For a while now, the NFL season has been accused of fixing its games, specifically in favor of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots, the league’s marquee player and franchise. Suspicions hit a fever pitch after this year’s AFC Championship game, when the Patriots had a number of controversial calls go their way and referees were supposedly openly celebrating the Patriots victory.
Those sentiments would seemingly have been put to rest by the Philadelphia Eagles beating the Patriots on Sunday in the Super Bowl, but alas, the NFL truther mill has found a way to explain how the Eagles championship was orchestrated by the league, too.
Amateur NFL conspiracy theorist Larry Blong wrote in his email newsletter that the game was scripted, and everyone was in on it, from the owners down to the players [all sic]:
The game was obviously scripted for PHL. People were sick of NE always winning. One pass to Gronk in first half for 9 yards!
Why wait until you are down ten points to start passing to Gronkowski?
MALCOLM BUTLER PLAYED 98.5% OF THE PLAYS IN REGULAR SEASON AND DOESN’T PLAY WHILE HIS SUB GETS BURNED.
NE has 4th and 1 from Eagle 8 in first half and goes for FG which is no good? Early on in the game you have to take a chance. Didn’t Pederson go for it on 4th several times? This was bullshit with the FG try. Gostkowski also misses extra point? Foles not sacked once? Helmet to helmet puts Cooks out yet no PHL penalty? Even Michaels and Collingsworth said it was helmet to helmet. All week they showed Brady screaming and urging his teammates on with “let’s go guys.” Yet last night Brady looked like he was in a mummified trance. Not a bit of emotion. KraFT LEFT HIS YOUNG BABE GIRLFRIEND HOME AS HE TOLD HER THEY WERE GOING DOWN.
Super Bowls are all scripted today as there is just too much money involved in the business. Fairytale believers like you keep the charade going. When will the mummies who voted for trump and believe that last night’s game was a game wake up?
That the Super Bowl was fixed for the Eagles doesn’t necessarily contradict the pre-existing theory that the league elevated the Patriots throughout the season to maximize ratings and profit. Once the Patriots made the Super Bowl, the last and most important game of the season, the NFL had no incentive to ensure yet another Patriots victory. Rather, it was much more interesting (and beneficial to the league) to have the underdog Eagles win in convincing fashion. NFL owners rotate which team wins the Super Bowl each year to keep the league’s various fanbases interested, according to Blong.
An alternate theory is that the league did try to rig the game for the Patriots, but the Eagles simply overcame it.
As proof, NFL truthers point to referee Gene Steratore laughing to himself after calling a false start on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski at the end of the first quarter. Truthers say he was laughing because Gronk’s false start was so egregious that he had to call it, despite trying to help the Patriots win.
That said, if the refs really were in the bag for the Patriots, they probably would’ve overturned the touchdown caught by Eagles tight end Zach Ertz in the fourth quarter. It would’ve been easy enough considering the NFL’s inscrutable rule about what constitutes a catch. (Then again, overturning that call would’ve likely caused a multi-day riot in Philadelphia.) Similarly, the refs could’ve easily called defensive pass interference against the Eagles on the final play of the game, a Brady hail mary attempt, but they decided against it.
Overall, the refs called a very loose game. There was just one sack but zero holding penalties, two things that are in direct conflict with each other. If the pass protection was so good, surely the offensive lineman were holding at least a little. Brian Tuohy, the internet’s leading NFL truther, takes this as proof that the NFL was trying to produce as high-scoring and entertaining a game as possible.
If that’s the case, the NFL certainly accomplished its goal. Super Bowl LII had the most yards of any NFL game ever. The problem is that all of those yards (and the touchdowns they resulted in) didn’t lead to ratings. In fact, this year’s game was the lowest-rated Super Bowl in almost a decade.
And if there’s anything the NFL would like fixed, it’s that.