In The Wake Of The Super Bowl

I believe it was Ring Lardner who originated the column In The Wake Of The News a long time ago. Well, in that spirit, let me ramble on today about events “In The Wake Of The Super Bowl” – - and I do not mean the lawsuit against anyone and everyone filed by the class of fans who found out they did not have a seat at the game last Sunday. Let me just say that neither side would want me to be the judge in that matter…

The Las Vegas handle for the Super Bowl was up $5.5M compared to last year. However, the figures announced by the Nevada Gaming Control Board for statewide sportsbooks showed only a profit of $724K. Moreover, it seems that the small casinos had the winnings because a couple of the larger casinos took a bath.

According to reports in the LA Times and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, both the sportsbooks operated by MGM Resorts and the Las Vegas Hilton showed losses on the game – - and the loses were non-trivial. Recall, there was a rumor going round last week that MGM Resorts had booked a $1M wager on the Packers giving 2.5 points. That rumor was not confirmed but it was attributed to sources with direct knowledge of the event. If that wager was actually on the MGM books, they could not have been happy when the Steelers turned the ball over on downs in the final minute of the game. The director of the LV Hilton sportsbook, Jay Kornegay, told the LA Times that what hurt that book was that people who bet heavily on the Packers also tended to bet on the game going Over plus betting a parlay of those two wagers.

In addition, reports say that the public overwhelmingly bet the game to go Over 44.5 – - which it did with about 12 minutes to go in the game. Proposition bets kept the casinos from taking a huge bath. Prop bets are fun but the odds given for most of them are not “generous” by any means. Bettors made that worse by playing parlay cards of prop bets where the odds tilt even more towards the house.

Two days after the Super Bowl, Sally Jenkins’ column in the Washington Post had this headline:

    “Time to rein in super-sized spectacle”

This column deserves to be read in its entirety and here are two short excerpts to give you a flavor of her remarks:

“Is this what the NFL really wants to become? A divorced-from-reality debauch?”

“Buried somewhere in all of the superbull, the booze, bad concerts and relentless commercial squeeze, there was a good football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Lest anyone think that Sally Jenkins is one of those “East Coast effete snobs” who looks down her nose at most things west of the Appalachians and everything west of the Mississippi, Sally Jenkins is the daughter of Dan Jenkins who was born, raised and still lives in Fort Worth, Texas. Recall, that I quoted extensively from Dan Jenkins’ novel, Semi-Tough a couple years ago when Dan Jenkins’s hyperbolic satire of Super Bowl pageantry written in 1972 fell far short of what that pageantry has become. If you would like to recall Dan Jenkins’ attempt to exaggerate what Super Bowl pageantry would become today, here is where you can do that.

In the run-up to the Super Bowl, there were all kinds of happy moments regarding the potential for a new football stadium in downtown LA and how that might lure a team back to that market and Super Bowls back to that part of SoCal. T.J. Simers’ column in the LA Times took a contrarian view of a new stadium. His position is that putting a stadium in downtown LA would not be a wonderful thing for the people of LA and particularly not for football fans in LA. Simers’ column, Page 2, often takes contrarian stands with regard to issues and teams in LA, but his opposition here was unusual even by that standard. This is another column that deserves to be read in its entirety.

Yesterday, the NFL won – on appeal – the right to suspend Pat and Kevin Williams of the Minnesota Vikings for testing positive for banned substances a year ago. Previously, a lower court had ruled that the NFL policy on banned substances violated a state law in Minnesota; now an appeals court says the policy is OK. Pat Williams has said that he has spent almost $1M in legal fees so far in this case and now he just wants it to be over so he can play again – - presumably to replenish his stock portfolio.

The ruling here [assuming it stands should it be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court] means that “The Williams Wall” can be suspended for 4 games at the start of the 2011 season – - assuming that there is a 2011 season.

Finally, this item from Dwight Perry in the Seattle Times seems to be the perfect way to close out a compilation of items “In The Wake Of The Super Bowl”:

“NFL owners are threatening a player lockout on March 4 if there isn’t a labor agreement by then.

“In other words, it’s less than a month until pitchers and pass-catchers can’t report.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Patrick Mottonen  On March 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    I grew up in Michigan and my dad took me to Tiger games at Briggs Stadium. He worked at the Buick and I don’t know how a working man could afford to take his kid to a game today. I think Al Kaline, Charley Maxwell, and Harvey Kuenn played for the love of the sport like we did on the playground.

    Now it’s all business. That’s why I live in South America.

  • The Sports Curmudgeon  On March 25, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Patrick Mottonen:


    Sports today is dominated by “the business aspects”; there is no way to deny that.

    The oldtime players earned a bit more money playing sports than they might have made in “mainstream jobs” but not 500 – 1000 times more than they might have made. That is the case today.

    Many sporting events today are economically outside the purview of the “working man” as a family event. I still think the single best sporting bargain out there is minor league baseball.

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