there and send off the greats … Steve Grogan, John Hannah, Craig James, Irving Fryar, Stanley Morgan, Mosi Tatupu … too bad Chicago kicked our butts with Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, William “the Fridge” Perry … 46-10.”

Kelsey Endter: “I’m a graduate of Douglas High School and recently a college graduate from Suffolk University in Boston and just moved back to the Valley! I actually did a charity event at Patriots Place and got to go on Gillette Stadium a couple years ago! I was Peggy Carter (from the Captain America movie) as part of a superhero group for the event. Go Pats!!”

So, who is going to win the game?

“New England, 34-31,” Opsteegh said.

“I think Brady will have a great game,” Janota added.

Oh, by the way, Janota was wearing Brady’s No. 12 and Opsteegh was wearing Julian Edelman’s No. 11 jersey.

“I can see Edelman having a great game … 100 yards and a touchdown there,” Opsteegh added.

There is no doubt who Jacobsen will be rooting for.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “Hopefully, Brady can get his fifth ring.”

Just don’t count out the NFC champion Falcons, who are bidding to win their first Super Bowl.

“I think it will be a high scoring, close and exciting game with the final score 31-28 Falcons WINNING!,” Kashuba wrote.