A man’s gotta make at least one bet a day else he could be walking around lucky and never know it. – James Jones

You could almost hear the collective sigh when the first play from scrimmage became a safety. It wasn’t a sigh of relief either because it came from all the Super Bowl pool players who had been fixated on the lucky numbers  0, 3, and 7 and now had to figure in a 2. It’s not Boolean algebra or anything, but depending on how many brewskis you knocked back before Renee Fleming hit that high C on the rocket’s red glare, it might be a little taxing. And annoying too if you were sitting on 3 and 0 for the first quarter. Suddenly, the guy with the 2 or the 5 is grinning and you’re wondering how to work it into your halftime numbers. “Let’s see, if Seattle gets another safety, and Denver scores but misses the extra point . . .” There was a character named “Mush” in the movie, “A Bronx Tale,” whose luck was supposedly so bad that when he went to the track the guy at the ticket window tore up his tickets before he gave them to him. That’s how the Idler feels when he sets about gambling.

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But it shouldn’t surprise us to learn that the NFL encourages Super Bowl pools. I mean, you take a stinker like SB XLVIII. How many televisions would have stayed tuned if their owners didn’t have a betting interest not in the outcome but in the scores? The Idler would have switched to “Ancient Aliens” as soon as he realized Bruno Sammartino wasn’t the halftime entertainment. (Our Bruno could have pinned that little drummer boy in, like, ten seconds). But no, we stayed with it at least through the end of the 3rd quarter just to check our numbers. The game got so boring, in fact, that I nodded off and had this really weird dream in which Bob Dylan tried to sell me a Chrysler. Seriously, guacamole dip does that to me every time.

It also shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the Idler has come up with a solution to the boring Super Bowl problem. You know how everybody criticizes the NCAA for having a million bowl games and no true playoff system? Actually, it’s brilliant. Look at it this way, everybody’s favorite college team gets to play over the holidays. So if your alma mater, Southwest Bumstead State, had a 6-5 year, you’ll still get to cheer them on in the Sealy Posturepedic Bowl. So what if the BCS finale is a rout? At least the Brunswick Bowling Bowl went into OT on a 99 yard punt return by Idaho AM&N. The plan would be for NFL teams to alternate home field and call their bowl game whatever they want. Fans could pick the matchups. So this year, it wouldn’t matter so much that the Super Bowl stunk on ice because the following night the Steelers would be hosting the Chargers in the Yinzer Bowl. And there could be a record set on Ryan Succop’s first field goal attempt. Eleven roughing the kicker penalties in one play. Pass the guacamole.

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