Football could easily be the most popular sport in the USA, and a large part of this can be attributed to the NFL.
The 32 NFL teams have consistently mesmerized fans with exceptional performance and extraordinary skills on the field.
The biggest football event, the Super Bowl, is watched all over the planet, and the match always gets to the viewers’ expectations. But what happens behind the scenes?
Are these games naturally played, or are there tricks fans don’t know about? Let us get a look into the NFL and answer this;
Is NFL Rigged?
You might not like it, but yes, the NFL rigs most of its high stake games, especially those leading to or in the Super Bowl. The rigging is mainly done by having referees and officials stack the odds against one team to give the other a victory.
In other cases, the players are instructed to throw the game since it is good for the league. The games are rigged to generate more money for sales and viewership depending on where the teams will play and the team’s number of fans.
How Does The NFL Benefit From Rigging Games?
There are a lot of reasons for the league to rig games if you look at it financially. The decision may be a bit difficult for the players, but what can you do about it? To get the whole picture, you need to understand how the NFL benefits from rigging games;
1. Ticket sales
The NFL could fix matches to lead up to games of teams that will get them the highest possible number of tickets. The increased ticket sales will make more money both for the team and the league.
They can do this by having teams likely to host the Super Bowl win so that the local fans can fill the stadiums and increase sales and promotion for their sponsors. Getting popular teams to the Super Bowl works each time since this event is always sold out.
2. Rating improvement
Everyone likes it when a movie goes in a direction they want it to go in. The same idea is used in sports where analysts figure out what most fans want in terms of victories, giving the masses what they want.
By doing this, the NFL ratings keep going higher, and they get more viewership, sponsors, and deals that make them money.
The money made by playing adverts is much higher if many viewers are watching a show.
The NFL will always want to have the highest number of users possible to keep the income high.
3. To raise the Stakes of the Games
Everything in life becomes more enjoyable when planned out, and you don’t know about it. The same thing happens with NFL games; they are rigged to create rivalries and stiff competition between teams to get fans more interested.
As the number of fans increases, so does the money made by the NFL and the teams associated with it.
The picking of match-ups and the winners guarantee situations that end with fans coming back for more.
Letting the games play out by themselves could be dissatisfying for the fans and reduce the numbers. For this reason, the NFL management fixes the matches to go in a favorable direction.
The Most Rigged Football Games
We all like a good conspiracy theory, especially when dealing with sports. Some conspiracies have no basis, while some have too much evidence to ignore. Here are some of the NFL’s most rigged games;
1. Super Bowl XL
If you look at the final score in this match, it seems like there is no controversy since the Steelers easily won 21-10. This score, however, does not tell the whole story.
In this match-up, the SeaHAWKS got flagged on multiple occasions on crucial calls that were obvious to everyone. It seemed like they were playing against the Steelers and the officials that night.
You would mostly shrug off cases like this as fans who hate the other team getting emotional and lying, but this was different.
A few years later, Bill Leavy, a referee from the Steelers game, opened up and confessed to throwing the game.
2. Super Bowl III
The Colts came into the Super Bowl as fan favorites against the Jets. The Colts had had a fantastic season, and they won all their games with over 20 points except for one game in the entire season.
In the Super Bowl, however, the Colts lost to the jets 16-7. They were led by Earl Murray, who is among the most amazing football players to ever participate in the NFL.
Murray completed only 6 of his 17 passes, and three were intercepts.
It seemed evident that the Colts had intentionally thrown the game. Most people believe the Colts were paid off to lose the game to make the AFL look more legitimate.
3. Dallas Cowboys Vs. Green Bay Packers 2014 Divisional Match
The Packers were ahead with a 25-21 lead with only 5 minutes left on the clock. Tony Romo had his wide receiver, Dez Bryant sprinting down the left sideline, and Bryant leaped to grab the ball over the defender.
The Packers challenged the catch, and to the surprise of all viewers, the call was overturned without any inconclusive evidence.
This turnover cost the Cowboys the game, but three years later, the NFL admitted that Dez caught the ball.
The list goes on with referees making calls that don’t make sense or teams underperforming to the extent that any logical reasoning cannot explain.
The officials have to do what they are told is best for the NFL, and they make the games go in the league’s favor.
Sport’s Betting’s Role In Sports Rigging
The working of a betting organization is rather complex, but we can simplify it. Participants place a bet for each team, and if your team wins, you get more money, and if it loses, you lose your money.
The money that goes to the winners is not that much. This leaves the companies or people running the betting business with the most money.
To add more money, they control the matches to end in their favor.
By making a highly ranked and favored team lose, the betting company gets more money since many people bet on the team.
If the team wins, they lose a lot of money since fewer people bet against it, and they have to pay with their money.
As of 2018, sports betting is legal in the United States, and it has brought up some issues with games getting rigged. There are some significant negative contributions it has brought about, and let us look at them;
1. It has led to poor officiating of games
This is a story apparent in almost every sports league, from the NBA, the NFL, and others. This happens when the officials in a game take part in gambling.
When officiating a match, a referee could be paid off to make the team lose for someone else to make extra money.
There are several cases of refs admitting to this, such as the NBA coach who was imprisoned for his crime for 15 months.
2. Destruction of talent in players
Some shady people at times approach key players and offer them bribes to throw the game. This is advantageous to those that bet for that team’s victory, and the lost money goes to the betting company.
If players get involved in such practices, it makes them unreliable, and the team might drop them.
This might cost young athletes a big opportunity and possibly ruin their life if they have nothing to fall back to.
Imagine going through training for months only to lose a game because someone told you to throw it. It can be demoralizing and painful for everyone involved with the team, including the loyal fans.
The NFL and all the other Sports associations need to protect athletes from such eventualities.
While some people make money betting on sports, 99% lose their money, so it is not profitable.
The NFL rigs some of its matches to make more money. This unbelievable claim has been confirmed by numerous sources from within the NFL, including referees, players, coaches, and high-ranking officials.
The NFL could lose its ratings if the games played out naturally and they are not willing to risk it.
They mostly tamper with high stake games such as the Super Bowl games or big games that determine the teams which will go to the Super Bowl.
There are games whose tampering was so obvious, and they raised a lot of eyebrows. Incidences such as referees celebrating with a team after a touchdown show clear favoritism in the NFL.
Legalizing sports betting has had a significant effect on how games are played in all fields. More people are trying to change match outcomes in unconventional ways, and it messes up the players.