The last time the Super Bowl was held in Atlanta, in the millennial year of 2000, a major ice storm hit the city 48 hours prior to kick-off. Just a little bit of chaos ensued, mainly because back then the ice removal system in the Capital of the South consisted of one guy in the back of a Ford F-150 sprinkling the road behind him with Morton salt.

This year, the city is much better prepared for any inclement weather. The fleet of F-150s has been doubled.

The weather forecasts of late haven’t been calling for balmy temps and sunshine. But the odds would have to favor no repeat of the frozen precipitation of 19 years ago. However, given that the Super Bowl contest probably encourages the biggest single day of gambling in the nation each year, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find out that you could wager on storms in Atlanta. And not just whether or not there will be one, but when it will arrive, how big it will be, what make-up of snow and/or ice will fall and then accumulation totals, and the number of abandoned cars sitting beside the road. You could probably even wager on what time the rapid transit system would shut down and how many people would be stranded at MARTA stations.

Those betting scenarios may seem facetious to anyone who doesn’t have a bookie on speed dial, but extensive research has shown that you can actually get odds in Las Vegas (and no doubt in many less-than-legal locales) on virtually any and every aspect of the big game itself.

There are always the basics, of course, such as which team will win the game and what the score will be (with or without the point spread). But did you also know you can bet on whether or not CBS announcer Jim Nantz will say, “Hello, friends” when he comes on the air? Or how many times the broadcasters will mention the age of 33-year-old Rams’ coach Sean McVay? Perhaps you’d care to wager on the length of the national anthem or the color of the winning coach’s Gatorade bath.

Need more action? Well, how many times will President Trump tweet during the game? For those who watch only commercials, you aren’t left out. You can bet on which brand’s ad will be seen first. And for halftime aficionados, you can take a chance on whether or not Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine will be shirtless at any point during the show. And you can apparently get some really good odds if you think either team will only score four points.

One report said more than 22 million Americans will wager a total of $6 billion on the contest. As if that weren’t enough, there is a nascent movement afoot to spread the “gaming” profits around a bit. Well, actually, a lot.

Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association it seems, are so leery of not getting a slice of the illegal betting pie that is part and parcel of every game that they’ve joined forces to maybe acquire a piece of the action. (By the way, the Professional Golfers Association and the National Collegiate Athletic Association are also involved in this “show me the money” escapade.)

If I understand things correctly, all leagues concerned would simply like to get a 1% cut off the top from all legalized wagering. That’s not exactly chump change when you figure gambling, excuse me, gaming is a multi-billion dollar business. The leagues collectively say they would need the money to pay for services that would watch for game fixing or other betting irregularities that might threaten the purity of the games themselves. Uh-huh.

Surprise, surprise though, casinos aren’t keen on handing over even that 1% of their profits to the leagues. So the battle rages and the dickering about compensation continues. And, since big money is involved, it’s probably reasonable to assume that very soon you’ll be able to wager on whether or not a point guard turns an ankle in the third quarter, the number of times a first baseman spits in the dugout, or how often a golfer wiggles his rear end before hitting a wedge.

Who cares about the game itself anymore? Everyone can be a gambling winner. Even Peter Edward Rose. Baseball’s all-time hit leader is currently banned for life for gambling, but now he may finally be Hall of Fame bound. Apparently he was just ahead of his time.


©MMXIX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer