Thousands call for wild-card game investigation

Posted at 9:20 AM, Jan 11, 2016

CINCINNATI -- An online petition calling for an investigation of Saturday's Bengals-Steelers wild-card game has collected more than 38,000 signatures - more than four times its goal. 

The petition -- housed here on -- was created by Jamaal Spivey and has "The NFL" listed as its target.

"I know I just sound like a bitter fan and admittedly I am," the petition description reads. "But any real football fan has to admit there was a lot of shadiness surrounding this game.

"This is beyond being upset with a loss. The 'no call' on the Bernard hit, the supposed 'helmet' hit from Burfict, and the 'unsportmanlike conduct' call involving a Pittsburgh coach who shouldn't have been on the field appear to be a blatant manipulation of the game," the description continues. "Also consider that the Steelers were favored to win this game coming in, and that for some reason this game was officiated by the same team from the previous game which was also poorly manned."

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Viewer Erin Albers emailed the petition link to the WCPO news desk along with photos of the Steelers locker room post-game celebration.

"Does Antonio Brown look like he has a concussion?" Albers said in her email.

The last line of the petition page hints at some kind of larger conspiracy, saying "there is definitely something suspicious going on behind the scenes."

Jennifer Bowman shared the petition link with WCPO on Facebook and said "Cincinnati is taking a stand and will be heard."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is allowed to overturn game victories if evidence points to "Extraordinarily Unfair Acts," but he didn't exercise this right during far more controversial situations, such as last year's "Deflategate" scandal with New England. (ESPN's Kevin Seifert has a nice little synopsis of the rule here.)

If you recall, Tom Brady was suspended following the "Deflategate" investigation, but the outcome of the 2014-15 game in question went untouched.

The Cincinnati petition only calls for an investigation, which is a fairly common occurrence between the various issues with players, personnelteams, safety and rules.