- Commentators for America’s biggest game – the Super Bowl – may be banned from making any gambling references
- Networks such as CBS have already banned announcers from mentioning gambling this season
- CBS president, Sean McManus, says mentioning gambling is “…just not the right thing to do”
Banned since the summer
Back in August 2018, CBS president Sean McManus told Jimmy Traina of Sports Illustrated that announcers for the network would not mention point spreads or teams covering the spread on any broadcast.
Now McManus has confirmed that the ban has also spread to the Super Bowl – taking place this year at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home of the Falcons. This will be the first Super Bowl hosted at the stadium, which opened in 2017.
The kick-off between the champions of the National and the American Football Conferences will take place on Sunday, February 3, 2019.
Legalized sports betting
Despite the United States Supreme Court voting to allow legal sports betting in May 2018, according to boss McManus, CBS won’t be making any reference to gambling at this year’s champions contest because not all states participate.
McManus explained to Newsday’s Neil Best why the announcers will be keeping mom in February. He said: “It’s only legalized in a few states. We just had made the decision that it’s not the right thing to do now.”
Not ruled out
This doesn’t mean that gambling couldn’t be a part of integral Super Bowl coverage in years to come. But despite the leaps made over the last 12 months in sports betting, right now CBS has no plans to indulge and other broadcasters such as NBC are expected to follow suit.
That is despite some of their best commentators making – fairly thinly – veiled references over the years. NBC broadcaster Al Michaels has even admitted to alluding to over/unders and giving a slight nod to the spread.
However, CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz told Newsday he doesn’t really pay attention to gambling lines and won’t have a problem ignoring them during the broadcast.
All still to play for
Right now the champions facing the Super Bowl are still to be decided. However, as of Super Bowl Sunday 2018, the Westgate listed the Patriots as the favorites to return to what would be a third straight Super Bowl at 4-to-1 odds. The Steelers are next in line for the best odds at 8-to-1.
Then the Eagles lead the NFC field at 10-to-1, followed by the Vikings and Packers at 12-to-1, the Saints at 16-to-1, and the Falcons playing what would be the first homefield Super Bowl ever at 18-to-1.