2024 wild card schedule gives ‘NFL is scripted’ fans quiver of ammunition

The NFL season isn’t scripted. Right?

Over the last several years, cries have gotten louder that the most popular form of American entertainment, the last bastion of dependable big-money ad revenue for broadcast and cable networks, have gone beyond fair-fought sports competition. The contention is that the league’s referees no longer make calls that tend to keep games competitive, but that the league wants certain teams to advance and that those back-breaking flags, or lack thereof, are done in a manner to rig the outcomes.

This isn’t the truth, of course, but the Week 18 game results that finalized the playoff brackets coincidentally provided some immaculate storylines. The truth is that the league has a ton of great storylines and thanks to free agency, one could throw a penny out of an airplane and it’d land on an intriguing matchup.

Still, it’s pretty fun to travel down the rabbit hole with a tinfoil hat on.

No. 1 seeds - BYE

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

All season long, the theoretical smoking gun has centered around the Super Bowl logo “controversy”. An enhanced logo for Super Bowl LVI where the colors were sharpened to better match the orange of the Cincinnati Bengals and the gold of the Los Angeles Rams claimed that the 2021 final combatants were predetermined.

That was matched with the Super Bowl LVII logo where the Philadelphia Eagles’ green and the red of the Kansas City Chiefs were paired. So when the Super Bowl LVIII logo had the purple of the Baltimore Ravens and the red of the San Francisco 49ers embedded… oh boy.

Guess who ended up with the No. 1 seeds this year.

The NFL didn’t do any favors when midseason, an alternate image of the logo emerged. Conspiracy theorists claimed it was to throw off the scent.

Super Bowl XLVI was the first since Super Bowl XLIV to not use a majority silver color scheme, so if the Matrix was enhanced, three years ago was the starting point. Sports betting became legal in 2019, with most states taking a couple years to enact legislation and setup books.

The league’s agreement with FanDuel, DraftKings and other major books happened in Spring 2021…

AFC No. 5 Cleveland Browns at No. 4 Houston Texans: The Deshaun Watson game

AFC No. 6 seed Miami Dolphins at No. 3 Kansas City Chiefs: The Tyreek Hill game

AFC No. 7 Pittsburgh Steelers at No. 2 Buffalo Bills

NFC No. 7 Green Bay Packers at No. 2 Dallas Cowboys: The Mike McCarthy game

NFC No. 6 Los Angeles Rams vs No. 2 Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford returns home

NFC No. 5 Philadelphia Eagles at No. 4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire