What If Professional Football Was More Like US Politics?

NFL Logo And Person Doing Statistics With Football Player

NFL Logo And Person Doing Statistics With Football Player

It feels good to be excited about professional football again!

I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been dedicated to politics and, occasionally, entertainment betting for almost a year now or the pandemic shutting down sports, but seeing Cam Newton sign with the Patriots woke something up in me.

Hours were wasted – hours that would have been much better-used researching or writing for work – imagining all the ways Ernie Adams and Bill Bellichick would use Cam’s unique skillset.

Cam & The Patriot Way

Those guys with a super athlete – albeit, a dinged up one, over the last two years — under center? Whatever he has left, they’ll get the most out of it.

Newton signing in New England on a one-year incentive-laden contract reminds me of when the Pats grabbed Darrelle Revis and Randy Moss on “prove it” deals.

Every few years, Foxborough’s front office brings in a potentially washed-up star for an absolute steal of a price. About two games into the new season, it’s clear the player has returned to their former glory — demonstrating just how awful most NFL franchises are run (or at least how far they are behind the Patriots).

You know poor Ron Rivera is already bumming out about the inevitable conversations about “wasted years.”

So, yeah, I spent a day or two thinking about Belichick with a mobile quarterback and how brilliant I will look snatching up James White a round early (or two). Cam loves a nice safe check down, after all, and Sony Michell – who is kind of terrible – will see his goal-line TD’s vultured all season long.

At the same time, my subconscious mind must have been stressing about work because it wasn’t long before the cynical, depressing world of politics invaded the serenity of my daydreams as an NFL offensive coordinator.

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Sparked by Kentucky

Then, Democratic Senate primary candidate for Kentucky, Charles Booker, found himself on the receiving end of a good ol’ Bernie Sanders-style DNC screw job. Maybe the party has always been this way, and we have more access to information today, but – whatever the case – fishy things happen when Democratic establishment favorites are at risk.

Booker — a progressive African American Kentuckian — faced off against Amy McGrath, a centrist Democrat backed by all of the party establishment’s heavy hitters threw their weight behind the former Marine fighter pilot. Including Chuck Schumer. The fund-raising machine got behind her as well.

All to stop a progressive candidate with a broad coalition of grassroots support. Because Amy McGrath can’t beat Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November – Charles Booker may have given the GOP boss a challenge.

I won’t go into the plethora of ways they rigged this thing – not here, anyway; it deserves its own article.

It was the usual stuff: shutting down all but one polling station in precincts with the most minority voters, tossing out thousands of pro-Booker ballots, and pausing the count when the progressive looked to have won, only to find just enough absentee ballots to edge out a victory for McGrath the next day.

It almost made me nostalgic for the Iowa primary and Shadow Inc.

What If We’re Watching It All Wrong?

Watching the depths to which the DNC routinely goes to hamstring the party’s left-wing – even if it means losing to Republicans- got me thinking. Forget about what they show on TV, that’s professional wrestling; the two parties cooperate on significantly more than on which they disagree.
When it comes to foreign intervention, tax breaks for the wealthy, corporate interests, and the banking industry, they pretty much agree on everything.

The CARES Act – the most substantial upward transfer of wealth/robbery the modern world has ever seen — passed unanimously in the Senate.
The same goes for infringing on American’s rights. There’s never a prolonged battle over signing/renewing the Patriot Act, giving the government backdoors to circumvent encryption, or raising the military budget.

If there’s any rivalry at all, it’s between political insiders and outsiders – usually populists from either side of the aisle. Before Bernie Sanders, the Republican Party (and their media apparatus) pulled the same crap with Ron Paul. Ralph Nader is another example.

Evens vs.Odds

Imagine learning that everything you thought you knew about football was a lie.

Here we are, all of us fans, watching the New England Patriots take on the Atlanta Falcons, and it’s only natural to assume the guys dressed in primarily white and blue are competing against the team wearing black and red. They line up against each other before the ball is snapped each play, the scoreboard says “Patriots vs. Falcons,” and they’re attacking opposite endzones – all pretty straightforward.

But what if you found out the public’s been played as sucker the whole time? What if the game that mattered, where the real money is made, is even-numbered jerseys versus odds? The wealthy guys who own the league and a small circle of oligarchic football fans know the truth, but otherwise, it’s a tightly kept secret.

These 1%ers bet handsomely on Evens vs. Odds amongst themselves and reward the athletes handsomely for maintaining the illusion. In fact, making the Blue Team versus Red Team competition appear legitimate is built into their invisible points system.

Maintaining the Illusion

Sure, they line up as teammates and run plays together, but there’s a deeper layer of complex strategy taking place just under the surface – for all the world to see, but never comprehend.

Why’d that pro-bowl QB drill an “opposing” defensive back right between the numbers?

Secretly same team.

How’d that edge rusher smoke his blocker but miss the sack?

He was purposely giving his real teammate and extra second to find a man.

If you’ve ever played fantasy, you’ll definitely know this one:
Why doesn’t the quarterback ever throw to my receiver; he’s open all the time?

Wrong number, friend.

There will be moments when an Odd Team passer is forced to throw to an Even WR or for a Blitzer to sack his own teammate. These things are necessary to maintain the ruse.

The skill is making those judgment calls without blowing the cover.

When can a linebacker whiff on a tackle, springing his fellow even-numbered running back for a long touchdown? How long should an Odd Team left-tackle hold his block for an Even Team backfield?

Through this lens, Sunday’s take on an entirely new complexion. Football as we know it doesn’t exist; it’s an exercise in deception every bit as much as it’s an athletic competition.

That’s US Politics

Although, for the analogy to be accurate, you’d need 15-18 of the 22 players on the field at any given time to be wearing even numbers – assuming the Even Team represents the political establishment.

So, what does this have to do with political betting? Well, if you’re going to wager on something, it’s always better to know what it is you’re watching.

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The Red versus Blue dichotomy is make-believe; when challenged, the establishment elite shares more of an allegiance with one another than any up-and-coming outsider supposedly representing their same “team.”

  • The Democratic Party always preferred the possibility of Joe Biden losing to Donald Trump over Bernie Sanders beating him.
  • The Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Elliott Engel over a local African American educator named Jamaal Bowman (Bowman miraculously unseated the 16-term Representative – the double-digit margin was too wide to rig).
  • And, of course, Chuck Schumer would steal a Democratic primary for a guaranteed November loser, before seeing his supposed “enemy,” Mitch McConnell – one of the most powerful Republicans in Congress – face an exciting populist challenger who might threaten the established order.

It’s not just that the game is rigged; most of us don’t even realize what we’re watching.

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