Ed Gates was going to surprise his 11-year-old grandson, Ryan Gates today.
While watching Ryan -- he and his wife Mildred watch him one day a week -- he's going to give him a belated Christmas gift.
An "I Beat Burt" T-shirt.
"Grandpa" won it two weeks ago. But he didn't win it alone. He and Ryan go through the games each week, one by one.
"He makes all of the picks himself," said Ed. "Then I'll go through and sometimes change one or two. It's something we both look forward to. He asked me how we did, but I didn't tell him we won."
In fact, Ed said he found out he won while going to church 10 days ago when a family friend congratulated him.
Ed, a native of Salem, worked for three-plus decades at General Electric in Lynn spending a lot of time in advanced aircraft engine assembly.
He met Mildred in 1973 after she was divorced with three children. On Oct. 24, 1974, they married. He soon adopted the youngest of the three children, James Gates, now 48. James is Ryan's dad.
"She asked me if I would be able to take on three children," said Ed. "I said 'I wouldn't want to marry you if I wasn't.'"
Ed watches the games every Sunday, usually with his wife, who is an avid crossword puzzle player.
20 T-shirts for Week 17
We are going to go out with a bang, with all 16 games on New Year's Day. In fact, this is the only week without a Thursday night game, which is not included.
Because it has been been great year, with a record amount of entries, we will offer 20 T-shirts to those that "Beat Burt" and/or win the either of two tiebreakers (Patriots point total and amount of correct selections).
Normally, we give out a maximum of 10 T-shirts.
Week 17 is already up on-line.
As for Week 16, we realized there was a glitch in the on-line entry blank with the Cincinnati-Houston game, which was listed at Cincinnati vs. San Francisco. So we decided to remove that game, though most entries chose the actual winner, Houston (12-10).
I had eight correct selections out of the 14 games (FYI: I did pick Houston!). So all entries with nine or more winners were eligible.
All of the Week 17 winners were within four points of the Patriots point total (41). We also went to the second tiebreaker (amount of correct selections).
With this being a "rivalry weekend" with most games consisting of divisional teams, it should be a tough weekend to pick.
Will playoff teams play their backups?
Miami has clinched a playoff berth, with a fifth or sixth seed up for grabs. Does it really matter?
Week 17 winners
Gary Pearson of Beverly
Paul Genovese of Gloucester
Kyle Tuneburg of Beverly
Fred Joyce of Topsfield
Tom Salvo of West Newbury
Bill Russo of Methuen
Wally Mielcarz of Salem
John Dowd of Peabody
Al Somes of Beverly
Wayne Heckman of Peabody