UPDATE: Last night’s finish to the Atlanta game was disappointing – I’m glad I didn’t have more money on the Ravens.  The Giants line moved down a little (to -13.5), so my bet is about 10% smaller – thought it’s still as big of a bet as I’ve ever placed on anything (I think – I might have placed a $1400 bet on a hand of blackjack one time but that was ten years ago so my memory of the exact amount is a bit hazy.  And plus that doesn’t count because I was literally guaranteed to win – maybe I’ll tell the story during the playoffs).  The Tampa bet is also a little bigger, courtesy of the line moving back up to -7.  So it’s going to be a tense weekend, one way or another.

Last Sunday was probably the most enjoyable day of football betting I’ve had since Gamblor was born. Not only did I get to see my favorite team win their third game in a row – the first time that’s happened since 2002 – but I also won a $500 bet on a game that was effectively over by the end of the first quarter. It’s the biggest bet I’ve ever placed in my entire life, and unfortunately my enjoyment of the victory has the potential to be very short-lived, because it’s already about to be eclipsed. The big victory on the Giants bet last week led to a weighted win percentage of 91.9% (and a record of 6-6-1) for Gamblor and a weighted win percentage of 87.6% (and a record of 5-2) for Son of Gamblor. Curiously, many of those “victories” were below the $5 threshold, so the overall record for my actual wagers was 2-4, but the week’s profit was $463, bringing the season’s winnings close to the $2000 mark.

I’m not sure how eagerly you’ve been awaiting this feature, but it’s time to finally get to it – the 5 Dumbest Things Ever Said By NFL Announcers:

5. “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.” – Joe Theismann. For a while I was planning to do a countdown of the NFL’s worst announcers (topped by Joe Buck, who could narrate his own death via laser-mounted shark attack and still suck the excitement out of it to the point where I’d yawn and change the channel.  Go watch him completely ruin this incredible behind-the-back catch by Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee in the 2009 World Series – seriously, at least the Boom-Goes-The-Dynamite Guy is at least trying to keep the viewer interested) but I realize it’s pretty much been done to death already.  Theismann came in at 47 on the Yahoo countdown, having earned a reputation as a “jock apologist” who refused to ever blame players for failing to execute and finding new and inspiring ways to contradict himself repeatedly within a single sentence.  Theismann even spawned a drinking game based on the predictability of his commentary.  ESPN fired him just two years into an five-year contract with Monday Night Football (paying an estimated $4 million to get rid of him).  Joe’s signature quote doesn’t sniff the top spot on this list because it wasn’t offensive, but definitely shows how fantastically inept the man could be for someone who gets paid to talk for a living.

4. “You know, John, I wish I was a pirate…” – Pat Summerall. The combination of Pat Summerall and John Madden, though not suiting everyone’s taste, had a long run that spanned two networks (CBS and Fox) and is probably the most memorable partnership in sportscasting history.  But Summerall’s alcoholism combined with his advancing age took its toll on his skills as a broadcaster; in his later years, during a broadcast of a Tampa Bay game, a noticeably addled Summerall reacted to the Buccaneers pirate ship cannon-firing touchdown celebration with the above quote.  John Madden was stunned to silence for a few moments of dead air, before finally responding “Oh yeah? Live in anarchy?” Summerall’s dreamlike response was both hilarious and sad: “Where is anarchy, John?”  “It’s out there in the water,” Madden replied, “where there’s no cops.”

3. “He’s got gettin-away-from-the-cops speed!” – Gus Johnson. To me, Gus Johnson the polar opposite to Joe Buck – the Joseph Conrad to Buck’s Henry James.  Gus goes completely over the top with his excitement on just about every play, regardless of how inconsequential the play ends up being.  I love watching games where he’s in the booth, but sometimes his enthusiasm gets the better of him – as in the case of his call on a Chris Johnson 52-yard breakaway touchdown against the Jaguars in 2009.  Though some viewers quickly retired to their fainting couches for a pinch of smelling salts, the greasy PC thugs so eager to exploit Gus’ comment as a racial issue were disappointed to discover that the announcer was, in fact, black himself.  The issue died fairly quickly after a tepid apology from Gus Johnson, but the expression “Cop Speed” lives on as a nickname for the talented Titans running back.

2. “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?” – Howard Cosell. Monday Night Football, which became a weekly affair hosted by ABC in 1970, was an instant hit with fans who wanted one more taste of football to ease the drudgery of a typical work week, and also with gamblers who wanted one last shot to win back the money they had blown over the weekend.  Cosell was a source of controversy from the very first broadcast, as the Ford Company, one of their biggest advertisers, sought to have him removed before they witnessed the astronomical ratings the event drew.  Later that same season, Cosell had to leave the broadcast booth after drunkenly vomiting on the cowboy boots of his co-host Don Meredith (who was no saint himself; he once awesomely announced “We’re in the Mile High City and I sure am…”).  But Cosell’s most controversial moment came during the 1983 season, when he referred to Washington Redskins wide receiver Alvin Garrett as a “little monkey” based on his size and his ability to elude tacklers.  Cosell insisted that his statement was not meant along racial lines, and although Garrett himself didn’t take offense to the gaffe, the resulting media firestorm led to Cosell’s departure from Monday Night Football by the end of the season.

1.  “The black is a better athlete to begin with because he’s been bred to be that way — because of his high thighs and big thighs that goes up into his back, and they can jump higher and run faster because of their bigger thighs. This goes back all the way to the Civil War when during the slave trading, the owner — the slave owner would breed his big black to his big woman so that he could have a big black kid.” – Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Jimmy The Greek was famous for discussing the prospect of sports gambling without explicitly acknowledging the marriage between the two activities, and his career was in decline by 1988 as the league continued to attempt to distance itself from organized gambling.  But Snyder’s comments to a TV reporter in a Washington D.C. restaurant were his ultimate undoing, as the nation refused to even entertain the notion that slave owners in the United States might have practiced eugenics, and Snyder was summarily fired for his incredibly tactless and clumsy acknowledgment of a very taboo subject.

Obviously the Giants bet is the big one this week, but there’s a lot of money riding on the Buccaneers as well – which personally worries me a lot more.  As always, Gamblor knows best, so if you’re going to listen to either either of our advice, go with the computer’s.  It makes much better decisions than I do.

Away Home Spread Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Son of Gamblor’s Pick Bet Amount Overall Pick Overall Bet
BAL at ATL -1 BAL $17.92 BAL $16.23 BAL $34.15
CIN at IND -7 CIN $17.47 CIN $17.47
HOU at JAC -1.5 JAC JAC $8.60 JAC $8.60
TEN at MIA 2 MIA $3.43 MIA
MIN at CHI 1.5 MIN $0.67 MIN $5.46 MIN $6.43
DET at BUF -3 DET $4.49 BUF $0.07 DET
NYJ at CLE 3 CLE $12.41 CLE $12.41
CAR at TAM -7 TAM $176.10 TAM $204.14 TAM $380.23
KAN at DEN 1 DEN $20.17 DEN $20.17
STL at SNF -6 STL $17.92 STL $11.48 STL $29.40
SEA at ARI -3 SEA $1.12 SEA
DAL at NYG -13.5 NYG $332.98 NYG $385.31 NYG $718.29
NEP at PIT -4.5 NEP $1.18 NEP
PHI at WAS 3 WAS $2.36 WAS $0.10 WAS


Computer’s Pick: Baltimore (+1)
Bet Amount: $34.15 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: I’m really glad that Thursday football is back, but I’m not sure what to make of this one.  Atlanta is consistently much stronger when playing at home, but Baltimore has been operating at a pretty high level, both offensively and defensively, through most of this season.  The only advantage I can see here is that Baltimore is forced to travel on a short week (though it’s a relatively short trip).  I guess that means I’ll put in a tentative pick of Atlanta to deliver a tough victory in front of the home crowd.
Computer’s Pick: Cincinnati (+7)
Bet Amount: $17.47 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Against the Colts’ defense, I really like Cincinnati here.  As much as I hate picking against Peyton Manning, he seems to be having a pretty tough time dealing with the relentless barrage of injuries his receiving corps has suffered.  I don’t think that Indianapolis has the horses to run away with this one, and even if they do a backdoor cover courtesy of the Carson Palmer – Terrell Owens connection is very possible.
Computer’s Pick: Jacksonville (-1.5)
Bet Amount: $8.60 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: I don’t really trust Houston’s offense any more and their defense is a joke, but since I always seem to pick wrong when it comes to Jacksonville, I’ll reverse myself and stick with Houston in a blowout.
Computer’s Pick: Tennessee (+1.5)
Bet Amount: $7.86 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Henne is due for a dud, and Chris Johnson will benefit a great deal from having the defense stretch to in response to Randy Moss’ presence.  Miami has been pretty good so far this season, but there’s no good reason for them to be favorites in this game.  The points are a gift.
Computer’s Pick: Minnesota (-1.5)
Bet Amount: $6.14 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: This is Minnesota’s last chance at redemption.  The computer models don’t think there’s anything fishy going on with this spread, and I really don’t either – it seems pretty well balanced to account for Chicago’s apparent decline and Minnesota’s last-ditch efforts to salvage their season.  I think we’ll probably see a Minnesota win here, as Cutler tries to force a few throws in front of his interception mentor, the incomparable Brett Favre.
Computer’s Pick: Detroit (+3)
Bet Amount: $4.43 (Conflict)
COMMENTS: Poor Buffalo.  They’ll eventually get it together, but not here.  Detroit is going to be incredible insulted to be considered a home dog to a winless team, and they’ll play angry.  Jahvid Best will wreak havoc, and the Lions should win this game easily – or at LEAST cover the spread.
Computer’s Pick: Cleveland (+3)
Bet Amount: $12.41 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Cleveland is starting to look like the real deal, led by Colt McCoy.  But the Jets are going to be salivating at the opportunity to press their advantage against the Patriots, and studying the game film of Cleveland’s victory over the Patriots last week will be a very productive activity for the Jets coaching staff – a 2 for 1 special.  I actually think there’s a good chance this game will end with a push, but I also think there’s a good chance the Jets will score a defensive touchdown against McCoy – his honeymoon in the NFL might be due to end.
Computer’s Pick: Tampa Bay (-6.5)
Bet Amount: $303.66 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: This line is a fuckin’ trap.  Nobody in their right minds was taking the 7 points to bet on Carolina, and now the line has slipped to 6.5?  Ugh.  I have a bad feeling that Carolina is somehow going to take back a lot of the money they gave me at the beginning of the season.
Computer’s Pick: Denver (+1)
Bet Amount: $20.17 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: I’m not thrilled with the computer’s bet here.  I’ve seen pretty much nothing out of Denver so far this season, and with Oakland breathing down Kansas City’s neck, the Chiefs will be motivated to put forth their best effort in this divisional contest.
Computer’s Pick: St. Louis (+6)
Bet Amount: $29.40 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: This line also feels like a trap.  How on earth are the Rams, who have shown flashes of brilliance (well…let’s call it “competence”) and share the lead in the NFC West, a six-point underdog to the hapless 49ers?  I guarantee there’s a lot of money flowing towards St. Louis in this game, and that’s exactly the way the books want it, for some reason.
Computer’s Pick: Seattle (+3)
Bet Amount: $1.12 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Wow.  I’ve seen some duds this season, but this one is definitely a contender for the top spots among games I don’t care about this year.  I can’t see either of these teams winning this game, and in those situations, I generally go with the points.  So…(checks line)…I’ll give Seattle the nod on this one.
Computer’s Pick: NY Giants (-14)
Bet Amount: $795.39 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: As the Bud Light commercial says…Here We Go.  This is the biggest bet of my career, and I’m frankly quite worried about this one.  The Giants SHOULD win this easily against the imploding Cowboys, but this is football and any number of fluke plays (deflected pass, pick six, kick return) could spell disaster for my bet.  My only consolation is the huge spread – it’s pretty obvious that Vegas is desperate to keep bettors from riding the Giants.  Wish me luck.
Computer’s Pick: New England (+4.5)
Bet Amount: $1.18 (Gamblor only)
COMMENTS: Another toss-up, but I feel like the Patriots’ game management skills will prevent this one from getting out of hand.  But then again, that defense…yeah.  I’ll take the Steelers here.  They should put up about 45 points on this New England defense.
Computer’s Pick: Washington (+3)
Bet Amount: $2.46 (Consensus)
COMMENTS: This is a pretty important game and should provide us with some interesting action for a Monday night.  It’s another coin toss for me, but I feel like Philadelphia’s big-play potential will net them enough touchdowns that they’ll stretch this game beyond Donovan McNabb’s reach.


W L P Weighted Wins Weighted Picks Weighted Win % W L P Weighted Wins Weighted Picks Weighted Win %
1 9 4 3 1681 1876 89.6% 6 0 2 3692 3692 100.0% $647.02
2 10 5 1 918 1030 89.1% 5 3 486 491 99.0% $206.10
3 13 3 1203 1428 84.2% 5 4 1132 1988 56.9% $184.96
4 8 6 672 891 75.4% 3 4 1343 1832 73.3% $200.21
5 6 5 411 583 70.5% 9 3 974 1477 66.0% $372.58
6 4 7 1 432 559 77.3% 2 3 649 727 89.2% $121.28
7 8 6 666 2401 27.7% 3 4 1792 3924 45.7% -$291.65
8 7 5 507 1000 50.7% 6 2 1526 2876 53.1% $6.96
9 6 6 1 1625 1768 91.9% 5 2 1766 2017 87.6% $462.73
Total 71 47 5 8114 11535 70.3% 44 25 2 13360 19025 70.2% $1,910.19