NFL fans complaining about Bills-Bengals being rigged for Buffalo despite Cincinnati blowout

Adam Weinrib
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Cincinnati Bengals v Buffalo Bills / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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The extremely fun thing about the NFL is that literally any game can turn into an #NFLRigged trending topic, no matter the outcome. Cincinnati Bengals fans learned that the hard way again on Sunday, as Bills fans (and sympathizers across the league) decided that the Divisional Round battle between Buffalo and Cincy was totally RIGGED ... for the team that was down by two scored the entire time.

In fact, the rigged nonsense began before the game even started, when NFL analyst Warren Sharp stroked his prominent mustache while complaining about referee Carl Cheffers being assigned to the matchup.

Sharp brought the smoking gun to his Twitter commentary. After all, the Bills are 8-1 in recent seasons during Cheffers-reffed games.

Only problem? The Bills have been, uh, really good for quite a while, and that winning percentage is only slightly aberrant when compared to their overall win percentage.

Bills, Bengals game wasn't rigged for Buffalo. And, if it was, Cincinnati clobbered them anyway.

Sharp's main thesis was based on the forthcoming "Neutral Site AFC Championship Game," which would result from both the Bills and Chiefs winning this weekend.

It's all about ticket sales, right? It's all about setting precedent for future neutral site title games, too! Never mind the fact that the Super Bowl is already played at a neutral site.

Clearly, this was all part of the NFL's grand plan to slowly migrate their neutrality throughout the postseason all the way back to Wild Card Weekend.

Sadly, the league's conspiracy theorists, from Cincinnati to Kansas City to Philadelphia, got more evidence in their coffer when a Ja'Marr Chase touchdown was overturned that could've extended the Bengals' lead even further.

Rigged! RIGGED! Or, maybe, the NFL's catch rule is just a confusing paradox and always has been?

This was clearly a confusing, mid-blizzard debacle, but there's ample opportunity for any fan, at any time, to declare a game "rigged" based on their prior assumptions about what might go down. The heart of the NFL fandom experience is "feeling disrespected," which manifested itself in three cities midway through Sunday's game (which, it must be said, the Bengals ran away with anyway).

This game might've been closer than it should've been for a few minutes because of a foolishly-overturned touchdown, but if you're looking for an example of rigging -- and, clearly, everyone is -- this example didn't go far enough.

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