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CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus explains why the network won't talk betting during the Super Bowl.

By Jimmy Traina
January 24, 2019

1. It was recently revealed that CBS will not mention anything about betting during the Super Bowl or during its pregame show next Sunday.

The network held a conference call on Wednesday about its plans for the telecast and the gambling topic came up. Here’s CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus’s explanation for ignoring anything betting related:

“Gambling is legalized in a few states now. It’s not widespread across the entire country and our policy has been that in our football telecasts, including the SEC on CBS and the NFL, we don’t discuss gambling information, lines, over/unders. We don’t do that. That’s our policy.”

When a reporter brought up that many people tune into the game because they have money invested, McManus said the following:

“That’s OK. They can do whatever they want to do. I think there are a lot of people who are probably gambling on the game and an awful lot that aren’t gambling on the game also. What people are doing is not going to dictate what our policy is.”

I was on the call and asked McManus if the policy was CBS’s or an edict from the NFL and he said the decision and policy was all CBS. So I followed that up by asking if CBS would revisit the policy. McManus responded, “Yeah, we’re gonna remain very flexible and if we think it makes sense to change the policy, we will. We reevaluate it fairly often. Nothing is set in stone but right now the policy is firm.”

OK, there’s a lot here.

First, if you’re flexible and open to re-evaluating, why not do that now, as we prepare for the single-biggest betting day of the year? If ever there was a time to re-evaulate the policy, it's for the Super Bowl.

Also, if you have a no betting-talk policy, how do you explain having an entire show on your website dedicated to gambling? And why do you cover fantasy football? (Please don't insult my intelligence by saying that some people play fantasy for free.)

Lastly, the excuse that sports betting is only legal in a few states just doesn't cut it. Nearly $5 BILLION were wagered on the Super Bowl last year before the Supreme Court decision.

It just doesn't add up.

Here’s the thing: Nobody is asking Jim Nantz and Tony Romo to mention that the Patriots are 2.5-point favorites throughout the game (although, it is relevant considering New England’s absurd, “everybody thinks we suck” nonsense) and no one would expect the duo to remind the audience that the over/under is 57.5 after every score.

But you’re literally doing a four-hour pregame show. How do you not have a fun segment about the props? Why would you ban Romo from commenting on whether Gladys Knight goes over or under 107 seconds on her rendition of the national anthem? Why not let Nantz opine on whether Adam Levine’s shirt will be black (-200) for the halftime show? 

Please loosen up, CBS, and have a little fun with the betting thing. 

2. Raiders QB Derek Carr is not a fan of ESPN's First Take and wants to fight the host, UFC style.

3. Your Story of the Day has nothing to do with sports. Via Tuscon.com, a man recently saved a woman's life with CPR. OK, you're saying to yourself, "That's nice, but it's not THAT unusal."

Yes, but here's the kicker: The man said he learned CPR from watching Michael Scott on The Office.

REMINDER: Carrell will be on the next SI Media Podcast (along with Brent Musburger) out on Tuesday, so subscribe here.

4. Speaking of the SI Media Podcast, this week's episode features two conversations. First up, New York Post sports media columnist and reporter Andrew Marchand joins the show to talk about Tony Romo’s call of the AFC Championship, the big payday that awaits him and potential suitors. We also discuss how LeBron James moving out west has hurt NBA television ratings, ESPN’s big UFC day and much more.

Following Marchand, Rolling Stone chief TV critic Alan Sepinwall calls in to talk about his new book The Sopranos Sessions, and all things Sopranos as the show celebrates its 20th anniversary.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on iTunes.

5. ESPN has published an in-depth piece on the Browns' dysfunction during the Hue Jackson era, which includes a funny anecdote about the team having a mishap while searcing "DP" on Google.

6. Speaking of ESPN... everyone uses the phrase, "I thought this was an Onion" story many times a day to sum up something ridiculous they have read. But I swear, I honestly thought this was an Onion story when I saw the headline.

7. RANDOM YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THE DAY: It's hard to imagine CBS, which has a no-betting talk policy, had the original pregame gambling segment with Brent Musburger and Jimmy The Greek, who was a Las Vegas bookmaker. The pair wouldn't mention lines and totals, but they'd have Greek give out a score predicition so bettors would know who would and wouldn't cover.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here.And make sure to listen to and subscribe to the SI Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina.

IN CLOSING: On that conference call I mentioned in the lead item, Tony Romo said he did not check his Twitter mentions after Sunday's Patriots-Chiefs game. The one person who actually gets universal praise on Twitter does not check his mentions. Go figure.

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