There are two things we should all know about the NFL by now: It’s inherently racist, and it’s cleverly fixed. For the longest time now, I haven’t understood the denial or confusion on this. Every NFL season, billions of dollars are wagered on regular season games and postseasons games. Of course, the most money is wagered on the biggest postseason NFL game of the year- the Super Bowl.
Unsuspecting and naive NFL fans wager big bucks based on their own football acumen, or more than not, the football acumen of NFL sports writers and sports television talking heads. This method may earn them a few dollars during the regular season games; however, this method is next to useless during postseason games- especially the Super Bowl.
Winning NFL football games in the post season has little or nothing to do with team talent, luck, or regular season records or accomplishments. NFL fans, or non-NFL fans, who are in tune with national current events and who have decent knowledge of what’s going on in the country (socially, politically, demographically, etc.), stand a much better chance of cashing in on the outcomes of NFL postseason games. Acumen, no matter the source, is mostly useless- ask Vegas. There’s a reason why stiffs in suits continue to make big money year in and year out, while ex jocks in jerseys figure out ways to explain to their significant others how they will recover the losses. You see, those stiffs in suits have a firm grasp on what’s going on socially, politically, demographically, etc. in the country. Afterall, the NFL is a for-profit organization and must satisfy its customers while balancing the social and political desires of those customers (who happens to be 70% White male political conservatives- whom I believe often live out many of their athletic fantasies on Sunday afternoons).
This brings me to this season’s NFL NFC Championship game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. The winner of this game would decide which team would represent the NFC (National Football Conference) in the Super Bowl. For the most part, the game was performed as advertised. This is important because advertisers expect the NFL’s corporate office to keep the games as interesting and competitive as possible (especially the postseason games) to keep fans in their seats and watching the very expensive commercials they paid for.
This NFC Championship game was advertised as two offensive powerhouses and the game delivered in that aspect. The game was definitely a nail biter and true fans were glued to their seats for nearly the entire one hour of game clock and three hours of television time. Then came the controversial and “iconic” missed pass interference call on a Rams defensive player on a Saints offensive wide receiver. I won’t bore you with the play-by-play because a simple Google or YouTube search will provide all the insight necessary to explain the importance and gravity of this missed pass interference call. By the way, two judges were very near where the penalty occurred and the actual referee was clearly looking at the penalty as it occurred.
Although I fully understand that the “fix” is always in on NFL postseason games, I didn’t spend much time in trying to figure out what could possibly be the fix for this game. However, the moment I saw the obvious blown pass interference call, my brain went into overdrive trying to figure out why the NFL wanted the Saints to lose and or the Rams to win. Shortly after the game was over, my mind settled on the fact that the L.A. Rams had recently moved back to L.A. from St. Louis and don’t have a real L.A. fan base nor a real home stadium to play in and could really benefit from a Super Bowl win or appearance (this would really satisfy the owner of the Rams). My mind also settled on the fact that the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons are one of the longest and most competitive rivalries in the NFL and the Super Bowl will be played in Atlanta this year.
Maybe because I’m a native Georgian and a resident of metro Atlanta, my mind settled on the notion that the NFL needed for the Saints to lose the game because having thousands (if not a million plus) of Saints fans in downtown Atlanta, may not be a good look for the NFL with the current NFL climate. If people thought the television optics were bad in Philadelphia (where native Philadelphians destroyed their own city after a win) when the Eagles won the Super Bowl last year, they haven’t seen nothing until they see thousands of Saints fans in downtown Atlanta, with their team playing in the Super Bowl, in the newly minted Mercedes Benz Stadium, before the Atlanta Falcons even had a chance to play one postseason game in their own stadium.
With New Orleans being a relatively short drive to Atlanta, and the fact that Atlanta is home to thousands of Hurricane Katrina transplants, there’s no doubt that potentially thousands of New Orleans natives would converge on Atlanta, with no intentions of going inside Mercedes Benz Stadium to the game, but to disrupt and destroy downtown Atlanta while being accommodated by their Atlanta transplant New Orleans relatives. Now, I understand that this may be inconceivable to non-fans of the Saints and Falcons; however, Falcons fans are reminded to pick up and open umbrellas at Falcons/Saints games to not protect them from rain (both teams play in retractable roof stadiums), but to protect them from Saints fans spitting on Falcons fans (and that’s at regular season games). So, there’s no doubt in my mind that the new mayor of Atlanta spoke with Arthur Blank (the owner of the Falcons), who subsequently spoke with Roger Goodell (the NFL commissioner), about the potential public safety burden, destruction, and optics of thousands of Saints fans converging on downtown Atlanta for the Super Bowl; and thus, the fix was in.