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Sunday, January 28, 2018

Swill on the Line for Eagles Fans

The Philadelphia Eagles are playing in the Super Bowl. They'll be up against New England, a team they lost to in the 2005 Super Bowl. A little payback would be nice. Also, Philly fans will get to cash in on free beer if their team wins.

If you aren't paying much attention to this year's game, you aren't alone. It's a game between teams that aren't widely popular. Most of the country can't stand the Patriots and their smug fans. Philly doesn't stack up much better. Eagles fans brawled with each other and threw beer cans at Vikings fans before the NFC Championship. Afterwards, they pelted the Vikings team bus with beer cans. Anyone hate sour winners?

Sometimes choosing a team to root for in big games can be a challenge. But everyone surely sees that Philly is a bit of a tough case. Its sports teams haven't had a lot of success in recent times. The Eagles last won an NFL title in 1960. Despite its boorish fans, much of the country will be rooting for the Eagles in the big game. Everyone loves a hard luck loser...I mean underdog.

As everyone knows, betting is a big part of any Super Bowl. Most people around the country wouldn't be interested in this year's game (any year's game, actually) if they weren't invested in an office pool, square game or other betting. Gambling is a big reason for the NFL's success...and also for the ratings of Super Bowls.

This year's big game bet was hatched last summer, when Eagles offensive lineman Lane Johnson promised to provide free beer to beer drinking Philadelphians if the team won the Super Bowl. It was a crazy thing to do. But Anheuser-Busch quickly doubled down, saying it would provide the beer (the term is used loosely, as you shall see) if the Eagles win it all.

Of course, no one had any way of knowing at the time that the Eagles would wind up in the Super Bowl. So the beer guarantee on AB's part might well be viewed as nothing more than a publicity stunt. Which maybe isn't a bad thing, given the declining fortunes of Bud and Bud Light. Even a fake goodwill campaign is better than nothing.

With the Eagles in the big game, the AB suits needed to wipe away thoughts that they might have impure thoughts or be playing favorites due to a beer guarantee. So they produced videos congratulating the Eagles and Patriots. You do what you have to.

But the shills at AB must be thanking their lucky stars. Because it turns out Philly metro, which is slightly larger than Boston metro (6.2 million to 5.5 million), is in dire need of some positive spin for AB products. According to surveys, Bud Light is #5 on the list of beers recently consumed by drinking age adults. Yuengling, Coors Light and Miller Light were the top three.

Things are better for AB in Boston metro, where Bud Light came in #2 behind Sam Adams, both of which track well ahead of the rest of the top five. If AB wants to make an impact, it seems like a far better investment to pick up the tab for hard luck, longsuffering Philly fans than to mess with beer depraved Boston.

The good news for Philly fans? The Eagles have to win the game for them to collect free beer. The bad news? The beer is Bud Light. But I hope they win, anyway.

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