The entire 2017 NFL season has been a wash for fans, who are barely even paying attention at this point.
Scandal after scandal has rocked the league in 2017, beginning with the unfathomable disrespect of a number of players who chose to kneel, sit, or otherwise ignore the playing of that National Anthem as a form of “protest”. Americans weren’t fooled, however, and quickly wrote the entire stunt off as a way for low-impact players to have their names mentioned on liberal leaning “sports” network ESPN.
Then, as attendance and television ratings completely tanked, the league began employing some bizarrely overt measures to bring viewership back to a sustainable level. These stunts have been oddly transparent, in big calls effecting only the normally highly rated primetime games, and almost always toward the deciding end of the contest.
While there is no doubt that rigging does occur in modern sports, the NFL’s scripted nonsense was sloppy and predictable to the point that the well-informed viewers quickly tuned back out.
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This was on rampant display again on Sunday, as a maybe-totally-barely-never injured Tom Brady performed yet another predictable game winning drive to cap an historic comeback. Viewers groaned in unison as botched call after botched call kept Brady and the Patriots alive in their battle against the Jaguars.
Now, thanks to instant replay and the digital age, Twitter has exploded with instances of the nonsensical whistles and blind-eyes, with some users catching an even stranger scene as well.
“After the Patriots’ come-from-behind, 24-20 triumph over the Jaguars in the AFC Championship on Sunday, an official walked over to the glove-less wonder and patted him on the back to get his attention. He then used the universal nice-job-man pat to the chest, congratulating the 40-year-old on clinching his eighth Super Bowl appearance. It was enough to gain notice of a few NFL players and enough to begin the complaints of every Patriots critic (meaning, every non-Patriots fan).”
First guy to congratulate Brady? Number 34. What a teammate! pic.twitter.com/azXq3qgN43
— OurState_CSU (@OurStateCSU) January 21, 2018
“After a game in which Jacksonville racked up 98 yards on six penalties to New England’s 10 yards on one, it made for a clip that instantly went viral, fodder for all those who think that so many calls go the Patriots’ way in big-time moments. It wasn’t even the first time the tin-foil hats were worn Sunday; after a second-quarter touchdown, another official was seen with a big smile on the outskirts of the team’s end-zone celebration.”
Then, as if to seal the deal, one user spotted a cleat-eating grin on this referee just after a Patriots touchdown.
pic.twitter.com/yCA7ThrHNw. Ref smiling for that TD! Uhh not a good look!
— ScottyFrame30 (@ScottyStyles29) January 21, 2018
Whether you’re a fan of the Patriots or not, it is very clear to America that the NFL is an entertainment-first brand in 2017/2018, and will do anything to keep viewers hooked through the advertising portions of their programming.
Now, given that the culmination of the nation’s least favorite past time will once again feature the nation’s least favorite team, (in what is sure to be an abhorrently officiated fiasco), will the NFL finally be forced into allowing strictly fair and indiscriminate competition, or will Goodell and crew continue to rely on the shock value of professional wrestling to keep the Tom Brady soap opera alive?