Wagering kept
MVP from Mick

Feb 7, 2006 7:25 AM

Thank goodness for Vegas sports betting!

Jay Kornegay, the astute head of race and sports operations at the Hilton SuperBook gets an assist for pointing out the dramatics of that last minute drive that could have resulted in the Seahawks covering the +4 spread with a TD and two-point conversion in what was a 21-10 deficit.

Instead. Seattle screwed up that opportunity along with countless others in allowing the opportunistic Pittsburgh Steelers to cover the 4, book two for Disney World and save the Hilton from a huge loss. After all, Kornegay’s house was the one that saw its AFC vs NFC futures line on SB 40 rise throughout the season from an opening -3½ to a high point of -10½ thinking Indianapolis would make it to Detroit.

Instead, it was the Steelers and top NFC seed Seattle — causing that line to drop to 4. With the Hilton book liable to pay dearly for not having the Colts in pro football’s showcase event, the many bettors who did jump on the NFC +10½ wound up falling one-half point short of a push.

The drama of the final drive, along with the 300 or so prop bets that have taken the Super Bowl to another dimension in Las Vegas wagering, canceled out what was from a football perspective one of the worst championship games ever. I can only think of one that was uglier, the Baltimore-Dallas game won by the Colts 16-13 on Jim O’Brien’s last-second FG. A game so horrible, that the MVP (Chuck Howley) was a linebacker on the losing team!

For the longest time, I thought the MVP should have been 60-plus rocker Mick Jagger of the Stones. Jagger moves pretty good for a Street Fighting Man of the 1960s, but for the most part SB 40 gave me "no satisfaction."

Seattle won the toss, (always the first prop decision) and lost the game due to horrible clock management, bad officiating and receivers (except Joe Jurevicius) who couldn’t catch a cold.

"I don’t look at the game that way," Kornegay said. "In terms of betting, this was among the most exciting. Our book was a fever pitch."

He’s right. That’s what’s great about Las Vegas. The fact betting is involved can turn a big ugly into a classic. However, I had the "over 47" so I thought the whole game stunk. But, had I bet the side, it would indeed have been a different feeling.

Still, the game goes down as another double-digit win. That trend is almost 2-to-1 over the 40-year history of Super Bowls.

Over the years, I have tried to understand why there are so many one-sided Super Bowls when you consider these are the two best NFL teams. My conclusion is the two-week break. It’s one too many. Too much hype, a loss of mojo and more lip service than is humanly tolerable.

Obviously, Bill Cowher and his coaching staff did a much better job preparing for Super XL than Seattle. Mike Holmgren’s two-minute drill at the end of the first half was a horror show.

The 7-3 lead for Pittsburgh killed any realistic chance of the "over" and left us complaining about the sorry refs that basically stole two touchdowns from the Seahawks — when they weren’t dropping passes and committing holding penalties.

Many Steelers say winning SB 40 hasn’t sunk in. Neither is five months without NFL spreads.