If Super Bowl 50 Was Fixed It Wasn't Done by Cam Newton

 I first published this post to my personal blog on Talkmarkets: http://www.talkmarkets.com/contributor/gary-anderson/blog/news/if-super-bowl-50-was-fixed-it-wasnt-done-by-cam-newton?post=85311&uid=4798

Was Super Bowl 50 fixed? Certainly it was not fixed by Cam Newton. He was as disappointed in the outcome as anybody on the field. His body language was not of one who wanted to lose the Super Bowl. Certainly, all participants in a game of this magnitude, with the amount of betting done both legally and illegally, have their behavior questioned after a questionable outcome.

While I question Snopes when it comes to the website's assessment of causes of certain conspiratorial political events, it is helpful here in dispelling any rumors that Cam Newton and his family were arrested for fixing the Super Bowl. They were not arrested for fixing the Super Bowl! We have to look to others to see if there was a pattern of questionable behavior.

Certainly, we know that sporting events can be fixed. The Big Fix: The Hunt for the Match-Fixers Bringing Down Soccer is a book written by Brett Forrest, which explores soccer's betting scandals that have reached the highest levels of the game.

The easiest way to throw a game is to get to the officials. Now, let me say I have no proof whatsoever that any official in Super Bowl 50 threw the game. Bad officiating, or my opinion of what is bad officiating, is certainly not proof of conspiracy. There has to be independent confirmation of money changing hands, which is how most sports scandals are solved. My opinion is, that at the very least, the game was poorly officiated.

It turns out that a Carolina player, Josh Norman, mentioned that the Panthers were playing two teams.  My personal opinion is that he was speaking of the first team being the Denver Broncos and the second team being the referees.

As I observed the game, there were 5 calls during Super Bowl 50 that could have been bad calls against the Carolina Panthers. These calls or non calls were all drive stoppers.

1. The catch by Jerrico Cotchery was assessed not to be a catch in the replay booth. It was ruled dropped on the field, but that was, in the opinion of the unofficial replay official in the booth with Jim Nance, a catch. Yet the official replay booth upheld the call that it was dropped.

2. A catch to keep a drive alive in the second half, was dropped in the middle of the field, as it appeared a Denver Bronco defensive player was draped all over the receiver. No call of pass interference was made. Another Panther drive was stopped.

3. A flag was picked up as the Panthers were driving toward the goal line in the second half. Cam Newton smiled in disbelief at the officials and shook his head at that reversed call. This was a very suspicious situation for me, because Cam Newton appeared to be quite put off at the officials.

4. The Panthers were punting. An obvious offside call was missed as a Broncos player clearly was on the other side of the line of scrimmage when the ball was snapped. NFL refs rarely miss offside calls.

5. Cam Newton's fumble of a forward pass towards the end of the game received no scrutiny. The fact he didn't dive for the ball received scrutiny, but that was likely self preservation. Certainly, Tom Brady's forward pass that the Oakland Raiders thought was a fumble, back in the snow bowl, was played over and over in slow motion and showed a minute movement forward in Brady's arm. No such scrutiny was applied to the Cam Newton pass.

Of course, people are still talking about playoff mistakes, like Des Bryant's catch that was ruled not a catch, back when the Cowboys played the Packers.

For the integrity of the game, which is losing certainty, clearly investigations must take place about these matters, and not just by the NFL security people. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies need to step up to the plate. There is more money made illegally from betting than legally in the Super Bowl.

The truth is, Super Bowl 50 was an exceptionally boring football game, because of the officiating stopping all the Panther drives, regardless of whether it was a fixed game or not. These officials are supposed to be the best in the game. They didn't perform as the best in the game, in my opinion.

But it is for others to take a look at the behaviors of the participants to determine of bad calls were really foul plays. Sponsors of the game are going to pull back, and damage the game and sports in general if they sense that they are supporting a massive fraud.

Add this to the issue of concussions in the sport of football, and the way the league ignored the issue for so many years, and pretty soon Americans will call for a replacement celebration to be representative of American culture, not football. Because the game is a violent game at times, it needs to be squeaky clean in all other aspects of the business and players must be protected as to their health and reputations.

And officials of sporting events should be paid a lot more money than they are currently being paid. Their salaries are simply too small when considering the temptations to engage in illegal behavior. A rookie NFL official makes $78,000 per year. While that is a nice living for many, it is simply not a deterrent to crime, in my opinion. Salaries of officials becomes a bad joke, in my opinion, and the joke could be played on the integrity of the game.

Then add to all this issues about deflated footballs, headset tampering, substance abuse, and you get people saying cheating is simply a part of the game. The moral aspect of the game, for many fans, simply does not exist and they don't even seem to care. And it just isn't about football, it is about all sports. If sports is a teaching tool for sportsmanship, it is failing miserably. It boils down to an issue of trust in our institutions.

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