(Photo: Reuters/Eric Miller)
Champion boxer Floyd Mayweather, Jr., reportedly favored the chance that the NFL's Tim Tebow would not continue his seemingly miraculous winning ways, betting a million dollars on it.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported yesterday that Mayweather made a $1 million bet against the Denver Broncos quarterback during his team's Dec. 18 game against the New England Patriots. If Mayweather did place his faith in the Patriots, he is now that much wealthier. The Patriots beat the Broncos 41-23 in their last encounter.
The Journal reported that Mayweather's massive gamble took place at Las Vegas' M Resort casino. Mike Colbert, the casino's Cantor Gaming sports book director, couldn't comment on individual bets and thus wouldn't confirm or deny Mayweather's wager, according to the article. However, Colbert did say that the reigning World Boxing Council welterweight champion is a "valued customer who frequents the books quite often." The Journal also noted that Mayweather has made six-figure bets in the past and at times even posting winnings on his Twitter account.
Calls and e-mails to both Mayweather's management and the M Resort for additional comments were not returned by press time.
Richard Hill, the managing editor of PatsPulpit.com, a Patriots fan site, said Mayweather probably bet the way he did in light of the Broncos’ and Patriots' respective records when they met earlier this month.
"From a sports standpoint, the Broncos were on an extreme hot streak so they were probably overvalued at the time of the game," said Hill, referencing the Broncos' six-game winning streak when they met the Patriots. "The Patriots played a game against the (Indianapolis) Colts that was closer than the actual score showed, while they squeaked past the (Washington) Redskins and, as a result, were probably undervalued. Mayweather probably saw an advantage in the odds and thought it was worth making the bet."
New England's victory on Dec. 18 derailed Denver's winning streak with Tebow as a starter. The popular athlete took lead of the Broncos in October, leading them to the top of their division after a 1-4 start. Openly Christian, Tebow often quotes Bible verses online, praises God in press conferences and prays on the sidelines. He's now one of football fans’ most beloved players. His recent memoir book is a national bestseller and his signature "Tebowing" pose made Time Magazine's "Top 10 Memes" of 2011 list.
Not every football fan finds Tebow's meteoric rise so endearing. Will Cousins, a Leominster, Mass., native and Patriots fan, said he wasn't surprised his team beat the Broncos given that Patriot quarterback Tom Brady is the "best in the game." Though he admitted he understood Tebow's appeal, he said fans should evaluate him more for his football abilities than his faith.
"I don't like anything about Floyd Mayweather, but betting $1 million against Tebow in that game was one of the smartest financial moves anyone has made in 2011,” said Cousins, whose comments suggests he is a fan of gambling. "I think other pro athletes understand Tebow's limitations and lack of ability better than most fans and the media. Anytime you can bet against a quarterback who throws a football like it's a shot put, you do it."
Ann Bolin, a Broncos fan from Castle Rock, Colo., said that she's seen Tebow improve as a player despite a shaky start earlier in the season. Over time, he will convert some of his fiercest critics by continuing to his abilities, she explained.
"Tebow’s still young and has a lot to learn," she said. "Sure, he's not Pro Bowl quality yet, but with some time, I expect that he'll come into his own."
Bolin said football fans, no matter what team they favor, should judge Tebow for themselves. Mayweather's winning gamble was more luck than anything else, she concluded.
"If you're holding out for universal popularity, you're never going to get it," she said. "One person's opinion isn't going to change the views of the people who back Tebow up, and it isn't going to do anything for the people who doubt him. All he can do is play the game and carry on doing what he does."