PHOENIX, ARIZONA - For the veterans of Radio Row at the Super Bowl, it’s a strange sight to see.
For the past two decades, the Radio Row landscape was dominated by the presence of big-name networks like ESPN, FOX and CBS.
The NFL Network and Sirius would also set up shop with elaborate sets that would stand out at whatever convention centre that would play host to the 75 to 100 or so radio stations broadcasting to the U.S., Canada, Mexico and even Great Britain.
But there is a new sheriff in town these days.
The NFL’s three corporate gambling partners in FanDuel, DraftKings and Caesars Sportsbook are now omnipresent with massive sets for their shows at Radio Row.
For years the NFL shunned any association with gambling operations.
I remember times at Radio Row when you would try to look up the odds for the game or a prop bet for the Super Bowl and the access to the website would be denied due to the fact that the NFL would block any gambling website if you were using their Wi-Fi network.
Now the NFL welcomes those very same organizations with ‘beachfront property” at Radio Row.
Longtime ESPN personality Trey Wingo remembers when even mentioning any sort of gambling wager was taboo on air.
“I’ll give you an example, when we were doing NFL Live on ESPN all those years, we would do these segments on essentially the over/under win totals for teams. They were prop bets. They would not let us say the words ‘over-under’. We would say would it be ‘more than or less than’ and we couldn’t name the teams. We could only name the cities,” recalls Wingo.
Now the bastion of gambling – Las Vegas, Nevada – is a key partner with the NFL.
“I’m old to remember when Tony Romo was a football player and he was going to have a fantasy football convention in a casino hotel in Vegas and the NFL told him you can’t do it. Now we have a football team in Vegas. We have official betting partners in the NFL. We had the draft in Vegas last year and we are going to have the Super Bowl in Vegas next year. It’s amazing how quickly that changed,” notes Wingo.
Wingo says the reason for the shift is simple.
“It changed because of money and that the law changed. Once sports betting became legal everywhere there was a pot of cash and the NFL is really good at one thing – making money,” stated Wingo.
There are reports that the league makes close to $300 million dollars a year with its three gambling partners in Caesars, FanDuel and DraftKings.
Simply put, money talks.
As for the game itself, there has been a common theme with all the guests that we have had on our Northwest Tank Lines Super Bowl Show during the week – that across the board the Eagles have the better team personnel-wise but the Chiefs have an advantage in two critical areas.
First, even though Jalen Hurts has had an MVP-type season as the Eagles quarterback, the Chiefs have an edge with a generational quarterback in Patrick Mahomes.
Second, the Chiefs also have an advantage in coaching with Andy Reid, who will be appearing in his fourth Super Bowl as a head coach, and is looking for his second championship. Yes, Nick Sirianni has done a great job with the Eagles but it’s Reid who has the experience that could be the difference come Super Bowl Sunday.
When it comes to the Super Bowl, we will leave the last word to one of our guests this week who went 4-0 in the ultimate game: Joe Montana.
“My heart is with the Chiefs,” says Montana, who led the Chiefs to the 1993 AFC Championship game before succumbing to the Buffalo Bills 30-13.
“I hope Mahomes is 100 per cent because those guys (the Eagles front) get pressure. I saw a stat – I don’t remember the exact numbers — but when he is in the pocket, he’s about the same but when he’s outside the pocket, his numbers have fallen off since he got hurt which is understandable because he can’t move around as well. If he’s healthy, they squeeze this thing out but if he’s not, Philly is just a beast right now. I mean even the quarterback (Jalen Hurts)….holy crap,” stated Montana, who won four Super Bowls as the 49er quarterback.
Heading into the final game, we have gone 8-4 SU and 7-6 ATS during these NFL Playoffs, so it would be nice to finish up with a win.
Sorry Joe, but we like the Eagles winning it 26-20.
Veteran B.C. sports personality Bob “the Moj” Marjanovich writes twice weekly for Black Press Media. And check out his weekly podcast every Monday at Today in B.C. or your local Black Press Media website.