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Prop Bets on the NFL Championship

James Gray

Owner/Editor at Busara Ltd
I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. My photo-journalism has been represented by Agence France-Presse.
James Gray

Today, bets on the NFL Championship are an important part of the game. A person can be betting on NFL and practically anything having to do with the game: the coin toss, the color of the sports drink that gets poured on the winning coach, what player will score first, last, etc. However, it wasn’t always this way, according to BetNow, the online sportsbook. In fact, the rise of the prop bets has only really occurred in the last thirty years. It started, for the most part, with the twentieth edition of the big game, and William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

An Unexpected, Yet Eye-Popping Touchdown Scorer 

The 1985 Bears had it all. One of the game’s great defenses, one of its greatest running backs, and a good quarterback. What it also had was a 1st round draft pick defensive lineman that wasn’t in the greatest shape. William “The Refrigerator” Perry didn’t have all that much stamina, so he couldn’t really play much on the defensive line. Besides, that line was made up of All-Pros and true studs. But, the one thing that Perry could do, no matter what, was be very large. He could do that in a way that very few other players could be.​

So, Coach Mike Ditka had the idea to have him block for Walter Payton on a few plays. It made quite a bit of sense: it’s not like Payton needed the best blocking in the world t.o gain yards. If anything, behind the Bears’ line, all he would need is someone to hit the hole in front of him that was big enough to tie up a defender(s) for just a second.

Ditka also realized that in goal-line drills, no one was going to stop William “The Refrigerator” Perry from getting a yard. Literally, if the man would fall forward, he could get that yard. So, in a November 3rd, 1985 game against the Packers, Perry scored a one-yard touchdown on Monday Night Football.

The Modern Prop Bet is Born 

Caesar’s Palace, the Las Vegas casino, became the first to offer odds on Perry scoring a touchdown in the Championship game against New England. There are conflicting reports at what the odds went off at, but many believe they were at 20-1. The people behind making the decision to post the odds felt justified in doing so: after all, Perry had not received a single carry in more than a month’s worth of playing time.

Besides, it was one thing to have Perry carry the ball against a team in early November versus doing it in the title game. One fumble could change everything, and Ditka would never have been able to live that down. ​