The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

The Official Student News Site of Parkway West High

Pathfinder

Is the NFL rigged?

Does the NFL favor teams leading up to the Superbowl?
On+Sun%2C+Feb.+11%2C+the+2023+Super+Bowl+champions+%E2%80%94+the+Kansas+City+Chiefs+%E2%80%94+will+take+on+the+San+Francisco+49ers+for+the+2024+Super+Bowl.+During+the+playoffs%2C+there+are+seven+teams+from+each+conference+who+battle+for+the+chance+to+make+it+to+the+Super+Bowl+at+the+end+of+the+season.+%E2%80%9CA+good+team+comes+from+bonding%2C+unity+and+overall+synergy.+The+better+%5Bthe%5D+team%E2%80%99s+synergy%2C+the+better+youre+gonna+be+as+a+team%2C%E2%80%9D+junior+Archie+Arnold+said.+
Samari Sanders
On Sun, Feb. 11, the 2023 Super Bowl champions — the Kansas City Chiefs — will take on the San Francisco 49ers for the 2024 Super Bowl. During the playoffs, there are seven teams from each conference who battle for the chance to make it to the Super Bowl at the end of the season. “A good team comes from bonding, unity and overall synergy. The better [the] team’s synergy, the better you’re gonna be as a team,” junior Archie Arnold said.

The NFL is a professional sports league that consists of 32 teams — divided equally between the American and National Football Conference — where 16 teams from each conference are split into East, South, North and West divisions. The league was founded in 1920 and has been ranked as No. 1 for the largest professional sports league in the world. 

In the NFL, there’s a three-week preseason, an 18-week regular season and a 14-team single elimination playoff leading up to the Super Bowl, the league’s championship game. Based on each division’s regular season records, those with the best season records qualify for playoffs. Despite how the league works, there have been controversial arguments all over social media regarding whether or not the NFL is favoring teams they want to see play in the Super Bowl.  

Are the claims online that the NFL is rigged true? This is a conspiracy that has been going viral on social media in recent months. Theorists are claiming that these games are for entertainment only — the NFL picks the matchup for the Super Bowl and it’s not actually determined based on how each team plays. However, nothing is suspicious about missed fumbles and tackles; that’s just how the game is. For this to even be possible, every single player would have to be involved to intentionally lose a game. Take a look at the Jan. 21 playoff game, when the Kansas City Chiefs went against the Buffalo Bills. The Bills missed a field goal costing them the game, and people questioned whether the field goal was intentionally missed. 

Recently in January, former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster jokingly admitted on a Macrodosing podcast that the NFL was ‘scripted.’ Even though Foster was being sarcastic, the rumor went viral and he received mockery from other NFL stars. Players like Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey denied the rumors, stating that if the NFL had been rigged, he would  “already have three or four Super Bowls.” 

Despite the pushback against these rumors, the theory got even more popular once sports betting became legal in 2018, and attention went on the Chief’s tight end Travis Kelce once he began dating American singer Taylor Swift. During the playoffs on Jan. 28, the Chiefs beat the Baltimore Ravens, scoring 17 total points and securing their spot in the upcoming Super Bowl. For theorists, the Chiefs’ win made the rigging seem true because the NFL would want to make money off people tuning in on Swift. Junior Archie Arnold believes Ravens’ fans who believe in the conspiracy are annoyed seeing Kelce and Swift’s relationship. 

“A lot of people favored the Ravens over the Chiefs because, honestly, on top of just seeing Patrick Mahomes go to the Super Bowl [again], people didn’t want to see Swift because [she’s] all the NFL [has] been advertising,” Arnold said. “It makes money. Swift, liked or disliked, is a household name. She is known all over, not only [in] America but a plethora of other countries.”

Additionally, there’s been allegations that the referees are match-fixing games, the act of playing or officiating a contest with the intention of achieving a predetermined result. 

“[In the playoff game with the Chiefs versus the Ravens], penalty flags weren’t called like the one against the Ravens on the interception that [Ravens quarterback] Lamar [Jackson] threw, it was a pass interference and they didn’t call it,” senior Michael Roberts said. “He was stopped by the Chiefs and the refs as a duo.” 

When thinking about the possible reasons of why the nation’s favorite teams are losing games, a topic that has to be considered is overhyping or too much flaunting. Around the 2021 season, the NFL emphasized the taunting rule, hoping to enforce that ‘flexing’ on an opponent is no longer allowed.

Additionally, players who exhibit unsportsmanlike behavior receive penalty flags, which include losing 15 yards from their succeeding spot and the chance of being potentially disqualified from the game. If the behavior continues, players could also receive fines and suspensions. 

“The taunting rule is a little bogus. Understanding and respecting the players is, of course, a major part of any sport at any level, but they’re too light on what they consider taunting. Flexing over another player shouldn’t be taunting. Taunting should generally be for unsportsmanlike conduct and inappropriate way of showboating that shouldn’t be shown on national television,” Arnold said. “If people want to celebrate then they should be able to celebrate, especially after making a big play for a third down conversation. They have the right.” 

Nevertheless, after all the hard work from all of the NFL’s teams — as well as the conspiracy theorists — on Feb. 11, the Kansas City Chiefs will take on the San Francisco 49ers at the 2024 Super Bowl in Las Vegas. According to Fox Sports, if Kelce and wide receiver Rashee Rice play well enough offensively, it’ll be hard to imagine Mahomes not taking advantage of this opportunity to win. 

“[The Chiefs] do [not only have] a bigger support system from not only the actual Chiefs fans, but also the Swifties since there’s all the news regarding [Swift and Kelce’s relationship]. Offensively, they have a couple good players and do have a more experienced and battle-hardened quarterback who actually is a Super Bowl winner and MVP, versus [49ers quarterback Brock] Purdy who is only having his first year truly starting off,” Arnold said.  

However, while the Chiefs may have the upper hand on their quarterback, a Sports Illustrated news report states that in order for the Chiefs to walk away with their third win, they’ll have to maintain the 49ers’ rushing leader and running back, Christian McCaffrey

“The 49ers have all the weapons offensively to stick it to the Chiefs. They have a better tight end, more talent in their receiver core and an MVP finalist for both quarterback and running back. Talent is nowhere near short on defense either. The only thing that could really stop them is either bad playcalling or just getting anxious,” Arnold said. “This game is going to be an instant classic.” 

Overall, there’s not a reasonable answer as to why theorists believe the NFL is rigged. The way that each of these players play and the way that the game goes, is the way the game goes. It is unlikely that any player would want to intentionally end their season; that’s foolish. However, this year’s Super Bowl could either end in the best 49ers revenge story or the Chiefs taking home their third Super Bowl trophy in five years. Tune in to Super Bowl LVIII at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 11 on CBS. 

View Comments (3)
Donate to Pathfinder
$175
$800
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Parkway West High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Samari Sanders, Staff Writer
Pronouns: she/her Grade: 11 Years on staff: 2 What was your favorite childhood TV show? My favorite childhood TV shows were "Doc Mcstuffins" and "Sofia the First" What is your favorite book? Divergent by Veronica Roth What motivates you? To be honest, I don't have a specific person who motivates me, I think the feeling of me just wanting to be successful is my only motivation. I want to be able to not worry financially and to be able to live life to the fullest.
Donate to Pathfinder
$175
$800
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (3)

Please use your own name and keep your comments respectful!
All Pathfinder Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • W

    Will GonsiorFeb 13, 2024 at 11:13 am

    Great article Samari! I find it ridiculous that anyone would listen to a word Arian Foster says personally but they’re entitled to their opinion I suppose.

    Reply
  • D

    Dina OchoaFeb 12, 2024 at 5:02 am

    The game was rigged.

    Reply
    • W

      Will GonsiorFeb 13, 2024 at 11:12 am

      OH MY GOODNESS WHEN BIDEN TWEETED HE DREW IT UP THIS WAY HE WAS TOTALLY BEING SERIOUS AND IT WAS A DoD PSYOP AND TAYLOR WOULD NEVER BE FAMOUS WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENT IT’S NOT LIKE PEOPLE LIKE HER CONCERTS WE’RE ALL HEADED FOR WORLD WAR THREE

      Reply