The Strange World of Super Bowl Prop Bets

As kickoff nears, a look at some prop bets that actually exist, and others that don’t but should
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Super Bowl prop bets can make for entertaining fodder (at least late in the week when everything that could possibly be said about the game has been said 15,000 times). Here’s a breakdown and analysis on some of this year’s most intriguing props.

How many times will announcers say dab/dabbing: Over/under 1.5.

Under, but that depends if you count Jim Nantz’s muffed attempts at it.

Will Ted Ginn drop a pass? Yes/no.

Haha, come on now. Yes. Of course. Even if Newton doesn’t throw him the ball.

Will the Golden Gate Bridge be shown during the broadcast? (Kickoff to final whistle; no halftime) Yes/no.

Seriously? The Golden Gate Bridge? The icon that’s been shown in every live Bay Area television event ever? A more competitive bet would be the Bay Bridge. It’s not majestic, but it’s used two-and-a-half times more than its international orange cousin. Or, better yet, the over/under for number of cars in the shot when CBS inevitably shows Lombard Street. Or how about: Will CBS show the Painted Lady houses? And will Phil Simms reach for a Full House reference when they do?

• CAM NEWTON IS WORTH EVERY PENNY: After writing that the Panthers overpaid last offseason, analyst Andy Benoit admits he was wrong.

Color of the liquid poured on the winning coach? (Orange, blue, clear, green, red, yellow, purple)

And maybe some double-action on color of liquid poured on the losing coach?

Will Mike Carey be wrong about a challenge? Yes/no.

Another way to ask this is: Will there be a challenge?

(Quick tangent: when CBS and ESPN said “us too” and tried to mimic what FOX did with Mike Pereira, those networks failed to understand that FOX’s success here wasn’t because they had a rules expert, it was because they had Pereira. Pereira was the head of all officials. He was Mike Carey’s and Jerry Austin’s boss. Of course he’ll be better at interpreting and explaining replays. Besides, it’s not like Carey was the league’s undisputed top official. He was just one of a few of the game’s better officials. He’s John Harbaugh, not Bill Belichick. Which means, at times, Carey will be analyzing calls made by officials who would have outranked him. (The Super Bowl is inherently one of those times, by the way.) As for Austin, he’s been out of the game since 2007. It’s a different rulebook now. If Carey is Harbaugh, Austin is Dick Vermeil.

Number of times Archie Manning is shown during broadcast. Over/under 1.5.

Over. Well over, if it’s a close game. And every time, Archie’s back will be turned, as if he’s about to evacuate his luxury box.

Over/under total number of television viewers: 117 million.

Over. (One viewer for every 2.3 seconds of commercial time.)

• DENVER’S JOSH NORMAN PROBLEM: In Super Bowl 48, the Broncos had a plan to avoid Richard Sherman. Will Peyton Manning pay Norman the same respect?

Will the team that wins the coin toss win the game? Yes/no.

Yes. Because, as Phil Simms likes to remind us, if you win the coin toss and take the ball, you essentially get an extra possession. (Even though that’s not actually true.)

Will there be an earthquake during the game? 10/1

Is anyone else confused as to why this one isn’t more like 100/1? Or even 1000/1?

Will the referee have to redo the coin toss? 20/1

Yes. And whichever player called it will be miffed that he didn’t get a chance to redo his call if he winds up losing the toss. Just like Aaron Rodgers was so justifiably miffed.

* * *

Bets they don’t have but need to add:

Number of special teams players seen for some reason handling the Lombardi Trophy during postgame celebration. Over/under 2.

Number of game minutes played before Demaryius Thomas visibly overcomes his nerves and starts catching what’s thrown to him: Over/under 38.

If Panthers win: number of iso shots CBS shows of Peyton Manning standing alone on the sideline with his helmet scrunched really low. Over/under 7

If Broncos win: number of times Manning nods up and down in good ‘ol Southern boy fashion in humbled response to expressions of congratulations. Over/under 82.

Number of times at your Super Bowl party that an actual football fan shushes an annoying “just here for a party that doesn’t apply to my life” fan during live game action. Over/under 7.5.

Number of times the “just here for a party that doesn’t apply to my life” fan shushes the actual fan during commercials. Over/under 7.5.

Number of times the “just here for a party that doesn’t apply to my life” fan insists upon laughing at a commercial that isn’t funny because, well, how else to make the moment feel as big as they wish it were? Over/under 23.5.

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Number of times Phil Simms makes a self-deprecating joke that you find surprisingly sort of charming. Over/under 2.5.

Number of times we’re told, in a Super Bowl human-interest story, that one of the offensive linemen in the game who makes 47 times the median income of citizens in his hometown is a blue collar Joe. Over/under 0.5.

Number of personal foul flags for late hits on Peyton. Over/under 1.5.

Number of personal foul flags for late hits on Cam. Over/under 0.

Number of times CBS shows Panthers owner Jerry Richardson in his luxury box. Over/under 3.5.

Numbers of times Richardson visibly moves in those shots. Over/under 0.

Number of diagnosed concussions in this, the biggest game of the year. Over/under 0.5.

Number of diagnosed concussions after this game. Over/under 2.5.

Number of pregame Super Bowl 50 story ideas I have left. Over/under 0.