Is the NFL rigged?
October 14, 2001 2:11 PM   Subscribe

Is the NFL rigged? Personally, I think rigging of games at the Pro level is near impossible (too many variables). Thoughts?
posted by sharksandwich (32 comments total)
Even if pro football was rigged...would it really matter? That is, would it matter to the vast majority of fans watching at home? Sure, it would matter to those who were doing the fixing and stand to make/lose large sums of money and are actively doing something to better their chances of a big payday. But to the vast majority of people watching, I doubt it would make any difference at all. After all...people love to watch WWF, even knowing it's not entirely (cough, cough) real.
posted by davidmsc at 2:39 PM on October 14, 2001

The schedule is rigged, and they make no bones about it. Strong teams are matched against each other and likewise weak teams, so as to minimize the number of completely unbalanced games. That's why when you get to the playoffs sometimes a team with a good season record will get walloped; it's the first time they've been given an opponent without regard to ranking.
posted by Steven Den Beste at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2001

If the games were fixed, they wouldn't have incredibly uninteresting games like tomorrow night's Redskins-Cowboys somebody's-got-to-win stinkeroonie. And Super Bowls would be close, interesting games instead of blowouts (although the recent Rams-Titans Super Bowl was the most exciting in a long time).

Although it would be a consolation to this longtime and therefore longsuffering Vikings fan to know that they're only 0-4 in the Super Bowl because they were supposed to lose.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:47 PM on October 14, 2001

From the linked article: Detroit Lions star defensive tackle Alex Karras admitted that he had bet on football games in which he played

And then he punched a horse in Blazing Saddles. Those people have no shame.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on October 14, 2001

"After all...people love to watch WWF, even knowing it's not entirely (cough, cough) real."

it IS real silly. they already stated that when they called themselves a 'sport entertainment franchise'.
posted by jcterminal at 2:52 PM on October 14, 2001

The schedule is rigged, and they make no bones about it.

How is the schedule organised? Is there some kind of "seeding"? And why do the playoffs make up nearly 20% of the entire season? The 17-week schedule always struck me as incomprehensibly short, given that I'm used to the English football season, where each team plays every other team in the division twice (home and away) and there's no playoff silliness, since the first-placed team is obviously the best one in the league...
posted by holgate at 3:18 PM on October 14, 2001

The schedule is made up based on how a team finished the previous year. If a team finishes last in its division, it is given a "fifth-place schedule" in which it plays all of the other teams that finished with similarly terrible records the previous year. It's all about the NFL's attempt to bring parity to the game -- if all of the terrible teams play each other, somebody has to win the game. It works in the other direction, too, where a team that finishes in first will play all of the other teams that finish in first. As for why the playoffs make up 20% of the season, I'm guessing the almighty dollar leads the way on that one.
posted by zempf at 4:16 PM on October 14, 2001

Yanks shouldn't use the word "football" at all. Nor fob us off with all that "soccer", upper-class-twits-emigrated-on-the-Mayflower disjectae. They hardly use their feet anyway. And their head only insofar as it's a butting ram. I once saw an American film which actually implied "football" players could be less than brilliant academically. An exaggeration, sure, but still folks...
I learnt on MetaFilter - oh yes! - that the expression "World Series" doesn't actually mean the whole United Nations are involved but refers to the name of a famous U.S. newspaper, the kind that Nicholson Baker so laudably keeps.

But still, it galls. Admit it: it's American Rugby. Not football; not by a long reach.

And perhaps someone can explain what a "quarterback" is. I was a "centre back" - not center - in the late sixties and am not amused by the halving.

It's time we had this out, co-members.

All the best,

Luís Figo
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:19 PM on October 14, 2001

I read this yesterday and had to totally re-evaluate everything else on the site. I think it's ludicrous to imagine that a conspiracy requiring the buy-in of thousands of people, many of whom end up broke and willing to do anything to get a buck, or sell their story. These guys would be selling their story to Costas, etc, for $5.

The author makes tries to associate the NFL with the WWF, but he misses the point. We all knew wrestling was fake for years before they finally admitted it.
posted by prodigal at 4:25 PM on October 14, 2001

The schedule is set up so that teams with bad records play other teams with bad records. The past few years this has led to teams like the Falcons, and some would argue the Ravens and Giants making it to the Superbowl. That's all over with anyway because realignment happens next season and there will be a round-robin format to the schedule.

Holgate: In the NFL, you play all your divisional opponents twice. So the Redskins play the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants and Cowboys twice, half your games are in your division.

17 weeks is too short, but that's how it is. The wear and tear of football have a lot to do with dictating this, not to mention playing football in June-September is too hot and for most of the country January-June is too cold.
posted by owillis at 4:32 PM on October 14, 2001

If the NFL was really rigged - small/medium market teams would never make it to the Superbowl. St. Louis, Baltimore...

I mean this isn't baseball (New York, New York!) :-)
posted by owillis at 4:37 PM on October 14, 2001

If it's rigged there's been a sudden change of heart about the Bengals. 3-2 baby, woo-hoo!

Sorry, I had a few and today's win was against those low-life Brownies!
posted by Mick at 4:49 PM on October 14, 2001

I think, while the case is made for some players bending the outcomes of games, it would be too hard to keep such a large organization silent. Why wouldn't one player who got injured early, and was involved in the "conspiracy" cash in on their knowledge and expose the sport?

There's so much chance involved in sports like football and basketball (does he catch the pass, or make the basket?) that aside from blatently trying to play bad, individual players and officials can only affect the game so much....

Though Ray Allen did say basketball was rigged earlier this year.
posted by drezdn at 4:56 PM on October 14, 2001

In American (and Canadian) "football", here is the way they name the "backs":

Fullback: used to be the player who stood the furthest back from the ball when they lined up for a play. This name made sense when compared to English football.

Halfback: used to stand half way between the full back and the ball. They needed a name for the position, and halfway-back just didn't sound right.

Quarterback: the name of the player that stands directly behind the player who handles the ball at the start of the play (the center). Originally, this player just handed the ball off to the other "backs" and they ran with it. With the advent of the forward pass, he suddenly became the offensive leader of the team. The position name became "quaterback" because it seemed like the next name to go with (full, half, quarter).

Nowadays, the halfback is the primary running back, the fullback is the player that usually blocks for the running back, and the quarterback's primary skill is passing (and not running).

I don't think we'll see an eightback any time soon. :)

As for football being rigged? Nah. In fact, most major television sports would be impossible to rig because of two factors:
1) too many players would have to be in on it
2) the players make too much money already to be "bought off"
And really, how could you hide something so big (rigged league) from the press/public for so long?
posted by Grum at 4:57 PM on October 14, 2001

If the NFL *is* rigged, why bother having a team in Buffalo?!?!
posted by punkrockrat at 5:18 PM on October 14, 2001

The real question is whether cities are being bribed to build stadiums. Personally, I believe our tax dollars are being used to fund rigged stadium deals.
posted by bloggboy at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2001

Grum, your patience will be rewarded in heaven. Thanks.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:33 PM on October 14, 2001

if football was rigged, there's no way the NFL would allow the Baltimore Ravens to have won the Super Bowl last year.

Their evil owner yanked the team away from it's rightful home, full of loving, wonderful fans.

Their best player may not have committed murder, but he might have.

Their defensively-minded style of play is not the high-scoring fireworks that NFL marketers keep thinking will draw new fans.

Their uniforms are butt-ugly, therefore the bandwagon fans wont buy their jerseys and hats.

If the NFL was rigged, Tennessee would have won it all.
posted by tsarfan at 8:42 PM on October 14, 2001

yes, the answer is yes.
posted by elle at 8:54 PM on October 14, 2001

"Rigged" in the sense of precise outcomes predetermined? No. "Rigged" in the sense of massaged to enhance entertianment value over the course of a season? Oh yes.

bloggboy, the correct word is not "bribed" but "blackmailed", as in "Build us a new stadium so we can make more money. Oh, and give it to us for free. Or we go to Toledo. I schwear."

disinformation, of course, specializes in publishing provocative opinion, not necessarily perfectly researched investigative journalism.
posted by dhartung at 11:31 PM on October 14, 2001

Well the Broncos lost to the Seahawks today. Take that for what it's worth.
posted by crasspastor at 11:35 PM on October 14, 2001

The NFL is rigged just like all sports are rigged-- there are people who have a lot of money to make if they can get a few points thrown their way here or there. Betting is a huge activity.

The Networks do not want to fix the games, it would deal a massive blow to the product they're selling. They do want to influence the games, however, to make the product more enticing. It's all about the money. And where's there's money, there's greed.
posted by chaz at 1:03 AM on October 15, 2001

If the NFL was rigged, how many Superbowl rings would Dan Marino have?

Wacko. Some people will believe anything.
posted by salmacis at 2:15 AM on October 15, 2001

If the NFL was rigged, how many Superbowl rings would Dan Marino have?

Wacko. Some people will believe anything.
posted by salmacis at 2:19 AM on October 15, 2001

Nowadays, the halfback is the primary running back

so what's a running back? except for the quarterback and center, i don't know what any of the guys out there do.

no wait, i know what receivers do. but that's all.
posted by tolkhan at 7:18 AM on October 15, 2001

tolkhan: the running back is a generic term for the halfback and the fullback. as grum pointed out, the halfback's prime duty is to advance the ball by running. the halfback is generally a very quick runner, but he must also have some strength as well. the fullback is, again in general, larger and slower than the halfback, and his primary job is to block an opposing player.

on passing plays, running backs are expected to be able to help the lineman block on some plays, and to be able to catch passes from the quarterback on others.

fyi: any of the recievers, runningbacks, or the quarterback may advance the ball by running, throw a pass, or receive a pass. the positions and responsibilities above are just tactics that have evolved over time.
posted by lescour at 9:47 AM on October 15, 2001

I just changed my mind. Football is fixed. No way the Redskins and Cowboys are that bad. Especially not the 'Skins. You have to try hard to suck that much.
posted by owillis at 11:48 PM on October 15, 2001

The cowboys beating the redskins is not proof football is fixed, it's proof there IS a God.

Somethings never change, and the redgirls being our whipping post never changes, even in a season as sad as this one.

Some things you can count on. The sun rising, metafilter links to the onion, and the cowboys beating the redgirls.

Life is good...
posted by dantheman at 12:14 AM on October 16, 2001

Last year, the Cowgirls whipped us. This year two pathetic teams barely played football. See you on draft day, you'll be picking #3 right after us. :)

(Plus we'll always have The Hit That Ended Troy Troy's Career)
posted by owillis at 12:21 AM on October 16, 2001

The cowboys sucked then too, and Aikman would have hung on for several more years despite being washed up. (remember, ANY hit gave him a concussion at that point in his career)

That hit at least pushed the cowboys to look at the future, as sad as it may be.

Besides, you can have the hit. I'd rather have 3 super bowls.
posted by justgary at 12:55 AM on October 16, 2001

Just like a Dallas fan to not know NFL history. :) You guys have five Superbowls. We have three. See the history here. And we only had one cokehead.

Arizona fans are the most clueless anyway.
posted by owillis at 1:43 AM on October 16, 2001

I wasn't recapping superbowl history. I know how many superbowls the cowboys have, and I know how many the redskins have (sadly).

I was referring to how many the cowboys won during the aikman era before the 'hit'.

And as far as great 'hits'? It wasn't much of a hit, but I've always enjoyed the taylor/theisman tape=)
posted by justgary at 1:50 AM on October 16, 2001

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