Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Regan: All bets are on for XLIII

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest sporting events in the calendar year. But how many people actually care about the outcome? Fans from the two cities? Yes. Girls who fawn over the star players? Yes. Springsteen fans this year? Prince fans last year? Naturally. But the reason is that we all have a gambling problem.

Not to say that is a bad thing.

Growing up in a gambling-averse household, I didn’t understand sports betting. The Steelers (-7) over Cardinals meant nothing to me. But Northwestern and online sports magazines/blogs have taught me this craft and why it means so much.

Just as fantasy sports give ordinary games meaning, so does sports betting. Plus, now that the bankers and finance dorks have ruined our economy and made the stock market unprofitable, gambling provides the risk/reward fix ordinary Americans crave.

But why bet on the spread when there are so many other aspects to make money on?

Of course Vegas loves the recent poker and table game crazes, but what is really getting out of hand are the crazy prop bets that started to take shape after high-profile gamblers (thank you, Travel Channel) gained notoriety for placing 10 grand on who loses more teeth in a hockey fight.

Already online bookies are taking dozens of different prop bets, from who scores the first touchdown to which Arizona Cardinals player has the first reception (Come on Ben Patrick, help me with those 3000-1 odds!).

But the best ones do not really have anything to do with the game or its outcome. How about the number of times John Madden references food? The current over-under is 1.5.

If this is the future of gambling, count me in. I’ll watch a football game to see what color Gatorade is dumped on the winning coach or who the Super Bowl MVP thanks first.

But does this ruin the game? Isn’t it about two great teams overcoming odds to create a dynasty or bring respectability to a franchise?

No.

This is America, and the only thing that matters is green and rectangular. People have long only watched the game for the commercials or the halftime entertainment or the chance to see an exposed breast (sorry, Janet). But now that we are in a recession and companies are cutting back on advertising, and MTV and its like are no longer producing the performances, what will stimulate us when the game turns into a blowout or defensive slugfest?

Naturally, betting on how many times Al Michaels and Madden refer to the dog Kurt Warner bought his children.

Brian Regan is a McCormick senior. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Regan: All bets are on for XLIII