The Eagles Win The Super Bowl

The Eagles won their first Super Bowl championship yesterday.  As is our custom, my long-suffering wife and I attended an annual Super Bowl party in Philadelphia hosted by the individual who is the Chief Logistics Officer for the annual Las Vegas pilgrimage.  Let me simply say that there was a lot of cheering and a lot of angst that flowed during the game; at the end, the mood was beyond jubilant.

Here are a few brief comments about the game itself:

  • Each offense committed one turnover and both turnovers were the result of excellent plays by the defense.  There were no giveaways in the game.
  • The Eagles’ 164 yards rushing in the game allowed the Eagles to dominate the time of possession by about 9 minutes and that was a major factor in the game.
  • That game should put to rest the silliness associated with the conspiracy theorists who assert that the officials always give the Pats the better end of the calls.  There were 2 Eagles’ TDs that were closely reviewed, and both stood; there was only one penalty called on the Eagles during the game that was a borderline call.  If there is some “grand conspiracy” out there, you would have to imagine that it would display itself in a tightly contested Super Bowl game – – and it did not.
  • Why did the Pats keep Malcom Butler in the bench?  Even if it were some sort of disciplinary move, you would think that at halftime when it was clear that the Eagles’ offense had come to play on Sunday that the coaches would have announced that the “punishment time-out” had been served and that Butler would be in the game in the second half.
  • “Bettor X” – as he came to be known – had between $4M and $5M on the Eagles on the Money Line at odds of between +160 and +170.  Conservatively, with a $4M wager at +165, he made a tidy profit of $6.6M.  He is probably as happy as any of the Eagles’ players are today.
  • If Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski had hooked up on that final Hail Mary pass, it would have meant more than just another Super Bowl win for the Pats.  As he wound up to make that throw, Brady had 505 yards passing.  That completion would have been for more than 50 yards meaning that Brady would have broken the all-time passing record for yards in a game.  I don’t mean in a Super Bowl game or a playoff game; I mean any game ever.  That record has stood since September of 1951 when Norm Van Brocklin (LA Rams) threw for 554 yards in a game against the now-defunct New York Yanks.  Van Brocklin was 27 for 41 in that game and threw 5 TDs.  Note that his average yards per completion was a mere 20.6 yards…
  • I do not want to throw shade on Sean McVay and the job he did as the coach of the LA Rams this year; he was the Coach of the Year and he deserved that accolade.  However, the fact that Doug Pederson only got 1 vote in the balloting for Coach of the Year tells me that some of the voters were not paying close attention to what was going on during the season.

Finally, here is a Super Bowl themed comment from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:

“’Tonight Show’ host Jimmy Fallon: ‘Pizza Hut says if either team beats the record for the fastest touchdown in the Super Bowl, it’s giving away free pizza to people in its loyalty program.

“’The only downside is you have to tell people that you’re in the Pizza Hut loyalty program’.”

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



Admin Note

I do not know if I will write on Monday.  I will be attending a Super Bowl Party in Philly on Sunday; I am not taking my computer with me.  We will be staying the night in Philly.

On Monday evening, my long-suffering wife and I have a dinner engagement here in DC.  I do not know if there will be time to squeeze in a rant.  If not, I will be back on the air on Tuesday, Feb 6.

Stay well, all…

Super Bowl 52

And a Happy Groundhog’s Day to everyone…

Well, I made it.  I managed to get through two weeks of rants here since the time of the NFL Championship Games without focusing on any of the hype leading up to the Super Bowl.  There actually were things going on in the sports world more important – and even more interesting – than Bill Belichick wearing a hat or Tom Brady wearing a “special glove” [Is he the latter-day Michael Jackson?] or Doug Pederson inviting Brett Favre to address the team before the game or – – you get the idea.  So, today I will focus on the Super Bowl game and make my mythical selection.

The game will be telecast by NBC; Al Michaels, Cris Colinsworth and Michelle Tafoya will do the game as they do on Sunday nights.  That is a plus; this is the best announcing team of all the networks.  Before the game comes on, NBC will air a bit more than 6 hours of pre-game fluff and filler.  That has become standard procedure among the networks; it is total overkill but that is what they do.  I have learned to tune it out just as I have learned to tune out any and all songs done by ABBA.

I mentioned yesterday that Bob Costas will not be part of the telecast on Sunday.  With a bit of searching I learned that Liam McHugh will take his place on the broadcast.  Let me say this about Liam McHugh:

  • I am confident that I could pick him out of a lineup with the Seven Dwarfs, but that pretty much exhausts my knowledge and opinion of his skills.

I do not know if you would categorize this next tidbit as happenstance or what:

  • This Super Bowl will be the 4th time Cris Colinsworth has been in the booth to do color commentary.  The Patriots have been in all 4 of those games.

Moreover, Colinsworth was part of the broadcast team when the Pats and Eagles met in the Super Bowl back in 2005.  Moving on …

NBC will deploy 106 cameras and 130 microphones to cover the game.  There will be 2 Skycams – proving once again that nothing exceeds like excess.  NBC will have the Sky cam on a cable that we have come to expect in a televised NFL game AND it will also have “High Sky” which is a TV on a cable up closer to the roof of US Bank Stadium.  I think that “innovation” rates a hearty “Whoop-di-damned-doo!!”

An average 30-second commercial spot for the game on Sunday will cost just north of $5M.  In addition to all those messages interspersed into the action, NBC will commandeer a half-dozen spots to promote the upcoming Winter Olympics in PeyongChang.  If the action in a pro football game comes at you too fast and furious, you will be pleased to learn that there will be plenty of interruptions where you can catch your breath.

The American Gaming Association (AGA) is a lobbying group for the “gaming” industry – translation “gambling” industry.  As you know, I am not opposed to gambling in any way but given the focus of this group, any data they present must be taken with the knowledge that it might be slanted/presented in such a way as to make the gaming industry’s point of view look good.  With that preamble, the AGA has estimated that there will be this much “action” on the game this year:

  • Americans will bet $4.74B on Super Bowl 52.
  • Of that $4.76B handle, $4.6B will be bet illegally.
  • The estimated handle in legal sports wagering on this year’s game is $140M.
  • By their numbers, 97% of the betting handle this year will be done “illegally”.

There have been myriad articles published in the past two weeks speculating on what might happen if Nick Foles were to have a humongous game on Sunday, lead the Eagles to a win, be named the MVP of the game and set a passing record or two.  Those reports then went on to speculate on how his presence might affect free agency in the next couple of months and where he might ply his trade next year.  There is one small “problem” with all those ruminations and speculations:

  • According to, Nick Foles is under contract with the Eagles for 2018.  He will earn $7M next season.
  • His contract “voids” in February 2019 if he is still on the Eagles roster.  Essentially, he signed a 5-year contract that would void after 2-years as a way for the team to pro-rate his $3M signing bonus over a longer time period. is a reliable information source.  Therefore, if Nick Foles is to have an impact on this year’s free agency, it will happen because the Eagles decide to cut him after this week’s game or if they choose to trade him in the middle of the free agency frenzy.  The passage of time alone will not make Nick Foles a free agent in the Spring of 2018.

Here are two facts going into Sunday’s game that are interesting and inconsequential:

  1. The “Brady-Belichick Patriots” have been to the Super Bowl 7 times.  Those teams have not scored a point in the first quarter of any of those 7 games.
  2. Doug Pederson has beaten Bill Belichick in the past – but not as a coach.  In the 2000 season, Pederson was the QB for the Browns in a game where the Browns defeated the Belichick-coached Patriots 19-10.

The lines for the game are:

Eagles vs. Patriots – 4.5 (48.5)

Money Lines:  Eagles +165  Patriots – 200  

The spread opened at 6 points and has been bet down.  You can find the spread as low as 4 points at several Vegas sportsbooks and a few offshore Internet sportsbooks.  The Total Line has held steady for most of the past 2 weeks.  The Money Lines have moved significantly; earlier this week there were several “six-figure” and “seven-figure” bets on the Eagles on the Money Line.  Recently, there has been a surge of “Patriots money” that has come in.

I will not wager on this game – – other than to participate in pool with friends as we watch the game together.  I guess that is part of the “illegal wagering” that the AGA projects for the game this year …  If I were going to bet, I would take the Eagles on the Money Line because the +165 line is attractive and because I want the Eagles to win the game.  If I were making a mythical pick on the game I would take the Eagles plus the points and I would take the game to go OVER.

Finally, recalling that the Eagles got to this game by beating the Vikings two weeks ago and recalling the “Minnesota Miracle” that put the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, consider this comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald:

“The Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints on a 61-yard pass on the last play of the game. Minnesotans have not been this shocked since that pro wrestler was elected governor.”

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



Just Hopping Around Today…

In the midst of Super Bowl hype, newspapers and Internet sports sites must come up with filler material about the upcoming game because there appears to be an unwritten rule – as exist in baseball evidently – that there must be coverage of the Super Bowl every day.  One such concocted storyline had this as its headline:

  • The Ten Best Teams To Appear In The Super Bowl

That will fill space to be sure; that is also of no consequence nor am I remotely interested in learning which teams that author felt deserved to be on the list.  Immediately, I thought it would be more interesting to suggest what were the Ten Worst Teams in Super Bowl history; however, that would require a whole lot more research that it is worth.  And so, totally off the top of my head and with only minimal research, let me list here:

  • The Three Worst Teams To Appear In The Super Bowl

I will put them in reverse chronological order because I have no interest in making a ranking within this category:

  • (January 2001) NY Giants:  The Giants lost this game to the Ravens 34-7; their only score came on a kickoff return for a TD in the third quarter.  Any momentum that may have provided evaporated about 15 seconds later when the Ravens returned the subsequent kickoff for a TD.  Giants total offense for the game was 152 yards and the Giants had to punt 11 times.
  • (January 1995) San Diego Chargers:  The Chargers lost this game to the Niners 49-26.  It was not nearly that close.  The Niners scored a TD on the third play of the game and never stopped rolling until Steve Young left the game in the 4th quarter with 6 TD passes to his credit.  The rout was not a surprise; the Vegas line for the game was Niners – 19.
  • (January 1986) New England Patriots:  The Pats lost this game to the Bears 46-10.  The Pats actually led at one point 3-0; the Bears then scored 44 straight points.  To end the scoring, the Bears recorded a safety in the 4th quarter.  The Patriots total offense in the game was 123 yards; their rushing offense consisted of 11 running plays that gained a total of 7 yards.

Yesterday, I wrote about the Skins acquisition of Alex Smith in a trade with the Chiefs.  This means the Skins will give Kirk Cousins his walking papers and I realized last evening how that speaks volumes about the team.  Back in 2012, the Skins drafted RG3 with the overall #2 pick behind Andrew Luck; then in the 4th round they took Kirk Cousins.  Now both QBs are gone from the team and both have left the team with at least a modicum of rancor associated with the process.  There are annual surveys done to determine The 100 Best Places To Work In The US or some such compilation.  It occurs to me that the Washington NFL franchise is not going to appear on that list any time soon…

The NFL and FOX have agreed that FOX will get the Thursday Night Football TV rights for the next 5 years and the deal is worth about $3B.  The deal gives FOX 11 games from Weeks 4 thru 15 every year and the games will be simulcast on NFL Network.  Thursday night games in other weeks will be produced by FOX and shown on NFL Network.  The Thanksgiving Night Game is unaffected by this deal; that continues to be the property of NBC.  I think there are a couple of things to note about this deal:

  1. Thursday Night Football is not as popular – does not get the same TV ratings – as Sunday Night Football by a wide margin.  However, if we look at the TV deal as a linear one, FOX will spend $600M to televise 11 of those games in a year (approximately $55M per game).  That is a lot of cheese considering the common narrative that the NFL has peaked in popularity and is in decline.
  2. NFL players say the hate Thursday Night Football.  This contract puts $600M per year in the NFL TV revenue column and that means the NFL players will get about half of that in terms of increased salary cap.  With 32 teams sharing equally, that is about $9.5M per team.  I await the announcement by a group of player reps that the increased salary cap money is not worth playing on Thursday night about once a year.

The telecast for this year’s Super Bowl – NBC has the game – will have a conspicuous missing piece.  Bob Costas will not host – or be part of – the studio show associated with the game.  When I read that, I naturally assumed that because NBC also has the Winter Olympics starting right after the Super Bowl game that Costas was in Korea prepping for his work there.  Not so.  Mike Tirico is going to be the studio maven for the Winter Olympics this year.  I would prefer to be wrong about this, but it appears to me as if Bob Costas is being eased to the sidelines by NBC.  If so, that would be a shame because Bob Costas is more than merely very good at his craft.

Last weekend, Tiger Woods made the cut in a real PGA event and played through 4 full rounds of tournament golf.  There was a 2-year break in Woods’ ability to do that and this is a milestone for him in his quest to pull himself back toward the top of the golf world where he once stood alone.  In this tournament, Woods tied for 23rd place shooting 3-under for the 72 holes.  That sort of performance is not eye-popping, nor does it recall the way Woods used to dominate golf courses.  However, it is a box that he needed to check for himself as a prep for the upcoming Masters in a couple of months.

Finally, let me close today with Scott Ostler’s comments in the SF Chronicle about Woods’ performance last weekend:

“If Tom Brady can be at the top of his game at 40, why not a rebuilt Tiger Woods at 42? There’s just too much accumulated golf knowledge, hunger and battle savvy packed into that bad-ass, free-safety body for Tiger to fade away. Plus, Woods never gets sacked, so to speak.

“Woods is still kind of a boring dude, though. When I write the screenplay for the movie about his late-career comeback, Tiger will be 60 pounds overweight, chain-smoking Camels as he waddles the fairways, and having a romantic fling with Tonya Harding.”

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