The prop bets for this year's Super Bowl are as creative as they are numerous.
What will Bruno Mars wear on his head? How many times will Peyton Manning call "Omaha"? Will Knowshon Moreno cry during the national anthem?
These wagers are meant to capitalize on the spectacle that is the Super Bowl. It's such an enormous event that people are willing to gamble on what color Gatorade will be poured on the winning coach. Indeed, according to a New York Times story, prop bets may account for as much as 40 percent of the $100 million wagered on Sunday's Super Bowl.
So whom do we have to thank for this gambling sensation?
William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
The Fridge, as the Chicago Bears defensive lineman was called, had become a phenomenon during his rookie 1985 season as coach Mike Ditka used him as a running back in goal line situations. The hype around Perry was so large leading up to the Super Bowl that legendary bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro posted a bet at 40-to-1 odds for whether Perry would score a touchdown in the big game.
As Ditka downplayed Perry's role the odds rose to as 75-to-1. But once the line gained publicity in the national media, money began flowing into the wager. The line dropped tremendously, and by game time it was closer to 5-to-1.
Sure enough, in the third quarter of Chicago's rout of New England, Perry rushed for a one-yard score. Putting aside the fact that many fans and players wanted Walter Payton, the team's star running back, to tally a touchdown in his first (and only) Super Bowl, Perry's score validated the prop bet.
“I opened the number at 40-to-1, and by kickoff, it was all the way down to 5-to-1,” Vaccaro told the Sporting News. “We got beat up pretty good on the prop itself, but between all the hype from the national media after the prop was sent out on the wire and the lingering effects afterwards with follow-up stories, we got some pretty good attention.”
Prop bets took off after that year, to the point where now people can bet on whether the Red Hot Chili Peppers will play shirtless at halftime. Thanks, Fridge.