Super Bowl 55 Was an All-Time Put-Up Job (Film and Metric Analysis)

Every regular season of my lifetime has featured outrage over ‘existential penalty crises’, yet nothing but crickets when this happens in a Super Bowl? Astounding.

Contrary to popular belief, the Chiefs title defense looked very promising for awhile.

Defense started with a 3-and-out and a 4-and-out, including a sack. Not bad!

Offense sputtered to only a three point lead but no biggie because they always start playoff games slowly.

Then a record was set that nobody is talking about…

90 Chiefs penalty yards in the second quarter – a Super Bowl record and the most by any team in any quarter since Week 1 of 2018.

It also had them in 20th place already for most penalties for any team in any game all season.

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Film Analysis

These are the types of calls that cause a team to double their season average for penalty yards (48.7) in just one quarter.

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It was triple the average of playoff penalty yards per team (30.8).

Mostly because all the other playoff games were called more like this…

First stalled series of the game. Either the most blatant hold we’ve seen so far or a 15 yard face mask.

Third and four after the goal line stand. Huge turn in the game – 9.6% win probability swing.

Didn’t affect the game much but two holds in one gif… unreal!

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Metric Analysis

The overturned Honey Badger pick alone should’ve been enough to stir up a storm, but the rest of the calls were undoubtedly impactful as well…

If you look at the top ten most impactful plays for the Bucs offense, five of them were penalties.

Four consecutive Bucs drives ignited by penalties – three for TDs and one for a goal line stand that stalled the next Chiefs drive (with the help of that Kelce non-call).

The metrics are clear. Penalties ended this game by halftime.

Too big a deficit and too little time to activate a run game, so pass rushers were teed off against backup blockers with extra bodies flooding the secondary.

The Chiefs were tactically fucked.

Game over. Lombardi to the Tampa Bay Zebrucs.

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‘All Star Crews’

Rick Gosselin was the only reporter man enough to call this out and that’s why he’s the bro king we don’t deserve.

He says the flags were a result of a season long grading process to select an ‘all star crew’ led by Carl Cheffers.

Coincidentally, Carl Cheffers has thrown more flags against the Chiefs by one full standard deviation (I calculated) compared to the rest of his games since the time Travis Kelce said “he shouldn’t even work at fucking foot locker”.

However, the Super Bowl ‘all star crew’ is not determined solely by season long grades – they are just one factor along with ‘intangibles’ to group officials into three different tiers.  Then, the league picks refs from tier 1 as they please.

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In 2018, the league took an unprecedented step of using an ‘all star crew’ for Monday Night Football. I wrote back then that it was the only other time I unequivocally believed the NFL tampered with a game.

Originally scheduled for Mexico City, the league switched that Chiefs-Rams mega matchup to ‘neutral site’ LA Coliseum and swapped out the refs for a hand-picked ‘all star crew’.

They threw nine flags on KC in the first quarter alone and let the Rams false start every single play. It was an obvious put-up job.

Especially under the circumstances of LA’s stadium PSL push…

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Unprecedented Times for Tampering

The SoFi stadium PSLs were chump change compared to what the NFL faced this year – a 2-3 billion dollar shortfall.

If we had to rank all of the Super Bowls in order of most to least likely to be tampered with, this year wins by a landslide.

Imagine you take a time machine to 2019 to tell your past self to hammer Brady and Bucs futures. Explain how the world got fucked and cash was getting crunched and watch your past mind get blown away.

Would 2019 you, knowing everything you know about NFL owners, believe that this situation was heavily prone to tampering? Absolutely.

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And if you’re an NFL owner, which result brings more money to stop the bleeding?

  1. A repeat champion from a flyover market that’s been fully saturated, or
  2. A franchise from an affluent, fair weather fan market with a QB that has the east coast wrapped around his finger

The answer is obvious, especially when you consider the location of the Super Bowl and the stakeholders involved from my great state of Florida…

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The Glazer Family

Everyone overseas knows their soccer team’s matches have been rigged since the covid restart…

The last time the Glazers watched their NFL team in the Super Bowl, they won a game that was definitely thrown by the other side to spite Al Davis.

Malcolm Glazer was never a coward and his family follows in his footsteps well.  They’re not afraid to be conduits of chicanery, especially in their home stadium.

(Side note: this interview a couple weeks ago is awesome)

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God Governor Ron DeSantis

This guy is a god governor. Not merely good – god. I imagine this conversation took place word for word recently…

DeSantis: Hey Commissioner, my state has three NFL franchises that allowed fans in their stadiums all season long.  You’re also welcome for our Super Bowl host site in what is by far the most accessible state in the country for commerce.

Goodell: You’re right. The owners are very thankful for that much needed boost in revenue that they all share.

DeSantis: So if one of our teams makes the Super Bowl, I expect a little favor in return for the huge favors we’ve been giving the league.

Goodell: You’re right sir! I’ll have a special ‘all star crew’ standing by for our favorite state.

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Tom Brady

Once again lifting a trophy earned under dubious circumstances. The true master of the dark arts.

At this point, you just have to respect it as a privilege for a goat. He earned it. Hat tip to the goat…

And hat tip to the NFL as well for playing America like fools. I’m honestly impressed.

Super Bowl 55 Was an All-Time Put-Up Job (Film and Metric Analysis)