Rovell’s Super Bowl 53 Factoids to Know: $1.5M Bets, Cola Wars, Chick-fil-A, More

Rovell’s Super Bowl 53 Factoids to Know: $1.5M Bets, Cola Wars, Chick-fil-A, More article feature image
  • Darren Rovell details some of the biggest stories around the big game.
  • The topics include the feud between Coke and Pepsi, the $1.5 million moneyline wager, how much the players will make on Sunday and more.

The Super Bowl is the biggest spectacle in sports, sports business, and, yes, sports betting.

While the rest of the sports world has been following the Patriots and Rams’ every move, a few under-the-radar, off-field stories have been brewing in the run-up to the Big Game.

Before we dive into some of my favorite tidbits from this week, a PSA: Make sure to enter my FREE Super Bowl props contest. We’re giving away $5,000 in prizes. I promise it’ll make watching the game — and the commercials — more interesting.


The $110K Rookie Card

A Tom Brady rookie sold for $110,000 on Thursday night. It’s an outrageous number for a modern day card.

There was some initial confusion as to whether this was the same exact card that sold a year before for $250,000.

Turns out, it’s not the same card, but it is the same seller, Rick Probstein, who’s a bit of a power broker in the sports memorabilia industry.

Coke vs. Pepsi, Part 1: The Statues

The battle between Coke and Pepsi will be intense this week. Pepsi’s been plastering signage all over town in Atlanta, where Coke has its HQ.

But the most impressive move might be when Pepsi made a statue of its founder Caleb Branham that sized him up perfectly with the statue Coke has on its campus of Coke founder John Pemberton.

On Tuesday, Pepsi stealthily brought the Branham statue to the Coke campus and had Branham’s extended hand with a bronzed Pepsi cup cheers with Pemberton’s hand with a Coke cup. Beyond smart.

The Player’s Share

Players don’t get paid their salaries for the postseason, though they do get bonuses for each round.

Since the Rams and Patriots both had a bye week, the players did not make any money during wild-card weekend, but they did pull in $29,000 for the Divisional Round and $54,000 for the Conference Championship Round.

So leading up to this game, players on both teams have made $83,000. But the Super Bowl, for all of its glitz and glamour, is shockingly paltry.

The players on the losing Super Bowl team will make $59,000, while the winners get $118,000 for a full share. (Only those who have been on the team the whole season receive a full share.)

Consider this: Players on the winning team for Super Bowl I got paid $15,000 in 1967. Factoring for inflation that’s $112,000 today.

So while the NFL’s revenues have grown a gazillion percent over the past 52 years, the prize for the title game winner has only gone up 5.3%.

The $1.5M Bet

The William Hill sportsbook in Nevada took a $1.5 million wager on the Rams moneyline at +120 odds. If LA beats the Patriots, the bettor will net $1.8 million.

Here’s the kicker: It’s the exact same bettor, known as Bettor X, who wagered $1 million on the Eagles moneyline in last year’s Super Bowl (+165) and walked away with $1.65 million.

Coke vs. Pepsi, Part 2: Pouring Rights

The rivalry between the two Cola distributors will extend inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where Coca-Cola has pouring rights.

But here’s the thing: Pepsi is the official NFL sponsor, so Coke will be served on Sunday but not in cups with its typical branding.

Instead the Coke will come in non-branded cups. Pepsi will be served in branded cups from standalone kiosks around the stadium.

No Exceptions for Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A, the fast-food joint that is the pride and joy of Georgia, has a food stand at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. This is despite the fact that it was only open for one of the 10 Falcons games this year because the institution is closed on Sundays.

Sure, there are plenty of other events hosted in the venue, including the very popular MLS team, Atlanta United, and concerts, but it’s main tenant doesn’t really get to enjoy Chick-fil-A.

There will be no leniency of the chicken sandwich restaurant’s Sunday policy for Super Bowl Sunday and the stand, as it always does on that day of the week, will switch over to a “Fries Up,” a fast food play on the Falcons slogan “Rise Up.”

Despite the fact that the Chick-fil-A stand has largely missed out on NFL sales this season, Steve Cannon, president of Arthur Blank’s holding company AMB Group, says that it actually finished last year as the third-highest grossing food stand in the stadium.

Vick’s Return

The line for a Michael Vick autograph at the NFL Shop inside the NFL Experience was insane earlier this week.

To expedite the line, the folks inside offered to jump to the front with a purchase of Vick’s new leather hat collaboration with New Era. The hat retailed for $110 and many rushed as fast as they could to buy them.

Quite a change from 10 years ago when the Falcons formally cut Vick after a nearly two-year sentence for his part in a dog-fighting ring. Vick filed for bankruptcy in 2008, having owed the Falcons $6 million.

The Falcons were so confident he wouldn’t pay it back, they sold the liability at a significant discount to a hedge fund, but Vick re-paid it all.