A Super Bowl conspiracy theory has made headlines ahead of the biggest event on the North American sports calendar – and it’s impacted at least one of the biggest sports betting sites.
A TikTok user shared a post about the Super Bowl 57 final score “leaking” late last week – and after a screenshot hit Twitter, it didn’t take long for it to go viral:
The supposed lead raised eyebrows – not only because of the conspiratorial nature of anticipating the outcome of the Big Game, but also because of the fact that the tweet was viewed about 12 million times in just a few days.
The questions it raises are whether or not such baseless predictions hurt the overall credibility of the NFL and whether they affect betting behavior at sportsbooks around the world.
The answer to the second question appears to be yes.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, bets on a 37-34 win for the Chiefs have skyrocketed, trailing only bets on each team’s money line and spread selection in terms of staking. It’s no coincidence that prior to this surge, TikTok and Twitter had the “leaked” score on their platforms.
Origin of the “Fixed Super Bowl” rumors
You don’t have to look far to find examples where the conspiracy theory of fixed Super Bowl results has been gaining momentum.
In a 2022 interview, former NFL safety Dwight Smith — a Super Bowl winner with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2003 — said that the winners of some high-profile games are predetermined and that he believes “games aren’t decided Field.”
More recently, former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster joked about the outcome of certain NFL games being scripted and ultimately fixed. Foster admitted he was joking, but his spirits took hold – fueling the notion that the NFL championship was in place.
Allegations of match-fixing surfaced after the AFC Championship game between the Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals just over a week ago. Controversial calls in this game led some to believe that the game was actually “fixed”.
implications of the rumours
The beauty of sport is not knowing the outcome of a game until the end.
This applies to the spectator public and those who can now legally bet on an event like the Super Bowl. The integrity of the games is absolutely paramount. Otherwise leagues like the NFL would become WWE.
In that case, sports and sports betting as we know them would no longer exist. Other industries could be shut down, such as the exploding legal sports betting business that has taken North America by storm. It alone was the source of a ton of tax revenue for the participating states.
Foster was clearly joking and toying with the lunatic idea that the NFL was being manipulated during an episode of his podcast, Macrodosing: Arian Foster and PFT Commenter — but the damage appears to have already been done.
Regardless of the rationale for “leaking” the final Super Bowl result or playing with the notion that the fix is in the big game, “faking” has the potential to derail the sport as we know it.
Conspiracies are on the rise, touching virtually every aspect of our society. Make no mistake: The outcome of Super Bowl 57 has yet to be decided — and it will be decided on field Sunday, not in the basement of a fan with conspiratorial beliefs.
How the NFL and the sports betting business will deal with the increasing threat of “fake” remains to be seen. But the “leaked Super Bowl final score” is the latest reminder that league executives and sports fans need to be vigilant in acknowledging useless stories like this.