Jim Fassel, former New York Giants coach and current coach/GM of the upstart United Football League’s Las Vegas Locos, says he has always used bookmakers’ point spreads as motivation for both himself and the players on whatever team he was running. UFL commissioner Michael Huyghue is also a fan of the bookmakers’ ability to predict winners and losers, but he wants to use it for more than mere player motivation.
Huyghue thinks the main reason the NFL rejects gambling on its games is because the NFL is big enough to get by without it, whereas the UFL needs all the help it can get to promote itself and establish a secure place on the TV dial and in the minds of North American sports fans. As we’ve recently seen with cash-strapped governments switching from anti-gambling stances to full-on “let’s party” mode, practical need can be a powerful motivator in changing one’s behavior. So if the NFL’s popularity dips because of a possible work stoppage in 2011, would they consider embracing gambling as a means of winning back popular support? Read more.