Full disclosure: Nothing turned out the way I wanted it to regarding my gambling habit, but that’s beside the point. I literally didn’t care about any team that made this year’s post-season and my level of personal emotional investment is purely proportional to the infinitesimal amount of money I put on football games.
Yesterday’s AFC and NFC Championship games were such astronomical failure pyres it’s actually hard to see a future for the entire sport of football and I won’t be watching the Super Bowl this year again. The integrity of the game, specifically in the playoffs, has been compromised by inept or corrupted officiating, and until the NFL figures it out, there is hardly a reason to watch it at its highest level. Yesterday’s contests proved the league cares little about the actual sport and instead prioritizes media markets and television revenue over athletic competition. Shocker.
The NFC Championship between the Rams and the Saints was abysmal. In the final quarter, with less than 2 minutes, an obvious pass interference call at nearly the goal line on a third down conversion attempt wasn’t called by the referee squad. Now, plenty can be made about Sean Payton’s potential level of arrogance regarding clock management and play calling in that final drive, but we’re talking about a helmet-to-helmet, in NO WAY going for the football on behalf of Roby-Coleman, the corner on the play. Here’s the play as well as footage from the post-game interview, in which Payton claims the NFL senior VP of officiating, Alberto Riveron, told him the call had been blown:
This is a complete mistake that changed not just the outcome of the game, but the teams in the Super Bowl. Bookies are giving refunds. The LA Rams, just a few seasons out of their reprehensible departure from St. Louis, are now going to the Big Show. One of the largest media markets in the country who failed to embrace the team whatsoever just eighteen months ago are now championship contenders. A team owned by Stan Kroenke, media magnate and sports franchise collector, was never going to fail in Los Angeles, and the league would always make sure of that. Make no mistake: the Saints were robbed and it was no accident.
Tom Brady might be the GOAT, but he played like shit last night. True to form of the last several years, the amount of protection given to him by the refs and the calls that went his way make the AFC Championship look less-than fair, but that’s what the Golden Boy is going to get. For the fifth time in like eight years, the New England Patriots are going to the Super Bowl. What an absolute snooze. I’m a fan of the New York Yankees and I think the Patriots are a boring dynasty and I can’t wait until both Brady and Bellicheck retire so they can suck for decades and shed some meatheads off of their racist dogshit bandwagon. I hate the Chiefs too, and especially after looking at that rat-faced little MAGA chud Nicholas Sandmann disrespect Native American activist Nathan Phillips over the weekend, my patience for the “war chant” Arrowhead Stadium fanfare bullshit had already worn pretty thin.
There’s probably an argument to be made about how it might be secretly Brady’s last year, and so the league wants to send off the GOAT into the sunset in a legendary fashion. I don’t buy it. If and when Tom Brady, who pumps the blood of miscarried infants into his own veins to retain his youth, actually does retire, the level of pomp and circumstance of his Goodbye Tour with rival Derek Jeter’s (who deserved every bit of it). This was once again about media markets: the Patriots are beloved by fairweather mouthbreathers all over Trump’s America who above all just like to win a lot and could never withstand a losing season. It’s a franchise that will always have an asterisk next to it and if you’re not in front of the Packie swigging Mickeys from a paper bag, you’re a rube for liking it.
That said, both games were blown by shit officiating in overtime, in obvious enough fashion for nefarious conspiracy theories to seem plausible. Just like concussions causing veteran player suicides, penalizing players for non-violent protests against police brutality, and taking substantial amounts of money to promote the US military, it’s bad for football. Protecting golden eggs gives fans of “lesser” franchises in smaller markets little reason to tune in, if it’s going to be made abundantly clear their teams don’t have a chance against cash cows. Already, alternative options are starting to crop up, with the Alliance of American Football set to commence their season a week after Super Bowl 53 and the WWE-affiliated XFL shaping up its return for 2020. Canadian is pretty watchable too, for the record. The NFL needs to ensure its product is superior if it wants to position itself to crush the competition, and that starts with maintaining the integrity of the sport by keeping the rules consistent and not blatantly throwing championships to those that can buy them.