What’s a Miracle Cover

One of my favorite music videos of all time is Mike and the Mechanics’ “All I Need is a Miracle”. At the beginning of the video, the band is playing “Silent Running” (another favorite) at a half-packed concert. The band’s manager is being hassled backstage by the theater owners, claiming they will take the band’s equipment due to a lack of people at a concert, which the manager argues is small because the concert was on short notice. The theater wants no part of it, and says he has to pay.

The band manager, down on his luck, now has to find a way to pay the theater AND the band. Never mind that, when he walks out of the theater and grabs his wallet to see what cash he does have, it’s stolen by an Asian guy on a bike. He follows said Asian guy back to an underground gambling establishment, where he gets his money back and happens to find himself thrown into a game of craps, where he eventually wins 10x his money, beating the Asians at dice (a miracle by itself). However, they don’t like that one bit, rob him of his money, and throw him on the street.

He’s broke, running out of time, and all he needs is a miracle.

Well just like the dog who randomly walks up to him, which happens to be missing and is found by the dog’s owner, who gives the band’s manager a cash reward he needs to pay his debts………that’s what a “miracle cover” in gambling is. It’s when everything that correlates to your bet during a game seems to be lost, but some rare occurrence occurs to help you get that elusive win.

A miracle is described in “The Free Dictionary” as “a preternatural occurrence that is viewed as the expression of a divine will. Its awe and wonder lie in the fact that the cause is hidden.”

It’s when you ship your bet, in spite of the odds, in a way of awe and wonder. It when you and the collective of bettors on one side combine your wills as one to almost make the impossible, possible. Like say you took the Chargers last year as 4.5 point underdog in Pittsburgh, and they are covering 11-10 with 11 seconds left. They try a lateral play on the last play of the game and fumble the ball, which ends up getting returned for a touchdown by Troy Polomalu………game over, bet over, right?

Wrong! In a miracle this side of 34th Street, Chargers bettors end up winning because the touchdown gets turned back because of an errant call by the officials that even the NFL later said was an incorrect ruling. Now that’s a miracle cover!
It can be in the hands of the player as well. There have probably been random athletes in history who have walked into a random liquor establishment and have scored a free beer or two at the bar thanks to the bartender remembering when they kicked a meaningless field goal 20 years ago during some blowout that helped pay for the bartender’s rent. You don’t think people watched the Patriots games because they were good in the 1980’s, do you?

Or it could in the hands of a token white NBA bench player, who was an engineering major at Creighton, who is happening to be shooting a free throw, with 1 second left, due to a defensive 3 second call which was made in a 97-77 ballgame where his team is a 20 point underdog. Reading that sentence and imagining alone is a miracle by itself, but it has happened. How do you think Scott Wedman was on the Celtics for so long? He would come in late in ballgames when the great 1986 Celtics where up by 15-20 points late in the game, and with his expert garbage time shooting skills, would help preserve the Celtic lines of thousands of bookies of Boston’s North End, a majority Italian neighborhood. He probably never has to pay for lasagna in a ristorante again.

Sometimes it can even be in the hands of the coaches, when a peculiar decision leaves a bettor in either shock or awe. Like when Romeo Crennel, coach of the Cleveland Browns (a 6 point underdog at home to the Steelers), is down by a touchdown, 10-3, with 2:25 left in the 4th, with 2 timeouts at the Pittsburgh 23 yard line. He feels his best action is to go for the field goal instead of a touchdown on 4th and 4 making it 10-6, and have his 28th ranked defense kick the ball back to the Steelers, who also happen to be the best running team in football!

That’s a miracle cover.

Romeo Miracle Cover Crennel
Romeo 'Miracle Cover' Crennel

Miracle covers aren’t all once in a lifetime random sporting events, they can happen all around us. It gives us reason to watch our sports when no one else is watching. If you’ve ever bet on the 4th quarter under for a L.A. Clipper game, or have been the only guy cheering in the bar for a goal-line stand when a football game is in doubt because you bet the under, there are thousands of those with you. You are not alone.

The mere fact in our ever growing altruistic society that a group of degenerate people can together collectively wish, even positively pray, towards a single goal (or defense of said goal), granted for a selfish reason, is a miracle cover in itself.

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