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The Goat Bowl

February 7, 2012

The Super Bowl is over, the New York Giants won, and I canít be the only person who noticed something odd: the last three games of the season were all decided by goats.

Itís mighty doggone suspicious. Whoever polices the NFL against game fixing should be investigating full steam, because something awfully weird was going on during the last two rounds of the playoffs.

Hereís the thing: the only two ways to fix games is to subvert the officials or pay the players to perform badly. (Theyíre already being paid to perform well, so that would be a waste of money.) Consequently, one of the first signs that something is amiss will be unexpected and inexplicably bone-headed blunders on the field. Exactly like what we saw in these last three games.

Maybe those were clues.

When large piles of money are dependent on the outcome of sporting events, crooked gamblers will be trying to fix the games. Donít think it canít happen: thatís what baseball thought until 1919, when eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. College basketball has Boston College 1978-79, City College of New York 1950-51, and the Dixie Classic involving North Carolina and North Carolina State in 1961. The NBA had a referee allegedly fixing games in 2007. In horse racing, where the betting is trackside and the relationship to gambling is inherent, the cheating and fixing of races is so endemic to the sport that every racetrack has full-time law enforcement personnel on scene watching and ready to make arrests. But hey, at least give the horse racing industry credit for trying Ė the sport of boxing, by contrast, has had more dives than a Summer Olympics and hardly anybody cares.

Itís money that inspires a fix and the NFL playoffs are the biggest gambling draw in sports, with the Super Bowl being the largest single event in the world for amount of money wagered... somewhere around one hundred million dollars bet on this one game. Maybe thatís why the NFL playoffs suddenly looked like a Jai Alai tournament.

I have no concrete evidence that anybody was on the take in the NFL. How could I? All Iím saying is that what did happen, right there in front of our eyes, well, it defies the odds. You can watch a whole season of NFL football without seeing one 4th quarter obviously-game-losing mistake of the magnitude we saw two and three at a time at the end of these three games.

Game 1, Baltimore Ravens at New England Patriots (winner goes to Super Bowl)

It felt to me (and I think most viewers) that the Ravens were the better team throughout the game, but with 27 seconds left the Patriots were leading 23-20. That was not going to last, because the Ravens had the ball 14 yards from the end zone, second down, and would either score a touchdown to win or kick an easy field goal to send the game into overtime. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a perfect pass to Lee Evans in the end zone for the game-winning score, and Evans caught it, but he didnít put the ball away fast enough so a Patriot stripped it... game losing mistake number one. After another incomplete pass, the kicker came in to tie the game with a point-blank field goal but missed the 32-yarder wide left. Game losing mistake number two. (Both in the last 27 seconds of the game.)

Game 2, New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers (winner goes to Super Bowl)

It felt to me that the 49ers were the better team throughout the game, slowly wearing the Giants down with overpowering defense, and with 11 minutes 17 seconds left they were leading 14-10 when the Giants finished another futile effort at moving the ball by punting, their fifth straight possession ending with a punt. The 49ers defense was dominating the Giants offense. Inexplicably, the man fielding the punt for the 49ers, Kyle Williams, didnít catch the ball but stayed in the vicinity, allowing the ball to bounce off his knee which made it a live ball. The Giants grabbed it. Game losing mistake number three. The grateful Giants offense, rejuvenated, trotted back onto the field and scored a touchdown 2 minutes and 36 seconds later. Giants 17-14. The 49ers kicked a field goal to send the game into overtime but 5 minutes 18 seconds into overtime the Giants punted to Kyle Williams (again), who caught the ball and fumbled it back to the Giants on the 24 yard line. Game losing mistake number four. (Both by the same guy.) The Giants kicked a field goal to win the game.

Game 3, New England Patriots vs. New York Giants (Super Bowl)

It felt to me that the Patriots were the better team throughout the game, and with 4 minutes 6 seconds left they were leading 17-15 and slowly marching up the field, killing time, using up the clock. Thatís when quarterback Tom Brady threw a deep pass to Wes Welker who was wide open on the 20 yard line. Known for his good hands, Welker let the ball bounce off his hands. Game losing mistake number five. Instead of first down at the 20, the Patriots had to punt the ball to the Giants who marched down the field and scored a touchdown. The Patriots got the ball back and made a desperate drive with 57 seconds to go, but two more sure-handed Patriots receivers dropped passes that hit them in the hands. Game losing mistakes number six and number seven. (All by receivers.) The Patriots failed to score and lost 21-17.

Notice that all three games were ultimately won by the team that seemed weaker during the game. Looking back at the Giants two victories, they scored a total of 41 points: 3 after the first Kyle Williams punt fumble, 7 after the second Kyle Williams punt fumble, 2 after an intentional grounding call on Tom Brady after a pass up the middle that traveled 50 yards in the air (an unheard-of call), 7 after they fumbled the ball away but the Patriots had 12 men on the field, and 7 after Wes Welker dropped a pass that hit him in the hands. So 26 of their 41 points came after weird, unlikely scenarios.

It could be a fluke of statistics that so many blunders happened at the tail end of the three most important games in the NFL season, when all the gambling money is on the line and the incentive for skullduggery is greatest. It could be. Coincidence happens.

But somebody once said, ďCoincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys.Ē

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

February 7, 2012 - Haha! It was pretty obvious if you know anything about Biblical prophecy and occult symbolism. A one world goverment or new world order is not made up by a bunch of conspiracy theory loony-tunes. It is a major component of Biblical end-times prophecy. I thought her show, with her being lifted up on the alter, the huge eye of horus, the pose of bahomet, the pentagram on her hands, etc, was beyond creepy. Whether or not she worships satan, or is just being controversial, is anyone's guess. - Samantha, Michigan

February 7, 2012 - Madonna does a half-time show with more occult and satanic symbolism than I have ever seen (including a descent to hell at the end) and you're talking about the game being fixed? Seriously, from start to finish satanic symbols were displayed as we mindlessly watched and bopped along. You may be right about the game but what about the NWO "world peace" propaganda at the end? You have to wonder why a 50-something year old pop queen wanted that message displayed at the end of the most watched half-time show of all time? The giants defeated the patriots... is that symbolic or what? - Samantha, Michigan
J.P. replies: "NWO?" I had to look it up. I try to constrain my conspiracy theory inclinations as much as possible, so I'm not up on the New World Order, but I'm glad you took my conspiracy theory on the NFL and one-upped me with something worse. Makes me look almost normal. Thanks!

February 7, 2012 - Was rootin for Eli and the Giants all the way, but have to admit the last three games had some crazy stuff going on. - A.F., Vermont

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