Everywhere you turn, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs is being called the best quarterback in the NFL and the league’s Most Valuable Player. I’m just old enough to remember when those same words were being applied to Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, way back in December, 2019. Yes, Mahomes made it to the Super Bowl and Jackson didn’t, but the latter had an unbelievable season, set all kinds of records, and deserves to be named MVP for the year — even while he’s at home watching the other guy play in the big game and possibly being named its MVP.
Those comments notwithstanding, I’d like to see the Chiefs beat the 49ers tonight because they’re a much more fun team to watch. However, I can’t help but think that San Francisco has spent the last two weeks watching every bit of game film with the sole goal of stopping Mahomes’ amazingly elusive moves. There’s a reason why the Niners’ defense got them where they are today, with speed and agility that’s in a different class than Kansas City’s.
If I were a betting man — and it turns out that, on occasion, I am — I wouldn’t touch the spread either way, nor the total points. I would only wager that Demi Lovato’s version of the national anthem will come in under the two-minutes-and-one-second that has been set as the line for that particular proposition bet. The odds on “over” are -155, odds on “under” are +115.
Want some stats on this bet? If you’re thinking that Lovato will drag it out towards the end and make it go over, remember that every diva who’s done the job has already provided data for the oddsmakers. The under-on-the-anthem bet has won in nine of the last twelve Super Bowls. As for Lovato, she has sung the anthem for nationally televised sporting events four times, and only once (at the 2017 Mayweather-McGregor fight) did she go over two minutes. Last year, at Super Bowl 53, Gladys Knight — a belter who can also add flourishes — did “The Star Spangled Banner” in 2:01. So, I’ll take the under.
As for the broadcast of Super Bowl 54, I cringe thinking about having to endure Joe Buck and Troy Aikman calling the game. They’re nowhere near as good as competitors Al Michaels/Cris Collingsworth (NBC) and Jim Vance/Tony Romo (CBS). They both have Hall Of Fame announcers teamed with partners who offer analysis so precise they can often predict what we’re about to see, as opposed to Aikman telling us what we’ve just seen without any keen insights into how it happened. Buck’s Fox colleague Kevin Harlan is also a stellar play-by-play man — who else has given such vivid descriptions of both a stray cat and a streaker getting loose on the field? — and he’s leading the radio coverage of tonight’s game, so I may at some point turn him up and the TV down.
Still, as a football fan, I just want to see a close, exciting game, but I won’t be surprised by anything that happens unless it’s a blowout one way or the other, which seems unlikely, or a wardrobe malfunction by Jennifer Lopez during her halftime show with Shakira. Is there a prop bet involving JLo, in a reprise of her famous scene in “Hustlers,” doing one of her tunes while hanging onto a stripper pole?