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17 minutes ago, Red Comet said:

Honestly? People see the whole Black Sox scandal and think its still possible to get players to throw a game but the White Sox largely threw that World Series because Comiskey wasn't paying them jack. The gamblers could pay more money and even that wasn't enough to keep things quiet. With the NFL, we're talking about organizations that when they travel require two chartered planes and that is just essential staff. Do people realize how much money it would take to get players/staff to throw a game? Obviously that's only one side of rigging but even though these players are paid millions, most of them still have competitive pride. Most of them still want to win. Someone would've snitched by now and gotten really wealthy for "uncovering the truth about the NFL" or the NFL has the CIA/Mossad/Mafia on speeddial to make sure no one talks. Occam's Razor says at worst the refs may influence games due to personal biases and that is bad enough without going into loopy conspiracy land.

 

I'm pretty sure people are saying that and not any of the other stuff you made up for your strawman.

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Tim Donagee (sp?) said that leagues have “house refs” that they know will act in the best interest of the league and help achieve the desired outcome. It’s not as blatant as a formal sit down, but more like “gee, it sure would be nice if Team X pulled this one out *wink wink*” 

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4 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:

Tim Donagee (sp?) said that leagues have “house refs” that they know will act in the best interest of the league and help achieve the desired outcome. It’s not as blatant as a formal sit down, but more like “gee, it sure would be nice if Team X pulled this one out *wink wink*” 

Tim Donahy was trying to come off as less bad than he was.

 

Prove me wrong.

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On 1/11/2020 at 8:31 PM, BringBackTheVet said:

I 100% think it's 'influenced', not necessarily 'rigged'.  There's too many variables to rig a game, and too many people that would need to be 'in' on it.  But to 'influence' a game?  Or 'weight' it?  I absolutely believe that.  There's too many inexcusably horrible calls, or no calls, that go way beyond simple referee incompetence.  I'll also point out the Steelers/Seahawks SB, which just happened to be Jerome Bettis' "homecoming" and last game, and was absurdly refereed.  

 

It doesn't take much to turn the tide of a game - it could take only one call to have an impact - and I don't think for a second that the officials - at least the head - aren't told to let a few things slide on one end or the other.  The 'no clear fumble recovery' call last year just cemented it for me, but I had long thought it.  If the networks really need a particular matchup (or at least need to avoid one), I'm sure the league would try at least a little bit to help out.


I totally agree here. I think the networks are even more involved in swaying games than people think because, you know, selling the narrative and all that.

 

The most egregious case, still, that I can recall, is Game 6 of the 2002 NBA Western Conference Finals. Weren’t the Kings up by about 15, 20 points late in the 3rd quarter? Vlade Divac seemed to get a whistle for being within 5 feet of Shaq and eventually fouled out, yet Kobe Bryant literally knocked Mike Bibby to the ground right in front of a ref and got nothing for it.
 

Another one that, at least to me, seemed more subtle, was in Super Bowl XLII where Kurt Warner’s pass was ruled a fumble (which ultimately cost Arizona the game) recovered by Pittsburgh, yet there was no normal public review. Apparently there was an “unnoticed by the public” review to see if Warner’s arm was moving forward, but given that it was such a big game, why not treat it like any other review?

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While I am fascinated by what this thread has become, I do have an amusing story about the actual game in question.

My grandparents went to Super Bowl IV.  They received the game tickets (from the NFL? Vikings? Stadium Admin?) in the mail along with about $3000 in cash (which was a pretty nice sum of money in 1970).  They did the right thing and made a call and returned the money.

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The tangent the thread has taken is probably "own thread" worthy.

 

Twenty years ago this was a huge topic around the NBA...and has remained so to some degree.  And in my opinion, far too often, it's viewed as black-and-white, leading people to say "it just wouldn't work because too many people would know about it."  However, I see "Total Legitimacy" on the opposite end of a continuum as "Totally Fixed" with most leagues falling inbetween (closer to legitimate, mind you, but not all the way).  And to that point, the NBA is low-hanging fruit.  Did David Stern say to the officials before game 7 of Kings vs. Lakers: "Tonight, the Lakers win."  Of course not. But that doesn't mean the Lakers don't come in with an advantage; nobody really even denies that superstars get preferential treatment.  So team with superstars (who happen to be the teams more likely to garner TV viewership) are going to get a few calls because they have certain players that get those calls.  That means an evenly played game is probably always going to be won by the more star-studded team.  Does that make the league "fixed?" No.  But it certainly hedges the leagues bets in terms of the bigger TV draws advancing.  And I don't think Adam Silver's about to say "treat each call on its merit and stop giving preferential treatment to bigger names."  And that's how it should be (unpopular opinion?).  Calls should be made as if the official don't know who the players are.

Now, in the NFL, there isn't a ton of parallel.  Maybe a certain WR is going to get a PI against a common CB or something.  I think the most obvious "superstar treatment" comes with the QBs.  I believe it takes less to draw a roughing the passer call on Aaron Rodgers than it does on most other QBs.  Are officials instructed to do that or is the concept of "protecting QBs" just a bit more on their mind when it's a household name?

 

But my gosh, it seems like the higher-profile teams get the calls.  The two Super Bowls involving the Steelers (Cardinals and Seahawks) are solid examples; it just seemed like every close call went their way in each of those games (this of coursed stopped when they met the Packers).  Admittedly, I'm biased, but I don't think the Vikings can draw a holding call on the Packers, particularly in Lambeau.  Maybe that's again in officials bias in protecting the star QB.  I dunno.  Because I do agree, that nobody's saying "the Packers need to win this week" or even "let's give the Packers an edge."  

 

My best thought is that the NBA is about stars and the NFL is about the full team (and a few star QBs) -- Organically NBA officials started favoring the stars and the league never stopped it...since it seems be benefit the bottom line. Similarly, maybe this happens in the NFL.  The Packers, for example, have been good for so long and they're more than just a football team (ask their fans)...maybe there's some favoritism (of the subconscious variety) there; an assumption that they don't need to hold or interfere or take chap shots?  Same with the Steelers.  Or the Pats. Or the Cowboys (when not playing the Packers).  It seems like the NFL puts its thumb on the scale for certain teams, but I agree that it cannot do so in any official way...so I'm not sure what's going on?  But when's the last time, in any sport, where a lower-profile team seemed to be advantaged over a high-profile team? (I suppose the Fail-Mary and America lost its collective mind)

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2 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

And in my opinion, far too often, it's viewed as black-and-white, leading people to say "it just wouldn't work because too many people would know about it."  However, I see "Total Legitimacy" on the opposite end of a continuum as "Totally Fixed" with most leagues falling inbetween (closer to legitimate, mind you, but not all the way).

 

I don't accept this framing at all. Talk of fixes is crazy talk.

Officials are far from perfect; the very existence of home-field / home-court advantage is a testament to the significant influence that psychological factors have on them.  But that's ordinary human nature; it is not corruption.

All the the big sports leagues are clean. Donaghy was an outlier.  If there had been any more like him in the NBA, it all would have come pouring out when Donaghy was investigated and caught.

 

What's more, the impossibility of keeping a large set of people quiet is indeed a valid reason to dismiss the possibility of fixes in those big sports leagues.

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On 1/17/2020 at 4:25 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

I don't accept this framing at all. Talk of fixes is crazy talk.

Officials are far from perfect; the very existence of home-field / home-court advantage is a testament to the significant influence that psychological factors have on them.  But that's ordinary human nature; it is not corruption.

All the the big sports leagues are clean. Donaghy was an outlier.  If there had been any more like him in the NBA, it all would have come pouring out when Donaghy was investigated and caught.

 

What's more, the impossibility of keeping a large set of people quiet is indeed a valid reason to dismiss the possibility of fixes in those big sports leagues.

My point is that the game can be set up to favor a team without having anything to keep quiet about.  It's just not that black-and-white.

 

The best example is the NBA.  Nobody really disputes that superstars get favorable treatment.  This favors certain teams (that tend to be better TV draws). Therefore the NBA, while not "fixed" is less than "even."  And for its part, the league doesn't try to correct this flaw.  I view it is a flaw anyway.  Why?  Maybe because it helps hedge their bets in terms of who goes further in the playoffs.  Or maybe it's just because fans don't like seeing the best players foul out.  But, even if it came about unwittingly, the league is tilted.

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17 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

The best example is the NBA.  Nobody really disputes that superstars get favorable treatment. 

 

That's true in all leagues.  The great umpire Ron Luciano recalled in one of his books a time when he was umpiring behind the plate and Rod Carew was at bat.  Carew let a pitch go, and it was called a ball, whereupon the catcher turned around to argue.  Luciano says that he admonished the catcher, saying: "If Mr. Carew doesn't swing, that means it's a ball." 

 

This is an exaggeration for comedic effect, but not by much.  Deferring to stars definitely happens; and it is just another example of normal human nature.  

What it is not is evidence that a league is not level.

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4 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

 They received the game tickets (from the NFL? Vikings? Stadium Admin?) in the mail along with about $3000 in cash (which was a pretty nice sum of money in 1970).  

 

$19,425 in today's money, according to a inflation calculator. Wow.

 

 

 

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47 minutes ago, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

 

That's true in all leagues.  The great umpire Ron Luciano recalled in one of his books a time when he was umpiring behind the plate and Rod Carew was at bat.  Carew let a pitch go, and it was called a ball, whereupon the catcher turned around to argue.  Luciano says that he admonished the catcher, saying: "If Mr. Carew doesn't swing, that means it's a ball." 

 

This is an exaggeration for comedic effect, but not by much.  Deferring to stars definitely happens; and it is just another example of normal human nature.  

What it is not is evidence that a league is not level.

That's funny...I was going to mention that when I was a kid, my dad would tell me how Carew would get ball/strike calls because he had a reputation for have a good eye (the BEST eye!). I am only old enough to remember him as an Angel.

 

I think this in and itself makes the leagues un-level...particularly basketball, which has so many instance of one-on-one involving a star.  Sure, sometimes those stars even out...but I have a lot of experience watching the T-Wolves play against the Kobe-led Lakers...

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On 1/15/2020 at 10:45 AM, Red Comet said:

Honestly? People see the whole Black Sox scandal and think its still possible to get players to throw a game but the White Sox largely threw that World Series because Comiskey wasn't paying them jack. The gamblers could pay more money and even that wasn't enough to keep things quiet. With the NFL, we're talking about organizations that when they travel require two chartered planes and that is just essential staff. Do people realize how much money it would take to get players/staff to throw a game? Obviously that's only one side of rigging but even though these players are paid millions, most of them still have competitive pride. Most of them still want to win. Someone would've snitched by now and gotten really wealthy for "uncovering the truth about the NFL" or the NFL has the CIA/Mossad/Mafia on speeddial to make sure no one talks. Occam's Razor says at worst the refs may influence games due to personal biases and that is bad enough without going into loopy conspiracy land.

61-5p5GsDGL._SL1024_.jpg

if there is any type of rigging in sports, it would be the refs. 

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On 1/17/2020 at 6:03 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

What it is not is evidence that a league is not level.


That’s actually exactly what it is. The team that doesn’t have the star (and therefore is probably not the team the networks want) has to make more plays or pitches than the one with the star. You just admitted that. The only question would be if the league officially sanctioned it - which they do, because otherwise they’d penalize the officials that make those calls. 

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13 minutes ago, BringBackTheVet said:


That’s actually exactly what it is. The team that doesn’t have the star (and therefore is probably not the team the networks want) has to make more plays or pitches than the one with the star. You just admitted that. The only question would be if the league officially sanctioned it - which they do, because otherwise they’d penalize the officials that make those calls. 

 

You've just encapsulated the past 20 years of the Buffalo Bills. Especially when playing the Patriots. Face masks and roughing the passer get ignored when Josh Allen is mugged, but the opposite is not true for Brady. It's been this way since 2001. The Bills always have to play New England and the refs. Always.

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4 hours ago, BringBackTheVet said:
On 1/17/2020 at 6:03 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

What it is not is evidence that a league is not level.


That’s actually exactly what it is. The team that doesn’t have the star (and therefore is probably not the team the networks want) has to make more plays or pitches than the one with the star. You just admitted that. The only question would be if the league officially sanctioned it - which they do, because otherwise they’d penalize the officials that make those calls. 

 

Longtime stars do indeed tend to get the benefit of the doubt which they have earned. But this is at best a marginal effect overall. When Rod Carew was basically allowed to call balls and strikes (as alluded to in the Ron Luciano book), this did not result in any string of titles for the Minnesota Twins.  On the pitching side, Tom Seaver got borderline calls that most other pitchers did not get. But the Mets were never a dominant team while he was there, notwithstanding two pennants and a World Championship.

 

The point is that deference to stars is emphatically not an example of a league showing favouritism towards any preferred teams. It is just human nature.

 

And what is worth noting is that sometimes human nature leads to stars actually carrying a disadvantage, on account of their reputations. For example, Reggie Jackson struck out a lot, so umpires expanded the strike zone on him, and he could be called out on pitches several inches off the plate. And John McEnroe's frequent harangues of umpires certainly cost him many borderline calls.

 

There are few bigger stars in world football than Cristiano Ronaldo. But, because Ronaldo is perceived as someone who dives a lot, referees got very reluctant to call fouls against opposing players, and it became de facto legal to kick him. The same was true for Diego Costa when he played for Chelsea. 

 

None of this amounts to any conspiracy; it is unavoidable human nature, just as is the granting to LeBron James the leeway to take as many steps as he wants.

 

 

3 hours ago, Kevin W. said:
On 1/17/2020 at 5:25 PM, Ferdinand Cesarano said:

All the the big sports leagues are clean.

That's a very naïve viewpoint.

 

On the contrary, what is naive is to imagine some kind of systematic favouritism in the major sports leagues, and to ignore the huge factors that make that sort of scheme impossible, such as scrutiny by television networks and bettors, as well as the certainty of criminal prosecutions and even Congressional action if such a thing were ever attempted. People who believe this crap have watched too many movies.

 

Stars usually get leeway; and officials sometimes make mistakes. But talk of fixes is the refuge of the intellectually dishonest, of those who are seeking an excuse to dismiss the legitimate results on the field or court.

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9 minutes ago, Kevin W. said:

Your “I’m so much smarter than the rest of you plebs” schtick is really tiresome. 

 

One does not need to be all that smart in order to understand that any elaborate conspiracies in the biggest and most heavily scrutinised leagues would be impossible. 

 

The fact that some people accept the fantasy of fixes is quite depressing — and, honestly, also a little frightening.

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