Super Bowl Bet In Iraq

U.S. Army Capt. Mike Hastings, (right) proudly adorned in Chicago Bears gear, with Cleveland Colts fan Col. Kent Abernathy, at the Iraq Assistance Group headquarters in Baghdad, Jan. 30, 2007. CBS/Cami McCormick

This story was written for CBSNews.com by correspondent Cami McCormick, who is based in Baghdad.



At the Iraq Assistance Group headquarters in Baghdad, where Colonel Kent Abernathy and Captain Mike Hastings work, their desks sit facing one another.

One is an Indianapolis Colts fan. The other a diehard Chicago Bears fan.

"We just stare at each other," says Abernathy, 50, who grew up in Indianapolis. "I've got my Colts football on my desk."

"I wear my Bears cap and I have the Bears blanket on my chair," said Hastings, 26, a Chicago native.

Their football wagering usually involves the loser bringing breakfast to the winner the next morning.

"He's going to get me oatmeal with raisins, egg whites with tomatoes, green peppers, and ham - - you writing this down, sir? And orange juice," Hastings jokes of the morning after the Super Bowl. "The Bears are going to kill them, I'm very confident of that."

Hastings was born during an October 6,1980, Monday night football game between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers.

"Ever since then I was a diehard Bears fan," Hastings said. As a child, he had "vinyl and blue fleece pajamas with the Bears emblem. They zipped up from your feet to your neck. I wore those pajamas every night until I was 18. My mom still has them in the attic. I'm looking for an adult pair today."

Hastings is 6'2" and 230 pounds.

Hastings' parents have been season ticket holders since 1982, and may travel to Miami for Sunday's game, and delay renovating their home to pay for the trip.

In Iraq, soldiers and Marines will gather in designated facilities to watch the game, others in their tents or trailers. Kickoff is at 2:30 a.m. local time.

Hastings and Abernathy are debating watching the Super Bowl with their unit, even though it will mean a sleepless night and hours of friendly ribbing.

"We may slug each other a few times," Hastings said. "I'll be at war with Colonel Abernathy for the duration of the game, and after that we can become friends again."

"It'll be a different kind of war zone," Abernathy adds. "But at the end of the day, we're all comrades in arms...even if they're Bears fans."
By Cami McCormick
  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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