Anyone watching last weekend's Tampa Bay-Washington game saw a classic example of how NFL games are fixed. Really, most games can be controlled by the officials, and in this case, two crucial miscalls were all that was necessary to hand the Redskins a completely undeserved victory. Call one occurred when Clinton Portis clearly fumbled the ball and Tampa Bay recovered. However, even though replays showed that Portis's knee hadn't hit the ground before the ball came loose (which even the ovetly pro-Redskin broadcastingteam couldn't deny), the Redskins kept the ball because of an "inadvertent whistle." This inadvertent whistle nonsense is one of the ways in which officials control games. Just think about it; if the whistle was "inadvertent," and the play went on (which it always does in such cases, as apparently the players don't hear or at least don't respond to it), then that is by definition a mistake on the part of the referee. Yet this mistake isn't corrected by the vaunted Instant Replay system, and the fumble is disallowed. "Inadvertent whistles" almost always occur when the team that is supposed to win fumbles the ball in a crucial situation, and the other team recovers it. In this case, the Redskins went on to score a touchdown. So, right there you have 7 points for the Redskins that would not have been scored had a correct call been made by the officials. The second critical miscall was even more blatant. Chris Simms threw a beautiful, perfect bomb to Ledell Shepherd, who caught the ball for the game-tying TD. But the official ruled the pass incomplete. I wonder if those of you who watched the WR clearly hold the ball long enough for a completion were as amazed as I was to hear Joe Theismann and companyinstantly claiming thatthe ball was "coming out" and was an incompletion. Then, they come up with a never-before-heard-of rule about howsince the receiver was still "in the process of beingtackled,"the ball coming out resulted in an incompletion. Uh...okay. Funny howTheismann and company knew about this unknown rule,and thought the right call wasmade. Thiskind of made-up-on-the-spot rule is not one of the primary ways officials fix games, but it is used once in awhile. I guess thiswas the only way they could think of tonegate the touchdown. At any rate, you won't hear about this previously unheard of ruleagain for quitesome time, if ever.It reminds me of the previously unheard of rule against spiking the ball on the field of play, which was called against a Chicago Bear WR in their 1977 playoff game against theCowboys. It negated a big play, and I have only seen it called a few times inall the years since. What's funny about that isthe fact I've seen countless players before and since spike the ball in just the same manner on the field of play, without any penalty. The jock-sniffers in the media never seem to notice, but then again they are paid not to notice such things. Anyhow, it is clear that the Redskins are the "chosen" team right now. If they don't go on to the Super Bowl, I will be very surprised. I hope I'm wrong (which I could easily be- these "scripts" are not always that obvious), but I think the "magic" is back for St. Joe Gibbs. Regardless of which teams win and advance in the playoffs, I firmly believe the outcomes are preordained by the league. As I've said before, EVERYONE involved with pro football admits that holding can be called on EVERY play. Okay, if that's true, then why isn't it called on every play? Or, why is it called at all? If it's true, don't teams who lose a big play or a TD because of this penalty have a right to complain? Pass interference is almost as undefined as holding and is used just as arbitrarily to control the outcomes of games. The term "incidental contact" was invented (but never clearly or consistently defined) for the announcers to throw outto the unthinking masses in cases where a defender clearly hit the receiver before the ball got there, just like "irrefutable evidence" was a term coined to use, on an entirely inconsistent basis, to explain why certain obvious errors were not overturned by the officials. I know not everyone accepts this particular conspiracy theory of mine, and that it has little to do with the Caste System in general, but I'm still pretty ticked off about the Tampa Bay game, and wanted to rant.