One in 9.2 quintillion. That’s the Average Joe’s odds of filling out a perfect NCAA Tournament bracket, according to DePaul Mathematics Professor Jeff Bergen in a video from 2012. “If you’re just guessing, you basically have no chance,” Bergen claimed in his mathematical breakdown of what it would take to accomplish such a feat, and I’m pretty sure that after today’s big NCAA Tournament news, there are going to be millions of people ready to tell Bergen and anyone else that they don’t give a f*ck about their chances.
Quicken Loans, in cooperation with Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway, is offering $1 billion to anyone who fills out a perfect bracket for the 2013-14 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. In case you’re having trouble comprehending how much money that is, open your wallet, take one dollar out, and imagine having ONE BILLION of those.
“We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth? We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat,” said Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quicken Loans. “It is our mission to create amazing experiences for our clients. This contest, with the possibility of creating a billionaire, definitely fits that bill.” (Via Yahoo! Finance)
All I could think of when I first read this news was the scene in the awful action movie S.W.A.T. when the crime boss announced on TV that he’d pay $100 million to anyone who helps spring him, and all of the Los Angeles street gangs start preparing to take on the cops. Except in this case, it’s millions of sports nerds rolling their chairs up to their computers and cracking their knuckles. But not so fast, people! There are a few catches.
First of all, you don’t just get a check for $1 billion and a pat on the back in one shining moment. The prize is paid out in 40 annual installments of $25 million, so when cousins you’ve never met start calling you for loans to buy nuclear submarines, you’ll have to tell them to chill the hell out. Additionally, you can settle for a one-time lump sum payment of $500 million (before taxes, obviously) but what’s the fun in that? You can’t tell people you’re a billionaire then. Oh, and if by some incredible chance there are multiple winners, the prize will be split. But by the time that happens, the rest of us will have been swallowed up by a giant hole in the ground that leads to hell.
Additionally, when the “Quicken Loans Billion Dollar Bracket” contest opens on March 3, not only will you only be able to register one bracket, but you better be fast as hell to make sure you’re one of the first 10 million people to enter, because that’s the limit. That’s some cutthroat rule-making, Mr. Buffett.
“Millions of people play brackets every March, so why not take a shot at becoming $1 billion richer for doing so,” added Buffett, Chief Executive Officer of Berkshire Hathaway, who is insuring the contest’s grand prize. “While there is no simple path to success, it sure doesn’t get much easier than filling out a bracket online. To quote a commercial from one of my companies, I’d dare say it’s so easy to enter that even a caveman can do it.”
Of course he quoted a Geico ad. You can have all the money in the world, Warren, but if you’re still quoting Geico ads, are you really, truly happy? Yes. Obviously. And Buffett will be so happy if someone has a perfect bracket leading up to the NCAA Championship Game that he’ll not only spring for two tickets, but he’ll watch the game with you, and he’ll have a check in his pocket.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Mr. Buffett from Omaha, Neb. “If there’s one left at the end, I plan to go to the game with him or her. I’ll take a check along in my pocket.” (Via the New York Times)
One in 9.2 quintillion, folks. Best of luck, and don’t go spending your first $25 million before a 12-seed upsets a 5 seed.
(Banner via Getty)