NFL Miraculously Gets Protest-Free Super Bowl

An NFL referee celebrates with New England Patriots players after the Patriots score the game-winning touchdown on Jan. 21, 2018. (CBS screenshot)
An NFL referee celebrates with New England Patriots players after the Patriots score the game-winning touchdown on Jan. 21, 2018. (CBS screenshot)

After a tumultuous season that featured a decline in ratings partially blamed on National Football League players protesting injustice and inequality during the national anthem, America will get to enjoy a Super Bowl devoid of ungrateful players insulting the mythical “troops” and the long-dead corpse of Francis Scott Key by kneeling during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

It’s almost like they planned it this way.

An on-the-field referee was the first to congratulate Tom Brady when his New England team eeked out a come-from-behind win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Helped by the not-at-all-related fact that the Patriots were only called for one penalty during the contest, many people are calling the dynasty’s latest Super Bowl appearances a “fix.”


I don’t believe in conspiracy theories like this. Just because—aside from the week after Trump referred to the mothers of NFL players as “bitches”—none of the Patriots’ players knelt during the national anthem this season, it doesn’t automatically mean that the referees would cheat for New England. Even if you bring up the fact that Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a huge Trump supporter and the NFL has been worried about Trump calling them out, it doesn’t make the conspiracy theory ring true.

After all, there’s no evidence whatsoever that the Patriots would cheat—except for the one time they were convicted of cheating in deflate-gate in 2015. And the other time they were punished for manipulating the injury list. Oh ... and spy-gate. But aside from those isolated incidents—and the ESPN article that showed how the Patriots continually cheated over the years and the NFL covered it up—there is absolutely no basis for anyone to assume that the NFL would cheat for the Patriots.

As for the Philadelphia Eagles, why would the NFL possibly want them in the Super Bowl?


You’re probably going to mention that Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins sold out Colin Kaepernick’s protests, aren’t you? Accusing Jenkins of taking a payoff to end the demonstrations during the anthem is easily disproven by the fact that ... hold on, let me look this up.

OK, it turns out that Jenkins stopped protesting immediately after NFL owners agreed to fork over $100 million to the Players Coalition, the group of protesters that Jenkins started. But that doesn’t mean anything. Two plus two doesn’t always equal four. I’ve seen some of the NFL players’ Wonderlic tests that prove it sometimes equals 22. Again, it’s probably just a coincidence.


I think the NFL just got lucky. If you bring up the fact that billionaires who spent $100 million to make the protests disappear would probably shell out a few more shillings to referees, you sound stupid. And please don’t show me that video of the ref congratulating Brady after the quarterback threw the game-winning touchdown.


I’m sure he was saying, “Are you going for 2?” or something like that. Just because this whole thing seems shady doesn’t mean that it is. How dare you?

What really matters is that NFL fans will get to enjoy a Super Bowl without politics. Except for the political statement of the national anthem. And the halftime show featuring the white guy who made a controversial cameo in the Patriots’ second Super Bowl win. And the team named the “Patriots” playing the team named the “Eagles.”


I’m sure it’s a big, spectacular, lucky coincidence. After all, this is America. You can’t just say disparaging things without any facts or evidence. That would be ... umm ... what’s the term for that?

No! I wasn’t going to say “presidential.”

OK, I was going to say that. But still ...

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Maybe the musical guest will flip the bird again or something.

FML, it’s Timberlake. And he says he wants to make his performance about unity. I’d like to unify my hand with the back of his head.

Can everyone just skip this shit then?