This play and the pass interference call it led to caused Cleveland fans to lash out on social media.

Every Sunday night I shake my head as I scroll through my Facebook news feed.

It has become the place for disgruntled football fans to unload on coaches, referees, players and the NFL as a whole while yapping about their fantasy football teams.

I’ve been guilty of the same when it comes to my terrible fantasy teams, but this past week it seemed to reach a new level of disgust.

It mostly stemmed from the Cleveland-New England game as my friends from my home state of Ohio went off because of the way the Browns lost in the final seconds to New England.

After watching the replay later I understood their disgust as the pass interference that was called in the end zone was difficult to understand as there didn't seem to be a foul. The call gave the Pats the ball on the 1-yard-line in the final 45 seconds and led to the go-ahead score on the next play.

It was just the latest sign that spot foul on the pass interference play in the NFL is just too much.

What I couldn’t understand, and never will, was the view at least five of my friends took.

They believed the NFL wanted the Patriots and their GQ quarterback Tom Brady to win.

And the referees went to work.

They argued that it was better for the NFL to have the “amazing” Brady pull out another win in the final seconds than have the lowly Browns get a signature win under a first year coach.

So the NFL and/or Vegas made sure it happened.

I just can’t go that far.

Did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell call the refs at halftime and give a mandate to make it happen? Or was this something was discussed on a conference call mid-week? Better yet, maybe the guy on the grassy knoll got a hold of the referee crew with some secret signal?

It’s a little easier to accept it was just human error and bad judgment call.

Don’t get me wrong I believe stars get the benefit of calls – Greg Maddux strike zone, Michael Jordan getting an extra step – and Brady is certainly one of the brightest in the NFL, but that’s different than being handed a game intentionally.

Maybe Vegas has that kind of reach, 10 percent of me could possibly believe one of the refs is on the take, but there is no chance the NFL would that that type of risk.

It’s the most successful professional leagues in the world. One win by New England isn’t going to make a difference, but some of the Browns fans kept the belief up throughout Sunday night.

Maybe it was fandom at its best (or worst) or just the frustration that comes with having just two winning seasons since the franchise returned in 1999.

Either way, more vitriol is sure to be spewed again this Sunday in the aftermath of another week of NFL craziness.

Contact writer: (480) 898-7915 or JSkoda@ahwatukee.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSkodaAFN.


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