When I was just a twenty-year-old baby shitlord, I remember Charles Woodson coming in on Tom Brady on a corner blitz in the playoffs at New England and Brady subsequently fumbling the football. Though this was the same year we were attacked by radical Islam, with over 3,000 people dying, so the idea of fixed games was okay. The team in New England was called the Patriots, and everybody was talking all year about how fitting it would be to have the Patriots in the Super Bowl. A big thumb in the eye to the terrorists!
Look, I don’t know if fixed games were why New England made it to the Super Bowl that year. All I know is the “tuck rule” was a made-up-on-the-spot call that didn’t even fall in line with the vague ruling, and that things were awfully duck-like in how they sounded, smelled and waddled across the screen.
What we have learned since then is that Tom Brady may be the best quarterback to ever throw on a uniform, and Belichick is a pretty good head coach. So New England can roll to a Super Bowl all its own.
This is exactly why over twenty—yes, twenty; I counted!—missed calls during the Jaguars-Patriots AFC Championship game personally gets under my crawl so badly and makes me shout about the NFL and fixed games!
The Jacksonville Jaguars had the better team on the field Sunday. They had a three-headed beast for running the ball, solid talent at wide receiver, and the single-best pass defense in all of football. However, they also had over 100 yards in pentalties, including two separate series where they stopped Tom Brady’s passing attack on third down, only to have the drive kept alive by suspicious penalties.
The Patriots only had one penalty called on them all game. And to be perfectly honest, I forget what it was for! I only know that the Jags had twice as many as that called on pass interference, one of which was the most blatantly obviously offensive pass interference examples I have ever seen in the NFL, yet the call went against the guy—the Jaguars’ DB—who was getting pushed around.
The NFL and fixed games don’t go hand in hand like the NBA and its officials, where refs have been proven to be shaving points. But did you know that one penalty for a team in the AFC Championship game is the lowest total since the 2011 AFC Championship game? And did you know that this total of one was also accrued by the New England Patriots against the Baltimore Ravens that year? Did you know that just last week, when the Pats beat the Tennessee Titans, that this discrepancy was also noticed and people complained about the lack of flags thrown on New England?
I’m an Oakland Raiders fan, so insofar as my boys are out of it, I really don’t care who gets there. But I also watched the game, like I have a fetish for fixed games or something, and I saw with my own two eyes what was going on. Three of the most blatant offensive holding plays I’ve ever seen were committed by the Pats in the game. One was when their running back was making a mad dash up the sideline, the other two came by way of the offensive linemen keeping the defense away from Brady. We’re talking about blatantly pulling of jerseys and tackling defensive players. Ironically—or maybe unironically—the Jags’ O-lineman was called for tackling a defensive player, the same way New England’s O-lineman did, but only one of them was called for the penalty.
There were also three instances where the Pats’ DBs interfered incredibly with the Jags’ wide-outs. One of these times, a New England player literally tackled a Jacksonville wide receiver, and the referee was standing about five feet away and never threw a flag. On the Jags’ last offensive play, on 4th down, Blake Bortles scrambled around and threw a dime to a wide receiver running a skinny post up the seam. However, the New England player put his hand on the Jags’ player’s back, boosted himself up off the ground, and levitated in mid air to deflect the pass. The only physical way possible that the man could have held that defensive position was to use the wide receiver as his mounting bull. Yet it was not called. Even Tony Romo in the booth calling the game mentioned under his breath that it should be a penalty, before quickly going back to talking about how superb Tom Brady is as a player.
The cry of fixed games is nothing new. Bitter sporting fans always whine about the refs when their team of choice loses. But we have too much that’s logically pointing to fixed games here with the NFL.
Take the dumb-ass “take a knee” protests all season, which cost the NFL a lot of ratings. Now understand that most people who are casual NFL fans, the type who watch the Playoffs and Super Bowl, are front-runners who are looking for Tom Brady and the Pats. Would you rather see Jacksonville take on Philly? Or would you rather see a 40-year-old Tom Brady in his 8th Super Bowl?
The answer is pretty clear, and thus the motive is clear. If this were a homicide case, the NFL would logically and necessarily be called in for questioning because their motive is so apparent. It would be akin to a wife claiming her husband “fell” while hiking, with a $10 million insurance policy. Yes, it’s that crazily conspicuous.
Let me just say here that New England is a fantastic team! They do not need the refs to win. However, on all of those plays that I saw, that we all saw, if New England is only called on a quarter of them, they don’t get to go score their touchdowns. The touchdown they scored before the half gave them a lot of momentum, and they got there because of back-to-back chunk-play penalties, one for a needless helmet-to-helmet call when Rob Gronkowski just happened to fall into the helmet of a DB, and another where the Patriots’ receiver was pushing the hell out of a DB yet the call still went against the the DB. The latter was a 3rd-down play, if I recall correctly, and would have led to a punt – or at least 15 yards tacked onto however long they had to go for a first down. Either way, no touchdown on the board if the refs were fair.
You miss some calls. This is true. But how’s this for a note? I’m 37, and the only time in my life I’ve watched an NFL referee reverse a call after a flag was thrown was last week when the refs changed their false start call against New England and switched it to an off-side call against Tennessee, which led of course to another Pats score.
These are too many damn coincidences here, and so the phrase fixed games comes out again.
The optics were even worse and just scream fixed games. Don’t believe me? Go to YouTube or somewhere and watch the game again. While a Pats’ DB literally tackled a Jacksonville WR with the ball in the air, and no one called a penalty, the referees were seen multiple times in the game literally celebrating with the Patriots and congratulating Tom Brady as the 4th quarter was winding down.
Roger Goodell has operated a weird ship for years now. When it’s something like race, everyone’s on his case. When it’s something like fixed games and the Pats, we pretend that the NFL is all about integrity and not about business. This is the same league that was covering up brain damage in order to save a buck! Never forget that.
The NFL is a cruddy-ass league in many respects, and I believe we can add fixed games to all the wrongs they have done. In 2001 it was important to have “Patriots” representing America, and New England’s popularity is needed once again, in the worst year the NFL has had for playoff ratings.
I have eyes. I can see. I watched the game closely. I’ll reiterate: If only ¼ of the penalties the Pats committed were actually called, the Jags would have ran away with the game.
I’m not saying any of these things constitute proof of fixed games in the NFL. Take them alone, one by one, and they’re all just coincidences. However, once you compile them, it does seem to be fishy. I mean, we’re not talking about foggy things in the high-speed heat of the action. We’re talking about players literally tackling wide receivers, and holding Jags’ players so bad that they’re being thrown to the ground. We’re talking about blatantly obvious calls that were not only missed, but that weren’t even questioned. It’s typical to see the refs huddle up, because one guy thinks he saw something and so they discuss whether or not it was a penalty. We never saw a single one of those instances in Sunday’s game.
Taken together, I think it is pretty clear that what we have here are fixed games, the NFL trying to get New England to a Super Bowl for its poor ratings.
Good for them. I won’t be watching. I’m all about competition, not fixed games in the NFL.