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Vegas, gambling, drinking, Super Bowl. Has America reached its summit?

John Romano | Once, the NFL was dead set against sports betting. Now, it’s embracing it for the biggest game of the year.
 
A person is silhouetted against a Super Bowl 58 graphic playing on the Sphere Thursday in Las Vegas. The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
A person is silhouetted against a Super Bowl 58 graphic playing on the Sphere Thursday in Las Vegas. The Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Allegiant Stadium. [ CHARLIE RIEDEL | AP ]
Published Feb. 11

TAMPA — Buckle up America, we have officially entered the era of sin.

The Super Bowl’s evolution from flattops and soda pop to betting slips and Appletinis is finally complete. The NFL has turned over its biggest game of the season to Las Vegas, and the U.S. Supreme Court has paved the way for everyone in Florida to peruse a casino app whilst multitasking in the bathroom.

It’s a collision of indulgences that used to be unthinkable. Commissioner Roger Goodell suggested in 2009 that gambling expansion was a “threat to the integrity” of the NFL and, as recently as 2017 declared “we still don’t think it is a positive thing” to be in bed with gambling interests.

Seven years later, sportsbooks are the NFL’s new version of foreplay.

Wanna bet how many tackles Dre Greenlaw gets on Sunday? You can do that on the Seminole Hard Rock app. How about whether the Chiefs score an even or odd number of points? Or whether Deebo Sanuel and Brandon Aiyuk each catch at least four passes? Or which of the four quarters will be the highest scoring?

Not satisfied with the odds the Hard Rock is offering? If you’re the lawbreaking type, you could find offshore betting sites that are offering wagers on what song Usher will play to begin his halftime show and whether the coin flip will be heads or tails.

Commercials for betting sites and Uber Eats have replaced crypto currency and erectile dysfunction which, if you ponder it long enough, seems kinda interchangeable.

And, before going any further, I want to point out that I’m not passing judgment. The numbers say Americans love to gamble and so the NFL is simply giving them what they want. In fact, if someone gave me odds on how soon before we have a point-shaving scandal, I’d be all over that bet.

So in the spirit of the moment, here are made-up odds on bogus bets ahead of Super Bowl 58.

The Shula question

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is only 64 wins behind all-time leader Don Shula.
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is only 64 wins behind all-time leader Don Shula. [ MATT SLOCUM | AP ]

Not long ago, the world was debating how long it would take Bill Belichick to pass Don Shula on the NFL’s all-time wins list. Now, Belichick is out of work and still 14 victories (counting the postseason) away from Shula. What are the odds that Belichick, who will soon be 72, never gets a crack at Shula? Better yet, what are the odds that Chiefs coach Andy Reid passes them both? Reid is six years younger than Belichick and only 50 wins behind him. His quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, is in his prime and is 14-3 in the postseason. Odds on Reid finishing as the all-time winningest coach: 3 to 1.

The Mahomes debate

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a chance to win a third Super Bowl by age 28.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a chance to win a third Super Bowl by age 28. [ MATT SLOCUM | AP ]
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While we’re at it, Mahomes has a chance to win a third Super Bowl by age 28. Tom Brady won three Super Bowls by 27 but then went another decade before winning his fourth. Is it possible that Mahomes passes Brady’s record of seven Super Bowl wins? Hard to imagine anyone matching Brady’s four wins from ages 37 to 43, but if Mahomes is more efficient in his 30s, the question is not off the table. Odds of Mahomes catching Brady: 8 to 1.

The national anthem pace

Reba McEntire will sing the national anthem before Super Bowl 58 Sunday in Las Vegas.
Reba McEntire will sing the national anthem before Super Bowl 58 Sunday in Las Vegas. [ JOHN LOCHER | AP ]

I said these were bogus bets. And since this one is not offered on the Hard Rock app, it’s technically illegal in Florida and, thus, unavailable. However, there are sites out there offering wagers on how long it will take Reba McEntire to sing the national anthem. Thelines.com reviewed various apps and said the consensus for an over/under is 90.5 seconds. Since I’m an insomniac with a laptop, I found videos of McEntire singing the anthem in 1974 (72 seconds), 1984 (77 seconds), 1999 (90 seconds) and 2017 (79 seconds). In other words, bet the under. Odds of McEntire singing the National Anthem in less than 90.5 seconds: 1 to 2.

The Bucs connection

San Francisco 49ers general manager and former Bucs safety John Lynch has the opportunity join John Elway and Ozzie Newsome as the only people ever to win a Super Bowl as both a player and a GM.
San Francisco 49ers general manager and former Bucs safety John Lynch has the opportunity join John Elway and Ozzie Newsome as the only people ever to win a Super Bowl as both a player and a GM. [ DAVID J. PHILLIP | AP ]

Still bummed out about the lost opportunity in Detroit in the division round of the playoffs? Fear not Bucs fans, we have a reason for you to cheer today. San Francisco general manager John Lynch was not just a Hall of Famer and Ring of Honor recipient in Tampa Bay, he was an icon in the community. And now Lynch has the opportunity to do something that only fellow Hall of Famers John Elway and Ozzie Newsome have been able to pull off — win a Super Bowl as a player and a GM. Odds of Lynch getting another Super Bowl ring: Even.

The most iconic voice

This year’s Super Bowl is Jim Nantz's seventh appearance as a play-by-play announcer. He had two more as pregame host.
This year’s Super Bowl is Jim Nantz's seventh appearance as a play-by-play announcer. He had two more as pregame host. [ ELLEN SCHMIDT | Las Vegas Review-Journal ]

What voice do you hear when you think about a Super Bowl broadcast? The answer likely depends on your age. Pat Summerall was the play-by-play announcer for 11 Super Bowls and the color commentator for four more. But Summerall’s final appearance was more than 20 years ago. Curt Gowdy did play-by-play for seven of the first 13 Super Bowls, Dick Enberg did eight, and Al Michaels did 11. But, for millennials, Jim Nantz probably takes the prize. This year’s Super Bowl is his seventh appearance as a play-by-play announcer, and he had two more as pregame host. Odds of Nantz catching up to Summerall: 10 to 1.

The best commercial

Imagine the brainstorming session in Budweiser offices. “Let’s pull out the Clydesdales.” Tell me more. “And let’s add a dog.” Now you’re talking. “We’ll have a dramatic storyline with mountains and snow.” Oh baby. “And we’ll close by playing ‘The Weight’ by The Band.” Yes, film that sucker! Odds that Budweiser’s commercial gets the highest approval rating: 4 to 1.

The jailbird dilemma

Patrick Mahomes Sr. was arrested in Texas last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Patrick Mahomes Sr. was arrested in Texas last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. [ COLIN E. BRALEY | AP ]

Patrick Mahomes Sr. was arrested in Texas last week on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Mahomes was also charged with DUI in 2018 and 2019 and spent 40 days in jail after the second arrest. Because of the previous arrests, this latest charge is a third-degree felony, which can carry a punishment of between two to 10 years. Odds that Mahomes Sr. will be in jail for the next Super Bowl: 5 to 1.

John Romano can be reached at jromano@tampabay.com. Follow @romano_tbtimes.

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