Hollywood’s award season came to a close Sunday night with Everything Everywhere All at Once winning nearly every major-category Oscar and giving us an Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade reunion we never knew we needed. That does mean plenty of Tinseltown’s best script writers can now shift their work to the upcoming NFL season. That’s right, the fix is already in for your favorite team and there’s nothing anyone can do to convince you that America’s most popular sport doesn’t have predetermined results.
According to a survey conducted by NJ.Bet, an online betting guide for the state of New Jersey, more than one out of every six NFL fans think the league is rigged. That’s between 17 and 19 percent of football fans, or the amount of NFL fans who jumped off the Cowboys’ bandwagon after realizing their success in the 1990s won’t be replicated. Yeah, I saw too many people in college with a Yankees’ snapback, Cowboys jerseys, and a Lakers jacket on. You’re only missing the Mountain Time Zone! Go Avalanche, who also were a great team at the turn of the last century.
A third of NFL fans think what?
The five teams with the most fans who believe the NFL is rigged won a combined one playoff game last season. The only one of the top quintets to make the postseason, the Jaguars, came in a tie for third, with 36 percent of fans surveyed thinking the league comes to their results behind the scenes in the same way WWE does. Topping the list of conspiracy theorists were Falcons fans (42 percent), followed by the masochistic Jets fandom (40 percent), the Raiders and Jaguars (36 percent, and one-in-three Cardinals fans suspecting the NFL is rigged in the No. 5 position. I’m surprised the Patriots aren’t on that list, as their two decades of domination with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick made them believe the Lombardi Trophy was their birthright.
And who is responsible for making sure the predetermined results play out in front of the world like Roger Goodell and the football Illuminati want them to? The officials! More than half (52 percent) of the 1,006 fans surveyed, with at least one fan of every franchise represented, believe that officials play favorites. The five teams the polled collective believes get more benefit of the doubt from the zebras than anyone else are the Chiefs, Patriots, Cowboys, Packers, and Buccaneers. No Eagles? No Bills or Bengals? Usually getting calls to go your way is closely associated with winning.
Those who took the survey were between the ages of 18-85 with an average age of 41, and 36 percent of them said they hadn’t seen their favorite team win a Super Bowl in their lifetimes. I was born exactly four months after the then-Redskins won Super Bowl XXVI. The now-Commanders haven’t been past the NFC Divisional Round since. It’s not my fault though. The best (and I guess worst) part of being a Washington fan is expecting nothing from your team. We’ll go 9-8 next year and either get clobbered in the Wild Card Round or just miss the postseason, so I’m not part of the 48 percent polled that had their heart broken by their team last season or the 68% that think their favorite team will make the playoffs in 2023. I am part of the 72 percent contingent who believe their team won’t win the Super Bowl this season. Didn’t know 28 percent of NFL fans root for Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Cincinnati, or Buffalo.
Oddly enough, of those five teams I mentioned with realistic paths to being the next NFL champion, they’re all in the top six of “teams most thirsty to win a Super Bowl” with Dallas joining them. The delusion of Cowboys fans will never not amaze me. The survey’s near-1,000-person pool was made up of 50 percent men, 49 percent women, and 1 percent identified as non-binary. Somehow, the team voted most likely to break their fans’ hearts this season was the Cardinals, which doesn’t make sense if a third of them believe the NFL is rigged. The Saints, Texans, Colts, and Lions comprise the rest of the top five. Chiefs’ fans are runaway favorites to have the least chance to break their fans’ hearts. The Eagles, Seahawks, Patriots, and Cowboys round out the top five of that category. Dallas is fifth-most thirsty to win the Super Bowl but also the fifth least likely to have their hearts broken? Make it make sense.
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Editors’ Note: This headline has been changed to reflect that one in six NFL fans believe the league is rigged. The headline initially said more than half the fans believed the league was rigged. Deadspin regrets the error.