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The Ultimate Super Bowl Pool
Bob Cunningham
January 27, 2005

Everybody who hosts a Super Bowl party... and many people who don't... have the typical Super Bowl pool as part of the festivities. A piece of paper is divided up into 100 squares, each of which are sold for anywhere from 25 cents to $25 apiece. After the squares are all bought, numbers are randomly placed along the columns down the side and across the top aligned to one row of squares, to correspond with the last digit of each team's score in the game.

Do I need to explain this further? Didn't think so.

There's nothing wrong with the traditional pool, I suppose, but I have a much better idea that will keep everyone interested from the opening kickoff all the way through the final gun (including commercials).

Have your pool be about players... and have several pools. I'm supposed to write in this space that buying squares is discouraged because of the potential for violating anti-gambling laws. But 99 percent of the pools require the buying of squares. What I write in this space isn't going to alter that even slightly.

In this case, each box of squares will correspond to players and positions instead of teams. The numbers are for yardage, not points.

Okay, let me explain how this works.

For Super Bowl XXXIX, we have New England and Philadelphia. Our first block of squares will be for the quarterbacks, Tom Brady of the Patriots and the Eagles' Donovan McNabb. This pool is based on the length of any TD pass or run by the QBs. For example, you might buy a square that places you at "McNabb 4, Brady 8." So, if Donovan McNabb throws a 24-yard TD pass, you just cashed in. If the pool is worth, say, $100... make each TD worth $10 until the $100 is exhausted. Or, you can award only one score per quarter - the first score of each quarter counts - with the fourth quarter being worth $40 (or $20 and save the last $20 in case there is overtime).

The idea would be to have one pool for the QBs, and another for RBs Corey Dillon and Brian Westbrook. Perhaps another for the WRs as a group would be fun, and another for the tight ends. And you'll want one to cover any defensive or special teams scores. Every touchdown pays someone.

Another fun method is to award the entire pot to the first TD pool winner, then keep dividing it for each winner. If the game had 10 TDs, each winner gets one-tenth of the kitty. But if there's only one touchdown, it's the motherlode for the lucky winner. Logically, the QB pool should be worth more than the others because QBs are involved in more TDs.

But that's not a requirement. The point is that you can organize it in a way that is agreeable to the participants.

What's fun about it is that if the team you're rooting for is getting smoked, you can still benefit from the opponents' scores.

There is one drawback that I must be up front about - what if neither team scores a touchdown? Well, I have just one answer for that... make-up a traditional pool before the game as a backup.

One way or the other, be sure you enjoy the day!