Conference Championship Sunday

First, I had a very enjoyable breakfast this morning with GW. Since the blog is still anonymous, technically, and since it’s unlikely you have heard of my breakfast companion, I have chosen not to fully identify him.

He is a high-level executive for a major league baseball team. In 1997, I gave him his first full-time baseball job. He has become jaded about the game and the industry, which is understandable to someone like me who was a pioneer in sports analytics and a “father” of Moneyball only to be booted out of the game for lack of “proper” group identification.


I know a lot of NFL fans read this blog. How do I know? On Sundays during the NFL regular season, the number of blog views/visitors is lower than for any other day of the week and most of those that do read only do so after the second game window has ended.

As the post title reads, today is the day of the two conference championship games: San Francisco at Philadelphia for the NFC and Cincinnati at Kansas City for the AFC. The winners will play in the Super Bowl in two weeks.

I have no idea who will win either game. The ankle injury suffered last week by star Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has contributed to the most bunched odds of winning it all for any NFL “Final Four.” I believe the Chiefs, at home, are only a 1- or 1 1/2-point favorite–would have been a bigger spread without the injury–and I think the Eagles, at home, are a 2 1/2-point favorite.

The only NFL bet I have ever made with a casino was betting on the Baltimore Ravens to win the Super Bowl. Before the 2000 season, I put a bet on them at 30-1 odds because I thought they should only have been 10-1 or 12-1. Lo and behold, they won the Super Bowl that year. I think I bet $50 and won $1,500. I’m not sure, though, because I don’t recall having taxes withheld from the winnings (I think the threshold then was $600, but it might have been $1,200), but January of 2001 was a very tumultuous period in my life as I was getting my baseball consulting business off the ground. I might have bet $20 and won $600.

I do remember sending the winning ticket via registered or certified mail to the Las Vegas casino where I had placed the bet in person. I received the check less than a week later.

I have won enough money on bets at the race track to have taxes withheld when I cashed in the ticket. I once won a large enough payoff (on a straight trifecta, as opposed to a trifecta box) to be congratulated by the clerk at the window.

My father’s second gas/service station, the one where he worked for 25 years, was basically right across the street from Pimlico Race Course. You could hear the track announcer’s call of the races from there. Like my interest in cars, I come by my interest in horse racing honestly although I no longer follow “The Sport Of Kings” closely.


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