Conspiracy theories have probably existed since the beginning of man. The tinfoil hat brigade as of the last decade has many causes - supposed 911 "truthers" are one such example. Of course, the vast majority of these people are idiots.
I have always held one black helicopter theory - that a lot of times sports games are rigged in one way or another.
I think this started with me about 25 or so years ago. After watching a certain football game I said to myself - that just wasn't right. And from then on I have always tried to keep a darker eye on sports.
Tim Donaghy is the NBA referee that is now serving prison time for helping fix games he was refereeing, and for betting on those games. He is writing a book in prison. No publisher has picked it up yet, but an excerpt has leaked and the guys from Deadspin have it. Read this. Even if 20% (maybe even 10%) of it is true, my black helicopter theories about the NBA will have been proven true.
Sadly, the glass is always half empty when it comes to things like this to me. I think that every league, even in college, fixes games to increase revenue. Do you really want to see Boise State in the national championship game with their tiny fan base or do you want a team like Alabama playing if you are an NCAA official? Isn't it better for the Celtics or Bulls to be in the finals in the NBA rather than the Bucks if you are the head of the NBA?
On top of this, I think many games are fixed due to point shaving either by a player or ref on the take (see Donaghy above). Sometimes I watch football games and say to myself "that just didn't seem right". I am not saying that every game is fixed, but I think scores and perhaps results are manipulated more than is noticed by many. When you have watched countless hours of football like I have done over the years, you notice things that seem "off". It is sort of like eating your favorite food and then eating it again and noticing a slightly off taste. Another example is seeing a behavior change in your mate who you have lived with for 15 or 20 years. What's wrong, honey, you seem down today...
Sometimes it is blatant like the time I heard Brent Musberger make a comment on a field goal a few years ago. He said something like "that gets them under the number" or something similar. I still remember sitting in my living room chair with my jaw agape and asking my wife if I just heard that correctly. Yep, Brent must have had some dough on that one. While this is no big deal (although his contract probably forbids it), the sideline coverage could help out one team if played correctly. See what I mean about the black helicopters?
I am glad that Donaghy wrote that book as it will be absolutely devastating for the NBA - I will be the first one to buy it if and when it comes out. I would look for more of this sort of thing to come out in the future.