By Brian Shea
[Editor’s Note: Aaron R. Davis is busy watching The Watchmen on DVD, so today we bring you a special guest column from Brian Shea.]
I have really ambitious plans this year for Thanksgiving. First off, I will gather around a table with family and reflect on the blessings we have received during the year. We will eat and chat and enjoy the special bond we share.
Then, later that weekend, I will single-handedly ruin the National Football League for millions and millions of fans.
How do I plan to do that? It’s easy, actually. I’m going to go to Delaware and gamble on NFL games. At a casino. Shocking, huh?
If you listen to the folks with the NFL, the other sports leagues and that fine upstanding organization, the NCAA, I might as well just pillage neighboring towns and defile the womenfolk. Gambling on sports is the worst thing ever, they say.
That’s why they have fought so hard to stop gambling in Nevada. Oh, wait. They haven’t done that. In fact, they pretty much have a love affair with Nevada. They’re going after Delaware, the home of Andrew Shue and Valerie Bertinelli. Yep, they are blaspheming the state which gave us Billy from Melrose Place and the chick who married Eddie Van Halen. Have they no shame?
In case you hadn’t heard, Delaware is set to unveil sports betting at its three racetrack casinos on September 1, just in time for football season. The governor pushed through the initiative earlier this year because the state has a budget deficit, and he is apparently a pretty good dude. I say that because he also signed legislation to bring table games to the state next year.
After all the hubub died down about how everyone was going to gamble away their life savings, the NCAA and pro sports leagues rode in on their high horse and took the state to court to try and stop the plan. They say they want to maintain the “integrity” of the sports.
One of the people supporting the league’s position is a North Carolina Congressman named Heath Shuler. You might remember him as a pretty shitty NFL quarterback a bunch of years ago. I think people like him on the football field hurt the integrity of the game more than me spending a day in Delaware trying to decide if the Ravens will win their game that day.
And never mind that the NFL has just cut a deal to have team logos on lottery tickets, the NCAA lets conferences hold their championships in Las Vegas, the NBA has an ownership group which also owns a casino and has a WNBA team which plays in a casino and Major League Baseball has teams with outfield wall advertising local casinos.
They’re just looking out for us. You know what? Screw you. I’ll look out for myself. Luckily, a federal judge has agreed and refused to stop the gambling plan from going into effect next month. The leagues, naturally, are appealing.
I hope they lose since I already have my Thanksgiving weekend trip planned. When the plans for gambling came together, I looked at the NFL schedule. I wanted to find a good weekend to catch the Ravens in a sports book because watching games in a sports book when you have money riding on the outcome is one of the most awesome experiences you can have.
Thanksgiving offers the perfect opportunity. The Ravens play the Steelers in the Sunday night game. Earlier that day, the Redskins and the Eagles play just over the state line at Lincoln Financial Field. A day filled with rivalries. There are even 10 NBA games sprinkled throughout the day in case I get bored. I can’t wait to find out what college hoops games might be on tap that day too.
If Delaware hadn’t added gambling and if the leagues hadn’t acted as if we would just be learning about this new gambling thing, I might not be this fired up. But they can’t just let people have fun. They have even passed a new rule so no NCAA playoffs can take place in states which have single-game bets even though both Nevada and Delaware won’t accept bets on games which take place in the state.
That means the University of Delaware won’t get to host anymore Division I-AA (I refuse to call it Football Championship Series) playoff games. Little Wesley College will have to travel for its Division III playoff games. But there will still be a Las Vegas Bowl each December where the teams will stay at Planet Hollywood and the Venetian.
Because they’re all about the integrity of the game.
Brian Shea used to write for HoboTrashcan, but like Gladys Knight, he left us Pips behind to write for his own site, Regular Guy Column.