Is the NFL scripted?

Maybe the halftime performance isn’t the only rehearsed event of the Super Bowl

Retired NFL running back Arian Foster mentioned on Barstool Sport’s podcast Macrodosing a few days ago that the NFL gave him a script to memorize on day one of training camp at the beginning of every season. The former Houston Texan and Miami Dolphin stated that it was like the WWE: “You know what’s gonna happen, but you still gotta put on a show.”

Co-host of the podcast, Big Tennessee, asked Foster, “What did you think when you got the script in 2016 that said your career was gonna fall off a cliff when you stopped believing in God?” To which he replied, “That was 2015.” Whoever picked up on the ironic tone of the conversation later on made memes out of the whole debacle (i.e. Mike Vick reading the 2007 script finding out he has to get arrested for dog fighting involvements). Either way, the internet talked about it.

So many people believe in Foster’s “claim” about the scripting because, for one, the NFL arguably has the most controversial referee ruling in American sports right now. Moreover, the internet can’t tell when people are messing around as long as they keep a straight face. However, can a multi-billion dollar organization really be exposed by one ex-player in this manner? I’m not sure. There are a few instances that can tempt us to think in the same direction as the rest of the internet, though.

When it comes to bad play ruling, football fans will immediately have nightmarish flashbacks of the 2018 NFC championship game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. With less than two minutes left in the game and a chance for a go-ahead touchdown, Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis got blasted near the sideline by Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman while the ball was still a solid two feet behind the defenseman’s back. This was the most obvious a “pass interference call” can get. However, there was no call from the referees.

The Rams won in OT but evidently, people speculated that the game was rigged in their favour. Maybe it was in the script for the Rams to go to the Super Bowl.

Back in 2013, one of the NFL’s biggest controversies occurred during Super Bowl XLVII held at Caesars Superdome, nicknamed the “Blackout Bowl.” The Baltimore Ravens were up 21-6 against the San Francisco 49ers going into the second half when Jacoby Jones scored with the longest kick return in Super Bowl history — taking it from his own endzone all the way to the opposition’s. The field goal stretched the lead to 22 points. A little over a minute later, the entire stadium blacked out, delaying the game for 34 minutes. After the power came back, the 49ers almost completed a comeback, falling short by only three points.

To this day, there are controversial play rulings, like the one-handed DeVonta Smith catch last week. Did the ball hit the ground before Smith had full control of it? Smith’s back was facing the refs, and the timing of everything was close.

The referees in this sport may not be flat-out bad — the sport might just be tough to arbitrate. And the pay isn’t great either.

In 2019, the NFL increased their average salary by 56,000 dollars, making the NFL referee… still the most underpaid official in American sports.

Why would someone continue pursuing their reffing career when they can just become a CBS analyst? When the best get offered better jobs, the less talented step in, and perform worse. They have trouble arbitrating the most fast-paced sport (that has every player doing everything at once on the field), meaning they receive hate from the fans, all while being mistreated by their very own organization. 

Is the NFL scripted? Maybe, but how? If it was, Arian Foster would be “no longer with us” almost as quickly as he ran his 40. Sure, there may have been individual games that were paid off here and there like every other sport, but it must just be that the refs are human, and it’s hard to monitor everything happening on the field at the same time. Even professionals can have a hard time. 

Still not sure about the Blackout Bowl, though.

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