2022 Offseason Questions: Does NFL Have Bigger Betting Problem Than They Want To Know?

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.

This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.

Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.

These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.

Question: Does the NFL have a much bigger betting problem than they want to know about?

As you surely heard yesterday, the NFL has suspended standout Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley for at least the entirety of the 2022 season after he was found to have placed multiple parlay bets on his team to win games, while he was not a part of the team, to a total of what he claims to be $1,500.

While some have balked about this decision, the NFL’s rules are pretty clear about what is and is not allowed, and that goes not just for players, but for every other league employee as well, who have even harsher restrictions (they are not allowed to be on any sport, not just the NFL).

The thing is—who really thinks that Ridley is the only player in the NFL in 2021 who in some way, shape, or form, placed a bet on an NFL game that was in violation of the rules? Am I the only one who suspects that this is an onion nobody wants to start peeling?

Obviously, the integrity of the game is important, and allowing people who could potentially influence the outcome of games would be a clear breach of integrity. But people do things they’re not supposed to do all the time, even if they have to find creative ways to do it.

A hell of a lot more players in the NFL indulge in marijuana, and always have, than were flagged by the league, I can guarantee that. I’m sure a lot more players are placing third-party bets on games, as well—and I doubt the NFL wants to open that can of worms.

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