Oh, Patrick. We couldn't have a roundtable without you acting as everyone else's health police. This weekend, of course, you'll be joined by a chorus of scolds, all fretting over the vast quantities of "unhealthy" or just plain "bad" food that Americans will eat on Sunday—slight but smug neo-Puritan sneer at the day's unabashed celebration of excess.
Well, sir. This publication was founded to explore the American idea, and nothing is more American than Super Sunday. Like us, the day is big, loud, gaudy, violent, absurd, sweet, silly, noble, and loads of fun. Like us, the game is watched around the world with a mixture of joy, envy, awe, hate, and sheer bewilderment. For a citizenry that defines itself as "consumers," this our National Consumption Day. A party built of hype-on-hype which exists for the sake of its own commercials, Super Sunday is as American as democracy and drive-through liquor stores. If a few arteries harden, knees twist, and bells are rung along the way, so be it. You buy the ticket. You take the ride. Hallelujah.
Nowhere is the hyper-American flavor of the day more evident than the obsessive gambling around it. Witness the classic Americanism "You bet!" which is used to mean the yes all over the world. While I'm not callous enough to bet on how many concussions players will suffer in Super Bowl XLVI, the over/under is a steal at 7. Kidding!
But, in addition to betting on the coin flip—a reductio absurdum of the gambling impulse—one casino is offering action on the size of the TV audience itself. Their number seems awfully high, too. Then again, many have said the same thing of me.
At least one casino is taking National Anthem prop bets to an all-new, creepy level. Sure, you can wager on how long it will take Kelly Clarkson to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. You can also bet on whether she'll forget any of the words, and what she be wearing for the performance. (Odds are 15-1 against, for instance, that Clarkson dons any sort of Giants' apparel. She's from Fort Worth and all.) You can even lay money, pardon the expression, on whether her bellybutton will be exposed—which, yes, is the creepy part.
For me, though, betting is the epitome of another Americanism. A bet is a way "to make things more interesting." Wagering next month's rent on Kelly Clarkson's bare midriff is a way to care. Necessary, because I don't. That is, I don't care who wins Super Bowl XLVI. And I'll never care who wins the big game until the Chiefs are in it. (Please, stop laughing.) So, sure, my wallet may be riding on Sunday's outcome, but I won't have nickel on this weekend's other big game—the one where my heart is.
Oh, there's another game. That would be Saturday night. Kansas and Missouri meet for supposedly one of the last battles in their century-long basketball war, and only the third time in series history the teams will meet with both ranked in the top ten. Helz. Yes.
That game, when No. 8 KU visits No. 4 Missouri, will be pretty interesting for yours truly with or without or without Kelly Clarkson's navel.
Jake, our favorite Giants' fan, you must have bigger worries than prop bets. But share some of your favorites anyway. Bradshaw to throw for a TD pass? The number of times Al Michaels says "uge," and means "important"? How about the color of the Gatorade dump?