Former postal worker continues winning ways

You can win an “I Beat Burt” T-shirt like so many others have in the North Shore. Executive sports editor Bill Burt is shown holding up the shirt that will be sent to the 10 winners in Week 3 of the “I Beat Burt” contest. You can play online for Week 4 starting today or mail the entry blank in by Saturday.

Bill Russo wasn't big, but it didn't change his views on football.

"I love it," he said.

Russo, of Methuen, recalled a funny story before high school game when he played football in Somerville. Several players on his youth football team were concerned about the size of the other team during warmups and expressed it to their coach.

"The coach said 'Everybody looks big in a football uniform, even Billy Russo looks big,' " recalled Russo, who estimates he was 5-foot-3 at the time. "Everybody laughed, including me."

The jokes never wavered Russo's interest in the game. The retired postal worker, who has two daughters (Flo and Theresa) and lives with his partner, Diane, said football never was about size. It's about a lot of things, he said, including knowing strengths and weaknesses of yourself, your team and, of course, the opposition.

Football is a big deal in the Russo household. A typical Sunday from September through the first Sunday in February is many viewing hours of the football.

"Like 24/7," he said. "Football in the morning, afternoon and night. We love it."

Russo has played the "I Beat Burt" Contest for many years and he's won more than his fair share of shirts ... 12.

Russo is a big believer in the Patriots -- surprise! -- and believes the addition of Julian Edelman has changed everything for Tom Brady, including the recent use of Josh Gordon.

"I think they can keep the ball away from the Chiefs' offense, which is tough to stop," he said. 

As for his secrets to successfully picking games, Russo said he went to Buffalo in the August and went to a Bills-Browns game.

"I knew the Bills would stink," he said. "And I also knew the Browns wouldn't be too bad. I think I'm going to be right."

Burt on a roll

When you're hot, well, it's a good feeling. This coming after two dreadful weeks to open the season.

I believe I have a feel for most teams -- I will never, never figure out the Detroit Lions. And it helped, with a lot of teams reverting to their true selves.

There were only seven entries that picked more winners than my 10. It's the second week we've had less than 10, which is the minimum winning entries that are awarded T-shirts.

Though, in Week 1, there were 30-plus winners because of the rule where all entries that pick more winners and get the first tiebreaker (Patriots point total) are guaranteed a win. So, I guess I'm still in the losers column.

Week 5 winners

W P Collins of Lawrence

Chuck Mack of Hampstead, N.H.

Lynn Collins of Newton, N.H.

William Russo of Methuen

Vincent Abramo of Salem

Tim Day of Haverhill

Jim Ahearn of Havehrill



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