Re: Referees Been rigging games since the early 2000's???
posted at 2/7/2014 5:58 PM EST
I'd say that during the referee strike a year ago, the replacement refs flipped crucial games at the last minute with astonishing frequency. Patriots fans remember the horrible field goal call at the end of the Baltimore game. I remember a winning touchdown run n the Arizona game that got called back by a phantom foul. Green Bay fans were just as grumpy.
Note that nobody was criticizing the ref calls except for all of those last minute losses that turned to wins.
The message seems to have been that the NFL's product, a correct win in a close game, shall never be delivered until the union refs get back on the field. Millions of fans shall turn off their TV sets in disgust. After maybe a year of attempted union busting, NFL owners will be lucky to have their stadiums 1/10 full and sponsors willing to pay 1/10 of their original ad revenue. Most NFL owners will be ruined.
For this scenario to be true, there would have to be some deal between the scab refs and the regular union refs. Is it possible that the NFL rounded up any good ref out there without checking credentials, and some sappers got in? In any case, the owners suddenly settled and things were hunky-dory again.
This opens the possibility that the refs have their own motives, not necessarily mob-related. If a player goes out and hurts a ref, as Sprewell did in basketball, that guy's career is dead because all the other refs will pick on that one player. The coach will soon take the hint that the guy will never be a plus to the team's winning a game.
I hate predicting playoff games. All regular season predictions seem to go haywire. I think that's because huge amounts of money are laid down on playoff games. If you're in the game-fixing business, you want much of the regular season to look almost normal so as not to scare the bettors away, but in the post season when a tidal wave of real money starts to flow in, that's when you fix games left and right. Also watch out for a few big regular season rivalry games where the money flows like water.
Since the early 2000s the worst team in the playoffs has won the Super Bowl at least twice. This sort of thing never happened in the NFL's early days, and as my numbers have shown over and over again, in the regular season the better team beats the underdog with amazing point-spread accuracy. The wackiness of the system in the 2000s is a telltale sign.
Some of the sore thumbs were Baltimore, the Giants, New Orleans and the Patriots in 2001, who were 14 point underdogs in the Super Bowl. Based on BB's and Brady's record over the ensuing decade, that last example may not have been a fluke. New Orleans was discovering the wonders of pay for violence, and that was their system. The other two were either statistical flukes or possibly fixed cakewalks.
I really didn't like the San Francisco / Green Bay playoff game a year ago. The coach's son died in mysterious circumstances a full week before the game -- he went under the ice and drowned -- giving Green Bay plenty of time to malfunction. Nobody can prove anything. It's sort of like the crime-fighting editor of the Providence Journal dying of blunt trauma to the head while on a bicycle ride one day. Bad things just happen. No witnesses.
What are we to make of Denver's center, on the first play of the game, throwing the football over the quarterback's head and into the endzone? Nerves? Really? Is the center that stupid? Why aren't there a bunch of "almost" hike it over the quarterback's head plays, near misses, in the regular season? Normally the blitzers will get to the football before the quarterback. Somehow Seattle only picked up a safety.
The very first play in the Super Bowl? This reminds me of the movie about the Chicago Black Sox scandal, where the mobster threatens to kill the pitcher's wife if he doesn't go off target in the very first inning. So, the first three batters end in a three run homer.
Preseason games are fixed by the coaches, who want to lower expectations, especially when the first team is playing in the first quarter. Running backs are told to carry the ball in one hand away from the body. Quarterbacks are ordered to lob the ball directly at a defender, preferably on an out route for a pick-six. On fourth down, players are told to tackle the punter after he kicks the football downfield. I liked one preseason drive where Oakland, I believe, ran into the punter twice on the same "drive" so that their incompetent opponent would score a touchdown. So it's not like a ball carrier doesn't know how to throw a game when a mobster wants a personal gambling debt paid off. Just put the ball on the ground!
The surest sign of a ref-fixed game is a bad pass interference call that puts the football on the 1 yard line, or that never gets called on one team. Offsides is nothing compared to a free touchdown, so the bought refs only call the biggies.
This thread is all about letting the best advertising revenue win. That's possible. The NBA's fixed system had most playoff series always going to game 6 or game 7, because more playoff games equalled more advertising minutes to sell. If your team was up 2-0 or especially 3-0 in a playoff series, guess who would win the next game.
The problem with that theory is that the Super Bowl didn't go down to the wire. The SB was over by halftime, and TV sets all over Colorado went click click click early. The other problem with both Denver and Seattle is their markets. San Francisco would have been a better market than Seattle. In fairness, Pete Carroll had the best team and sometimes that counts, otherwise everybody would be betting on the underdogs and always winning. It would be nice to see how much money was wagered on Seattle winning by at least 20 points or even by 30 points.