When it comes to veiled gambling references in professional sports broadcasting, Brent Musburger and Al Michaels are the Ali and Frazier of the field. With NBC having the rights to the Pro Bowl and not the Super Bowl this year, Michaels and partner Cris Collinsworth made the trip to Hawaii for their final, meaningless assignment of the year. And since broadcasting an exhibition game put together by a fantasy draft seems well beneath a broadcaster with the clout of Al Michaels, you knew the only way he could make it through the broadcast was by seeing how he could drop a note about the point spread.
As fate would have it, the final play of the game produced that exact moment.
And just to prove to you that the Vegas sportsbooks are only matched in their secret powers by The Stonecutters, Team Rice led Team Sanders 22-21 in the final seconds and Team Rice was favored by 1.5 points. As Team Sanders attempted a 67 yard game winning kick to win the game by Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, it fell into the arms of Jets CB Antonio Cromartie. As he attempted to return the kick, the fate of Al Michaels' sizable wager hung in the balance…
By far the best part of that video is the fact that Al didn't even bother veiling his gambling reference (or his leanings therein), temporarily caught himself, and then figured "ah screw it, it's the Pro Bowl, who cares" all in the course of a few seconds. Al was calling the play dead before Cromartie even got out of the endzone to try to dissuade him from imposing the worst beat on an exhibition game in the history of sports betting. If Terrell Suggs hadn't been chasing down Cromartie, Al may have climbed out of the booth to try and make the tackle himself.
This video clip is the only evidence all week to emerge in favor of keeping the Pro Bowl. Although next year I propose Al Michaels and Brent Musburger broadcast the event together and we just keep track of their prop bets in the booth.
Video via SB Nation