When it comes to Super Bowl XLVII, it seems everyone is willing to put some skin in the game. Or at least a little ego. (Yes, we're talking about you, Mayor Hancock.)
The bets for - and against - the Baltimore Ravens are piling up. And it's not just in Vegas parlors.
The Maryland Zoo is placing a bet with the San Francisco Zoological Society that would rename the exhibit of the team's official raven mascots. If the 49ers win, the birds Rise and Conquer- often seen during home games - will suddenly find themselves living in the "San Francisco 49ers exhibit." Minus the jet lag, of course.
And if such a thing comes to pass, Don Hutchinson, president of The Maryland Zoo, promises to make something of a show of it. "We will of course make the name change with the appropriate 'pomp and circumstance,'" he said. The name change would be for a cold month in hell beginning Feb. 11.
If San Francisco wins, that city's zoo will rename its Black Rhino exhibit, which houses Boone, a rhino named for Alex Boone, an offensive tackle for the 49ers.
"We'll even have Boone's enrichment look like crow, I mean, raven, because if the 49ers lose, we are all eating crow here!" said Tanya Peterson, president of the San Francisco Zoological Society.
Even the quiet ones are loudly talking up the Ravens. The Enoch Pratt Free Library has issued a literal dare to its San Francisco companion.
If the Ravens win, the city librarian at the San Francisco Public Library will have to recite Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven" in the atrium of the main library wearing a Ravens jersey. On the other hand, if San Francisco wins, Pratt Library CEO Carla Hayden will recite George Sterling's "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in the main hall wearing a 49ers jersey.
"This bet allows us to support our home town teams, spotlight our library systems and showcase Baltimore and San Francisco's literary side," said Hayden. "But we know come Sunday night, purple will prevail."
Even venues outside of Baltimore are getting into the betting act. Six Flags America, based in Upper Marlboro, is waving its flag for the Ravens.
The theme park is taking on a bet from its sister park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., that Baltimore will defeat the San Francisco 49ers in this weekend's Super Bowl in New Orleans.
The president of each park has pledged to don the winning rival's jersey and hat and also to post a huge banner congratulating the team.
The banner will read: "We lost the bet! Congratulations to the (Ravens or 49ers)..." and the name of the winning park. In addition to the banner, the two parks will also exchange food baskets with the best of the city's culinary offerings. The Taste of Maryland basket will include Old Bay, Utz potato chips, Wye River Cream of Crab Soup and Boordy's wine.
Six Flags America isn't the only bet in town. There are bets between mayors, delicatessens, fans and even hotels. Baltimore Hotel Monaco has challenged its sister San Francisco hotel of the same name to a Super Bowl bet. The losing hotel's staff will have to wear the winning team's attire for one week. If the Ravens lose, the Baltimore hotel staff will wear gold and red scarves. Pictures willbe posted to Facebook to complete the humiliation.
Rick Howarth, president of Six Flags America, said he's comfortable with his Baltimore pick and he fully expects Don McCoy, president of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, to come out on the losing end.
"There's no doubt in my mind that the Ravens will be the champions on Sunday," said Howarth. "We enjoy working with our other parks, but this is the Super Bowl after all, and I've already sent Don [McCoy] a Ravens jersey and cap. I hope Discovery Kingdom has our winning banner ready to go right after the game on Sunday."