The sports industry as a whole is exactly like high school. You have your athletes, your statistics nerds, your free-thinking journalists, and even the popular people. Within these cliques, rumors run amok. The starting quarterback slept with who? The ESPN anchor said what on Twitter? The drama that ensues within each of these leagues takes precedent over any daytime soap opera.
There is no better example of a league where these rumors run more rampant than in the NFL. This season alone, we have had quarterback drama, injury drama, and even presidential drama! Some of this gossip arises from social media, while others may come from delusional fans, either way, it's usually juicy enough to make national headlines.
In today's article, we will dive into some of the rumors that are making their way through the league. We'll touch on all the craziness here: corporate espionage, Super Bowls that were fixed, player drama, referee drama, and even a touch of politics.
While there has been decades of rumors spread, we will try and focus on the ones that are prevalent today. So, that being said, start passing notes and talking behind peoples backs, and gear up for 15 current bizarre NFL rumors we hope aren't true. We should point out some of these are based on fan theories, and some may just be the work of some conspiracy theorists, but hey, that's part of all the fun here!
15 NFL Owners Are Blackballing Kaepernick
There are several truths behind this rumor. Clearly, Kaepernick possesses the talent to make an NFL roster. Just five years ago, he led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance and was within five yards of a win. While he hasn't produced over recent years, his skill set could fit the back-up role for many teams. Unfortunately, his political stance and negative media attention put up red flags for many NFL owners.
So, not only was this rumor swirling around the media the past offseason, but it's made it's way into midseason! After Marcus Mariota went down and the Titans worked out several quarterbacks, Kaepernick was not even called. They instead signed Brandon Weeden. And of course in recent weeks, the Packers have passed on him, choosing to stick with the QBs on their roster.
This was followed by a collusion grievance against the NFL owners, stating they were purposefully not signing him due to his national anthem protests.
There are several repercussions if his grievance goes through, but we'll just have to wait and see. It's going to be very hard for him to prove, without a reasonable doubt, that ALL 32 NFL owners are colluding against him.
14 Raiders Are Moving To Vegas Solely For Gambling Purposes
The move to Vegas seems odd for the Raiders. Like something smells fishy in the Bay Area, and it's not the market. Many people believe that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas for the sole reason to increase gambling in the NFL. Roger Goodell has stood firm on this issue, stating "I think we still strongly oppose [among ownership] legalized sports gambling. The integrity of our game is No. 1. We will not compromise on that."
But, according to an article from USA Today, a loophole in the current NFL policy and Nevada Gaming Commission could allow fans attending Raiders games in Las Vegas to legally place bets from their mobile devices during games. Plus, the board in charge of building the stadium is composed of Vegas Executives, including those from MGM and Caesers. Coincidence? I think not. The NFL is definitely colluding with the gambling industry!
13 Super Bowl LI Was Rigged
Conspiracy theorists from around will tell you that all professional sports are rigged. But Super Bowl LI is an interesting game in which many non-Pats fans truly think someone threw the game. Let's take a look back and dive into the rumors that the championship was fixed.
As we all know, the Falcons were leading the Patriots 28-3, with two minutes left in the third. But, an act from the New England football gods allowed the Patriots to win in OT. First rumor is that Trump played a role since he is close with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Others say the NFL was in on it the whole time, since Atlanta refused to kill the clock, or that dumb Atlanta fans took the meaning of an on-screen graphic too far. But, the most interesting and convincing case is the guy who claims the Illuminati rigged the game since football is a mind-control device of the masses. Again, all this is just a juicy rumor, and most likely the Falcons just choked, but you never know!
12 Jimmy Hoffa Is Still Under Giants Stadium
Some rumors just never die. Teamsters union boss, Jimmy Hoffa, disappeared in 1975, never to be heard from again. It's been one of the 20th century's greatest mysteries where Hoffa was buried, since authorities never found his body. Some say it was dumped in a Florida swamp, others say Hoffa was buried under a Las Vegas strip club. But the rumor that has captured the most attention is that Hoffa was buried somewhere near the west end-zone in Giants Stadium. An abnormal hump on the field only put fuel on the fire.
Mythbusters has since "probed" Giants Stadium with radar, hoping to find Hoffa's body, but didn't find anything, debunking the myth. But in 2010, the stadium was demolished and the area where Hoffa's body was located was turned into a parking lot. Maybe we will never know for sure after this rumor was suffocated under 13 feet of concrete and asphalt.
11 Referees Are Cheating On First Down Measurements
Okay, this one is not so much of a rumor, but more of an observation from NFL fans. We all know that referees can be inaccurate when spotting the football, but recently, it seems like the refs are intentionally cheating on first down measurements. Take for example the NFL official that was caught pushing back the marker on the field in favor of the Cowboys. Now, this is clearly speculation, but it seems like the refs will give a good or bad spot based on whichever outcome will make the game more competitive.
For a league that brings in billions of dollars annually, you think they could invest in laser technology for the first down. But we are forgetting one thing, drama increases viewership. The league loves to add a bit of controversy to their calls, that's what makes the NFL exciting. So next time you're watching the game, pay close attention to the ref's spot, because a lot of the time, it's disputable.
10 Roger Goodell Secretly Works For Nike
Rumors don't always have to be blatantly stated, but you just need to connect the dots. Take for example Roger Goodell's relationship with Nike. In 2012, the NFL ended it's long-standing jersey deal with Reebok in favor of their competitor, Nike. Why, you may ask? Some people will say that Nike created lightweight, improved jerseys, but the answer is always money! Think about it, Nike wiggles its way into Goodell's pockets, and grabs one of the biggest contracts in the sports industry. Again, it may just be a coincidence, but Goodell could be getting some back-end love from Nike.
When questioned in 2012 about the new uniforms, Goodell stated “The NFL is pleased to work with Nike. This relationship continues our commitment to delivering fans worldwide the best sports and entertainment experience. We are looking forward to the excitement and innovation Nike will bring to our game, players and fans.” In other words, he's excited about getting paid a ton of money!
9 The NFL Purposely Omitted Evidence In The Ezekiel Elliott Case
The NFL wanted to flex its muscles in Ezekiel Elliott's sexual misconduct case. Even though there was no criminal evidence, and Elliott was never tried in court, the NFL ultimately banned him six games for conduct detrimental to the league stemming from his criminal accusations. The NFLPA has appealed and the suspension is going back and forth in the court system. Ultimately, the NFL will win based on the current CBA, but it just sheds light on the tyrannical power of NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
The NFLPA is arguing that the lawyer, Lisa Friel, in combination with others, is withholding “critical information which would completely exonerate Elliott.” This isn't the first time Friel has been accused of withholding information, as she failed to turn over evidence in a criminal case years ago. As for the investigation, the NFL will win, but their may be truth to the omission of evidence rumor.
8 Ed Hochuli Hates The Patriots, Specifically Brady
I absolutely love this rumor. Leave it to New England fans, who have enjoyed a myriad of success in the Brady-Belichick era, to come up with a conspiracy theory against jacked referee, Ed Hochuli. The rumor goes that Hochuli is bias while calling Patriots games, mainly because he doesn't like Brady. Now, I don't know where the hatred of Brady came from, but there are arguments for both sides.
From 2010-2016, Hochuli called seven games where the Patriots were playing, and they ended up 3-4. How can a team who is dominating the league regularly be under .500 when a specific ref is officiating? Pats fans think it's collusion, but when you look at it closer, Hochuli is assigned to most marquee match-ups, due to his experience and track record. In those seven games, the amount of penalties called on the Patriots and their opponents is extremely similar. So Pats fans, while you may think the rumor to be true, just jump off the bandwagon to see the truth.
7 NFL Hides Results Of PED Tests
The NFL has been known to hide and omit evidence (just check out some of the other entries in this article)! Drug tests make the list of things the NFL lies about. First off their drug testing policy is a complete joke, just ask Josh Gordon, who has been a "victim" of tis flawed system. Even though the World Anti-Doping agency has a limit for testing Carboxy-THC at 150 ng/mL, the NFL's limit is only at 15 ng/mL! That's over ten times less than the recommended amount set my the Olympic committee! On the other hand, Deadpsin has detailed how easy it is to beat an NFL drug test. Whichever way you look at it, the system is messed up.
It's hard to believe that the NFL doesn't hide PED test results. There has to be a czar controlling who gets tested, and specifically, when they get tested. Why would the NFL want its best players out for the season? That's just bad for business!
6 Booth Reviews Always Favor A Competitive Game
There is nothing worse than having your team lose because of B.S. booth review, just ask any Lions or Jets fans. The rumor has it that the NFL always favors a more competitive game during these reviews. Think about it, the more competitive the game, the more viewership and the more money.
Realistically, with video evidence, it's hard to say that the refs messing up calls is a conspiracy. What probably happens is that the refs make the original call to favor a more competitive game. That way, if there is not enough video evidence, then they can let the call on the field stand. For example, if it's a close game that could go into overtime, maybe they mark the runner down at the goal line instead of ruling it a touchdown. Just keep an eye out, maybe the rumor is actually true!
5 Brady Will Retire At The End Of The Season
Coming off the best comeback of all-time in Super Bowl LI, and looking like he is still in his prime, why would Brady even want to retire? He has said in previous interviews that he feels like he can play until he's 45 years old! While that may not be plausible, it still seems like Brady has a few years left. How did this rumor that Brady will retire at the end of the season ever come about then? It all stems from how New England has handled the situation with their back-up QB, Jimmy Garoppolo.
The Patriots could have traded Garoppolo for at least a first round pick in the offseason, but chose to hang on to him. The rumor is that he will be franchised in 2018, and be the Patriots future QB. We'll see how the rumor plays out, but Brady is great for the NFL, so we hope it isn't true.
4 NFL Has Always Withheld Information on CTE/Concussions
It's common knowledge now that long-term, sustained injuries to the head result in brain damage. Or is it? Seriously, how can people ever deny that playing football is bad for your brain? There are 250 pound men are running full speed at each other, of course there are going to be repercussions. In 2016, research came out that CTE was prevalent in 96% of former NFL players tested. Obviously, the data is skewed, but how was the NFL never aware of this?
The simple, yet regrettable answer to this rumor is, they were well aware. The NFL hid information about concussions for decades. According to an article in the New York Daily News, the NFL hid this evidence for several years, mainly because it would deter parents from allowing their children to play football, ultimately resulting in a loss of popularity and revenue within the sport. Hopefully, the juggernaut company of the NFL will come out and tell the truth!
3 Teams Are Still Paying Players Under The Table
It's hard to pay a player under the table, let's get that out of the way. There is the IRS, accountants, and investigators that are hired to prevent this. But when you break down the question, it makes sense. A team gives a player a pay cut to bring in additional players under the salary cap, and the team pays the first player outside his contract. Let's look at the case of one man, Tom Brady.
"TB12" is a therapy and training center co-owned by Brady, and his skeevy friend, Alex Guerrero. Now, most NFL teams get paid by training centers to get their business. But, in a report done by CBS Sports, the New England Patriots pay "TB12" $200/hr for their business, which some of that is going in to Brady's pockets. It is technically not illegal, perhaps unethical, but there is no doubt there are more instances of these legal "under the table" payments throughout the league.
2 NFL Controls The Media's Talking Points
Rumor has it NFL controls the media. I mean, it's not like they are communist Russia, spreading propaganda to gain viewership. Oh wait, that's exactly what they are doing. Let's not forget that the NFL is now aired on FOX, CBS, NBC, and ABC (via ESPN). Every major media outlet in America has a deal with the NFL. Therefore, in order to keep viewers glued to their televisions, all the analyst, pregame, and "hot take" shows need to better the NFLs agenda to make more money. Think about the Ray Rice stuff; most sports news anchors and writers tip-toed around the issue because it was a bad look for the NFL.
Another piece of evidence that supports this rumor is Washington Redskins owner, Dan Snyder. He has bought radio stations, websites, newspapers, and even TV stations, all to put out content that his beneficial for his team. Maybe this is all speculation, and the NFL has no control at all, but just be weery of the next NFL "hot take," and that it may be perpetuated by Goodell.
1 Trump Has a Personal Vendetta Against NFL Owners
When is Trump not in the news? Recently, the president's tweet(s) about anthem protests in the NFL has divided the USA. While Trump is using his status to argue that the players who are protesting are unpatriotic and disrespecting the flag, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has a different opinion. In an interview with Jarrett Bell of USA Today, Khan said "This is a very personal issue with him. He’s been elected President, where maybe a great goal he had in life to own an NFL team is not very likely... So to make it tougher, or to hurt the league, it’s very calculated."
That's a bold accusation against a sitting president, but could be entirely true. Forget about Trump's feud with the NFL in the mid 80s (his league, the USFL was a failure), but take a look at 2014. Trump tried to buy the then up-for-sale Buffalo Bills, but was denied. Maybe it's just a rumor, and we hope it isn't true because it would be ridiculous for a president to disguise a personal vendetta as justified patriotism, but I'm sure we'll never know.