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Crude Observations

It’s Gonna be Super!

That’s right, Super Bowl Sunday! The day of days. The culmination of all the hard work I have done since September. Forcing myself seemingly day after day to watch football games, read football news, talk about football, PVR football and bet on football. And let me tell you, I am a master of all of these. Except the betting part. That didn’t go so well until I cleaned a buddy’s clock in the divisional round (sorry for bringing it up).

 

At any rate, if you know me, you know I am a sports lunatic. It is unusual, I know, to have one wife, two daughters and two cats and still be able to obsess about, let alone watch, football as much as I do, but somehow it works. I mean it’s not like I have two footballs in my office, or have written entire blogs about Tom Brady or do an annual NFL preview or look for any excuse to weave football into this weekly missive, right? FINE! It’s all true.

 

But you know what? Zero apologies here. Quite often, a sporting event and its buildup goes a long way to serve as a relief valve for tension that has built up elsewhere, as a result of things that have nothing to do with the fact that Jimmy Garoppolo had more playoff wins this year than the Dallas Cowboys have had in more than 10 years (ha ha!), or that Aaron Rodgers managed to choke on a hairball yet again and leave an entire nation of cheese-heads disappointed.

 

We can and should look past that and appreciate the Super Bowl for what it is. The grandest spectacle there is in sport, run by the one of the most powerful brands in existence (the NFL) and the best excuse ever for reckless chicken wing consumption ever invented.

 

Plus it’s an opportunity for one beautiful afternoon to take all the garbage in the news that has been bothering myself and everyone else and put it in a box, forget about it for a blissful 3-10 hours and simply appreciate the raw and savage elegance of a game that is a crypto-fascist metaphor for nuclear war.

 

I don’t know about you, but I can use the escapism. Because there are a lot of things bothering me over the last few weeks. Some of them you know, some of them, well, they’re just obvious. Others you may not have realized they bug you until you start to think about them.

 

What am I talking about? Well here’s just a few…

 

Incompetent and easily intimidated political leadership. I think you know who I’m talking about. Whether you support the convoys and blockades or not, it is fair to say that the response by federal and provincial governments up until this point has been confused, inadequate and hypocritical. What exactly are they afraid of?

 

Cowardly political leadership. Variation on a theme. Step up. The Ford government finally did something – after two weeks. We’re still waiting on Alberta and the Federal government – oh wait, Trudeau gave a speech. It seems everyone is too concerned with optics and doesn’t want to damage their political future by putting on a show of force. So instead, Kenney caved to the Coutts blockaders and his rural caucus and announced all the COVID rollback plans and instead of dispersing the protestors dug in because he didn’t go far enough – now what? Not to be outdone, Trudeau disappeared at precisely the time he should have been in front of this. I know he had COVID and was following isolation rules. But come on. Show some leadership. Law, order and good government. Is it too much to ask to get 1/3 of these done?

 

Law enforcement that seems reluctant to enforce the law. This doesn’t need much explanation. There are actual laws being broken by all these protestors that can be more aggressively enforced. Just saying. I know that your elected leaders have abandoned you, but the people you are supposed to serve are still around wondering why they are getting photo radar tickets while others are getting away with literal crimes.

 

Opportunistic wannabe populists who have yet to learn that you don’t smoke next to the well head. Pierre Poilievre may indeed one day lead the Conservative Party. And at that time, he may in fact turn out to be a decent leader. I have my doubts, but you never know. But in this moment, cozying up to the blockades may very well turn out to be an error in judgement that will haunt him for years and send the CPC to the penalty box for the foreseeable future, ensuring uninterrupted Liberal hegemony, regardless of Trudeau. You don’t get votes in Southern Ontario by supporting lunatics who are holding the entire economy hostage and shuttering the auto sector. It may feel fun and liberating to dance with the devil, but the devil always wins.

 

Insidious charlatans, grifters and fascist wannabes who infiltrate and manipulate protests for their own nefarious ends. Yeah, those guys. They really bug me.

 

Border blockades that do nothing but hurt the people who they are, in the flimsiest of terms, trying to help. Look, these illegal blockades need to go. They are costing jobs and the economy to the tune of upwards of $400 million a day in trade. I am glad that Doug Ford finally looked at some polling numbers and decided to get tough, but it remains to be seen if anyone will in fact drop the hammer. It would be good to see these blockades fade away on their own, but I suspect it’s going to get ugly and the longer they go the uglier it will be. Support for these blockades has dropped below the Mendoza line and will continue dropping. The Americans are watching and could take unilateral action. Speaking of which…

 

US presidents who DO NOT UNDERSTAND how the energy sector actually works and seek the worst possible solutions to address high energy prices when the answer is pretty much staring them in the face. Unless of course Crazy Like a Fox but still Sleepy Joe Biden is actually engaged in a false flag, stealth invasion of Canada where he uses the Ambassador Bridge blockade to undermine the government and uses the excuse of protecting the US economy as a pretext to launch an invasion and conquest of Canada (wait, what would Russia say?). All of course to get access to the largest Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the world, Alberta’s oil sands. Far-fetched? I think not.

 

7.5% inflation. Why? Well, it’s too high. And maybe understated.

 

Suncor. Get. Your. Shit. Together.

 

Bad Ideas. This is a generic one. But I read that someone is trying to organize a convoy protest in the US. Starting in LA and winding east to Washington DC. The article suggests disrupting the Super Bowl is a first objective. This is the mother of all stupid ideas. Yell at government all you want guys, but never, ever. EVER. Take on the NFL. What are these folks thinking?

 

That is all. Now on to something way more fun.

 

Super Bowl LVI! No Patriots! No Tom Brady! Skyline Chili! Avocado toast!

 

It’s here and the food is going to be awesome. I will make wings. You are all welcome to join me. I bought a rotisserie basket to make wings in, it’s going to be epic.

 

To begin, a few words about the matchup. Then some awesome prop bets and a prediction.

 

This year’s matchup features two supremely talented and enigmatic teams. And if you bothered to read my Fearless Forecast you would know that I picked neither of these teams to win, let alone even make it to the final.

 

I had Green Bay beating Kansas City. Green Bay didn’t even get a shot! And the Chefs? Well, they blew their shot at immortality by calling a lousy play at the end of a half.

 

Instead, we have the Los Angeles/St Louis/Los Angeles Rams as 5 point favorites to beat the Cincinnati Bengals (can’t call them Bungles anymore) in the second Super Bowl in history (consecutively no less!) to be played at the home stadium of one of the participants.

 

To get to the Super Bowl, Los Angeles took a fairly conventional path. First they completely and mercilessly annihilated the overmatched and too small for the moment Arizona Cardinals (I know, they’re my team, but they laid an egg), then went on the road to slay the mythical dragon Tom Brady and force him into early retirement (and came within a hair of losing to a classic Brady comeback), and then engaged in a heavyweight brawl with their nemesis San Francisco to make it to the title game.

 

Cincinnati on the other hand managed to survive the surprisingly resilient and whistle averse Raiders for their first playoff win in something like 100 years, then went to Tennessee and weathered a mind boggling 9 sacks to earn their first road playoff win in franchise history (how crazy is that?) and then went to Arrowhead, spotted the Chiefs an 18 point half-time lead and then in the second half shut down the unstoppable Kansas City offence, forced overtime and then used their rookie sensation KICKER to propel them to a second straight road playoff win and the Super Bowl.

 

Los Angeles is quarterbacked by Matthew Stafford, a former number one overall draft pick who at one time seemed destined to finish out a stat-padding Hall of Fame worthy career for the rebuilding since 1959 Detroit Lions. Instead, he was traded for another number one pick in Jared Goff so that the boy genius coach of the Rams could have a new QB plaything who understood all those intricacies of football like completing passes, finding open receivers and clock management.

 

Cincinnati is managed by their number one overall QB pick Joe Burrow (sense a theme here?) who is now being widely promoted as the next Tom Brady (calm down). First pick overall, rookie season cut short by injury, cool as a cucumber under pressure.

 

Both teams boast otherworldly wide receivers – veteran and should be MVP Cooper Kupp (yes, this an actual name) and rookie sensation Ja’Marr Chase. Plus some attention seeking dude named OBJ.

 

On defence, the Rams are stacked. They actually have household names playing for them including former Super Bowl MVP Von Miller, the best corner in the league in Jalen Ramsay and literally the best player in the entire freaking NFL in Aaron Donald. There is a high likelihood that Joe Burrow gets sacked in this game – with his coffee filter offensive line it is a possibility on every play. The Bengals have an equally stacked defence, but they are a bunch of no names and retreads.

 

 

So, lots of intrigue. Offence vs defense. Veteran vs newbie. First Super Bowl appearance in more than 30 years for a long-suffering franchise beset by playoff curses. A return to glory for a storied West Coast franchise that was once the greatest show on turf. A rookie kicker who apparently isn’t afraid of anything.

 

It’s going to be a good game I think. Unless it’s bad. I thought Broncos-Seahawks was going to be competitive, I am known to get things wrong.

 

And did I mention chicken wings?

 

Okay, before I make my prediction, it’s time for some prop bets and odds.

 

Don’t know what prop bets are? Those are the bets that are done on in-game outcomes or other things surrounding the game, like, over/under on the length of the anthem (98 seconds); will Snoop Dogg smoke on stage (“yes” pays out at 180).

 

Or more serious things like will the first score take less time than the anthem, heads or tails, first advertiser, will a fan run out onto the field. You get the point.

 

Anyway, since I will be running a small prop book at my house for the game (only way to keep the kids engaged) here are a few of my own.

 

The numbers show what the payout is for winning – so a 150 means a $1 bet pays $1.50

 

 

  • Total points scored more than/less than the price of WTI (94!). (60/260)

 

 

  • Will the total amount of turnovers in the game be more than CPC leaders we’ve had in the past 5 years (4 – includes interim). This pays at 125/185.

 

 

  • Will total sacks of Joe Burrow be more than the closing price of NYMEX (4) on Friday. Pays 150/125

 

  • Most awkward Super Bowl tweet – Me 4/3; Justin Trudeau 7/4; Jason Kenney 12/5; Joe Biden 8/1; Roger Baker 50/1

 

  • Will Snoop Dogg drive a Cadillac Deville onto the field at half time (no pays 80, yes pays 165)

 

 

  • Will the number of TD passes thrown by LA Rams exceed the number of outstanding lawsuits filed in the US relating to the cancellation of KXL (currently at 4 that I know of) (120/180)

 

 

  • Will the number of yards gained by Cooper Kupp exceed the number of trucks at the Coutts blockade (estimate 143) (75/195)

 

 

  • Will the viewership for the Super Bowl (3.5 hours) exceed the total for the Olympics (2 weeks) (yes pays 1/no pays 1,000,000)

 

 

  • Will the length of the anthem exceed the amount of time my wife and daughters actually pay attention to the game (80/210)
  • How many times will I think about politics/blockades/COVID nonsense/Energy prices during the game. The over/under is 1 and the pay is 0/1000.

 

Game Prediction?

Okay, here it goes. I don’t actually have a proverbial dog in this proverbial fight, so it’s a hard one to pick. I checked with the family to see where they are leaning. My wife informs me that the Bengals helmets are cooler than the Rams. My youngest daughter picks the Bengals because she likes cats. My oldest daughter reminded me that I had yet again forgot to pay her allowance and told me to go away – total Los Angeles attitude so she’s clearly an Odell Beckham Jr. Rams fan. No help there.

 

When faced with this dilemma, I like to go for the story. So sure, Stafford winning would be cool, but how can you not root for Joe Cool, JB9. The baby-faced, cigar smoking, franchise saving, comeback player of the year quarterback for the Bengals.

 

Consider the last four years of Joe Burrow’s life.

 

In 2018, Urban Meyer elected to have Dwayne Haskins start at QB instead of Ohio High School hero Joe Burrow so he transferred to LSU. Since that epic and incomprehensible snub, Joe Burrow led LSU to a perfect record and a National Championship in 2019, won the Championship MVP. Oh, and he also won the Heisman Trophy. Then in 2020, he was selected number one overall by the hapless Cincinnati Bengals who had won a total of 21 of a possible 64 games in the 4 years before he got there. His task? Save a franchise. They won four games in his first year, but he blew out his knee. Now in his second year, they are in the Super Bowl. Mission almost accomplished.

 

I am calling for a close one. Cincinnati wins 28-27.

 

But I still won’t eat Skyline Chili.

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