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Sonny Sixkiller, Billy Mills and More Pick Winner for Super Bowl XLIX

The one thing football fans can count on in the midst of controversy, historical implications, or whatever else Super Bowl XLIX has to offer – there will be plenty of swag to go around when the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks settle things on the NFL’s greatest stage.

Super Bowl XLIX features New England and one of the most storied franchises in NFL history going against a Seattle team trying to join the repeat-champion fraternity. It’s future NFL Hall of Famer Tom Brady vs. the Legion of Boom. Even with the trash talk flying around on social media, all the attention around the country this week is focused on whether New England cheated by using under-inflated footballs in their 45-7 win over Indianapolis in the AFC Championship game. The new buzzword in the NFL is “Deflategate,” but it isn’t taking anything away from what should be a game for the ages.

Associated Press

Tom Brady and Russell Wilson faceoff in Super Bowl XLIX

The line opened with Seattle as the favorite, but Las Vegas oddsmakers have since called the game a pick ‘em. It seems Indian Country is split right down the middle as well. We asked 15 notable athletes -- including, Sonny Sixkiller, Jim Warne, Tyler Bray, and Miles Thompson -- in Indian Country which team they were picking and why?

* Member of the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame.

1.) * John Levi Jr. (whose father John Levi (Football/Baseball) was once called “The greatest athlete I’ve ever seen” by Jim Thorpe)

Tribe: Arapaho/Chippewa

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 28-14

Why?: “New England has the passing, but the Seahawk defense will eventually wear them down. I also like the way Seattle runs the football. Power running and defense is hard to beat.”

2.) * Sonny Sixkiller, University of Washington (Football)

Tribe: Cherokee

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 24-17

Why?: “Defense wins games, and the Seahawks have the NFL best defense, even with an under-inflated football.”

3.) * Jim E. Warne, Arizona State University (Football)

Tribe: Oglala Lakota

Winning Team: Seattle

Score: 28 - 24

Why?: “Defense wins championships. Ultimately, the team that hits harder, and controls the line of scrimmage wins 90 percent of the time. Why do the Patriots get caught so much with rule violations?”

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4.) Tyler Bray, Kansas City Chiefs (Football)

Tribe: Citizen Band Potawatomi

Winning team: New England

Score: 31-24

Why?: “The Patriots are playing really well at this time. They’ve been there before and the experience of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will come out in the end.”

5.) *Billy Mills, Olympic gold medalist

Tribe: Oglala Lakota

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 28-14

Why?: “I think the Seahawks are going to repeat as World Champions. Their players are fierce, and play with such passion. I don’t think the Patriots offensive line will be able to protect the quarterback and the pressure on Tom Brady will be too much.”

6.) Nathan Stanley, San Jose Sabercats (Arena Football League)

Tribe: Cherokee

Winning team: New England

Score: 28-17

Why?: “You can’t bet against Tom Brady. He’s just too good. He’s been there before and he knows how to handle the pressure. Bill Belichick is the same way. They have just too much experience in pressure situations.”

7.) * Brady Tanner, six-time world champion powerlifter (Special Olympics)

Tribe: Cherokee

Winning Team: New England

Score: 31-24

Why?: “I have many football jerseys, and the one I wear during each game is who I am rooting for. I have a New England jersey, but not a Seattle Seahawks jersey. So, I will wear my Patriots jersey and be for them. They will probably win with that reasoning.”

8.) John Learned, Kansas University (Football)

Tribe: Arapaho/Northern Cheyenne

Winning team: New England

Score: 35-21

Why?: “The Patriots won three Super Bowls in five years and they’re due. They are one of the most dominant franchises in NFL history. The experience of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be on display.”

9.) Shoni Schimmel

Tribe: Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 41-27

Why?: "I see West Coast domination. The Legion of Boom will control the game defensively. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks' offense will help Seattle repeat."

10.) *Dawn Kelly Allen, Tennis

Tribe: Cherokee/Quapaw/Euchee

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 42-38

Why?: “I think it will be a high scoring-game, and the one that has the ball last will win.”11.) * Yawna Allen, Tennis

Tribe: Cherokee/Quapaw/Euchee

Winning team: New England

Score: 31-24

Why?: “The Packers showed how to beat the Seahawks. Seattle is so aggressive, New England will have to impose its will on them early. The Patriots will be able to use the recent controversy (Deflate-Gate) as motivation to prove they are the outright best.”

12.) Notah Begay III, four-time winner on the PGA Tour/Golf Channel analyst

Tribe: Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 31-24

Why?: “I like Seattle because they overcame some challenges during the season and began playing their best football when it mattered most! The Playoffs!”

13.) Jeremy Thompson, Edmonton Rush/Iroquois Nationals (Lacrosse)

Tribe: Onondaga

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 28-21

Why?: “I like the Seahawks because they are the closest to my clan. They play and work together like family, and I think it will carry them to victory.”

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14.) Miles Thompson, Minnesota Swarm/Iroquois Nationals (Lacrosse)

Tribe: Onondaga

Winning team: Seattle

Score: 35-14

Why?: I don’t have a real answer why I think they’re going to win big. I just like them and I think they’re going to repeat as world champions.

15.) * John Tiger, Kansas University

Tribe: Seminole Tribe of Oklahoma

Winning team: New England

Score: 28-21

Why?: “I like New England because of their aggressive offense. But they also have one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the NFL in Bill Belichick. I was an offensive coordinator for a number of years, and I think Tom Brady can handle the defensive pressure of the Seahawks.”

16.) Kent Bradford, Oklahoma University (Football)

Tribe: Cherokee

Winning team: declined to choose

Score: declined to choose

Why? “They’re both great teams, and evenly matched. It could go either way, depending on who gets the breaks with turnovers. I don’t have an idea on who will win, but it should be a great game.”