Written by Kaelyn Spickler
As we all know, the Patriots have dominated in the AFC over the last several seasons, and this year was no different. With players like Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Stephen Gostkowski, it’s easy to see how the team has succeeded in recent years. Over the last two seasons, specifically, I have noticed something a little suspicious going on in the NFL.
It all started last season during the AFC Championship game where the Patriots (15-3) faced the Jacksonville Jaguars (12-7). The Pats were down 10-14 at the half, and the gap only increased by the end of the third quarter. Right off the start of the fourth quarter, the Jaguars scored a field goal making the score 20-10. The Pats could not seem to get a score up until a little under nine minutes left of the game which decreased the score gap to three points. With only a few minutes left, the Pats scored to make it 20-24 leading them to the Super Bowl (because a 12-7 team certainly does not belong in the Super Bowl, and I believe the refs knew that).
This past Sunday, the Patriots faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, and here again, I noticed a couple of questionable calls that could have been game changers. The first call happened with just under nine minutes left in the game with the Patriots barely holding their 17-14 lead. The Pats seemed to have turned the ball over, but after “careful review” the referees reversed the call. The Chiefs took that as a motivation boost, however, and scored off an interception, something neither the referees or the Pats saw coming. At this point, the Chiefs are now ahead, and with under two minutes left another call is overruled in the Patriots favor leading them to score with just 40 seconds left. The Pats have their three point lead seemingly locked in, and the time is ticking for the Chiefs, but again the Chiefs surprise everyone by scoring a field goal thus tying the game. We all know how the overtime rules are, and the Pats win the coin toss and score within the first several minutes to make the team Super Bowl bound in another controversial AFC Championship.
You might be wondering, “Why would the refs be getting bribed to help the Pats?” Well we all remember the infamous game during the 2014-2015 AFC Championship game where Tom Brady and the team deflated the balls to ensure their win and Super Bowl status. Now they need to redeem their pristine reputation, with the referees help.
We will see what the Super Bowl has in store, but I think the real fishiness occurs during the AFC Championship games leading to the Super Bowl. Stay tuned!