Moments like this one don’t come around very often. Maybe once or twice in an entire lifetime. However, some events become so important, you realize you’re actually living through a piece of history. Imagine the Watergate Scandal that forced President Nixon to resign from office based on information from the source named ”Deep Throat.”Envision the Mitchell Report that identified years of MLB steroid use and changed the rules of the game forever. Picture the OJ Simpson Chase that led hundreds of cops in a “high-speed” chase behind a white Bronco pushing 35mph. Even use the current COVID-19 Pandemic shutting down the entire country for almost two years, as an example. All of these events shaped the future and will live infamously in textbooks for years to come. The news I’m about to present about the NFL betting industry will be no different…
NFL betting started the minute the first game kicked-off on Sunday, September 26th, 1920. Whether it was documented, legal, or regulated in any sort of way, I like to think at least one greasy degenerate wagered the last of his weekly salary on a blind-folded shot in the dark. It was likely a last resort to minimize the mental beatdown he was about to receive from his wife for donating their weekly grocery budget to his favorite speakeasy the night before. In the 102 years since, NFL betting ingrained itself into the lives of sports fans everywhere as it became a national industry. From every pregame show making picks against the spread to each app shoving Fanduel and Draftkings ads in your face, you can’t look anywhere in sports without seeing the effects of NFL betting.As the hobby became more prevalent, so did the industry that regulates it. With the advancements in analytics, technology, and human creativity, gambling algorithms have never been more spot on. Some would argue it’s an incredible feat for bookmakers to be so consistently close. Others, such as myself, view this in a completely different light. Let me explain why, with these two words…bad beats.
1. Super Bowl 51: Patriots cover -4.5 to win 34-28 on an overtime TD after being down 28-3 with 2:06 left in the 3rd. I’m guessing more than a few mopeds replaced new cars for sweet 16s that year.2. 2021 CFB Regular Season: Clemson covers -9.5 with a fumble TD on a blown hook and ladder by FSU as time expires to win 30-20. Student’s made the dropout rate higher than a skydiving academy that semester.
3. 2019 NFL Regular Season: Falcons score 14 points in the final 2 seconds to hit the over of 49 with a 29-22 win. Dad’s around the west coast definitely pushed their kids to take a gap year after this one.
If those videos didn’t give you nightmares or make your eyes bleed, I wish you the best because you’ve clearly seen some horrific, life changing stuff. Each of the situations above, along with thousands of more, saw a line hit by less than 2 points as time expired. I used to think it was simply a coincidence. With hundreds of games played each day across dozens of sports, how could it be anything else? I was never much of a gambling man. However, as a sports writer, I feel empathy for those who never seem to catch a break. I naively always told them: ”Keep your head up sport,” and ”You’ll get em next time champ.” Then one day, I received the text message that changed everything.
My iPhone read 4:40pm CT on Sunday, January 23rd, 2022. I remember it like it was only a week ago. Every second still appears in perfect 4K detail in my memory. While sitting in my favorite Minneapolis brewery, the green iMessage symbol lit up my screen. The contents of the message? One simple picture showed a NFL betting line. LA Rams -4.5 over the SF 49ers in the NFC Conference Championship Game. The game was labeled to be played at 5:40pm on 1/30/2022.How could this be? It was only 4:40pm CT, and the Buccaneers just turned the ball over on downs giving the ball back to the Rams down 27-13. The game was far from over, but this NFL betting company already set the NFC Championship line for the Rams who hadn’t even won yet. Smelled rotten, but hey, the benefit of the doubt said this company just wanted to get ahead. Initially, I let it go and continued to watch.
Over the next 7 minutes of game-time, the Rams missed a 47 yard field goal, the Buccaneers scored a 55 yard TD, the Rams fumbled, and Leonard Fournette found himself walking into the end zone to tie things at 27 with 42 seconds remaining. NFC Conference Championship lines were still up at 5:18pm CT, minutes after the game-tying TD: LA Rams -4.5 over the SF 49ers. Now my thoughts raced, but I wasn’t about to let a mere coincidence get into my head until…
Yes, at 5:24pm CT, the Rams went 63 yards in 42 seconds to beat the Buccaneers on a 30 yard field goal to go to the NFC Conference Championship game. Exactly as the NFL betting website “predicted” 44 minutes previously. This was no longer a coincidence. It was a full blown scandal.
I didn’t know what to do with myself. Complete shock filled my body as I tried to figure out my next steps. I possessed literal photographic evidence of a conspiracy between the National Football League and the billion dollar gambling industry. This oddsmaker let the secret out by posting the NFC Championship line almost 45 minutes before the teams playing were even decided. I was freaking out, and I still am. Thoughts, horrors, and decisions raced through my brain. Do I tell the world and risk all of the consequences associated with exposing the most powerful people in America? Or do I keep it to myself and live a problem-free life? I still don’t know the correct answer and probably never will. However, who would I be if I shielded the sports fans of the world and protected those who take advantage of us…someone I couldn’t live with. That’s who.
So I formulated this article to tell the truth about the NFL and gambling conspiracy. Everything’s fake. Sports are rigged. The players, coaches, and management are actors. It’s all scripted, and we fell for it….until now, with the Rams heading to the Super Bowl. I don’t know what will come of this article or myself, but I know it won’t be good. All we can do now is continue to spread the truth, and history will unfold itself in the same way it always does.
I’m just the ugly stepson of the 10K family. Part Minnesotan, Part Wisconsinite. Half best friend, half mortal enemy. Can’t live with me, can’t live without me.