By Mark Knudson @MarkKnudson41 Special to WoodyPaige.com
We’ve all purchased our new favorite song in some form (that could even be on vinyl for some of us!) and rushed off to play it. Over and over…maybe 10 times in a row. Same song. We have those lyrics memorized in 30 minutes or less. At that moment, it’s the greatest song ever recorded.
Then it isn’t. After a while, we’re actually kinda sorta sick of it.
Not that it’s not still a great song. It might even become a classic. But when you’ve heard it enough, you’ve heard it enough. Time to buy a new record…or at least a different version.
That’s where a lot of us are with the New England Patriots. Sure, they’re still great. All-time, historically great. But we’ve just had enough. We’re all Tom Brady’d-out. Renowned Sports writer Rick Reilly tweeted after the AFC title game, “Oh joy. Another Patriots Super Bowl. Arsenic for everybody.”
That about sums it up. This Super Bore has already lost its appeal. The shine is gone. It’s already a dud and it’s still a week away. A lot of us will be finding better things to do on Super Sunday.
Then again, if you’re compelled to watch – maybe your garage doesn’t need cleaning – then maybe there’s a better way to engage in Super Bore LII without hearing (wanna have that mute button handy) the endless prattling that will be going on about how great Brady and Bill Belichick are.
You can join the legions of casual Super Bore watchers who will be more interested in the commercials than the game itself. They’re the people at the sports bar who keep getting up to order something while Brady and Co have the ball, and are elbowing people and pointing at the big screen TV’s when they see a bag of Doritos or Clydesdale horses appear.
Maybe you can engage in an office pool or something that’s stats and score driven. Those can be fun. Normally the person in your group that knows the least wins the most. Try not to be too bitter.
There’s also something Las Vegas does to help the casual fan get through an otherwise dreary event. They’re a series of available “Proposition Bets” that can be legally made at the window that involve the game and its surrounding events – but aren’t just about the outcome.
Jay Kornegay is the head man at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook. He says that “Prop Bets” make up more than half of the “action” that his establishment will take on a typical Super Sunday. These include the predictable, like who will score the first touchdown, kick the first field goal, catch the first pass or end up with the game’s first turnover. You can wager on the score at the end of the each quarter if you don’t want to wait for the final score.
“Props are a big part of Super Bowl weekend, especially here in Vegas,” Kornegay said. “The Super Bowl props account for about 60% of the total handle now, so we actually take more money on the props than we do on the game. The biggest bets are on the game itself, but we’ll write a lot more tickets on the props. The typical fan will come in and the biggest bet he will make will be on the game, but then he will make five or six proposition bets.”
There are some less predictable parts of the game that you can put you hard earned money on. Several “off shore” bookmakers will allow customers to wager on things like the length of the national anthem or how many times the TV cameras will show the quarterback’s wife. One of the most amazing bets available – up until it happened in last season’s game – was whether or not a kicked ball would hit a goal post. It hadn’t happened in the first 50 Super Bowls.
In Vegas, things have to be more concrete – black and white with no gray area – in order to be something that can be wagered on. It works because some people just like to flip a coin and take a shot.
“One guy came in here and he just bet $30,000 on the coin toss,” Kornegay recalled. “We were talking and he said, ‘I can’t figure out what I want to play…so I’m just gonna put it on the coin toss.”
“We tend to make sure that there’s an official result – something that is in the box score,” Kornegay noted. “But some of those off shore places can really do some crazy things. For instance, we can’t take action on whether or not a ball hit the crossbar, because there’s no actual proof of that. The broadcasters can say, ‘I think it just skimmed the goal post’ but there’s really no official result for it, so I don’t know how you would rule that. Sometimes it’s so close you can’t tell.”
Even some of the props that appear to be cut and dried aren’t always. For example, in Super Bowl 33, with the Denver Broncos safely ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, John Elway was lifted from the game in the final seconds so he could have a curtain call moment as he left the field by himself. Back up Bubby Brister came into the contest to do the kneel-down and run out the clock. The kneel down was considered by stats crew a “rushing attempt.”
“Would Bubby Brister have a rushing attempt” was a prop bet.
“The scenario played out exactly as we thought it would,” Kornegay recalled. Brister entered the game but the TV cameras stayed on Elway. “They never showed those kneel downs. But the box score registered the rushing attempt. That created some issues with people who said they never saw it and all that. But it was in the box score.”
Fortunately, this Super Sunday will allows for us to find something to enjoy and get involved in – even if the game is the same old song being played over and over again.