Did the NFL tinker with the Rams-Saints game?

All the sports world knows by now about the game-deciding pass interference that wasn't called against the Rams in the fading minutes of regulation time in the NFC Championship game.  Come Monday, everyone admits, including a "contrite" NFL, that the refs blew the call.  But the League's apology won't send New Orleans to the Super Bowl. 

The question arises: did the refs really blow the call?  To an impartial observer, there were many bad calls throughout the Saints-Rams game.  Strangely, most seemed to go against New Orleans.  Shouldn't incompetence balance out?  To some, this smells fishy.  What possible motive would the NFL have in tilting the scales towards Los Angeles?

Money.

In the two championships games on Sunday, there was a chance the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs would prevail.  This would then lead to two small market teams playing in the NFL's yearly extravaganza event: the Super Bowl.  From the League's perspective, this would be every bad news.  Far better for ratings if the massive L.A. market were instead involved.  This is especially true since the NFL has been struggling with sagging ratings all season long.

It is also in the NFL's interest to pump up the Rams.  In recent years, L.A. has not been happy hunting grounds for pro football.  Both the Rams and Raiders failed there.  The Rams are now back for a second try with hopes that a new multi-billion-dollar stadium in 2020 will make a difference. 

It is bottom-line imperative for the NFL that the Rams succeed in L.A.

I'm sure this is all just wild conjecture.  Inferences are just inferences, right?  And Roger Goodell is a good man of honor and integrity – he'd never do something underhanded for mere ratings, would he? 

No matter.  The NFL has diminished itself.  The question of the integrity of the game is more in doubt than ever.  There is too much game-deciding subjectivity involved.  And this can only get far worse as legalized sports betting is allowed in more and more states.  Whether or not refs (or players) are on the take won't matter to many.  Just the possibility will poison the game for them, and they'll stop watching.  Look at what gambling did to boxing.

Does the NFL conspiracy theory hold water?  Answer: Much more water than does the Trump-Russia collusion theory, and look at the legs that story has so far.

All the sports world knows by now about the game-deciding pass interference that wasn't called against the Rams in the fading minutes of regulation time in the NFC Championship game.  Come Monday, everyone admits, including a "contrite" NFL, that the refs blew the call.  But the League's apology won't send New Orleans to the Super Bowl. 

The question arises: did the refs really blow the call?  To an impartial observer, there were many bad calls throughout the Saints-Rams game.  Strangely, most seemed to go against New Orleans.  Shouldn't incompetence balance out?  To some, this smells fishy.  What possible motive would the NFL have in tilting the scales towards Los Angeles?

Money.

In the two championships games on Sunday, there was a chance the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs would prevail.  This would then lead to two small market teams playing in the NFL's yearly extravaganza event: the Super Bowl.  From the League's perspective, this would be every bad news.  Far better for ratings if the massive L.A. market were instead involved.  This is especially true since the NFL has been struggling with sagging ratings all season long.

It is also in the NFL's interest to pump up the Rams.  In recent years, L.A. has not been happy hunting grounds for pro football.  Both the Rams and Raiders failed there.  The Rams are now back for a second try with hopes that a new multi-billion-dollar stadium in 2020 will make a difference. 

It is bottom-line imperative for the NFL that the Rams succeed in L.A.

I'm sure this is all just wild conjecture.  Inferences are just inferences, right?  And Roger Goodell is a good man of honor and integrity – he'd never do something underhanded for mere ratings, would he? 

No matter.  The NFL has diminished itself.  The question of the integrity of the game is more in doubt than ever.  There is too much game-deciding subjectivity involved.  And this can only get far worse as legalized sports betting is allowed in more and more states.  Whether or not refs (or players) are on the take won't matter to many.  Just the possibility will poison the game for them, and they'll stop watching.  Look at what gambling did to boxing.

Does the NFL conspiracy theory hold water?  Answer: Much more water than does the Trump-Russia collusion theory, and look at the legs that story has so far.