A debate as old as time itself... are professional sports rigged for money?
Photo courtesy of Yahoo News
I never wanted to believe it. I still don't want to believe it. But after what we witnessed last night, it's getting harder and harder for me to keep the faith. Sunday night's AFC Championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Cincinnati Bengals was so clearly called in Kansas City's favor, and this is coming from someone who had a vested interest in the Chiefs taking home the dub. With my Chiefs moneyline, Travis Kelce anytime TD scorer, and Patrick Mahomes over 2.5 TD's on the line, the money won was not worth the disappointment of finding out that one of my favorite things in the world may be tainted.
Now, before you get your little Twitter fingers hot and ready to start screaming at me via your burner account, I will be the first to admit that Cincinnati didn't help their own cause. Say what you will about the horrible officiating, but the Bengals had every chance in the world to capitalize on the Chiefs' mistakes, because there were plenty of them, but they repeatedly shot themselves in the foot. Sad. But that does not stray away from the fact that the Chiefs received not one, not two, but three controversial chances at a crucial 3rd & 9 due to the referees supposedly blowing the play dead, an absolutely garbage intentional grounding call on Joe Burrow, multiple missed holding calls on Kansas City, Burrow getting trucked in his own end zone after the throw with no roughing the passer penalty, among many other horrid calls.
"NFL is rigged" trended on Twitter last night with an astounding 28,000 Tweets from people all over the world discussing the atrocious officiating in the AFC Championship game. The debate raged well into Monday morning, with major news outlets such as the New York Post, Barstool Sports, Sports Illustrated and Yahoo Sports covering the controversy.
Adam Schefter appeared on the Pat McAfee show today and debunked the "NFL is rigged" conspiracies. Schefter gets paid $9 million a season to cover the NFL. Why, of all people, would he choose to be the whistle blower, just two weeks before Super Bowl 57? Exactly, he wouldn't be, otherwise he'd be out of a job. I'm not buying a word that comes out of his mouth, not while he's in ESPN and the NFL's pocket.
We have seen way too many highly suspect missed calls, "coincidences," and mishaps across all four major North American sports for decades now. From Tim Donaghy admittedly fixing the 2002 NBA Western Conference Final, to Brett Hull's "no goal" goal, to the 2016 NBA Final, to the MLB's juiced baseballs epidemic... sports fans... it may be time for us to open our eyes and admit it, professional sports, this thing that we invest so much time of our lives talking about and watching, may be scripted.
It works for wrestling, no?