After Roger Goodell conferred with the top Vegas bookies & ESPN fantasy leagues for three difficult days, it was decided by the owners of football to be in their best interest to cancel the Bills-Bengals game. According to NFL records & the Black Hand, it never happened.
The NFL had cancel this game, but they REALLY didn’t want to. League officials & executives needed to confer behind-the-scenes with bookmakers & the biggest fantasy leagues for council on what to do, which is why it took three long days for the NFL to make it’s final decision, when it really had no choice from the start.
The fantasy leagues are a particularly sticky situation, because those are hardcore football fans who invested 4+ months in drafting, building & cheering their teams. The Bills-Bengals game was to be the final MNF contest of the season, and it’s the Super Bowl in most fantasy leagues. If this event had happened during a typical Sunday afternoon game, it wouldn’t have been as harmful to NFL interests. But it happened on Monday night, when the entire sports world is tuned-in, and not just any Monday night, but the biggest MNF game of the season.
Instead of being a nationwide football festival, the plug was pulled & the excitement killed. Most sports fans understand the situation and don’t blame the players, or cry foul, but there are interests that want to make sure this NEVER happens again. Docking wages for leaving the field would probably be bad optics for the NFL, so look for the owners to get together after the post-season and establish a “protocol” to prevent players from mutually leaving the field before a game is finished. Owners consider what happened as an unauthorized work stoppage, and that is strictly prohibited by the powers-that-be. This could become a CBA grievance if the owners take too much of a hard-line stance.
So how did Roger Goodell arrive at his judgement, three days after an on-field medical event stopped the Bills-Bengals MNF game, with the players refusing to resume the contest? First, the NFL Commissioner had to take heavy flak from all the East coast dweebs screaming in his ear about sponsors, ratings, fantasy leagues, etc– imagine a scene from Network (1976) and apply it here. After absorbing all this abuse, Goodell then had to fly to Las Vegas and stay at the Flamingo to take a meeting with Ace Rothstein & Nicky Santoro. After that, he had to hustle over to the Tropicana to see Moe Greene, and you know what that means— Don Barzini. Roger Goodell had to earn his paycheck this week.
Nicky Santoro: Hey commish, what happened?! I got all these betting slips and I don’t know what to do with them. I’m thinkin’ I’ll keep all the money. What do you think, Sam?
Ace Rothstein: You’re the muscle end Nicky, I just tell you the point spread.
Nicky Santoro: So commish, a player feints on the field, he’s taken-off, and the game just ENDS?!! Since when do we do THAT?!! Are we gonna put pink dresses on them next? [Lots of expletives…] I’m feeling like a chump for holding all these markers. The game was two nights ago!! [Lots of expletives…] I’m just trying to run a respectable bookmaking business here, I gotta pay the winners & collect from the losers to get my vig, you understand? How can I pay when there’s no game?!! [More expletives…] Since I’ve been holding this money for so long, I’d almost feel like a chump to return it. I’m thinking I’ll keep the money. What do you think, Sam?