Adventures of a Cranky Gambler


The NFL season is finally here. Are you ready? I know I am. I'll confess to all of you nice people on the internet (just between us), that I have a bit of a football addiction. Some might call it a gambling addiction, but the gambling part is really relative to the football part. Sure, I'll bet on March Madness and NHL pucks when the playoffs roll around, but they don't call to me with their siren song the way football does. Not even college pigskins hold that much allure to me. It's got to be real, honest-to-goodness NFL football. I bet on every game, I have fantasy teams, I'm in survivor pools, death pools, you name it... I'll wager on it. When the NFL is involved, I turn into Fred Flintstone: Degenerate Gambler. "Bet, bet, b-bet, bet, bet, bet. Bet!

Don't get me wrong... I don't condone gambling. It is a terrible vice that can ruin lives. But so are a lot of things. Like eating at McDonald's or watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. But it's my vice of choice, and I'm sticking with it. I follow the old anti-gaming motto "Bet with your head, not over it." I only wager money I can afford to lose without having to do anything drastic, like sell a kidney or the family dog. That hasn't always been the case, I was a bit more reckless in my youth. Which is why I'm coming clean with you folks now (again this is just between us, so let's keep it on the hush-hush.)

I will be here with you all season-long to show you why you shouldn't gamble. I will be the poster boy for rooting with your heart and not your wallet. Why? Because I suck, I really do. If there's a bad way to get beat, it usually happens to me. Last year's 28-point Chiefs collapse in the playoffs? I did that. The Fail Mary play that gave the Seahawks that Monday night game two years ago? I was happily sitting on a Packers cover until that final replacement ref travesty. Every Tebow miracle in 2011? That wasn't a higher power, that was me betting against the damn Broncos.

There are two things you can take away from me sharing my tales of woe. One is that gambling is wrong. You can't win. Bookies and casinos can win. You can't. Trust me. There's a reason why casinos are billion-dollar corporations and problem gamblers are one loss away from living at the bus station. Number two is that if you ignore Number One and choose to gamble anyway, I'm here for you, brother. I will share in your pain. No one understands the importance of garbage points at the end of a blowout that clinches the over more than I do. I've felt the misery of watching a shoddy team knock an undefeated team out of your survivor pool. I know what it's like to silently bottle your rage as you watch your team lose in the final minutes of Monday Night Football with the TV on mute and your wife slumbering just inches away unaware of what sloppy tacklers the mother-effing Jets are.

Each week, I will continue my Sisyphean task of gaming the system from the comfort of my big leather armchair in front of three screens of glorious NFL excitement. But my efforts will not be for naught. I'm here to help you lead a better life... by showing you what not to do. The old NBA saying was "Be like Mike," -- our new NFL slogan is "Don't bet like Steve."

By the way, I love the Saints minus the three today.

I can also be found complaining on Twitter @CrankyGambler.