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A Super Bowl Preview from the Freako Family

The Patriots are playing the Giants in Sunday’s Super Bowl. I thought it would be fun to put together a short Super Bowl preview.

I’ll go first (Justin Wolfers):

Cheering for: The Patriots. My first four years in the U.S. were spent in Boston, and that’s where I learned to love the sport that you guys call football.

If it were legal to bet, my $100 goes: I’d bet $100 on the Pats to win by more than 21 points, for a potential $320 win. It may not happen, but it will be a sweet payday if I’m right.

Super Bowl menu: Buffalo wings, nachos, and seven-layer bean dip. Sports can be a great vehicle for immigrant assimilation (I’m an Aussie), and so I usually go whole hog and drink American beer on Super Bowl Sunday (despite the lack of flavor). Usually it’s a Bud, but given that I’m cheering for the Pats, I’ll be drinking Sam Adams.

Favorite Super Bowl memory: When underdogs Tampa beat the Raiders by 27 points, and I had tipped radio listeners on KNBR that they would win by at least two touchdowns (at long odds!).

Steven Levitt:

Cheering for: Patriots. I’m tired of the 1972 Dolphins being so full of themselves.

If it were legal to bet, my $100 goes: Betting isn’t legal?! I’m betting that less than 54.5 points will be scored.

Super Bowl menu: Buffalo wings and cheap beer, just like Justin.

Favorite Super Bowl memory: Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction.

Ian Ayres:

Cheering for: Kansas City Chiefs [My home town team was robbed (repeatedly) this season.]

If it were legal to bet, my $100 goes: I’d bet on the Giants to hedge my disappointment if the Pats lose.

Super Bowl menu: Kansas City (Gates) B.B.Q.

Favorite Super Bowl memory: Going to a Super Bowl party with econ grad students after finishing my econometrics paper at M.I.T. in 1984. I had just pulled what seemed like three all-nighters in a row (and written the very first thing that seemed like I might become an academic) — I somehow stumbled to a party with Larry Katz. I remember almost nothing about the game (including who played), but my memory of my classmates and our shared intensity for economics still burns bright.

Stephen Dubner:

Cheering for: The Giants. While I am first and foremost a Steelers fan, I do live in New York and the Giants have long been my second-favorite team. Also, I would like to see them win without Tiki Barber, whose me-first-ism is annoying. Finally, I don’t hate the Pats the way many people do but my Boston-sport-fan friends (Roland, are you listening?) have become gratingly triumphal.

If it were legal to bet, my $100 goes: I guess the Pats by the spread, just to hedge. But I don’t take much pleasure in gambling (unlike this guy). I take enough pleasure in the game without the action, and I’m not willing to bet enough money to make it meaningful. My first bet was the 1969 World Series, Orioles v. Mets. I was 6, and an O’s fan; my father was a Mets fan. We bet $5, which represented one year’s allowance (a dime a week, truly). When I lost, I was sure my dad wouldn’t make me pay, but he did. This pretty much cured me of gambling.

Super Bowl menu: I will be in Cancun, of all places (for work). So I will probably just have a big plate of mango and a cask or two of tequila, extra worms.

Favorite Super Bowl memory: It used to be the Steelers’ first win, over the Vikings, in 1975. I went on an extended BIRGer binge – Basking in Reflected Glory – that had me high as a kite for about six months. But the Steelers’ fifth win, two years ago, was even better because my son had by now become a fan. He revels in victory and gets over defeat easily; I try to learn from him. Worst Super Bowl memory: attending the Buccaneers-Raiders game in person five years ago. The game was dull, the facilities were blah, and the crowd, so heavily stocked with disinterested parties, was about as lively as a church meeting.

Your thoughts?

Think you know better? Leave your forecast of the final score in the comments. We’re offering a free piece of Freakonomics schwag to the first person who correctly picks the score. One entry per person, and obviously get your picks in before kick-off.