Ex-NFL Commissioner Skeptical of Betting in Football

In 2018, since the US Supreme Court legalized sports betting, there has been a great deal of discussion and debate about the possible negative impact of wagering on the morals and ethics of sportsmanship.


Paul Tagliabue, a former NFL Commissioner, is very wary about the effects of the newly introduced sports betting system on the NFL.


Tagliabue’s main concern is match-fixing. In a public interview, he drew upon his own experience of playing in a fixed college football match between Georgetown and NYU in 1961. Georgetown had won the match. But Tagliabue revealed that he was left feeling extremely disappointed when he learned that some NYU players had deliberately lost the match because they had taken money from sports betters for points shaving.


Tagliabue also clarified that match-fixing and other illegal betting practices are difficult to use in the case of football. Paying off most players cannot significantly change the trajectory or outcome of a football game. The only way to truly affect the end result of a game is to convince the quarterback of a team to throw the game in lieu of payment.


Match-fixing in basketball is much easier, as the outcome can be changed by paying off almost any player on the team. Basketball has experienced gambling-related scandals already.


But supporters of sports betting in the NFL point out that football has not experienced such scandals yet. Also, once a legalized structure for sports betting is introduced all across the country, a strong and effective monitoring system will also be put into place to ensure that there are no unscrupulous practices.


Paul Tagliabue has, however, made it very clear that if he was still the acting NFL Commissioner, he would never have approved the introduction of sports wagering. He has also said that he would not have allowed a team in Las Vegas. At present, the Raiders are an NFL team for Las Vegas. 


Ex-NFL Commissioner Tagliabue and even some present officials may have some reservations about it, but it is clear from the Supreme Court’s decision that sports gambling is here to say, and the faster leagues adapt to it, the better they can develop their supervising bodies to detect irregularities. 

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