Et Cetera: What are the odds on that?

February 4, 2014 

A co-worker here recently tickled me by asking for a copy of the odds being given on the upcoming Super Bowl.

The line has been sliding up and down over the past two weeks. The latest ones I saw said Denver minus-3 to minus-1.

But those weren’t the odds my colleague wanted.

Like many people across the United States, more than we sports fans want to admit, my colleague really couldn’t care less who wins or loses in the Super Bowl. She wanted the oddball odds, the minutiae and detritus of the game that oddsmakers will fuss over. She intends to keep a list of some of the oddest, checking them off as they arise during the broadcast.

Here’s some of my favorites.

• How long will it take opera star Renee Fleming to sing the national anthem? 2 minutes, 30 seconds – 1:1.

• How many times will Peyton Manning say “Omaha” during the game? Over/Under 27.5. (I’m taking the over.)

• Will Richard Sherman draw a penalty for taunting? Yes – 4:1.

• Which will be higher, gold medals won by the USA in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, or first-half points by the Broncos?

• Will the announcers say “Marijuana” during the game? Yes – 11:2. (This seems close to a lock, but it must be during the game, not the pre-game.)

• Which will be higher, Jimmie Johnson’s finishing position at Daytona, or Peyton Manning’s yards on his first pass completion?

I have to admit, keeping track of these might be way more fun than watching the game itself.

Stay home

The best place in Chapel Hill to watch the Super Bowl is usually your own home.

You can eat wings until you’re a waddling turkey and enjoy an adult beverage without worrying about who’s driving.

Watching at a friend’s house is fine, too. However, sadly, I have some unhappy memories of that.

The four times I watched the Super Bowl at a party at someone else’s place, “my” team lost.

Once, we were in Raleigh, at the home of a News & Observer (not sports) columnist who shall be nameless. The columnist in question was pulling for the eventual winners because their uniforms were “cool.”

It was a bit like watching someone win the office NCAA bracket pool whose choices were based on the quality of team mascots.

The worst such party for me was during Super Bowl XIX.

To my mind, Dan Marino is the greatest modern quarterback, certainly the best passer, never to win a Super Bowl.

I had to sit there and listen to three young women root for San Francisco because they thought Joe Montana was cuter than Marino.

Oh, my head is starting to ache just thinking about it.

So, I say stay home.

Or go out

If you can’t watch at you home or a friend’s house, Time Out Sports Bar at the corner of Ephesus and Fordham is a great place to view the game.

Just across Ephesus, Bailey’s is very nice, with a good menu for those who want to dine instead of snack on Sunday night.

And Top of the Hill’s bar above the corner of Franklin and Columbia is always a super spot for those who want to be downtown.

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