My Worst Super Bowl Bet
by Robert Ferringo - 02/02/2007
Picking out my worst Super Bowl is easy. Trying to bring the repressed memories to the surface is hard.
In 2001 the Baltimore Ravens faced the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Somehow I got suckered into leaving all of my friends at Syracuse University and spending that weekend with my girlfriend at Potsdam College. Yes, I know how lame that is. And what ensued was a damn calamity, if not full-out disaster.
That Saturday night we ended up at a frat party at my girlfriend's school where all of these meathead Giants fans were going on-and-on about how they're going to hammer the Ravens. The whole thing reeked of desperation and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Naturally, I couldn't resist.
Two of my long-standing gambling rules are to fleece the locals and always - always - take advantage of someone's blind allegiance to their team. I was offering these guys the Giants +7 at -150. Since the line at the time was Giants +3 the thought of getting a full touchdown whipped them into an unspeakable frenzy. Before I knew it I had 10 guys down for $150 each, and 15 others who wanted in before I cut it off.
I decided to hedge with my bookie back at Syracuse. We both knew the Ravens were going to destroy the G-Men, so he happily gave me +150 on a $600 New York moneyline bet. Now the worst-case scenario was I lose $100. Best case: I win almost a grand, which might as well been $1 million to my broke ass.
Well, about 30 minutes before kickoff I found myself stuck in a Pizza Hut parking lot. We were riding to the party with my girlfriend's roommate and her boyfriend, and they decided to get into a fight an hour before the game. She won't get in the car, he won't leave without her, and I'm stuck, dumbfounded, trying to give relationship advice to some guy I've know for two hours.
Eventually, everything got smoothed over. That is, until we realized we had awful directions to the party. After another 45 minutes of driving around not-so-scenic Potsdam we ended up at a nightmare of a Super Bowl party. The TV was too small, there were about four people actually watching the game, the place was a hole, and because we got there late the only seat I could snag was in a side room with a horrid view of the TV.
On top of that, my sports-illiterate girlfriend decides that now is the time for me to teach her football. And when I say that she had absolutely no idea about the rules, terms, strategy, or basic idea behind the game, I'm not exaggerating. She was trying to be sweet and take an active role and all that Oprah crap. Instead, it ended up feeling like the torture scene at the beginning of Candyman 2, bees and all.
But I did win the game, so all was well in the world. It was a blowout, as I anticipated, and I was set to collect. Except - I bet you saw this coming - the frat guys stiff me. Yup, I went over after the game because I knew the I wouldn't see them otherwise. Some "didn't remember" making the bet or out-and-out didn't want to pay. Since there were about 30 of them and one of me, and my boys and my muscle were three hours away, I had no choice but to toss a voodoo gambling hex on all of them and leave. Scumbags.
Good karma for me, I suppose, and bad karma for them. No harm no foul, right? That is until I'm on my way back to Syracuse Monday morning and realize I'm on the hook for that $600 bet.
The Bush presidency was off to a rough start. And it was all downhill from there. The silver lining is that the girlfriend is now my wife, so it wasn't a total loss.
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