49ers' Jim Harbaugh Sways $75 Million in Bets Thanks to Safety Call

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterOctober 19, 2012

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 30:  Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers works the sidelines during a game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on September 30, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

The world freaked out when San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh failed to accept a safety at the end of Thursday night's game against the Seattle Seahawks. Just imagine how people in Vegas reacted. 

Bedlam seems like an appropriate description of what took place, because $75 million reportedly changed hands because of the bizarre call. 

Deadspin's Barry Petchesky reports on a call made last night that had an epic swing in bets made on the Thursday night game between the 49ers and Seahawks. 

With 43 seconds to go in the game, Harbaugh elected to decline a safety call, which would have made the score 15-6 and a two-possession game. 

Instead, he chose to accept the result of the play, which was an incomplete pass and take over on downs. The 49ers subsequently took a knee, and moments later they were victorious, 13-6. 

Now, it's important to note that the spread was seven to eight points, as ESPN points out. 

Those extra two points left off the board hurt everyone betting on the 49ers to cover a 7- to 8-point spread. Those who took the Seahawks cheered in disbelief at Las Vegas sports books.

Twitter was abuzz after the call, with many shouting in virtual form that Harbaugh should have taken the safety.

That all dissipated into the realization that declining the safety—keeping players from harm on an onside kick, or the possibility of a score and another onside kick—was very much the right call. 

While cooler heads prevailed when considering the bizarre call that was merely an odd turn for those without a gambling interest, it was something different altogether for those with money on the line. 

Petchesky points to this portion of a report from R.J. Bell of Pregame.com. 

49ers -7 had money refunded (but would have won with the safety)
49ers -7.5 or -8 lost (but would have won with the safety)
Seahawks +7 had money refunded (but would have lost with the safety)
Seahawks +7.5 or +8 won (but would have lost with the safety)

Overall, it's safe to say that coach Harbaugh's unconventional decision resulted in a $75 million dollar swing worldwide with the bettors overall losing that amount (due to 65% of the action being on the 49ers) and the bookies overall winning that amount.

All that goes to say there were a good amount of remote controls destroyed as they were tossed violently against an unsuspecting wall last night. 

I imagine there were some smart phones updating unlucky gamblers that were also sacrificed. 

With the game well in hand, Harbaugh managed to make the waning moments of the game something rather remarkable. 


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