Prop Bets, Baltimore Sun, and a lot of Beyonce.

Towards the end of the summer The Baltimore Sun, the largest newspaper circulation in Maryland, came to eROI to create a campaign to increase the number of digital subscriptions to their website. We wanted to use the upcoming NFL season to leverage The Baltimore Sun’s exclusive, insider coverage of the Baltimore Ravens to achieve this. I’m a web developer. Programmers aren’t big fans of meetings. Certainly not initial strategy and scoping meetings. But my love and expertise for the NFL made me a candidate to help contribute to our strategy team into creating a campaign designed to target the “die-hard” fans: the type of fans that paint their faces and attend games shirtless in 10 degree weather. We thought about what separates the die-hard fans from casual or fair-weather fans. They have an intimate relationship and knowledge of the team. They have chambers of their brain dedicated to crucial and important facts, like who was Ray Lewis’ first sack? The first week of the campaign saw a 50% increase from the same week in the previous year, and a multi-channel campaign saw increased subscriptions throughout the season. As you may have heard, this Sunday there is a little event called a “Super Bowl” that the Ravens are attending. Now, is our work with The Baltimore Sun the reason the Ravens made the Super Bowl? I’m not ruling it out.

Because of our work with the Sun, a lot of us at eROI have adopted the Ravens as our favorite NFL team to root for. We’ve kept a few of the great posters and print ads we’ve made and have them up in various parts of the office. We have more Baltimore Ravens representation in the office than any other professional sports team, and we support a lot of different teams here. Popkes’ and KC’s desks represent the Beavers of Oregon State, Tam has a pennant of her school’s basketball team, the RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) Balls. Their mascot is named Scrotie. It was fun for the office to keep informed on the latest Ravens game and their succesful season. I’ve always liked them because they are named after the poem written by the greatest American poet of all time, Edgar Allan Poe. But no team will ever usurp my favorite team. The team the Ravens just so happen to be playing this Sunday. The matchup has created interesting dichotomys. Harbaugh vs Harbaugh, eROI vs Matt Grantski. Monday at the office should be an interesting day.

During the season, Amanda ran a very successful weekly NFL pool, where winners were picked for each game and whoever got the most right would win. You know, if gambling were legal, that is. I won it 5 out of 16 times, so if gambling WERE legal, and if we hypothetically made the entry fee $20, then I would have hypothetically won almost $600 in profit, you know, if gambling were legal.

We didn’t do anything for the playoffs, but we are having a fun little pool for the Super Bowl, where we hypothetically wager on many of the ancillary prop bets that have little to nothing to do with the game. I did this a few years ago and it was really fun. Here’s a list of what we have this year, with my thoughts on each.

1. How long will it take Alicia Keys to sing the US National Anthem? (Over/Under 2min10sec)

I looked up a few anthems and found that not many went longer than 2 minutes. I did some math here, and considering there are 8 lines of the song, she would need to spend on average over 16 seconds per line, including pauses. This sounds like an unreasonable expectation considering she isn’t known for holding notes or exaggerating her voice. She has been out of the limelight for a few minutes, so maybe she will stretch it out, but she seems like the type to do this by the books and avoid much criticism. I vote under, and I expect it to go about 1:50.

2. Will Alicia Keys forget / omit / mess up at least one word of the National Anthem? (Yes/No)

3. Will Alicia Keys add at least 1 NEW word of the official US National Anthem? *repeating a word does not count* (Yes/No)

For the same reasons above, I think she will nail every word. She won’t forget a line, add new words, or repeat a line in her rendition. No to both.

4. What will be the result of the coin toss? (Heads / Tails)

Tails never fails.

5. What will the first play from scrimmage be? (Run/Pass) *A pass play where qb is sacked or scrambles counts as a pass*

My beloved 49ers are going to win the coin toss because the Ravens are fools and will pick heads. The 49ers will defer the kick, electing to get the ball in the second half. The Ravens will get the ball first, and the expectation is that they will run first to calm Flacco’s nerves. However, John Harbaugh will be expecting that, and will elect to pass first. However, Jim Harbaugh will be expecting THAT and come out with an outside linebacker blitz in a man coverage. Flacco will throw it away to avoid a sack, right into the arms of Navarro Bowman. INTERCEPTION! So yes, pass.

6. What will the first commercial after the opening kickoff be an advertisement for? (Food/Drink/Other)

You can rest assured this will be a Bud Light commercial featuring an animal being cute.

7. Will Beyonce be joined by Jay Z on Stage during the Super Bowl Half Time Show? (Yes/No)

My money (if gambling were legal) is on NO for this one. Jay-Z loves to bring Bey-Bey up to the stage because he likes to show off that he’s “got the hottest chick in the game wearin’ my chain,” but does she want or need to show him off?

The real question is whether or not you think she will perform “Crazy in Love,” the duet she did with Jay-Z. His presence is probably entirely predicated on this song, and if Beyonce does it, he will probably appear. So, will she do it? I did some research to compile her most popular songs both as a solo artist and with Destiny’s Child, including Survivor, Halo, Independent Woman, Say My Name, Single Ladies, Irreplaceable, etc., but come on. Listen to the first two seconds of this song and try to tell me that it WON’T be the highlight of her set? When you factor in the horns, the chorus, the “dance” and the “uh oh, uh oh, uh oh, oh no no” part, you can’t convince me she’s not doing this song. I doubt anyone other than Jay-Z will do the rap in his place, so you can lock this one down too.

This is a good dance.
(Bonus pick: I predict Destiny’s Child will reunite at the show. I predict they will officially announce a new album. AND I predict Justin Timberlake will join Jay-Z and Beyonce for a song. You saw it here first.)

8. What predominant color will Beyonce’s top be at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime show? (Black, Yellow/Gold, Silver/Grey, White, Red, Pink, Orange, Blue, Green, Other)

This one you just have to close your eyes and pick what’s in your heart. In my heart, I know she will walk out with the fans wearing some big robe or something, and then toss it off when she’s on stage, revealing an outfit glittery and shining like diamonds. I pick Silver/Grey.

9. Which team will throw the first challenge flag? (49ers / Ravens)

Throwing a challenge is akin to not liking how the game is going. Since the 49ers are going to steamroll the Ravens, John Harbaugh and Baltimore throws the first challenge flag.

10. Which team will win? (49ers / Ravens)

You know what I’m picking by now.

11. What will be the color of the gatorade splash? (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue/Violet, Clear, Other/None)

For some reason, Clear is the heavy favorite. I don’t like that. It might as well be water. I like the pictures that come out when a coach is drenched in Yellow #5 and Blue #1 and Red #42. If it’s clear, I don’t get the same satisfaction. It probably won’t even have high fructose corn syrup, and what kind of sports drink doesn’t have that? The next two highly favored colors are Orange/Yellow, followed by Red, Green and Blue as long shots. My favorite Gatorade is Orange but you never see that anymore, so I’m going Yellow here. Yellow #5.

12. How many times will the game be referred to as “Harbaugh Bowl”, “Harbowl” or “Super Baugh?” (Over/Under 2.5)

Phil Simms is the color commentator here. Phil Simms is the worst person at talking football. He says football more than any other football commentator in the National Football League of Football. All announcers are guilty of padding their commentary with empty calories that don’t enhance their point but fill up time. This is one reason why I love tennis. The announcers have to shut up while a game is going on, and they only insert commentary after a point, and it’s directly related to what’s happening. Football announcers make empty statements that have nothing to do with how the game is being played all the time, and Phil Simms is the master at this. Any time the conversation steers towards the Harbaugh brothers, I feel that Phil will name drop this as the Harbaugh Bowl. He will also mention the game they played last year on Thanksgiving as the “original” Harbaugh Bowl, and this will be Harbaugh Bowl II. That’s two right there, and look for Jim Nantz to supply the third. Over.

13. If Ray Lewis is interviewed on TV after the game on the field or in the locker room how many times will he mention “God/Lord”? (Over/under 3.5)

This is Ray Lewis’ last chance to be Ray Lewis after a game, and he will pull out all the stops, win or lose. Over. Over. So much over. Lock it down.

There’s only one more question left, and I’ll let Beyonce ask it.

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