The Grey Cup may have been a dog of a game for those pure of heart, but not for anyone with a bet on the outcome. For them, it was terrific entertainment to the final gun and let's talk now about pro football's elephant in the room.
Football is a betting game. From traditional point-spread betting on the Internet or, for the true old-timers, with bookmakers, on to office pools, fantasy leagues, Pro-Line (and the like) and even to those fill-in-the-square grids, there is plenty of money riding on every game. The betting here is that more people watching it have action of some kind on it than don't have a financial stake in the outcome, one way or the other.
Yet TV announcers never go there and isn't it ridiculous to pretend that so much of the market simply doesn't exist?
The B.C. Lions were favoured over the Montreal Alouettes, the line opening at seven points and moving up to eight. So with the score 25-12 late and Montreal on the B.C. one-yard line, it looked like a classic back-door cover — i.e., the underdog is too far behind to win the game, but can score late to get inside the point spread. Like Michigan did Saturday against Ohio State.
So Robert Edwards fumbles at the one-yard line and B.C. dodges that bullet. Then Montreal gets the ball back and fires into the end zone with a few seconds left for a TD to beat the spread. Exciting? Not for rooting fans of either team, perhaps; the decision had long since been locked up. But for bettors, it was a cliff-hanger finish. Those on both sides got a great run for their dough.
We all understand that the god-almighty NFL forbids its announcer/shills from mentioning the point spread.
The NFL pretends that betting does not exist, even though it otherwise caters to gamblers; there is no other explanation possible for the detailed injury list. The spread of gambling helped the NFL reach its incredible heights of popularity. Pretending otherwise is a classic case of the emperor having no clothes.
U.S. TV is happy to play along, so valuable are the broadcasting rights, but this is Canada. The CFL is in lucrative marketing partnerships with bookmakers and online gambling sites. There are gambling house logos painted on the field. For Canadian announcers to ape genuflecting Americans here and pretend a major element doesn't exist is flat wrong.
They don't need to harp on betting, but to ignore it is to ignore a large part of their audience. Other than the diehard Lions fan, what reason other than betting was there to watch the late stages of a lousy game that gambling made great?