For those who don’t know, the SuperContest is the granddaddy of football handicapping contests and this year drew a record field of 3,328 entries that paid the $1,500 entry fee and make 5 picks a week against the spread vs. the SuperContest’s lines. ER @ JAR and Tuco both went the record 19-1 (95 percent) over the first four weeks of the contest and split the $15,000 “1st Quarter Bonus” ($7,500 apiece). They both followed that up with 4-1 records in Week 5 as they actually saw their winning percentage drop at 23-2 (92 percent). There’s another $15,000 bonus for the SuperContest leader after Week 8 and, of course, they’re aiming for the grand prize of $1,469,644.80 and the championship ring.
In Week 6, ER & JAR has the Buccaneers 2.5 vs. the Panthers in London, Browns plus-1 vs. the Seahawks, Jaguars -1.5 vs. the Saints, Eagles plus-3 at the Vikings and Rams -3 vs. the 49ers. Tuco has the Browns plus-1 vs. the Seahawks, Texans plus-4.5 at the Chiefs, 49ers plus-3 at the Rams, Jets plus-7 vs. the Cowboys and Steelers plus-6.5 at the Chargers. So, they both have the Browns but are opposite with ER @ JAR on the Rams and Tuco on the 49ers.
So who are the men behind these contest aliases?
ER @ JAR is actually a partnership of Jared Pomponio (who is the official entrant of record) and Eric Bloemer, hence the initials in their alias, from Philadelphia. Pomponio, 28, and Bloemer, 30, met at Villanova Business School in 2017 and are both Comcast finance employees.
“The original name was supposed to be ER & JAR,” Pomponio wrote in an email, “but I was unable to accurately draw the ‘&’ on the entry form, so we somehow became ER @ JAR. We are 50/50 partners and Eric provides input, confirms thoughts and signs off on the picks before we make anything final.
“I have been betting football (and other sports) since the day I turned 18 and signed up for a BoDog account,” Pomponio continued. “I consider myself in somewhat of a new category of bettor that is more informed than prior generations of recreational bettors. The information and tools are out there to teach yourself what to look for and how to be a better bettor and I try to use everything at my disposal. It’s been a long-term pipe dream of mine to be a professional bettor, but I am nowhere near that today.”
Tuco has chosen to stay anonymous for the time being and just stick with his alias, which he named after the Tuco Salamanca character from “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” though he did share that he is 37 and is a finance director in the San Francisco/Oakland “Bay Area.”
“I’m a recreational player,” Tuco said. “The main thing I do is the SuperContest. I’m definitely not a pro or an expert, clearly aware that a lot of my performance this year is based on luck. I have no magic algorithm and know that Vegas can humble you the following week. But I try to put in the work studying the film [NFL Game Pass] and stats. I’m not just throwing darts at the board.”
Both said they’ve never had a run like this. Tuco said this is his sixth year in the SuperContest and finished in the Top 30 in his first year but hasn’t cashed since. Pomponio said this is ER @ JAR’s second year in the contest and that “ER & JAR” was in contention at 22-16-2 (57.9 percent) through Week 8 but went on an 8-16-1 stretch that doomed their chances and finished 42-40-3.
When they were both going for the 1st Quarter Bonus in Week 4, Tuco was in the clubhouse at 19-1 and ER @ JAR was 18-1 with the Saints plus-2.5 vs. the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, but both said they didn’t hedge and let the chips fall where they may.
They both also said they know there's a long way to go.
“They don’t give you that ring after Week 5, so still a lot of grinding to do,” Tuco said. “It’s fun, especially when you’re tied for the lead.”