Today, the focus will be on observations from a total sports weekend in Las Vegas. As I mentioned last week, the venue for our annual trip is the sportsbook at The Mirage; I spent approximately 23 hours there over the weekend. Once when I returned from a trip, the woman who occupied the office next to mine asked me how the weather was in Las Vegas. I told her that the best I could tell was that it was 70 degrees with about a 1 mile per hour breeze generated by the air-handlers with just a hint of cigarette smoke in the air. After all, I could not see or sense the actual weather from where I was.
I suspect that I have been “identified” on camera in the sportsbook there. Let me explain. One of the group traditions is that we all throw ten bucks into a pool and one of the pilgrims bets a three-team hockey parlay on NHL games. He has gotten some strange looks from the folks at the windows placing wagers like that for $70 or 80 dollars; they do not get a lot of action like that. Well, this same gentleman is also a big fan of English Premier League soccer and this year The Mirage offered wagering on those games. So we all decided to throw and added $10 bucks into a pot and make a three-team parlay wager on those games.
However, the soccer guru had to leave The Mirage for a period of time for another engagement and so it fell to me to place the actual bet. I walked up to the betting counter and met a young man there ready to take my action:
Me: I want a three-team parlay on English Premier League soccer games for $60.
Me: I want a three-team parlay on English Premier League soccer games for $60. I have the betting numbers right here.
Him: (turning to supervisor behind him) Can he parlay soccer bets?
Supervisor: (to me) Do you have the betting numbers?
Supervisor: (to young man) Sure.
Me: I want [I gave him the three numbers] for $60.
Him: For how much?
You just know that entire exchange was captured on the security cameras and has been archived. They surely do not get a lot of that kind of wagering action and I know that in the future I will be the one to go to place soccer parlay bets just so I can continue to be “the guy who parlays English soccer action” to the folks who monitor the cameras.
For the record, we got two games right and one wrong so the parlay was a loser. C’est la guerre…
Tim Tebow proved his critics to be right and proved his supporters to be right in the same game. For the first 55 minutes of the game, Tebow did not play like a guy who had a future as an NFL QB. His throws were inaccurate; his timing stunk; he was sacked more than a couple of times because he held the ball too long and he had a fumble. Then in the final five minutes, he directed two TD drives and ran in a two point conversion to forge a tie in the game that led to an overtime win for the Broncos.
Tim Tebow found a way to win – - albeit with a truly ugly performance. Somewhere in the cosmos, Al Davis is smiling and saying, “Just win, baby!”
In last week’s Mythical Picks, I said that the Redskins’ QB controversy (Rex Grossman/John Beck) was like Thing1 and Thing2 in The Cat In The Hat. There was little to distinguish one from the other. Beck played this weekend and made some nice throws and some less-than-nice throws. He also lost a fumble and in the late stages of the game when the Skins needed a drive for a score to give themselves a prayer of winning, John Beck threw an interception. If that does not sound like a Rex Grossman performance, I do not know what does.
I feel inadequate trying to explain just how bad the Browns/Seahawks game was. The Browns won 6-3; obviously, the game was in doubt for the full 60 minutes. Had either team scored a single TD, it would have won the game. Nevertheless, consider that:
The Browns had the ball for 42 minutes and 56 seconds; that is about 72% of the game. They only committed one turnover. They scored a total of 6 points on 2 field goals from more than 50 yards away.
The Seahawks managed a grand total of 137 yards of offense for the day on 47 offensive snaps. I will save you the trouble of getting your calculator; that is less than 3 yards per play.
To give you a full appreciation for the level of ineptitude on display in that game, I would need to spend an hour in Roget’s Thesaurus seeking synonyms for ineptitude/incompetence and another hour in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations seeking pithy remarks related to foul odors. That game was not worth that level of investment in time and energy…
Carson Palmer was clearly not ready to play QB for the Raiders on Sunday after signing his contract on Tuesday and having all of 3 days of practice/workouts. The problem was that neither was Kyle Boller ready to play QB for the Raiders on Sunday. The Raiders now have a bye week to do two important things:
Get Palmer ready to play QB in two weeks.
Find an available back-up to Palmer in case Palmer gets hurt who might actually play a full game without soiling himself.
Christian Ponder played adequately given that was his first NFL start and it came against the current Super Bowl champs. Yes, he was intercepted twice and yes, the Vikings ran the ball 31 times on Sunday. Nonetheless, he was more accurate in his throws than other “newbie” QBs on Sunday such as Tebow, Beck, Feeley and Whitehurst.
Finally, here is an observation from Andy Rooney, the retiring curmudgeon-in-residence on 60 Minutes:
“Anyone who watches golf on television would enjoy watching the grass grow on the greens.”
[There was one TV in The Mirage sportsbook out of about 40 that had golf on the screen this weekend… There was also one TV with NASCAR.]
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………