I’ll begin by telling a little story about a beautiful woman wearing black shoes, singing on a Sunday afternoon two years ago in Santa Clara, California. A thousand miles away, a young man with a dream paid particular attention to those black shoes. You see, that man was barefoot because he was poor and had no shoes. Had that singer worn blue that day, he might have afforded a brand new pair of shoes.
And now here’s the shocker you never saw coming: That woman singing “Crazy in Love” was Beyoncé, and that barefoot dreamer was me. I had made an offshore wager at 8-to-1 odds — called a “Proposition bet” — that Beyoncé would be wearing blue pumps during her halftime performance of Super Bowl 50.
I had no way of knowing this pampered, golden-child billionaire had chosen a “black-power” theme as a tribute to the Black Panthers, Black Lives Matter, protesting police racial discrimination. Few also knew she and megastar husband, Jay-Z had paid for an extensive police escort to the stadium.
But I don’t care about all that; I only care that blue shoes would have won me $80 on a $10 bet. So I guess my overall theme is lessons learned from that day. You guessed it: Legalized gambling can make a barefoot bachelor’s dreams come true; it’s just a matter of making wise choices.
In order to be an educational column, I must first explain what a proposition, or “Pro bet” is. It’s simply risking a certain amount to win a certain amount on outcomes — the odds set by experts in Vegas — not related to the actual score. For instance, I often pick a favorite player to score the game’s first touchdown. This Sunday, I could choose super tight end, “Gronk,” but he’s too obvious with 7-to-1 odds. I can barely buy penny loafers at those odds.
But my man, wide receiver Torrey Smith, would turn my $10 into $200. Adding to my “seer” reputation, in last weekend’s championship games, I correctly chose Jacksonville’s Mercedes Lewis in game No. 1, and Minnesota’s Kyle Rudolph in game No. 2. That’ll get a man some fancy kicks to strut around in Monday morning.
But you might say, “I don’t care about ridiculous bets like that; I just never want to see Tom Brady’s or Bill Belichick’s smug faces again!” Well, there’s a place for such hate-filled wishes, and there’s more “novelty props” than you can throw a flag at. If you’d correctly wager $100 that both Brady and Belichick will announce their retirements after the game, you’d pocket $3,600.
Eagle fans might further hope Gronkowski won’t even play because of recurring concussion symptoms. He probably will, but if not, your $100 wins you $150. What are the chances of any player being forced from the game after being dealt a concussion? It’s almost even money either way, but I’m thinking at least one behemoth will stagger from the field, look at his coach and mumble, “Daddy?”
Can’t get enough of Trump’s class act? Why not quadruple your money that the Donald overcomes his inherent shyness and humility and attends the game? The “over/under” for how many times he tweets during the game is set at 2 1/2. We all know he tweets more times than that in his sleep, so the “Over” appears prudent.
Now here’s where it gets a little dicey and triggers shoe PTSD in me. What color liquid will celebrating players pour over their winning coach’s head as time runs out? I’m not going anywhere near blue again, even at the 5-to-1 odds. I’d be more inclined to go with green/yellow (and one has to hope it’s only Gatorade) at 3-to-1.
There’s no limit to your betting options, including whether the word “dilly,” as in “Dilly dilly” will be said more or less than 12 1/2 times, if Al Michaels will say the word “Vegas,” and who will win the Puppy Bowl — “Team Ruff” or “Team Fluff.”
And here’s my promised prediction, backed up by hard-earned Social Security money and painstaking research: Eagles 31, Patriots 27. Remember, you heard it here first. Now, if something unforeseen, like New England winning 24-10 occurs, you didn’t hear it from me.