By now, everyone knows about the ridiculous Super Bowl-related prop bets. One of the most popular, at least for internet fodder, is the over/under on the length of the national anthem. With Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan teaming up for the first anthem duet since Super Bowl 40 in 2006 (Aaron Neville and Aretha Franklin), this seemingly straight-forward prop adds even more intrigue to Super Bowl 55, as people will bet on — and, potentially, argue about — all sorts of elements of the performance. First, a little background. The national anthem hasn't always been a focal point of pre-game festivities at the Super Bowl. Early on, it was often sung by choirs or performed by marching bands. Three times trumpeters have performed the anthem, and once, "America the Beautiful" was performed instead. Whitney Houston's show-stopping rendition during Super Bowl 25 in 1991, which occurred during the Gulf War, in many ways ushered in a new era of anthem performances. SUPER BOWL 55 PICKS: Against the spread | Straight-up predictionsCounting that performance, which lasted 1:56, the average length of the anthem since has been just over 1:56, with the longest rendition in that span coming at Super Bowl 47 in 2013 (Alicia Keys, 2:35) and the shortest coming at Super Bowl 32 in 1998 (Jewel, 1:27). In recent years, the anthem has trended even longer, with six of the past eight renditions going over two minutes and the other two lasting at least 1:52.Of course, as with many novelty prop bets, there has been some controversy about the length of anthem performances. Some books list the official start of the anthem time when the first note is sung and the official end when the beginning of the last note is sung. That was a point of contention in 2019 when Gladys Knight sang the last word of the anthem, "brave," three different times, causing many to think they won the OVER on the bet. However, many books only counted the beginning of the first "brave," which meant the UNDER cashed. When placing your bets, make sure you know the official rules because customer service for online national anthem bets isn't the most responsive. All odds courtesy of oddsshark.comMORE SUPER 55 PROP BETS:Halftime Show | Broadcast | Craziest propsSuper Bowl national anthem prop bets 2021How long will the national anthem run?Over 1:59 EVENUnder 1:59 -140While we don't have any examples of Eric Church singing the national anthem before a sporting event, we do have two examples from Jazmine Sullivan: The NHL Stadium Series game in 2016 (1:38) and before a 76ers game in 2014 (1:44-1:49, depending on how you count the last note).Given what we know about recent anthem trends and the fact that the last duet of this performance at the Super Bowl in 2006 (Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin) lasted 2:08, the OVER seems like a good bet. You never know how two performers will divvy up the song, but chances are they'll take their time and harmonize. If Church has his guitar (very possible), that could add some time, too. Sullivan's performance of the anthem before a 76ers game in '14 included guitar accompaniment, for what it's worth.Ultimately, the OVER is in line with five of the past six anthem performances at the Super Bowl, so getting it at even money is good value. Will Eric Church or Jazmine Sullivan forget/omit a word from the national anthem?This seems unlikely, but the odds are raised a bit with two people performing. And let's face it -- hanging on every word of the anthem and potentially arguing with some shady online sportsbook over whether Church said "perilous fight" or "perilous flight" would be a great way to spend your Monday after the Super Bowl. Will any player raise a fist during the national anthem?Will any player take a knee during the national anthem?During the opening game of the season, Chiefs player Alex Okafor kneeled and raised a fist in the air during the anthem. Tampa players have kneeled in the past, but this season it appears that some have just locked arms on the sideline during the anthem. The problem with these props is you need to have proof, so even if a player kneels or raises a fist, you're at the mercy of the CBS broadcast to show it. Obviously, there's more value in betting "yes" on both of these, but there are plenty of reasons to think it will be "no." All it takes is one, though, and you can bet some players will be eager to make a statement on such a big stage. Which player will be shown first during the national anthem?Tom Brady -130Patrick Mahomes -110This one could really go either way. Unfortunately, we don't have much to go on from the Championship games because neither the Packers nor Bills were shown during the respective anthems, presumably because they stayed in their locker rooms. One thing we do know is neither Brady nor Mahomes were the first players from their teams shown during the anthem in both games, but Mahomes (second) was shown for his team before Brady was for his (fourth, not counting coach or full-team shots). Does that mean anything? Of course not. This is a coin flip. You have the old face of the NFL vs. the new face, so you might as well take the better odds with Mahomes. Which player will be shown first during the national anthem?Travis Kelce -130Rob Gronkowski -110Kelce has more cache at this point in his career than Gronk, so he's the safer bet. He was the first Chiefs player shown during the anthem before the AFC Championship game while Gronk was merely the fifth Buc ahead of the NFC championship game (and that was largely because he was in a shot with Tom Brady). Of course, it's all up to the camera people and producer here, so if Kelce is behind a teammate or Gronk is standing off by himself with a single tear streaming down his cheek, then, yeah, it could easily be Gronk. On something like this, it's usually smart to go with the better odds, even if one player seems more likely. Which coach to be shown first during the national anthem?Andy Reid -130Bruce Arians -110Arians was shown first during the national anthem at the NFC championship game, while Reid was shown third during the anthem at the AFC Championship game. That said, neither had to contend with coaches/players from the other teams, so that only tells us so much. Reid definitely is more recognizable -- and, in his own way, more camera-friendly -- so it's likely he gets the nod, but like the last two, it's really a toss-up. Arians presents better odds, so he's probably the slightly smarter play -- especially if the camera person is fixated on the odd way Arians wears his mic belt -- but the gut says it's Reid here (especially if he's wearing a foggy face shield).
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