“The NFL is scripted”



Referees have become the face of the scripted NFL controversy. With their calls often being the deciding factors of games, fans look at them as the proof of games being rigged.

Alex Banerjee, News Editor

One holding call reignited the decades long conspiracy about the NFL being a rigged organization. Many have called the NFL a fixed game made to make money, and the recent games have been of no help in quelling those rumors. “NFL is scripted” was even trending on Twitter at one point.

During the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LVII, the score was tied at 35 points between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles. With almost 2 minutes left in the game and an overthrown pass leaving the Chiefs to have to kick for a field goal, it seemed as if the game would go into overtime.

Yet Philadelphia cornerback James Bradberry was called for defensive holding on the 3rd down giving Chiefs a 1st and 10 at the Eagle’s 11th yard line. The Chiefs had ample time to stall the clock until eight seconds leaving almost no chance for the Eagles to tie or win the game.

Viewers were shocked by the call. Most referees would have let it pass as it wouldn’t have meant the end of the game like making the call had. 

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady said that the call was “easier not to call it,” he explained on his podcast. “The hard one is when you do call it because there’s a lot of scrutiny with that call.”

Brady was quick to defend the referee’s call as well, “I don’t get caught up too much on one call” he continued. “I think I’ve been in sports long enough where I realize there’s a lot of things that impact the game and one referee’s call, yeah it’s important but, you know, the referees are doing the best they could do and they’re not robots either.”

The call wasn’t the only part of this season’s championship that people found fault in leading to more rumors.

The field itself was home to criticism from many players and viewers. 

Super Bowl 57 was held at Arizona’s State Farm Stadium where many saw the conditions of the field. Philadelphia defensive end Haason Reddick said the field was “the worst he’s ever played on.”

The grass itself was of high quality, with the NFL spending $750,000 just on the grass. Though the preparation of the field led to extremely slippery conditions that caused a large number of players to change their cleats after halftime.

The slippery conditions put limitations on the Eagle’s offense that was hurt the most by the conditions of the field.

As the league continues to mess up, it furthers conspiracies about the legitimacy of the games being played. The topic of the NFL being scripted or corrupt is nothing new at all and it seems every year it comes up consistently.

Arian Foster, a former star running back for the Houston Texans mocked the idea of the NFL being rigged on a podcast just 11 days before the Super Bowl, which has been pointed to as definitive proof by many not seeing his sarcastic intentions. 

In 2016 even Former President Donald Trump claimed the NFL purposely put two games at the same time as a debate to undermine the viewership.

Five years after Hurricane Katrina decimated Louisiana, the New Orleans Saints won the 2010 Super Bowl. For years theorists have baselessly claimed it was set up by the NFL to help boost the image by having the team, affected by one of the worst hurricanes to hit the United States, win a Super Bowl.

Theorists looked at Peyton Manning’s poor performance as a clear sign of a rigging taking place in the biggest game of the year. With an interception in the 4th quarter and overall poor performance for the Colts, he was thought to have been told by the NFL to throw the game for the Saints’ victory.

Even this specific type of claim is not a new occurrence for NFL theorists. The New England Patriots dominance through the 2000’s and 2010’s was pointed at as the NFL trying to boost image in the same way as with Katrina but with the September 11th attacks.

By having the team from the area of a tragedy win, censorious viewers believe that the NFL is concocting plots that will help boost the viewership of the games.

Pundits, viewers, and theorists have and will continue to come up with speculations as for how the NFL is rigged whether that be for viewership, money, image, or story. It is a part of the discourse of any sporting event or organization as competitive spirits and emotions will continue to unbridledly take control.