Where innuendo is always welcome
When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the NFL in a way that would be deemed unhealthy in anyone who wasn’t still in grade school. Back then, I watched NFL Films VHS tapes like I was on a mission from God. I made sure that the obscenely extensive football card collection I had was organized both alphabetically and by team. Hell, when I was in the 2nd grade, I even read Emmitt Smith’s ghost-written autobiography, The Emmitt Zone. It takes a borderline pathological love to get an 8-year old to read swill like that. However, what I took the greatest pride in was the fact that I could name—on command—the winner, loser, final score and MVP of every Super Bowl played. I cannot tell you 95% of the information I learned during my time in undergrad, but thanks to the unique abilities of my then developing childhood brain, I can still tell you that the Oakland Raiders beat the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in Super Bowl XV and that LB Rod Martin was the MVP thanks to his Super Bowl record 3 interceptions. I have no idea why it is that my brain insists on retaining things like the touchdown play the Kansas City Chiefs ran to put Super Bowl IV away (65 Toss-Power-Trap) or the name of the Dallas Cowboys tight end who dropped the potentially game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XIII (Jackie Smith1).
All that being said, I do realize that there are many among you that a) had a life as a child that extended beyond sports nerd-dom or b) simply don’t care for football. Don’t worry, I’m not going to try to convert you or recite any more asinine trivia factoids. What I do intend to do is provide you with ways to enjoy what has easily become our nation’s 14th biggest holiday2. This Super Bowl Sunday is going to be about a lot more for you than just watching Matthew Broderick cash in on on some sweet nostalgia-tainted cash thanks to, my 1st Annual-ish Super Bowl Guide for People Who Don’t Really Want to Watch it, But, Due to Circumstances Outside of Their Control, Might Have To.
The simple philosophy underlying all of my Super Bowl advice is that betting makes uninteresting activities suddenly interesting. I’m not suggesting that anyone attempt to contact any off-shore sportsbooks. All I’m saying is that if you are watching the game with friends, then betting on the game (or game-related activities) will make you give a shit, at least momentarily. Now, for the gambling neophyte, I’m just going to briefly go over the way American style odds works. Growing up, the only real contact I had with sports gambling was watching the Triple Crown Races every year, which uses the Fractional or British Style Odds system. For example, if you were to pick a long shot to win the Kentucky Derby, say a 25/1 underdog, and pick correctly, you would make a 25-fold profit on your initial bet (wager $100, win $2500). With the American system, bookkeepers use are moneyline odds, which essentially tell the better how much they would stand to win on a $100 bet. Say the team you’re betting on is an underdog at +400. All that means is that, if you were to bet $100 and if that team were to win, you would win $400. Confused? Of course you are. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start losing money.
Starting Bet: O Say Can You Sing.
This year, oddsmakers have estimated that it will take 1 minute and 34 seconds for Kelly Clarkson to sing The National Anthem. Clearly, Vegas doesn’t put too much faith behind Ms. Clarkson’s pipes as the average time for The National Anthem is 1:423. At last year’s Super Bowl, Christina Aguilera pumped out a 1:54 Anthem, although she did make a mess of the words in doing so. As her hyper-produced singles have shown, Kelly doesn’t have the best range and you’ve got to wonder if those new Kia commercials she did with James Lipton haven’t rattled her confidence. However, it’s hard to see her keeping this bad boy under 1:34. Personally, I’d go with the over on this one at -1204.
Sadistic Bet: The Baltimore-San Francisco Special:
The premise behind this is that you have to pick which team will be the first to have a player injured during the course of play. The starting odds are even at +100 for both teams, but after that is when things get interesting. You can also bet on which specific player will be injured on both teams. However, since it would be madness to try and get 106 different lines for each player on both teams, the categories will be divided as follows: Special Teams Player (not including kickers/punters) (+200), Secondary and Linebackers (+250), O-line and D-line (+300), Skill Position Players–WR/RB/TE (+350), Manning or Brady (+750), Kickers/Punters (+1000).
Halftime Bet: What Song Will Madonna End Her Set With?
It’s so hard to tell with musicians when they enter the Red Dwarf stage of their career before becoming a cultural black hole. When The Who played halftime two years ago, they ended with “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” one of their most popular tracks from their most popular record. Likewise, Bruce Springsteen cleaned up with the apropos halftime track, “Glory Days” a year earlier5. That would seem to suggest that Madonna would go back to her glory days in the mid-late 80s/early 90s to finish off her set. But something in me is saying not to go with prohibitive favorites like Vogue (+200), Like A Prayer (even money), and Justify My Love (+250). I think Madonna isn’t willing to give up the ghost yet and become another inductee into the pantheon of aged pop stars rehashing their twenties. I’d lay my money on “Ray of Light” (+400) or a real long shot in “4 Minutes” (+900), which would have the added bonus of seeing Justin Timberlake return to the Super Bowl Halftime stage since the Janet Jackson NipplePot Dome Scandal.
The It’s Got What Plants Crave Bet: Gatorade Shower
If you’re betting on this, you probably head straight for the roulette table or the slots upon entering a casino. The rules are simple and totally arbitrary. Honestly, I have no idea how the offshore oddsmakers at Bovada came up with these, but here they are. You could bet for clear/water (3/2), orange or yellow (5/2), red (13/2), green (15/2) or blue (10/1).
1Ok, so I may have a better reason for remembering this trivia tidbit as it may have produced the single greatest announcing line in the history of the NFL from a young Verne Lundquist. Bless his heart… http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-videos/09000d5d823b0423/Pick-six-Jackie-Smith-drop
2Don’t believe me? Here are the only holidays ahead of Super Bowl Sunday: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, Halloween, The 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve, Hanukah, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. What else would you put ahead of Super Bowl Sunday? President’s Day? Columbus Day? April Fools Day? Come on.
3The greatest National Anthem of all-time has got to be Marvin Gaye’s rendition at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game. Try not to get goosebumps while tapping your toes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRvVzaQ6i8A