Jim Brown loves pro football, especially on Sundays.

Of course he does.

Except this Jim Brown, of Merrimac, retired from the sport after graduating from Amesbury High about a decade after the Pro Football Hall of Famer named Jim Brown retired from the sport with the Cleveland Browns in 1965.

"I don’t think I was named after Jim Brown the football player," said the 62-year-old Brown, who is married and currently works as a resident assistant at an assisted living facility in Amesbury. "He was in college (at Syracuse) when I was born. "But it’s a name that certainly draws attention not only because of the Cleveland running back, but also the 'Godfather of Soul.' I actually get more kidding on the latter."

His name has been a topic of discussion for most of his life.

"During my first career, I did some international travel," said Brown. "I’ve always considered customs a serious place. On one trip home, I passed through customs and got singled out by two customs agents. I was nervous when they pulled me aside, only to ask me if I 'felt good,' referring to James Brown's song (of the same name). They were amused; I was relieved. Also, at one of my software jobs, I was sometimes referred to as the 'Godfather of Programming.' "

A recent winner in the "I Beat Burt" Contest, Brown was introduced to the weekly contest from his job. 

"One of the residents, Bill Albert, at the assisted living facility is a big Patriots fan," he said. "He’s the reason I enter the 'I Beat Burt' contest each week. He’s been doing it for years and has many T-shirts to show for it, including two weeks in a row earlier this season."

Brown said he tries not to waffle on his weekly picks. "I follow my gut," he said. "I make choices quickly and try not to second guess myself. It’s nice not having to consider point spreads. The biggest challenge is choosing the Patriots' point total, especially lately."

Speaking of which, Brown thinks they've had a drop in performance compared to the Patriots over the last 4-5 seasons.

"I think they’re good, but not great," he said. "Losing those two games in December really hurt. I hate to say it, but I question how far they’ll go, especially if they have to have any playoff road games."

Winners galore

Take bow. Almost all of the 210 entries picked 10 winners or more in Week 16 of the I Beat Burt Contest.

I had a pretty good week, too, with 11 winners out of the 16 games played last weekend. For those that beat me and won T-shirts, the two key games were Minnesota over Detroit and Philadelphia over Houston. I relunctantly chose Detroit and Houston — and paid for it.

Of the 34 entries that picked more winners than me, all of the T-shirt winners were within three points of the Patriots point total (24), which is the first tiebreaker. The second tiebreaker (amount of winners), was also needed. All of the winners who were three points away from the Patriots point total had at least 13 winners.

Week 17 will be an interesting one, if not predictable. Chicago (vs. Minnesota) and Dallas (vs. N.Y. Giants) appear to be in rest mode, as their playoff positions can not be changed. Normally the Cowboys, even at MetLife Stadium, would be favored. But they are 7-point underdogs.

Amazingly, 13 of the 16 games will have points spreads of seven points or more, with six games at nine points or higher.

Good luck in picking an upset ... or two.

Week 16 winners

Colleen Ricker of Peabody

Steve Carroll of Topsfield

Jack Maxner of Beverly

Lenny Small of Beverly

Roger A. Powers of Danvers

David Frederick of Danvers

Howard Farber of Peabody

David Reynolds of Middleton

Eugene Barratt of Gloucester

Cassie Dorman of Lynnfield

Jeff Willis of Lynn






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