- The partial government shutdown has stretched to a record 24 days.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, the site of Super Bowl 53, is in a state of relative chaos.
- Meanwhile President Trump is feeding his visitors fast food, which can’t be a huge draw for the eventual Super Bowl champs.
The ongoing government shutdown, which has reached a record 24 days, has further intertwined American football and American politics.
Just yesterday, President Trump welcomed the NCAA champion Clemson Tigers to the White House. But because many White House workers have been furloughed, the spread at the party wasn’t the usual fare. Trump, paying for the meal himself, “splurged” for fast-food burgers and pizza.
White House says President Trump “is personally paying for” event with National Champions Clemson tonight “to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods,” because “much of the residence staff at the White House is furloughed” due to the ongoing government shutdown. pic.twitter.com/qeMc4iSKmG
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 14, 2019
The football/politics ties will run even deeper if the government isn’t up and running before the Super Bowl (Feb. 3rd). The shutdown has led to staffing shortages at most major US airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta. That’s caused wait times to balloon, reaching well over an hour on Monday.
In case you were unaware, Hartsfield-Jackson is the world’s busiest airport and Atlanta is the site of Super Bowl 53.
— Nicholas Eckert (@vidstudent) January 15, 2019
The NFL, itself, is likely less concerned with airport wait times than the politics of its halftime show, which continues to be the source of controversy.
The league originally eschewed Atlanta’s rich hip-hop scene and booked blindingly white Maroon 5 to perform. After much backlash, the halftime show will now be a tripartite affair with Maroon 5, Travis Scott, and Atlanta’s own Big Boi.
Below, we look at the biggest news of the day through our usual odds-making lens.
Government Shutdown Odds
|Government Shutdown Props||SBD’s Odds|
|Odds the shutdown ends before the Super Bowl (Feb. 3)||1/4|
|Odds the start of the Super Bowl is delayed by the shutdown||90/1|
There’s no sign of a deal, but the Super Bowl is still almost three weeks away. Call us optimists.
Trump’s approval rating continues to plummet as the shutdown drags on. Nothing matters more to this President than being liked and, the longer the shutdown goes, the harder it will become to ignore the reality that he is not.
Trump’s favorite pollster Rasmussen has Trump dropping from -3 in their “Approval Index” a month ago to -13 today; and he has dropped from -7 to -13 in just the past week. https://t.co/AZYzM5Lxt6 A Presidency in decline.
— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) January 11, 2019
When you add in the potential for Trump to fund his border wall — the sticking point to the shutdown — through a declaration of emergency, it’s hard to see this lasting another 19 days.
Another 19 days would be almost double the length of what is already the longest shutdown in history.
|If the shutdown is still going at the time of the Super Bowl …||SBD’s Odds|
|O/U average wait times at LAX to fly to Atlanta on Friday, Feb. 2nd||19:30|
|O/U average wait time for security lineups at Hartsfield-Jackson airport on Monday, Feb. 4th||1:44:59|
As touched on in the section above, it’s not likely that we’ll still be dealing with the shutdown on Super Bowl weekend. But if we are, travellers should brace themselves. LAX is dealing with the shutdown pretty well; average wait times were only around 15 minutes on Monday.
The same can’t be said of Hartsfield-Jackson.
Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta reported the lengthy wait times on its website shortly before 9 a.m. Monday, a busy travel day for business travelers leaving town for the week. https://t.co/Pw4hWuKBKQ
— WGXA (@WGXAnews) January 14, 2019
The longer the shutdown has gone, the more TSA workers have been calling in sick. (Not getting paid will give you a real bad headache.) Can you imagine how depleted the staff will be if this is still going on 2.5 weeks from now?
Super Bowl 53 Halftime Odds
|Will the following performers take a knee during the halftime show?||SBD’s Odds|
All three performers have been criticized for accepting the gig due, mostly, to the NFL’s treatment of Colin Kaepernick and its generally antiquated approach to racial equality.
Scott was the only one who did anything about it, requiring the league to make a $500,000 donation to Dream Corps, a non-profit focused on social activism, before accepting the gig.
Travis Scott has made a deal with the NFL to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show in exchange for a $500,000 donation to a charity that brings light to social justice ? pic.twitter.com/qnzBOhG3OI
— HIP HOP FACTS (@DailyRapFacts) January 14, 2019
There’s a good chance it won’t stop there since Scott’s reputation in his hometown is kind of on the line.
White House Invitation Odds
|White House Invitation Props||SBD’s Odds|
|Odds the winning team visits the White House||7/5|
|Odds the winning team declines an invitation to the White House||2/1|
|Odds the winning team does not receive an invitation to the White House||3/1|
Last year, when the Super Bowl-champion Eagles were invited to White House, only five players said they were going to go. That led to Trump cancelling the invite.
It’s tradition for the President to invite the Super Bowl champs to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but this President doesn’t do things by the book (perhaps because of literacy issues).
After last year’s debacle, there’s a realistic chance the winners don’t get invited (unless the Patriots win).
There’s also a very realistic chance the winners decline an invite, which puts the likelihood of the Super Bowl-winners actually going to the White House well below 50/50.
Super Bowl Dinner Odds
|What will President Trump serve the Super Bowl 53 champions as a main course?||SBD’s Odds|
|steak and lobster||20/1|
|tortilla chips and seven-layer dip||80/1|
|Totino’s pizza rolls||125/1|
|Little Debbie snack cakes||150/1|
The shutdown will be over when/if the Super Bowl champions visit the White House, but that doesn’t mean Trump’s culinary choices will be any better.
BBQ would be the safe choice and Trump has gone that route before. It would be a bigger favorite, however, this is the President who invited Kanye West to the White House to talk prison reform and manufacturing. He makes the prediction business a very tricky occupation.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.