When Brandon Graham knocked the ball out of Tom Brady’s throwing hand at the end of the Super Bowl, Patriots fans were shocked. After so many years of winning, it seemed out of sorts for the Patriots to lose the Super Bowl.
Several players were shocked too. “I thought the Giants were the only team allowed to beat us,” injured wide receiver Julian Edelman said.
The fans, and even the players, didn’t understand the new status quo of the National Football League. For years, the Patriots’ victories have been dismissed by the nation due to accusations of cheating. But as it turns out, the deceit came from the league offices, not any specific team.
In 2017, the NFL decided to make all replay reviews (in cases of challenges, turnovers, official reviews, and scoring plays) be ruled on by senior officials at the league offices in New York. While this seemed like a fantastic way to make the rulings on close calls consistent, it really was a way to rig the games.
This season, several “haters” have implied that the Patriots are paying off the refs. They were mostly right. The Patriots did pay off the refs in several games, including regular season games against the Texans, Steelers, and the AFC Championship game against the Jaguars. But now every single NFL game is rigged in a variety of ways.
The Super Bowl, for the first time in a while, was rigged against the Patriots. Certain calls, such as touchdown catches by Corey Clement and Zach Ertz, favored the Eagles, and could easily have been ruled incompletions if the game was rigged in favor of the Patriots. Additionally, clear infractions by the Eagles weren’t penalized on the Clement reception or the “Philly Special” trick play.
So then, you may ask, why did the league have a sudden change of heart against the Patriots? Well, the answer is simple. Every week, the teams negotiate with the league office, including Commissioner Roger Goodell, Senior Vice President of Player Engagement Troy Vincent, and Senior Vice President of Officiating Alberto Riveron. Every event in the past few years can be explained by these negotiations.
Often, the negotiations are centered around money. Teams that offer