There is a video floating around the Internet this week purporting to show how the 49ers-Seahawks game was rigged. My plan was to ignore it, but I've gotten numerous tweets about it, and now people are emailing me about it. I really did not want to write about this, but people keep posting it and asking me about it, so I'll bow to the pressure. And if anybody posts FanPosts on this moving forward, I'll just delete them so we can move on.
You can watch the video below, and feel free to make your own judgements. While nothing is ever 100 percent certain, I would like to say calmly and cooly, THERE IS NO CONSPIRACY. People want to claim the NFL is rigged to justify why their team lost a game, and I'd bet good money this is not the first and won't be the last of these videos.
Now, I do think the NFL has a problem with sometimes inferior officiating. I think there are quality referees in the NFL, but too much human element takes away from the work they are trying to do. The NFL needs centralized replay, it needs to allow challenges on penalties, and I'd even say it needs full-time referees who can train year-round and stay on top of things.
But no, I do not think the NFL is rigged. This may shut down discussion, but you are not going to convince me otherwise without having a true smoking gun. If the league were rigging games, it would take more than officials to do it. Ask bookies out there who have been involved in point shaving scandals. You need players. I suppose the league could roll the dice with just officials, but this is a multi-billionaire dollar industry.
You can break down the specific plays in this video if you want. I've watched it and have no interest in wasting my time breaking down every single play. But two basic examples right from the start: 1) Anthony Dixon's arm could reaosnably be argued to have been down on the first dive, and 2) Donte Whitner unfairly gets called for helmet-to-helmet all the time, and for those bang-bang plays, they're always going to throw the flag.
If you want to complain about shoddy officiating, go to town. The NFL has a problem with bad officiating. The 49ers got hosed on some calls, but they also benefited on some calls during the playoffs. Every team can find plays that look shady. But to say the NFL is rigged based on cherry-picked plays is not going to fly with me.