Gary Dell’Abate, JD Harmeyer, and Jon Hein Talk Online Gambling and the N.F.L. Playoffs

“I’ll cry for sure if [the Cincinnati Bengals] win,” JD says

January 11, 2022

With the N.F.L.’s regular season in the rearview and the playoffs on the horizon, the Stern Show spent time Tuesday morning talking football and giving listeners their postseason predictions.

“Don’t take my advice if you’re betting money because what I know about sports you can fit into a thimble,” Howard began before telling listeners he was rooting for two lower seeds to reach the Super Bowl: Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and his former team, the New England Patriots.

“Wouldn’t it be great to see Brady go up against his old coach?” Howard asked staffer and football video-game enthusiast JD Harmeyer.

“Personally, no,” responded JD, an Ohio native who said he was rooting for the Cincinnati Bengals. “I’m very excited. I’ll cry for sure if they win. They haven’t won a playoff game in 20 years,” he continued. “I teared up when they beat the Chiefs.”

“What’s a [Super Bowl] matchup that you want to see?” Howard asked him.

“Bengals versus anyone,” JD responded.

A caller named Joe had a different opinion. He thought the Stern Show staff should root for the Buffalo Bills, the only team that technically plays in New York.

Howard saw Joe’s point. “You’re right—they’re from New York State. Why do we look at them and say, ‘Eh?’” he asked before answering his own question. “You know what it is? … Buffalo is too far away. It’s nearly Canada.”

“It’s nearly Canada, but [the Bills] don’t play in New Jersey [like the Giants and Jets]. They play in New York State,” the caller said.

Executive producer Gary Dell’Abate vehemently disagreed. “Buffalo is like an eight-hour drive. I can be to D.C., Philly, and New England games quicker than any Buffalo games,” he said. “It’s a ridiculous argument.”

Staffer Jon Hein, meanwhile, felt the truth lied somewhere in the middle. “They’re a New York team,” he conceded before pivoting back to the topic of JD’s fandom. “I feel bad for JD because he’s got his hopes up so high and we all know what happens [then],” he said.

But JD wasn’t hearing it. “Your fucking [Pittsburgh] Steelers backed into the fucking playoffs. We’ll see how far they make it in!” he told Jon.

“Shame on the two of you,” Howard said. “New York has been good to both of you.”

Considering online sports gambling had just been legalized in New York, Howard imagined some of his staff planned to make some big bets. Sure enough, Jon and Gary had both already laid down money.

“Jon got me so excited about the online gambling that I signed up and ended up putting two bets down on two different people to win the Super Bowl,” Gary said.

Though JD wasn’t in on any of that action, he remained excited for the Bengals first-round matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, a team that recent Sin City transplant Ronnie Mund now supported.

“I was never a football fan to begin with … [but] there’s something about this team here,” Howard’s longtime limo driver explained. “They come back from nothing and all of a sudden they win. It’s a really cool story, and I’m watching the games.”

“Alright,” Howard concluded. “There’s my football roundup.”

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