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January 31, 2013 8:39 am

MY LOUSY WORLD: The reason for the season

Written by Doug Blough

Well, the blitz is gonna hit the fan come Sunday. And this fan will toss and turn Saturday night and wake up giddy on Sunday morning. Yes, Feb. 3 is the real Christmas Day for shut-in, adult gamblers. Only three betting days left till Football Fan Christmas.

“Twas the night before Super Bowl, and all through the townhouse, all the creatures were stirring; my cat had a dead mouse. The bets were placed with my offshore bookie with care, in hopes that St. Kaepernick soon would be there. Doug was nestled all snug in his bed, while visions of touchdowns danced in his head…”

I can’t finish this holiday poem because I have no idea how this Super Bowl might end. Usually by this time, I pretty much know which team will win and by how many points. I sometimes even think I know who will win the coin toss, which team and which player will score the first touchdown, and the approximate distance of the first and last field goals.

You can bet on all those things you know, and about 1,000 other possible scenarios. They’re called “Proposition bets,” and there are odds set on each possibility known to man. For instance, “Will there be a missed extra point after a touchdown?” If you say, “No way; my grandmother could kick the extra point,” you can certainly wager such, but you must risk $24 for each $1 you win. But if you astutely sense a kicker’s gonna goof, you’ll win $12 on each $1 you bet.

And if you think it never happens in a Super Bowl, ask my brother-in-law Skip, and then remember to duck. In the ‘70s, he bought himself one of those squares on the betting charts all the bars offer this time each year, and was watching the game at the Jerome, Pa., firehall at the huge, annual Super Bowl party.

When his hometown Steelers scored a touchdown at the end of the third quarter, his magic numbers of 4 and 0 were about to line up for a $1,000 payoff on his $50 square. Jubilant buddies were already lining up to ask him for loans when … kicker Roy Gerela missed the extra point.

To this day, you can send Skip into a cursing tirade by mentioning that game. “Pigeontoes Gerela” is what he calls him during a scorching, play-by-play tirade of his one chance of a super win.

As for me, I’ve won some Super Bowl bets, and I’ve lost some. Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention. Actually, there’s plenty of regrets. Like in ’04 when I bet the game would end in overtime — something that has never happened in Super Bowl history — on a 20 to 1 shot. Sure enough, it was tied with a few seconds left and New England needing to travel the length of the field to score and prevent overtime.

Everyone including the announcers and myself were certain he would let the clock run out and take his chances in overtime. But noooo, that wasn’t good enough for that robot Tom Brady. Instead, in lightning fashion, he completed a couple long passes, called a timeout with four seconds left, and Viniateri — an accomplice to the crime — kicked a 45-yard field goal to stop me from winning $400 on a $20 bet.

I’d have been considered a genius in gambling circles and celebrated each February. Young, degenerate gamblers everywhere would look up to me as a role model. I coulda been a somebody! Brady and Viniateri are still on my blitz-list. Gamblers do not forget and we certainly do not forgive.

But I will forever love former Bronco fullback Howard Griffith. “Howie” as I lovingly call him hadn’t scored a touchdown all year back in ‘99. Running back Terrell Davis did all the scoring and got all the glory, while Griffith usually blocked selflessly. But Doug the soothsayer had a feeling that super February day.

It was a 15-1 shot that Griffith would score the game’s first TD, and I took those odds for $20. A few minutes in, Davis went on a long run and was tackled at the goal line. The refs signaled a touchdown, but instant replay reversed the decision, showing he had been down at the half-foot line.

Next play … handoff to Howard Griffith … TOUCHDOWN … $300 winner for the young Cody fellow doing cartwheels across his living room.

I certainly have a lot of numbers to crunch in these last three days before the big game. “When on the TV, there arose such a clatter; I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Colin Kaepernick had the first score, but when the dust cleared, the Ravens win by four.”

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