No matter how good a bet may sound, remember: The house always wins.
Many patrons at Jack’s American Pub in Milwaukee thought the odds were in their favor on Monday night, when the bar was offering a special that seemed too good to pass up. The wager was simple: If the New York Jets lost on Monday against the Buffalo Bills, the pub would pay their tab. The promotion was a chance for Wisconsin football fans to root against quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who played his whole career with the Green Bay Packers before being traded this year to the Jets.
And when Rodgers, who had been thought of as a savior for the Jets, left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury early in the first quarter of the game, the odds of a Jets loss seemed promising.
Scott Schaefer, the pub’s owner, said on Tuesday that as the chances of the Jets losing seemed increasingly favorable, patrons started running up their tabs more confidently.
“They weren’t ecstatic that he got hurt,” Schaefer said. “They were more thinking with their wallets.”
By halftime, the Bills were up 13-3, and it was clear that Rodgers wouldn’t be returning that night.
“I’d say for 80 percent of the game they thought they’d won, and they were drinking as if they’d won,” Schaefer said. “Hundred-dollar tabs were very common.”
But then the tide turned. The Jets scored a field goal in the third quarter, and in the fourth quarter, they tied the game to force it into overtime.
With a touchdown in overtime, the Jets completed a comeback that many thought was improbable without Rodgers. The final score was Jets 22, Bills 16.
For many at Jack’s American Pub, it was time to pay up.
“People were quiet,” Schaefer said.
Knowing that a Jets win was possible on Monday, Schaefer said he and his staff were worried that some patrons would be upset and refuse to pay. Customers participating in the deal had to hand over a credit card and were given wristbands, Schaefer said.
“But what we realized when it came to the end, everyone just respected the result,” he said. “There were no problems.”
The deal poked fun at Rodgers, who captivated fans across Wisconsin during his 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, which he led to a Super Bowl win in 2011 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, along with regular playoff appearances.
But his time with the Packers ended on a sour note, after Rodgers grew frustrated with the team’s direction,and reportedly asked to be traded from the team.
“We didn’t know the last few years if he was coming or going,” Schaefer said.
Rodgers was traded to the Jets in April, which prompted Schaefer to come up with the idea for promotion.
“I think some people in Wisconsin are not his biggest fan for how he left, so they wanted to root against him,” Schaefer said.
The offer came with a few caveats. To participate, patrons needed to start a tab 15 minutes before the Jets game, Rodgers needed to start the game, and patrons had to watch the game at the bar from start to finish, which meant committing to about three hours. The deal also didn’t include food, and top-shelf liquor was excluded.
The Jets announced on Tuesday that Rodgers had torn his left Achilles’ tendon on Monday and that he will miss the rest of the season. Without any Rodgers starts the rest of the year, Schaefer said he and his staff were working to come up with new ideas to retool the promotion for the pub, which had its 10-year anniversary in August.
“We just want to remake the atmosphere,” he said. “It was so much fun last night.”