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Final Numbers and Final Thoughts Before Super Bowl XLIV

FORT LAUDERDALE BEACH, Fla. – As Robert Randolph and the Family Band, the Barenaked Ladies and O.A.R. rocked the beach at Super Bowl Saturday Night, the ticket scalpers and bookies did what it is they do.

The 44th Super Bowl game for the championship of the National Football League will be played at 6 p.m. (EST) on Sunday evening as the NFC champion New Orleans Saints take on the AFC champion Indianapolis Colts. It’s Drew Brees vs. Peyton Manning. It’s 4,388 yards vs. 4,500 yards. It’s the No. 4 offence in the NFL against the No. 2 office in the NFL.

Taking everything into consideration, the Colts should win this football game. They have the better offence, the better defence (18th vs, the Saints at 25th) and, of course, Manning at quarterback.

And while we’ve selected the Colts to win by two touchdowns, we do have some concerns.

As we pointed out earlier this week, Scott Greene was named the head referee for this game. He’s been known to tinker, shall we say, with the outcome of games. The officials will play a major role in the game’s outcome.

As well, Vegas will have a say.

Clearly Vegas wants a close game. The point-spread runs from Indy minus-4 to Indy minus-5. So far, 70 per cent of the money bet on this game has been bet on the Saints. If the Colts win the game, but fail to cover the spread, Vegas stands to make a bundle.

As our Las Vegas gambling expert, Fort Rouge Ted, pointed out yesterday, “The Vegas books get to keep all the M/L wagers on the Saints (70 per cent) and P/S wagers on the Colts (66 per cent) and only pay out 30 per cent & 34 per cent respectively, all the while keeping their vig.  And if the defenses keep the score under 56 (that’s the current over-under), Vegas will make hundreds of millions of dollars.”

If the boys in Vegas want a close game and the head referee has been know to “keep it close,” in the past, it might not matter how much better than Colts are. This game just might be close.

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TWO NFL LEGENDS IN TROUBLE AT WORK

Michael Irvin and Warren Sapp are having a bad weekend.

On Thursday, Irvin was charged in a civil law suit with the alleged rape of a woman at the Hard Rock Casino near Fort Lauderdale. It is not a criminal charge, but it was enough to force ESPN to dump Irvin from his radio show at ESPN 103-3 in Dallas.

He’s still working with the NFL Network and has filed a $100 million countersuit in Dallas County, Texas.

Meanwhile, another NFL Network star, former Tampa and Oakland defensive tackle, Warren Sapp, was arrested on Saturday afternoon and questioned by Miami Beach in an alleged domestic violence case at a Miami Beach hotel.

Sapp will not appear on the NFL network until network brass “review the matter.”

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VIKINGS FANS URGE FAVRE TO COME BACK

After visiting with the greatest Viking fan of them all, Winnipeg’s Syd Davy, this afternoon at the Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, it came to light that Vikings fans are willing to put their money where their mouths are.

The fans rented a billboard in Favre’s hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss., with the following message on it:

“Hey #4, do Minnesota fans love you and want you back next year? You Brettcha!”

“I had no idea what to expect,” Vikings fan Jay Tappe told the Hattiesburg American, after staring the campaign on Facebook. “We have enough to keep the billboard up for at least another week. We’ll try to keep it up for about a month. It’s crazy.”

Favre, 40, still hasn’t decided to return to the Vikings next season. He does have one year remaining on the two-year contract he signed with Minnesota. If he returns, it will be his 20th NFL season.

Meanwhile, Davy, 51, who is known as “100 per cent Cheese Free,” attended the annual Lee Steinberg Party yesterday and will be in full regalia with two of his lieutenants, at Sunday night’s Super Bowl XLIV.