The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Don’t Bet on the Super Bowl

Posted on | February 11, 2023 | 1 Comment

Gambling is a bad habit, and I hate to see TV advertisements for gambling apps like Draft Kings, which portray this habit as harmless. And frankly, I’ve started to suspect that pro football is as rigged as pro wrestling. If you don’t believe me, ask any fan of the Cincinnati Bengals about the AFC championship game. The Kansas City Chiefs “won” that game about as convincingly as Joe Biden “won” the 2020 election, and Bengals fans are convinced the refs were in the tank for the Chiefs.

On paper, the Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles are almost exactly even. Both of them finished the regular season 14-3, both were No. 1 seeds in the playoffs, and their team statistics on offense and defense are so close to being identical that it’s difficult to say that either team has an advantage. Probably the only reason the Eagles are 1.5-point favorites is because Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is still recovering from an ankle injury, and may be less mobile than usual.

My brother Kirby thinks the Chiefs are going to win the Super Bowl, probably because Kirby is a big Joe Burrow fan, and figures that if Mahomes and the Chiefs could beat Burrow and the Bengals, then they’re good enough to beat anybody. And you’ve got to admit, Mahomes is a wizard. There is no such thing as a “broken play” so broken that Mahomes can’t find a way to rescue it with a mad scramble and an off-balance sidearm pass with two tacklers hanging off him. Also, the Chiefs have a fearsome defense that sacked Burrow five times.

However, Philadelphia is not a bad team, and if Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts doesn’t perform the kind of wizardry that has made Mahomes famous, he’s still pretty doggone spectacular. Hurts completed nearly 67% of his passes for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, and added 760 yards rushing on 165 carries with 13 TDs. If there’s any knock on Hurts, it’s that perhaps he’s a bit of a ball-hog, so that on run-pass option (RPO) plays, he runs the ball himself too often. But this is nitpicking, really — how can you criticize the way he plays, when the results are so successful? And the Eagles also have a very tough defense that shut down the New York Giants in the divisional playoffs, then in the NFC championship knocked both San Francisco QBs out of the game.

All things considered, Super Bowl LVII should be a close game, and relatively high-scoring. The over/under is 50 and, if there were such a thing as a safe bet, I’d put my money on over, because I could see this game turning into a back-and-forth shootout, with a final score somewhere around 31-28 — a real down-to-the-wire thriller, decided by a last-minute field goal. But let me quote Sky Masterson:

“One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to show you a brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken. Then this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the jack of spades jump out of this brand-new deck of cards and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not accept this bet, because as sure as you stand there, you’re going to wind up with an ear full of cider.”

Indeed, and as sure as you bet the “over” in the Super Bowl, I guarantee you it will be a defensive struggle, with both teams fumbling away scoring chances and getting flagged for false-start penalties. There is no such thing as a safe bet, and if you bet on the Super Bowl, chances are you’ll regret your wager. I’ve just got a hunch about this game.




One Response to “Don’t Bet on the Super Bowl”

  1. FMJRA 2.0: Home At Last : The Other McCain
    February 20th, 2023 @ 9:39 pm

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