Commentary: Enjoy the Super Bowl, just don't bet on it

Om-a-ha! O-ma-ha! 27 times? Do you think Peyton Manning will call-out "Omaha!" More or less than 27 times during the Super Bowl this Sunday? Think you know? You can bet on it. It's the Super Bowl. There are prop bets on just about anything.

How long the singing of the National Anthem will last - 2 minutes and 25 seconds. Whether or not one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers will perform shirtless at any time during their halftime performance - the money line is a bit tricky with that one. The coin toss - is, well, a toss of the coin. Will the University of Virginia Men's Basketball team have more points in the first half of its game against the University of Pittsburgh that day than the number of yards of Eric Decker's longest reception in the Super Bowl. The number of times it is mentioned - as some sort of qualifier against the racially-charged "thug"-insinuating comments about him - that Richard Sherman went to Stanford?

My dad once told me, "when you think you want to gamble, take the money, put it in an envelope and mail it to me. The next time I see you I'll kick you. ... It'll save you the money and give you the same feeling you'll get from gambling."

Like most advice we get from our parents, I ignored it; thinking I knew sports enough to try betting on a game or two as a freshman. Luckily, I lost. Luckily? Yes. Luckily. Losing on those first two tries was the best thing that could have happened. I lost a couple bucks; got rochambeau'd a bit; and learned my lesson early on.

I watched as friends lost hundreds and thousands of dollars and were sent scrambling to figure out how to pay-off crippling gambling debts. Once, years later, I had to explain to a girlfriend why my buddy seemed so emotionally invested in a low-level college football game that was on TV. The score was 63-3. I had to explain the concept of the spread to her.

For-better-or-worse, professional sporting events are less about the sports themselves and more about the spectacle of their tangential events. The Super Bowl epitomizes this; setting the standard for sybaritic sports-media spending.

On the 30th anniversary of Apple's standard-setting 1984 Super Bowl commercial, a 30-second commercial spot during this year's Super Bowl is said to have cost brand-advertisers $4 Million.

I consider myself somewhat of a sports purist. What I enjoy about watching games is just that. I appreciate the sentiment made by the Ravens' Justin Tucker in response to the suggestion that the NFL should narrow its field goal posts.

Tucker responded by commenting to the effect that professional athletes get paid to make the nearly impossible look routine and relatively easy; and, that that gets lost on too many fans.

I can't stand watching games in crowds, or in the company of fans who spend the bulk of the game criticizing players and teams; being made to suffer through a game listening to the negative commentary of a fantasy league GM or former high school athlete who thinks they know better than the actual coach or GM.

I've never been on an NFL sideline. But, I'd have to imagine that the blocking schemes, etc. are a bit more complex than a dumbed-down version of run block versus pass protection.

I tend to watch from my couch, in relative peace and quiet. I've watched exactly one UNC game at a "viewing party." I was accused of not being a real fan because I watched without yelling and criticizing the players. At one point, after I'd excused myself to the restroom, a friend told someone that I'd actually been a member of UNC's team. When I came back I had to explain - to a grown man, and the bar's owner - how players don't miss shots on purpose, etc. I ran through a quick tutorial of what certain plays were, who really blew the defensive assignment, and why it's not as easy as playing e.g. the man versus zone defense as he'd remembered it being run in 8th grade.

But, somehow the Super Bowl is different.

Maybe it's because I enjoy and appreciate talent in whatever form it takes - Athletic, artistic, culinary, etc. But, I look forward to and enjoy the commercials aired during the Super Bowl, and I think it is for that reason - Because they represent the best in 30-second short-film-styled entertainment.

Enjoy the Super Bowl and its entertaining commercials. Just don't bet on it. Though, the over on "Omaha!" is a lock!

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