The NFL – fixed or not?

Jan 5, 2015

The NFL – fixed or not?

Even the most passionate die-hard fans of the Cowboys had to see something wrong with Sunday’s NFC Wild-Card game. Twitter and other social media sites were abuzz with the hashtag #fix after a bizarre series of controversial calls. The integrity of the NFL is in question but quite frankly it’s nothing new for this league that is turning into the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).

We’re not saying the games are fixed because that seems a little farfetched when you consider all the planning and payoffs it would take to actually fix a football game. After all, Detroit was up 14-0 and could have easily gone ahead 21-0 or even worse and the last few minutes would have meant nothing. If the game was actually “fixed” the refs would not have allowed Detroit to go up 14-0 with several chances to extend it. That’s not how a “fix” works so let’s use the word “manipulation” as opposed to “fixed” and that we are 100% certain of.

The question now becomes why would they fix or manipulate games. Like everything in this world, it’s about money. It’s always about money. Everything is about money. Like most, I have a PVR and during the commercials and halftime of Sunday’s two NFL games, I was able to watch just over 5 hours of recorded shows. That’s insane. In other words, there were about three hours of actual NFL coverage and about five hours of commercials in the eight+ total hours of the two games combined. The NFL has to sell that time and selling Cam Newton versus Russell Wilson and the Seahawks is a much easier sell than Ryan Lindlay against anyone. Dallas versus Green Bay (Romo v Rodgers) is a game in which the NFL can increase the price of commercial time and will have companies lining up to buy some. Detroit at Green Bay would not come close to selling as much. Andrew Luck and the Colts going to Denver to play Peyton Manning’s former team is a huge sell as opposed to Andy Dalton and the Bengals. It’s more than that too. More intriguing match-ups result in larger TV audiences and the NFL can use those figures later on if this year’s prices are set and the spots are filled.

Were all those games fixed? Of course not because Cincinnati couldn’t move five yards and the Colts did not need any “help” whatsoever. However, let’s say the game was close and the Bengals had a chance to win it, much like Detroit did against Dallas, you would have seen the manipulation go to work. When Carolina was up 20-14 against Arizona and was driving in the fourth quarter, there were two ridiculous calls against the Cardinals that allowed the Panthers to score a TD and essentially put the game out of reach. The Detroit/Dallas game is self-explanatory. Is it coincidence that the NFL always gets the matchups they want? We don’t believe in that many coincidences and in case you missed it in the Cinci/Indy game, it went like this:

Play: No call on deep pass to Cincinnati Bengals receiver Brandon Tate.

Referee: Carl Cheffers

Analysis: At the end of the third quarter Sunday, Tate ran a deep post pattern against two Indianapolis Colts defenders. He got a step on both, but cornerback Mike Adams was in pursuit. After quarterback Andy Dalton released the ball, Adams used his right shoulder to bump into Tate's left shoulder. Tate fell down, and Adams then turned around to locate the ball, which hit the ground several yards away from him.

Based on what the replay showed, this play should have been called defensive pass interference. It violated Rule 8, Section 5, Article 2(e), which prohibits a defender(s) from cutting off the path of an opponent by making contact with him, without playing the ball." Adams did not turn to play the ball until after he collided with Tate.

Let’s also assume that the penalty that the refs picked up and reversed was the right call (we all know it was not) in the Dallas/Detroit game. What about Dez Bryant’s reaction? Seconds later, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant ran onto the field to protest the call. He was not wearing a helmet. Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1(j) prohibits "removal of a helmet by a player in the field of play, coming onto the field of play or the end zone during a celebration or demonstration or during a confrontation with a game official or any other player." Since the pass interference call was overturned, why wasn’t Bryant flagged?  

We’re suggesting that the NFL sends referees that cooperate to do certain games. It’s unwritten but those referees know exactly what the NFL wants and the refs that “don’t cooperate” work much less than those that do?  The NFL would NEVER tell a ref that a certain team must win but if something odd happens and that certain team did not win, that referee would work much less games than a ref that cooperates. It’s no coincidence that the NFL sent Ed Hochuli to work the Carolina/Arizona game and it’s no coincidence that Pete Morelli worked the Cowboys game. Coincidence that Hochuli has been involved in several controversial calls during his career (google it and you’ll see at least 10) yet the NFL regards him as their top official?  We think not and the same applies to Morelli. In fact, there are several refs that aren’t working the playoffs this year that had outstanding years with no controversial calls whatsoever. Those refs don’t “cooperate” and therefore do not work the playoffs. We did the research.