I never thought I’d say this, but the NFL is most definitely rigged. The Super Bowl was the shining example of how money and ratings has overridden the integrity of the game.
What it comes down to is advertising dollars. Which team and its players will sell the most products? In the divisional playoff game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers, an outrageous overturned interception call nearly caused the Steelers to lose the game. If not for the Colts shooting themselves in the hoof, the Steelers wouldn’t have made it to the Super Bowl a few weeks later. And here’s why the call was overturned: Peyton Manning sells more products. Manning is the golden boy of advertising and his image of a future hall of fame quarterback makes cash registers ring all across the country. Simply put, Manning going deep into the playoffs means more money the NFL will make off of him. The Steelers weren’t supposed to win that game even though they kicked the shit out of the Colts. Whatever the refs could do to help the Colts along, they did. It was obvious and grotesque.
The misnomer here is that the refs are fixing games on their own. No, they’re not getting together before the game and deciding its outcome. No, they’re too dumb for that. The NFL (whether it be the commissioner, the czar or whoever pulls the strings) mandates that the refs make these horrible, horrible calls. Seriously. They’ve just gotten worse and worse every year. If you ran such a massive money making organization as the NFL, would keep these bumbling fools around who are making your game look absurd? Of course not.
This was a banner year for referee fuck ups. One would think the head honchos of the NFL would have gotten together and said “look, we have to do something about these knuckleheads ruining the best sport in the USA.” But nothing has happened.
The NFL won’t come out and blast the refs because if they hang them out to dry too many times (after asking them to basically fix games) the refs will revolt and all the dirty laundry will be out in the open.
Take this past Super Bowl for example. The Steelers made it past Indy and the hapless Broncos (sniff), suddenly they are the darlings of the advertising circuit. Once all the favorites were eliminated (the Patriots and Tom Brady couldn’t log enough advertising time this year), the Steelers became the chosen ones of American consumerism. Everyone wants to see Big Ben on Letterman and selling hot dogs right? Ben Rothlisberger went from doing bad sports memorabilia commercials to ads for Disney in a matter of two weeks. Strange, don’t you think? I don’t know about you, but the Seattle Seahawks are not dynamic personalities. I had no idea what Shaun Alexander even looked like before last week and Matt Hasselbeck is a bald dork. God forbid they’re just athletes who are supposed to make their money out on the field first. No one wants to see these guys hawking Pepsi and Visa related items. Before you could say “the fix is in,” the fix was in.
So during the actual Super Bowl, any time Seattle got a little momentum, they got the Joan Collins Special. That means they got screwed. A touchdown called back for dubious offensive pass interference call. Phantom Holding Calls and Big Ben’s touchdown that never touched the end zone. It was like watching gas prices rise and Exxon reporting record profits; there’s not a damn thing you could do about it.
The appropriate thing to do here is either announce that the refs are terrible (they have been for awhile) and fire all of them, or admit they are rigging the games to favor the more marketable. One would think the NFL would come out and blast the officials for fucking up so bad, but they don’t. If they fire these assholes, the refs will rat them out. If they admit to rigging the games, there will be a lot of gamblers out for blood.
NFL football is now America’s game. And if it ever comes out that the games have been rigged to satisfy advertisers and obnoxious East Coast ass lickers (i.e. fans in alleged “big markets”), I will kick Peyton Manning in the nuts….ok, I’ll do that anyway, but you get the point.