Betting on everything involving the Super Bowl is part of the big game tradition

I have never been big on gambling on sports, which is to say that I’ve never been very good at it. This past weekend once again delivered one of the world’s largest annual sporting exhibitions, the Super Bowl. It also enabled a global viewing audience to tap into their inner degenerate. Whether it’s Joe in the nearby cubicle putting $20 on one of those scoring boxes in an office pool or Schlomo from the corner deli betting a salami’s share of money on the New York Giants with the points, many people had a stake in the Big Game, whether they were gambling or simply masquerading as Prince Amukamara’s relative in some ill-conceived e-mail scam.

Let this treatise be the intervention for a nation of sports bettors. Hi, my name is Danny and I have one too many problems to enumerate here, but if you have a couple of hours I’d be glad to give you the not-so-grand tour. Certainly, there are a variety of people who put money on events to drum up interest: those people who wouldn’t otherwise care about Tom Brady’s locks or the not-so-big Chadron State-Wayne State college basketball bonanza. Then, there are sectors of folks who put their hard-earned greenbacks on everything from cricket to a contentious game of hearts involving a few retirees packing visors. These are their stories.

[Read more...]

Super Bowl Facts You Won’t Believe

As a dedicated football fan, I figured I already knew everything there was to know about the Super Bowl. The Patriots have gone 15-3 this season (including the postseason), and the Giants have gone 12-7. New York has won two of its three playoff games on the road. The Giants also beat the Pats 24-20 during their Week 9 meeting in Foxboro. Rob Gronkowski’s ankle is a serious concern for the Pats, who are hoping to even their score with the Giants after losing the Super Bowl four years ago. What more is there to know?

But this infographic provided by Cheap Sally tells us some crazy things such as the total amount of gallons of beer guzzled and pounds of avocado used because of the Super Bowl. Let’s take a look:

[Read more...]

Rodney Harrison: Family and Friends are Biggest Super Bowl Distraction

Rodney Harrison played in three Super Bowls with the Patriots and won two of them. He’s been through the drill a few times and is familiar with all the hype and distractions that come with the big game. Prior to the Pro Bowl Sunday, he explained on NBC what the biggest distraction of the Super Bowl is.

“The biggest distraction for me, and I hate to admit to it, are family and friends,” he said, “Because they’re pulling you, they’re grabbing you in all types of different directions. They’re asking you ‘Hey, can you come to lunch with us?’ They even want to take you to the mall.

“But for me, Thursday was the deadline. I’m cutting everyone off on Thursday. I had a cell phone and I cut everyone off. I bought a cell phone, cut my other cell phone off, and said ‘Only my wife will call me on this one.'”

We’ve heard this before, and it’s worth mentioning again. Some teams arrive and want to be a part of the parties. Other teams come prepared for a business trip, and they’re content saving their partying until after the game is over. How both teams conduct themselves this week, and their ability to avoid all the distractions, will have a major impact on how focused they are for Sunday.

Patriots Still Best Team in NFL

They certainly weren’t the best team on Sunday. The Giants won the game fair and square. Not handily, but they certainly did enough to make me (and any sane person for that matter) say that the Giants earned the Super Bowl. They won it proper, no question about it. While the Patriots no longer belong in the “best team of all-time” conversation because they didn’t win it, I still believe they are the best NFL team I’ve ever seen. Simple as that. I’ve never seen another team go 18-1, nor have I seen another team dominate professional opponents as much as they did earlier in the year. Everybody said that they would be a failure if they didn’t win the Super Bowl after going 16-0 in the regular season. Most people have classified them as a failure for losing the biggest game of the year. I refuse to do so, as I said earlier in the year.

The Patriots still went 16-0. They did something nobody said could be done. Do you know how hard it is to win every single game in front of you? Everyone has No. 1 draft picks on their team. Everyone has top notch coaches working 18 hour days. Everyone studies tape and has multi-million dollar stars. And everyone was trying to beat the Patriots, yet nobody could do it. They impressed me and they were the best team I’ve ever seen. Sunday was one of the few close calls they had during the year that could have swung the other way. They had to sweat against the Colts, the Giants the first time, and they nearly lost to the Ravens. But they didn’t. They took everyone’s best shot and won. Most of the time, they won thoroughly and decidedly. That part of their season will never change. They set records and put out the best offense I’ve ever seen in the NFL. No, they didn’t complete the mission, but yes, they’re still the best team in the NFL, the best team I’ve ever seen, and I’m still wholeheartedly impressed by the fact that they went 16-0.

Tom Coughlin’s Vindication, Michael Strahan’s Cementation

Much like everyone who’s ever coached or played for a New York team, Tom Coughlin sure has taken his beating from the media. One popular criticism was that the coach should have been blown out after last season’s horrible collapse that resulted in an 8-8 season. To refresh your memory, the team had been 6-2 and looked like the class of the NFC at the midway point. In 2005, the 11-5 Giants were blanked by the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs. In 2004, the Giants started out 5-2 and wound up 6-11, another terrible collapse. The proliferating thought was that Coughlin worked his team too hard early in the year and that’s why they finished seasons poorly. I have another thought. Maybe Coughlin works his teams just fine. Maybe the Giants didn’t do too well last year because their best player got hurt, not because Coughlin can’t coach.

When Michael Strahan played last year, the team started the season 6-2. As soon as he got hurt, the team spiraled and lost six of seven. For a five week stretch, Osi Umenyiora was also injured. The Giants lost all three games neither man played, but won the two Strahan played that Osi didn’t. The ultimate point is what I touched on earlier in the Eli Manning post: the Giants defensive line is the MVP of the Super Bowl. That is the heart and soul of the team. That’s where the Super Bowl was won. That’s what makes the Giants effective. That’s what makes the Giants such a good team. Take Strahan (the all-time sack leader for an effing reason) away and they’re not that good. Take both Osi and Strahan away, and they’re a loser. Put those guys together and healthy, and they can disrupt the best offense in the history of football.

So this tells you coaches really are only as good as their players, and what I’ve felt all along, that Michael Strahan really is the MVP of the team. He draws the tough matchups, Osi gets double-teamed, and then Justin Tuck gets one-on-one matchups and makes plays. Simple as that. Strahan is the key to that team — don’t get it twisted. And the Giants won because the defensive lined pressured the crap out of Brady, beat him up, sacked his ass, and only allowed 14 points.

Audiences Lose Power During Super Bowl, Some Missed Ending

The thought didn’t really occur to me since I was in a studio and couldn’t sneeze without catching the game on one of like fifty TV sets. But at one point during the first half, a Patriots fan called into the radio to tell us that the power was out in her area of Massachusetts and that she was relying on us for updates. It was at that point that I realized my place in this world. Just kidding (sorta). So when I got home from work I decided to see if I could find this story on the net somewhere. I couldn’t. Instead, I found out about like five other different outages during the Super Bowl. Sucks to have been these audiences:

    + Thousands in Brentwood NorCal lost power and missed the ending!
    + 17,000 people in Bloomington lost power
    + 1,045 people in Oahu lost power during the second half

You were probably one of the 80 million or so who got to watch the game uninhibited (save the jerkoff fan who kept yelling by your ear). But just remember how lucky you were not to have problems with your power. Missing the ending? Now that would have sucked.

The Media Can Be Evil

Yes, I’m talking specifically about the story the Boston Herald released on Saturday, the day before the Patriots attempted to win their fourth Super Bowl in seven years, and complete the perfect 19-0 season. The Herald cites a source saying a member of the Pats’ video department filmed the St. Louis Rams walkthrough the day before the Pats won the 2002 Super Bowl. Literally, they’re accusing the Pats of spying on their opponents, which would be pretty jacked up. My problem here isn’t the story — it’s perfectly fine if they really have a source — it’s just the timing.

In week two when all the initial Patriots spygate bullcrap was going on, it provided just about as bad of a distraction as you could get. There was plenty of attention drawn to the issue. Matter of fact, it was the talk of the NFL for the next few weeks. Patriots’ spygate dominated headlines.

And that brings me to the current issue at hand. How plausible is it that the Herald just received the Rams story and scrambled to pump it out as soon as possible? Not too likely if you ask me. I’m 99% convinced they were hanging onto this story to release it at the optimal time to sabotage the Patriots — the day before the Super Bowl. What more did they stand to gain by releasing it now as opposed to earlier in the year when they most likely had it? Nothing in my opinion except for a futile attempt to distract New England. Kinda like when the New York Daily News released the story about Rick Ankiel’s HGH use the day after he hit two home runs and had 7 RBI. Jerkoff timing.

I’m quite disturbed about the conscious choice I believe the Herald made to intentionally distract the Pats with the timing of the release of their story. And in case you’re asking, I don’t think it will effect the Pats, and I’ll say New England wins 41-24 or so. Remember, back in April, I said you might as well cancel the NFL season because the Patriots were going to dominate it thoroughly. So far I’ve been correct, and there’s no reason to shy away from that now.