Are NFL Games Fixed?

A lot of people seem to think that NFL games are fixed. Here’s a look at the evidence (or lack thereof) to see if there’s any truth to the matter.


There is no doubting the popularity of the National Football League. Each fall, as the leaves begin to change color, millions of fans tune in every Sunday to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the gridiron. But for some, the games are not about who has the most skill or who has prepared the best. For some, the games are about who has been paid off to ensure a particular outcome. Are NFL games fixed? Let’s take a look at the evidence.

Theoretical Possibilities

Many people believe that NFL games are fixed. They think that the outcomes of the games are predetermined by the league in order to create more suspense and generate more revenue. While this may be a theory, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. In fact, there are a number of factors that could contribute to the outcome of a game, making it impossible to say for sure whether or not the games are fixed.

Outcome Manipulation

There are a few ways that the outcome of an NFL game could be manipulated. The first is through the use of referees. It has been suggested that the league office put pressure on officials to make calls that will affect the outcome of the game. This could be done by making calls that favor one team or by making calls that go against one team. For example, if the league office wanted a certain team to win, they could make sure that the officials called more penalties on the other team. This would give the favored team an advantage and make it more likely for them to win.

Another way that games could be fixed is through the use of players. It has been suggested that players on one team may be paid to lose. This could be done by having players on the other team bribe them or by having players on the favored team bribe them. This would make it more likely for the favored team to win.

The last way that games could be manipulated is through the use of gambles. It has been suggested that people who have a lot of money may bet on a particular team to lose. This would make it more likely for that team to lose and would result in those people making money off of their bets.

Talent Manipulation

Theoretical Possibility #1: The NFL Is Rigged Through Talent Manipulation

There’s no doubt that the NFL is a huge business. With so much money at stake, it’s not far-fetched to think that the league could be rigging games to ensure that certain teams win (or lose) in order to generate more interest and revenue.

One way this could be done is by manipulating which players are drafted onto which teams. We already know that the NFL draft is far from being an exact science, and there have been many cases of highly talented players slipping through the cracks and being drafted much later than they should have been. It’s not unreasonable to think that the NFL could be using its power to influence where these players end up, making sure that the better players end up on more popular teams (like the Dallas Cowboys or New England Patriots) while weaker players end up on less popular teams (like the Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars).

This scenario would obviously be very difficult to prove, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If the NFL was found to be doing this, it would be a massive scandal that would rock the sports world.

Theoretical Possibility #2: The Outcome of Games Is Fixed Before They Even Begin

This theory posits that the NFL knows who is going to win (and lose) each game before it even starts. This could be done in a number of ways, such as bribing officials, paying off players, or sabotaging one team’s equipment so that they have a disadvantage.

While this might sound far-fetched, there have been a few instances where officials have been caught accepting bribes to fix games. In 2006, NBA referee Tim Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison for betting on games that he officiated (and also altering his calls in those games to ensure that his bets would pay off). And in 2015, eight FIFA officials were charged with racketeering, conspiracy, and wire fraud for their roles in a bribery scandal involving the organization’s top executives. So it’s not impossible to imagine that something similar could be happening in the NFL.

Historical Evidence

In this article, we will explore the theory that NFL games are fixed. We will look at some historical evidence that suggests this may be the case. We will also look at the motivations behind why someone would want to fix an NFL game.

The Tuck Rule Game

On January 19, 2002, the Patriots were trailing the Raiders 13-10 in the AFC playoffs with two minutes left in the game. New England quarterback Tom Brady appeared to fumble the ball after being hit by Oakland’s Charles Woodson, and Raiders linebacker Greg Biekert recovered the ball. However, the play was reviewed and eventually overturned, with officials ruling that Brady’s arm was going forward on a pass attempt, meaning that it was an incomplete pass instead of a fumble. The Patriots went on to win the game in overtime.

The Tuck Rule Game has been cited as evidence that NFL games are fixed, as it was seen as a incredibly poor decision by officials that directly led to a Patriots victory. However, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that the game was fixed, and it is more likely that the officials simply made a bad call.

The Saints “Bountygate” Scandal

In 2012, the New Orleans Saints were embroiled in a scandal that came to be known as “Bountygate.” It was revealed that the team had been offering players financial incentives to injure opposing players. This led to a lengthy investigation by the NFL, and eventual punishments for the Saints organization, head coach Sean Payton, and several players.

The Bountygate scandal caused many people to question whether or not NFL games are fixed. There is no evidence to suggest that any games have been fixed, but the Saints scandal does show that players and coaches can be incentivized to influence the outcome of a game.


Based on the information that we have gathered, it seems that the answer to whether or not NFL games are fixed is still up for debate. There are a lot of theories and allegations out there, but not enough concrete evidence to say for sure one way or the other. Perhaps the truth will never be revealed, and we will just have to continue to speculate.

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