Well, that didn’t turn out like we’d hoped. The New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, again, despite being down 28-3 in the third quarter, not only giving Tom Brady and Bill Belichick bragging rights for the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history, but also giving the duo the first overtime victory in the 51-year history of the game.
What’s worse, at least for Steelers fans, is that in addition to the Patriots breaking a tie with Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl appearances in history (9), Brady passed Terry Bradshaw for the most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback (5).
That, and the fact Belichick broke a tie with Chuck Noll for the most Super Bowl wins for a head coach in history, tied with Vince Lombardi and one behind Curly Lambeau and George Halas for championship wins of any kind, it was a bad night for Steelers fans. Truly, the only comfort came in knowing the Patriots couldn’t tie the Steelers’ record for most Super Bowl wins in one franchise’s history.
That could happen next year, though. And according to Vegas, it might.
Vegas Insider posted the odds for 2018 Super Bowl and, yes, the Patriots are already the favorites at 13-to-2. For those not versed in wagering odds, that means someone could walk into a casino today and put down $200 to win $1300 (plus get back the $200 they wagered). It’s certainly not a sure bet, but it’s better than their odds heading into this year, which were tied for the best in the NFL at 8-to-1, with the Steelers and Seahawks.
The Patriots have such good odds to get back to and probably win the Super Bowl next year that the next four teams on the list play in the NFC. Dallas, Green Bay and Atlanta all posted at 12-to-1 odds, while the Steelers and Denver Broncos posted 18-to-1.
Kansas City and the New York Giants are both 20-to-1, giving just 10 teams in the 32-team league better than 30-to-1 odds to win next year’s Big Game. Of course, those numbers don’t always mean much, as the Falcons were 40-to-1 to open the betting last year. (Note: while that proved to be a good bet, they still didn’t win.)
The odds to win Super Bowl 50 — when Denver topped Carolina to send Peyton Manning into retirement — had Seattle (who had just lost Super Bowl XLIX to the Patriots) at 6-to-1 and New England at 15-to-2. Yes, the last time the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they opened with worse odds than they just did this year. Yikes.
Green Bay was 8-to-1 that season, a clear favorite, while Denver was 10-to-1, a decent payout for the Super Bowl champion. Carolina was 45-to-1, so for the second-straight year the NFC Super Bowl participant started with very long odds. There are a lot of teams hoping that happens again next year.
Unfortunately, in the AFC, the odds of that happening are never that good. The Steelers were 30-to-1 last season, so at least Vegas thinks the chances of winning another Super Bowl are better next year than they did at this point last year.
At least there’s that.
Of course, the Steelers might have better odds if it wasn’t for Ben Roethlisberger running his mouth about retiring last week. While all the speculation in the world should have been on Brady and Belichick retiring after this season — seriously, let’s float that conversation publicly so people start asking Brady why, at 40 years old with a record fifth championship and his DeflateGate Roger Goodellian retribution as tightly secured as his grip on the Lombardi trophy Sunday night, he’s still interested in playing professional football. The dude has nothing left to prove and can retire the greatest quarterback in NFL history today.
And yet, instead of Brady talking about retirement possibilities, it was Roethlisberger pulling the kind of “hey look at me” pre-Super Bowl move that could turn an off-season into tumult, reshape the Steelers’ draft strategy for the next three years and throw the Vegas odds way, way off.
The Steelers should have better than 18-to-1 odds. They have the best offense in the AFC and with some small tweaks in the secondary they could become the team to beat in the league, even if Brady chooses not to retire. But that’s without Ben floating the idea he’s calling it quits, or even without Ben saying the Steelers are like the Patriots’ little brother who can’t keep up.
That said, with Brady and Belichick there, nobody can keep up.
So, no, the last two weeks since the AFC title game have not gone according to plan for Pittsburgh. The Steelers were one game from making the Super Bowl, and now they’re dealing with Roethlisberger potentially retiring, Antonio Brown making enemies in the franchise to the point some are leaking to the press they may want to trade him and Tom freaking Brady about to get another parade.
At least there’s always next year. Maybe.
Odds to win Super Bowl LII
|New England Patriots||13/2|
|Green Bay Packers||12/1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||20/1|
|New York Giants||20/1|
|Tampa Bay Buccanneers||40/1|
|New Orleans Saints||70/1|
|Los Angeles Chargers||80/1|
|New York Jets||150/1|
|Los Angeles Rams||150/1|
|San Francisco 49ers||300/1|