It was one of the great codgers of all time who once uttered the words, I can’t get out of my mind as the Super Bowl approaches.

“Nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded,” Yogi Berra once deadpanned. And that’s exactly how I feel about the Super Bowl.

It could be that I myself am falling into codgerdom. I’ve been to more than half of the Super Bowls played – roughly XXVIII of them –- and they stopped being fun about the time Joe Montana threw his last touchdown pass to Jerry Rice.

This is not an editorial on the game mind you. In fact, I think this year’s matchup between the Chiefs and the Eagles is absolutely compelling.

I plan to be right there on the sofa with family and a couple of friends, sipping a Margarita and pontificating on the nuances of a zone blocking scheme while my wife dabs the guacamole dip out of the corners of my mouth.

This is an advantage of not being amongst the maddening crowd at Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona. And, it’s not the only one.

There will be some 64,000 people at State Farm Stadium on Sunday, roughly 63,994 more than will be on my sofa. This is notable for a few very important reasons:

My sofa is more comfortable, and the six people on it know more about the game they’re watching than 52,395 of the fans in Glendale. You don’t have to stand in line to go to the bathroom at my house. Usually. Traffic in and out of my house is roughly two days faster than trying to extricate oneself from the post-game masses attempting to get to anywhere other than Glendale.

There are no corporate sponsors at my house (although I was hoping that Tostitos might underwrite the guacamole in exchange for a promise to hire a mariachi band at my Chanukah party).

Unlike the crowd at the game, I do not expect my house guests to participate in the halftime show.  As a matter of fact, Rihanna will be forced to give way to the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet at my place. I mean, I like Rihanna and all –- but Super Bowl Sunday just isn’t complete without a Basset Hound knocking a Shih Tzu into the chew toys on an apparent touchdown run.

As to the game itself, there are a few undisputable facts. These are two good teams. Two of the three best teams in the NFL. The third lives right here in our area and will be watching while eating the same game day fare as all of us – albeit between clenched teeth.

I think it’s a pick-’em game and I will go to bed Sunday night thinking it went the right way whatever way it actually does go. There is something calming about not caring who wins.

The answer to the often-asked question, “Who do you like?” is “The Basset Hound.”

I truly can’t pick a winner, although my heart tells me Kansas City. But I stopped listening to my heart when it said Hilary Clinton was a shoo-in to beat Donald Trump for the Presidency of the United States. At that point I decided that my liver had better insights.

Allow me another well-studied piece of advice. Do not so much as walk in the direction of your television before 3:30pm. We have already heard all the blather that can be spewed about this game throughout the week. Adding another 3½ hours of pre-game inanities prior to Sunday’s kickoff should be punishable by being made to watch reruns of the Jerry Springer Show and the entire season one of My Mother the Car. Don’t do it. It’ll hurt your ears.

Instead, take the pre-game time to go make a bet. Thirty million Americans will have a bet on this game and wager the tidy sum of $16 billion. That’s a 61% increase from last year. The reason being that there is now legalized gambling in 36 states.  It’s easier to make a wager on one of the many online apps now available than it is to get an Uber on a Saturday night. And here’s the best part of wagering on Sunday’s Super Bowl: You don’t have to know a thing about football.

That is because the gambling gods gave us that nifty no-brainer the Prop Bet.

So, betting on Philadelphia or Kansas City to win the football game Sunday is just so last week. Over/under was always a popular bet to make too. All you had to do was wager that the two teams’ combined score would total over or under a set number.

Here’s the good news. You can still make an over/under prop bet without involving the two Super Bowl teams. Will the National Anthem be over or under two minutes? Will LeBron James’ point total in Saturday’s game against the Warriors be lower or higher than the number of passes thrown in the Super Bowl by Jalen Hurts?

What color will the Gatorade be that gets dumped on the winning coach? Yellow is the favorite; Purple the longshot.

And, if you don’t want to bet on this year’s Super Bowl, you can drop a dime on next year’s game. And guess what? The 49ers are the second favorite at 6 to 1.

In the meantime, I leave you with one gnawing question for this Super Bowl Sunday. Do you use cilantro in your guacamole?

Barry Tompkins is a 40-year network television sportscaster and a San Francisco native. Email him at

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