I know I just sound like a bitter fan and admittedly I am. But any real football fan has to admit there was a lot of shadiness surrounding this game. This is beyond being upset with a loss. The "no call" on the Bernard hit, the suppose "helmet" hit from Burfict, and the "unsportman like conduct" call involving a Pittsburgh coach who shouldn't have been on the field appear to be a blatant manipulation of the game. Also consider that the Steelers were favored to win this game coming in, and that for some reason this game was officiated by the same team from the previous game which was also poorly manned. There is definitely something suspicious going on behind the scenes.
UPDATE: Below is an email I recieved from Investigative Sports Journalist, Brian Tuohy of "The Fix Is In".net
At the very least, you took the initiative to do something. Most fans either take it on the chin, or shrug their shoulders not knowing what to possibly do. The best course of action, though, is to not watch (and buy jerseys, hats, or anything else the league makes money from). But getting fans to not watch is an even larger uphill endeavor.
I saw the game and obviously agree with every point you make (though I would lean more in the direction of Burfict head-hunting on Brown even if it was just with his shoulder). But all of this goes along with my general argument that the NFL is entertainment and not true sport. If it was an actual sporting event focused on athletic competition and fair play, none of what occurred should have been possible. But if it's all entertainment, then the professional wrestling aspect of this game makes perfect sense.
I receive more and more emails, tweets, etc. from people who have begun to see through these shenanigans for what they truly are. As I often argue, how many times can these supposed coincidences go the league's way? As it stands, the answer is "nearly 100% of the time" which should be impossible. But when billions of dollars are on the table, and major media conglomerates and the nation's biggest advertisers are involved, are you - the league - really going to leave all of this up to chance? Only a fool would do so.
Good luck, but watch out. The NFL doesn't take this sort of talk/action lightly.
Dear Commissioner Goodell:
Hello sir, my name is Jamaal Spivey. I am the man responsible for the “Investigate the AFC Wildcard Game The Steelers vs The Bengals” petition. Due to the bit of media it has received you may already be aware of it. Then again maybe not, since the countless number of concerned fans who have attempted to call the NFL have not received any return calls. As I was creating my petition I noticed something while looking at other petitions on the website, my petition is unique in the sense that I am a lone individual who started it and not an organization or nonprofit organization like others who established causes.
Yes, I am just one lone man. A man who has worked the same job for over 7 years, a man who is also a student attempting to get his associates degree, a man with two beautiful boys and a fiancée whom he loves enough to sacrifice day in and day out to provide a living for check by check. I am the average man, the common man. That is my organization. Our organization, has felt underrepresented in recent years. No one from upper management really feels it necessary to hear the concerns and messages we attempt to communicate on a regular basis. The common man has to worry about corrupt political policies, a corrupt banking system, corrupt law enforcement, and an economic system that is so unbalanced the majority struggle while a few thrive. So we attempt to distract ourselves from our troubles through entertainment, turn on the television to enjoy and what do we see CORRUPTION. Eventually it becomes too much to bear.
My petition is NOT about a bitter fan “whining” and “pouting” because his team lost a game. My petition is about principles, fairness, and justice. There may be a particular level of bias due to the fact that I am a Cincinnati Bengals fan in this situation, but I have the ability to remove those biases and be rational. Yes, the Bengals played a poor game, and yes the Bengals had incidents where players may not have conducted themselves in the best manners, but the other party is also guilty of these same things. And yes I am also aware that there were angry fans misbehaving in Paul Brown Stadium as well, throwing items into the stadium which is very inappropriate behavior. This usually happens at Paul Brown NEVER, what could have upset those fans so much???? Hmmm, I wonder…. There were also coaches pulling hair and coaches on the field manipulating the game, which seems to have been downplayed. Just enforcing penalties on the field isn’t enough of a punishment for such acts. These are COACHES, they are supposed to be leaders and be held to a high standard. They dictate players’ actions, and can influence their squads to rally and fight! (Figuratively and metaphorically in this sense) The accountability for their actions must be high to ensure the integrity of the game.
Also I will address the elephant in the room, the HUGE conflict of interest involved in this game that may have in fact influenced the outcome of the game. There’s a relationship, or at least, an association between an official and a coach from the Steelers who were involved in the most controversial penalty in the game. These individuals are Joey Porter and referee Buddy Horton. The two can be linked through Buddy’s brother Ray Horton. I will not say that due to this Buddy favored the Steelers in this game, besides Ray Horton was once a Bengal himself and a coach for the organization as well. But at a dire moment when officiating correctly and fairly was crucial to the game Buddy dropped the ball, no puns intend. For some reason he didn’t give Pittsburgh a flag for Joey Porter being on the field. Even though NFL rules state a 15 yard penalty should have been assessed. Instead, Adam Jones was penalized alone, when he was the victim of another individual’s misconduct in actuality. This doesn’t excuse Jones’s reaction, but it does establish his actions were the result of someone else actions. Throw in a couple of “bad calls”, “no calls”, and questionable calls that seem blatantly to favor Pittsburgh and we have ourselves a very suspicious looking game. Then there’s the matter of Ben Roethlisberger’s conversation with an official while entering the field, which could be innocent but lumped with everything else also looks suspicious.
This petition WAS NEVER about asking for the Steelers to be removed from the playoffs, unless the NFL as an organization had deemed it necessary. This petition was also NEVER about asking that you replace the Steelers with the Bengals in the playoffs. I don’t believe those thing would have been fair either due to the fans, the fans who buy tons of NFL MERCHANDISE and TICKETS annually and pay taxes for fancy NFL STADIUMS. These are the same fans that your organization is accountable to.
Now, several days after the game has taken place another error made by the officiating team has come to light. A diving touchdown made by player Martavis Bryant that was ruled a catch was in actuality NOT a catch at all. That now makes TWO admitted errors by the officiating team. The errors are an incorrect touchdown call and a missed penalty on Pittsburgh’s Joey Porter. It is evident that the game was at the least poorly officiated and now due in part to this the city of Cincinnati and The Cincinnati Bengals have suffered damage to their reputations respectively. I’m not excusing the actions of angry fans and players, but given recent developments it has now become apparent that the fans and players were not purely acting out of being upset with the outcome of the game. Everyone was also very upset with poor officiating and the lack of control the officiating team had over this game. The NFL and the officiating team involved with this game should step up and take it share of the blame in this situation, especially given the huge impact that the errors that were made had on this game. What I would like to ask for now is an apology on behave of the city of Cincinnati and The Bengals organization, and a list of demands that should be met:
I also would like to suggest that the NFL clarify language in its “Helmet to Helmet” personal foul rule. The rule should incorporate the language of INTENT. If Burfict’s hit on Brown was truly malicious we would have seen more intent in his body language. Both the player who is impacted and the offender’s motion and body should be analyzed in calling. I am not being a bias Bengals fan. I am being a reasonable NFL fan. I know I don’t have much leverage in this fight. I am the David to your Goliath. I am just one voice with a bit of brains, but don’t underestimate my brawn. I may be the voice but the PEOPLE are the body. I have the support of 40,000 + people so far and growing. You can check it out yourself.
I hope to see results or receive a response soon.
Jamaal L. Spivey.