The 2011 NFL Season

Let's see what sort of drama the NFL has in store for its fans in 2011, shall we?

 

Prior to the start of the 2011 season, all signs seem to be pointed in Michael Vick's direction after signing a $100 million deal with Philadelphia.

Now you're telling me the Eagles couldn't have gotten Vick - the dog murdering, bankrupt ex-con who would have a hard time getting a job at McDonalds given his background - for less than that? He wouldn't have put his name on a, say, $20 million contract? It had to be $100 million?

Remember his other $100 million deal with the Falcons? The one every football pundit wondered aloud what Atlanta was going to do to get out from under the anchor that was Michael Vick? Yeah, let's see how much of an advantage the refs give Vick & the Eagles as the weeks pass by....


 On Thursday September 8, just hours prior to the kickoff of Week 1, ESPN (ABC, Disney...it's all the same company) announced a new deal with the NFL to broadcast Monday Night Football through the 2021 season. The deal is worth $15.2 billion.

ESPN will pay the NFL $1.9 billion a season for Monday Night Football - that's over $1 billion per game.

To give that a bit of perspective, ESPN's deal for the 17 MNF games cost them more than the rights to an entire season worth of NBA games. And the NFL still gets money from CBS, FOX, and NBC. The NBA does not.

Oh, ESPN does get continued rights to broadcast the NFL Draft (yawn), the Pro-Bowl (bigger yawn), and a Wildcard Playoff Game each season. It also will allow MNF to be available on mobile devices.

 


What Follows are Games the NFL May Have Fixed in the 2011 Season

WEEK 1

 

 The NFL immediately made fans forget the "lockout" with an opening night shootout between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints which not only ended on an extra play (thanks to a horribly called penalty on AJ Hawk of the Packers) with no time left on the clock, which managed to keep the 27+ million viewers glued to their seats until the bitter end.

Then, in Sunday Night's Tribute to 9/11, the NY Jets (no symbolism there, right?) make a triumpant 14 point comeback in the 4th quarter to beat the Dallas Cowboys 27-24. The key play - besides the too-easily blocked punt - was the interception thrown by Tony Romo to Jets DB Darrelle Revis which commentators Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth instantly blamed on Cowboys WR Dez Bryant who had little to do with the play beside being the "intended target."

By the way, the number of penalties called on the Jets Sunday night? Zero.

One more "coincidence": Revis was mic'd up by the NFL as he was the focus of its new weekly show on Versus - "Turning Point."

WEEK 2

In case you haven't noticed (and, nothing personal, you probably haven't) scoring is up - waaaay up - in the NFL this season. As RJ Bell of Pregame.com noted, thus far 72% of the games so far have gone "over" their totals line in Las Vegas.

For you stat heads, check out my friend Michael's SuperFraud site as he breaks down the numbers even further to show that scoring is at a recent (and I would venture to guess all-time) high.

This makes sense to a certain degree as the NFL finally learned a lesson that its former arch-rival, the old AFL knew from the start: fans want high-scoring, action-packed games. Those don't come from the ol' "three yards and a pile of dust" running game. They come from a high-flying passing attack (see, Al Davis isn't that crazy). As the NFL eases some rules and tightens others to make that happen, they also promote the stars of this philosophy - the QBs - more often as they know its those marquee players that drive their ratings.


WEEK 3

 

  Ah, nothing like the Packers-Bears rivalry to stir up some emotions. Last year at this point in the season, the Packers were penalized 18 times in a loss to the Bears. This year, it's the opposite as the Bears are flagged 10 times, including once for an unseen holding call during what I'd say is the greatest punt return in the history of the NFL.

Check out my video (before Youtube yanks it) for my take on this controversial call.

Also, on MNF, ask yourself how a professional football team's offense could as confused as the Dallas Cowboys looked. Four times the Center mis-snapped the ball to Tony Romo. Four.

As a result, the bookmakers made out on the Cowboys 18-16 win as most money was on the Washington Redskins on the money line (a loss for bettors), the Cowboys with the spread (another loss), and the over (yet another loss).


WEEK 3.5

 If you haven't seen it, I beg you to watch HBO's Real Sports profile of Fox Sports' "NFL Insider" Jay Glazer. Glazer is not only friends with numerous NFL players and personnel, he actually physically trains them and is in business with a few to boot. But that's not a conflict of interest, it merely gives him an insider's edge and allows him to break stories unlike anyone else covering the NFL.

Right.

Glazer is clearly an NFL stooge and has become the perfect conduit for NFL propaganda. Even Bryant Gumble scoffed at Glazer's audacity in claiming that he'd break a negative story on one of these players he's tight with "in a second." If anything, this proves what the modern sports journalist is all about - and that's not biting the hand that feeds with true coverage of the game...something Glazer claimed in the interview is dead.

 

WEEK 4

 

Are you buying what Matthew Stafford and the Detriot Lions are selling? Two huge comeback in two weeks to keep them undefeated?

Methinkith something up.

Could the Lions be the "destined" for the Super Bowl? They would be an excellent story. Not only do you having a rising QB star in Stafford, but the Lions have never been to a Super Bowl in their history. On top of that, can you imagine the Lions success=the rebirth of Detriot storylines? With the city of Detriot falling apart economically (symbolic of the entire country), could the Lions do what the Saints supposedly did for New Orleans?

By the way, this is the second game Cowboys QB Tony Romo literally threw away with horrible interceptions. The first was vs. the Jets in Week 1, and this game against the Lions in number 2. Somehow, someway, I wouldn't count the Cowboys out this season. Just sayin'.


WEEK 5

So Oakland Raiders owner (and one-time AFL Commissioner to whom the other AFL owners backdoored to create the NFL-AFL merger) Al Davis passed away...and lo and behold the Raiders beat the Houston Texans in a stirring tribute to their fallen leader.

Touching.

As was Matt Schaub's last second "pass" that was intercepted to ensure said victory for the Raiders. Should Schaub have run the ball in from the 6-yard line? Most likely. Should he have flipped that last pass to a completely covered wide-receiver? Um, no. But did anyone out there really think the Raiders were going to lose this game?

Speaking of unlikely non-losses: Monday Night Football was back in Detroit for the first time in who knows how long and instantly the "rise of the Lions = the return of life in Detroit" storyline card was played. The Lions break out not one, but two 70+ yard scoring plays and win. Expected anything else (and yes, I wrote this in the 4th quarter of this game)?

 

WEEK 6

 

  All is well in the NFL this week.

Well, besides the fact that two head coaches nearly got into a fist fight after the San Francisco 49ers v. Detroit Lions game. But "nearly" means fines will not be assessed.

So while you wait for more shenanigans to go down next week, why not spend some time listening to my latest interview by downloading the free podcast here.


WEEK 6.5 - The Tim Tebow Era

 Why will Tim Tebow succeed?

Because the NFL wants him to succeed.

Consider first the oddity of the timing of the Tebow Era: The Denver Broncos decide to start Tebow at QB in a road game against the Miami Dolphins the very week the Dolphins planned to honor Tebow's Florida Gators 2008 National Championship team. Prior to the Broncos decision, the Dolphins were some 20,000 tickets short of a sellout for this game and looking down the barrel of a TV blackout. Luckily Tebow was announced the starter, and those remaining tickets sold out. In other words, everyone wins.

Plus, Tebow is amazingly popular. In his rookie season, his jersey was one of the top ten (if not #1) most sold NFL jerseys on the market - again profiting every owner in the NFL as approximately 80% of all league revenue is split amongst the teams.

The guy's a moneymaker. And if he defies the skeptics and starts winning games, maybe you'll understand that it has more to do with his marketability than his on-the-field talents.

 

WEEK 7

The Tim Tebow comeback.

Really?

Seriously?

Did you see his numbers in the first three quarters? He rushed for twice as many yards as he passed for. Then - boom! - a drive, a TD, a recovered onside kick, another TD, and a two point conversion for OT.

Then the win.

Really?

Oh, and the Monday Night effort put forth by the Baltimore Ravens (assisted by the refs). Unbelievable...unless you consider that the Saints' blow out of the Colts Sunday night lined gamblers' pockets and this game just stole that money right back from them.

WEEK 8

 Perhaps nothing seemed to reek of manipulation more than the Stanford-USC game played Saturday night. While I won't go into the gory details here, suffice it to say that USC head coach Lane Kiffin went beserk on the officiating after the game (and rightfully so), was fined, and subsequently offered a half-hearted apology about it all. The question is would the PAC-12 have been thrilled with an upset of Stanford? One coming by the hands of the on-probation USC Trojans? One that lowers the stock of Andrew Luck? One that costs the PAC-12 a shot at a national championship and all the perks ($$$) that come with it? I doubt it.

As for the NFL, well, it was much less eventful.

First, the winless St. Louis Rams did the near impossible and upset the Saints 31-21 after being made a 13 point underdog by the bookmakers. The Rams became just the 40th team in the past 20 seasons to win a game straight up after being made such an betting underdog.

The referees in Sunday Night Football's Cowboys-Eagles game decided to take the night off. First they completely gaffed a backwards pass that clearly wasn't one, then added to the Cowboys' insult by ignoring a defensive pass interference call despite the fact that the referee was standing no more than 8 feet away from Dez Bryant and Nnamdi Asomugha in the endzone.

Lastly, not only did the San Diego Chargers rack up nearly 450 offensive yards to tally just a single touchdown in their 23-20 overtime loss to the at-home Kansas City Chiefs, but QB Philip Rivers somehow botched a snap a play prior to what should have been the San Diego Chargers game winning field goal attempt.

But these things just happen.

 

WEEK 9

 

If the Denver Tebows reach the playoffs this season, I can just go ahead and shut down this website because everything I write about will be confirmed.

If you didn't see it, check out the highlights of the Green Bay Packers v. San Diego Chargers game. Sure, ARog and the Pack seemed to dominate (of course, when the referees never call a penalty on your offense, it's a lot easier), but then came the comeback started by the Packers Jordy Nelson's attempt to "recover" an onside kick. Nelson pushed the ball straight back to the Chargers rather than (a) knock it out of bounds (as the commentators claimed) or (b) pick the ball up. From there, the refs made sure the calls - especially two pass interference calls - went the Chargers way, keeping them in this nationally televised game 'til the very end.

The Sunday Night affair between the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers was also curious. Another down-to-the-wire prime time contest with the Ravens pulling it out with under two minutes to play. It's interesting that the Ravens - who completely buckled on the road against the Jaguars on MNF (and couldn't make a first down until midway through the 3rd quarter) - had no issues on the road in Pittsburgh against a better defense.

It's just the NFL's parity at work, I guess.


WEEK 9.5

 I can't believe I didn't put 2 and 2 together on this a bit earlier, but perhaps the Indianapolis Colts' woes aren't all due to Peyton Manning's neck injury.

Sure they lead the pack in the "Suck for Luck" campaign (ahead by just a mere game at this point over the St. Louis Rams and the Miami Dolphins) and that is a great motivation to be bad, even if they did just sign the injured Manning to a $90 million contact (which less than Michael Vick's deal...somehow).

But as "coincidence" would have it, who's hosting the Super Bowl this year?

It wouldn't be...no, it couldn't be...yes, that's right - Indianapolis will be the host city for Super Bowl XLVI. And in perhaps one of the biggest "coincidences" in the Super Bowl's 46 year history, there has never been a hosting city's team play in the Super Bowl. Never.

Clearly, with Manning out of the picture, the Colts were never a contender this year...much to the NFL's behind-the-scenes delight. When will this lucky streak come to an end for league? Likely when it benefits them the most. 

 

WEEK 10

 

 "God's Quarterback" reigns.

Somehow - against all football logic - the Denver Broncos beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 despite the fact that Broncos' QB Tim Tebow completed just 2 passes for the entire game! Two passes out of only 8 attempts. And one of his two completions was a 56-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker, even though the Broncos #1 and #2 running backs were both out with injuries.

So either the Chiefs are an incredibly hapless team (and they did lose last week to the winless Dolphins), or Broncos head coach John Fox is a certifiable football genius.

Or, if you're a bit more conspiracy-minded, the NFL is pushing Tebow into the limelight at all costs to reap the benefits of his wholesome image and huge fan base. Take your pick.


WEEK 11

Well, well, well. Look who's back in first place. Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys now stand atop the NFC East tied with the New York Giants who somehow couldn't beat Vince Young & the Eagles. Considering how many games Romo's given away for the NFL, perhaps a little payback is in order for the NFL's most popular team, no?

What's the deal with the San Francisco 49ers? 9-1 with no big stars? That's not like the NFL. But some team has to win the NFC West, and some high seed will have to take a dive in the playoffs. Why not the 49ers? It's been 9 years since they've seen the playoffs, and in the NFL's version of parity, every team gets thrown a bone once in a while.

The broken thumb could spell the death of Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears (and any hope of a playoff rematch vs. the Green Bay Packers). But if I'm right about the Lions, well, they could easily fill those shoes.

And lastly we have The Fix Is In's new hero: Tim Tebow. Yet another miraculous win for him and the Broncos brought about by a late 4th quarter 95-yard TD drive (that basically doubled the team's offensive output). Mark Sanchez's pick-6 didn't hurt the Broncos chances much, either. But as my brother said to me, "The NFL isn't fixing games for Tebow - God is."

 

 

WEEK 12

 

I found it a bit odd that the NFL posted the photo and story blurb pictured on the left on their website considering Stevie Johnson will be fined for imitating the Jets' Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg and Santonio Holmes airplane "crashing" during his touchdown celebration (Johnson and the Bill lost the game to boot).

Besides that, what else is new? Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers continue to win thanks to the referees' help, the Dallas Cowboys and Tony Romo - after collapsing last season, coincidentially when Dallas was to host the Super Bowl - are now a lock for the playoffs this year, and TIM TEBOW REFUSES TO LOSE.

Look, the NFL admitted in this article that quarterbacks drive their ratings. This is why today's NFL looks like yesterday's AFL with its freewheelin' passing game. It's also why the playoffs will be stocked with the biggest QBs in the game today: Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tony Romo (whose a name and a personality regardless of his play), Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, and God willing - Tim Tebow. Sure, there will also be Alex Smith and "the where'd they come from?" San Francisco 49ers, whoever's leading the Houston Texans, maybe Joe Flacco, Matthew Stafford and/or Matt Ryan.

Who's a great QB and not in? Michael Vick? (He's a dog killer and the most despised player in the NFL according to a recent poll). Philip Rivers? (Someone has to get out of Tebow's way, plus the SD Chargers may be the LA Chargers soon). Jay Culter? (How's the thumb?). The Manning brothers? (One's nearly injured into retirement, and the other's already been handed his trophy). Face it, the best the NFL has to offer will be represented in the playoffs. What "luck." 


WEEK 13

 I think the caption from NFL.com Sunday (in game, mind you) says it all.

The Green Bay Packers won, again, without a holding call on their offensive line, again. That's 7 of their 12 games where their O-line hasn't been flagged for holding. That's...that's fair officiating, right?

Lastly, we have the Dallas Cowboys and Head Coach Jason Garrett's "gaffe" of icing his own kicker. Sure, that seemed odd (and oddly effective...for the Arizona Cardinals), but perhaps the stranger move by Garrett was his clock managment/play calling to set up that field goal...which, in case you didn't hear, was missed. This led to OT where the Cardinals promptly won on a 50+ yard screen pass.

Since the Packers beat the New York Giants, the Cowboys' loss came in real handy for the NFL & NBC as both teams remain within a game of each other for first place in the NFC East...setting up a great Sunday Night ratings grab...something that wouldn't have happened had the Cowboys won.

 

WEEK 14

 

This picture shows the true state of officiating in the NBA, I mean, NFL today. A clear facemask penalty - on the ball carrier no less - during the final play of the Detroit Lions win over the Minnesota Vikings. Instead of the Vikings getting a free play due to the defensive penalty, the Lions walked away winners (in a must-win-to-keep-their-playoff-hopes-alive game). The NFL cannot defend this non-call in any way. Yet the play stands and a team was wronged because of it.

This is how the NFL can manipulate a game right in front of your face. This happens week in, week out while fans remain mute on the subject.

Meanwhile, another unbelievable Tim Tebow comeback win occurred (thanks in large part to Chicago Bears RB Marion Barber III) vaulting them into first place in the AFC West because the Oakland Raiders lost as expected to the undefeated (and largely unpenalized) Green Bay Packers.

Another oddity took place this week: the instant replay functions shut down during two separate games - the aforementioned Raiders-Packers game and the San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardindals game. For the 49ers, this was unfortunate as it cost them a certain touchdown (perhaps a game winning score) on a fake field goal. The question I have, due to this unusual circumstance, is are all of the replay systems therefore linked and overseen back at NFL HQ? If so, then perhaps even more questions can be raised about the league's control over games.


WEEK 15

 Besides the power outage in San Francisco on Monday Night Football, the NFL seemed to have a few problems this weekend. First, the undefeated Green Bay Packers turned in a very soft performance against the Kansas City Chiefs. Then the New York Giants did the same against the Washington Redskins. And the other New York team, the Jets, matched that in a loss against the Philadelphia Eagles. (All to Las Vegas's delight).

And then St. Tebow's miracle run was derailed by the New England Patriots.

But there's a method to this seeming madness. This list of unexpected defeats merely opened doors for the likes of the Philadelphia Eagles, San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Seattle Seahawks to sneak into the playoff discussion. In doing so, more NFL games take on more importance late in the season when things should really be settled.

But a settled playoff schedule in Week 15 is not good business. Thus, a few wrinkles needed to be added. But don't worry, the teams we all know the NFL wants to be playoff bound will be safely tucked into their seedings shortly...after a few more bucks are squeezed out of these last two weeks.

 

WEEK 16

 

 It's Christmas, and honestly, I didn't watch a second of NFL football. Why? Because there are many, many more important things in life besides the NFL, such as family and friends (to name two on a list of perhaps a million).

So I couldn't tell you what went on besides the shock (well, it's not shock anymore) of noticing the Green Bay Packers go not just another week without a holding call against their offensive line (that's 10 of their 15 games now without a holding call on their O-Line), but being completely penalty free in their game against the Chicago Bears.

Next week we get a Sunday Night (New Year's Day, in a F-you to the NCAA) New York Giants v. Dallas Cowboys game with the winner going to the playoffs and the loser going home. Plus, even if Tebow time completely derails, the Denver Broncos can still make the playoffs should the Oakland Raiders tank their game.

Hope all you The Fix Is In fans had a happy holiday!


WEEK 16.5

As I work on my next book about game fixing, less and less of my time can be devoted to scouring the internet for signs of each leagues' handiwork. Luckily, I have GREAT fans. One of which, Tyson, gave me the heads up on this little nugget, buried in Gregg Easterbrook's TMQ column on ESPN's website from December 27:

"What Did NFL Headquarters Know and When Did They Know It? Just after Tom Brady ran for a touchdown to make it New England 27, Miami 17 with three minutes remaining, the highlight flag posted on NFL.com said, "Brady puts the Patriots up for good." That was the official NFL word with three minutes showing on the clock! So maybe that "Patriots comeback" was not as spontaneous as assumed. Bill Belichick was behind this somehow....

"Scoring to pull within 27-24 with 1:51 remaining, Miami kicked away rather than onside kick. Yes, the Dolphins held three timeouts. But they were on the road, kicking away to one of the league's most proficient offenses; all New England needed was one first down to drill the clock. Needless to say, that's what happened. Miami had a better (though still long-shot) chance of victory had it onside kicked.

"But seeking victory is not always first in a coach's mind. Interim head coach Todd Bowles would have known that if he ordered a deep kick, the Dolphins would all but surely lose -- but they would lose only 27-24. The league grapevine would say, "Hey, the Dolphins went into New England in December and only lost by three," improving the odds that Bowles will convert his Miami interim status into the plum job at Miami or elsewhere. Had Bowles ordered an onside, maybe the Dolphins pull out a spectacular victory. But there's a better chance the Patriots would cover the kick and Belichick, known for going for the jugular, would order his offense to attack the end zone. Then the game might have ended with the grapevine saying, "The Dolphins had a 17-point lead in New England and ended up losing by 10, Todd Bowles doesn't know what he's doing." Consciously or subconsciously, Bowles made the decision that was good for his career rather than the one that was good for his team. Most NFL coaches would have done the same, placing their résumés first."

 

WEEK 16.5.2

 

 Another The Fix Is In fan, Mihai, pointed this video out to me on facebook. It's a breakdown of the Monday Night Football game between the New Orleans Saints & Atlanta Falcons. It is a perfect example of how the referees can manipulate a game by calling or not calling certain penalties.

Another point this video raises, as this was the game in which Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's single season passing yardage record, why did they stop the game to celebrate this achievement? And perhaps a better question to ponder is how did Brees, the players, and virtually everyone else on the field know exactly when Brees broke the mark? Who was keeping track of the yardage, and was that why the Saints ran the score up on the Falcons, to ensure the record was broken on prime time television? 


WEEK 17

 As usual, there were several "who cares?" games in the NFL in the final week of the season. However, plenty of teams with "nothing to play for" such as the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns all either won outright or covered the point spread. How many bettors foresaw that?

The Oakland Raiders had a great chance to make the playoffs - win and they were in once Denver lost - but in a fitting tribute to Al Davis who died this year (and most NFL owners hated), the NFL's most penalized team in history this season (both in total penalties and yards penalized) came up short, propelling our beloved Tim Tebow into a home playoff game vs. an ailing Pittsburgh Steelers team. Note, by the way, in Week 9 I wrote if Tebow got the Broncos into the playoffs, this website would be moot as my "theories" would be confirmed. Still doubting?

Lastly, the NFL apparently couldn't go a season without a Manning or an team from the country's #1 media market in the playoffs, so the Dallas Cowboys completely phoned it in on Sunday Night against the New York Giants, giving the NFL exactly what it wanted/needed. 

 


WEEK 17.1

 

Speaking of Tim Tebow (had enough of him yet? Yes? Well, get used to it, because he ain't done yet), I highly recommend reading this article from the Denver Post as it reveals just how valuable he has become monetarily to all those connected to the NFL, the Denver Broncos, the city of Denver, and others profiting off his name.

And you wonder why the 8-8 Broncos made the playoffs.....


THE PLAYOFFS - WILDCARD WEEKEND

 To quote Tim the Enchanter in regards to Tim Tebow and the Broncos: "I warned you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you knew didn't you? Just a harmless little quarterback, isn't he?"

As for the rest: Apparently the referees hand-selected for the Detroit Lions v. New Orleans Saints game have no idea what "holding" looks like, either that or their flags were tucked too tightly into their pants because the Saints "All-Pro" offensive line was getting away with it on every single down.

The Houston Texans won their first ever playoff game at home vs. the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. Good for them because they likely aren't going much further with a nameless QB in the officially titled "Year of the Quarterback."

And the New York Giants beat up on the Atlanta Falcons. Not only did it keep a team from the country's biggest media market around another week, it set up a rematch of (I believe) the highest rated non-Super Bowl NFL game in history: the 2007 NY Giants vs. Green Bay Packers NFC Championship game.

 

PLAYOFFS - WILDCARD WEEKEND v.2

 

How's this for a bit of NFL "coincidence": according to the NFL's communication website (and I strongly urge you to check out this link because it is frightening) the 3rd and 4th most watched television shows in the Fall of 2011 were #3 - Green Bay Packers vs. New York Giants (12/4/11) and #4 - New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos (12/18/11) - each drawing nearly 30 million viewers.

Now guess which teams are matching up this coming weekend in the Divisional Playoffs?

I know. The NFL is sooooo lucky, right?


PLAYOFFS - WILDCARD WEEKEND v.3

 Another heads-up fan of this site, Dean, sent me this video from the Cincinnati Bengals vs. Houston Texans game.

It's rather bizarre that the announcers would discuss the Bengals going for it on 4th down when they were lined up to punt...but then, lo and behold, a timeout by the Texans, and guess what? The Bengals suddenly go for it.

 

PLAYOFFS - DIVISIONAL ROUND

 

 NFL officiating is completely out of hand. It is as if the league no longer has a rule book which it follows.

Case in point #1: San Francisco 49ers v. New Orleans Saints. The Saints attempt over 60 passes, and not a single penalty is called against them. The Saints did lose, no thanks to their five turnovers however.

Case in point #2: Baltimore Ravens v. Houston Texans. Ravens win (thanks to the Texans four turnovers), but the Ravens also are not called for a single penalty.

Case in point #3Green Bay Packers v. New York Giants. This is the only game this weekend in which holding is called on an offense. However, Greg Jennings fumble - which was clearly a fumble "upon further review" - was determined not to be actually a fumble, keeping the Packers hopes alive early in the game (to no avail).

This comes on the heel of the non-lateral lateral in the previous week's game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos, and the fumble whistled dead in the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints game which cost the Lions seven points and an early 21-7 lead.

REMEMBER: THESE OFFICIATING CREWS ARE AWARDED THE PRIVILEGE TO WORK THESE GAMES BECAUSE THE NFL DEEMED THEM TO BE THEIR "BEST!"


PLAYOFFS - DIVISIONAL ROUND v.2

 Coincidence or not?

The NFL currently does not have a team in America's second biggest media market, Los Angeles. However, it does possess franchises in the other top six. Which cities make up those top six media markets?

New York, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore/DC, and San Francisco.

Which four teams are still alive in the NFL Playoffs?

New York Giants, New England (Boston) Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers.

Doesn't that make these upcoming Championship Games a win, win, win, win situation for the NFL?

*Thanks to Rodney for pointing this out.

 

PLAYOFFS - CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

 

 Odd that out of the 45 played Super Bowls, the NFL would put the New York Giants-New England Patriots Super Bowl as a choice in their four answer poll question just prior to this year's game ending up as the exact same match up.

Odd that Vice President Joe Biden would tell a San Francisco crowd that the New York Giants were going to the Super Bowl earlier in the week.

Odd that the Baltimore Ravens, down three points, would elect to go for it on 4th and six rather than attempt a 51-yard field goal. Then, perhaps odder still, professional kicker Billy Cundiff would not only miss a 32-yard field goal, but somehow manage to push the kick from the right hash mark waaaaaaaay past the left upright.

Odd that Ahmad Bradshaw would fumble the ball while being tackled and the nearest referee would toss the beanbag marking the spot of the turnover, yet when the whistle blows a moment later, Bradshaw's forward progress had supposedly been ruled stopped, negating the fumble while preventing the San Francisco 49ers from getting a sure three points likely winning the game. But, you know, thank God NFL shill--I mean, former NFL head of officiating and current Fox Sports shill Mike Pereira explains all.

Odd that the first Championship Game nearly went into overtime, but didn't (see Cundiff, Billy above), thereby not interfering with the start of the second Championship Game which did go into overtime--during prime time no less. In other words, no fan could dare turn off either game as the result of both was always in doubt. I bet the NFL's advertisers were quite happy with that.

Odd that I am seemingly the only one in America willing to write that all of this may not just be one gigantic coincidence and actually have been a predetermined outcome that benefited both the multimillion dollar team & network TV owners. But I digress.....


SUPER BOWL XLVI

So the New York Giants won it all. In a nail-biter. That came down to the very last second. With a hail-mary pass that Tom Brady failed to complete.

That worked out well for the NFL, NBC, and their $4 million-for-30-seconds advertisers, didn't it?

Never mind that the Giants announced their victory a day early. That was, what, an accident I guess?

Just remember, all of this - the entire season, the playoffs, the Super Bowl - was simply a "presentation of the National Football League." What that exactly means in a legal sense would be interesting to know.

What I know is that it's legal for the NFL to fix/manipulate/script their own games because they are simply "entertainment" and have argued that point in front of the Supreme Court.

Keep that in mind as you await the 2012 season. See ya then, friends!