For those of you who follow football one day a year, the Patriots are going for their fourth Super Bowl victory today. But the previous three Super Bowl wins may be tainted by a cheating scandal. When the Pats won them, they utilized an illegal program that stole videotaped sideline signals and just before the snap, informed their defense of the play the opposing offense would run. It flagrantly violated NFL rules, and they were assessed monetary fines and docked draft picks. But no asterisks were affixed next to their three Super Bowl wins. Today, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette has the “Elephant in the stadium: Spygate’s cloud of innuendo still dogs Patriots”:
The stigma of possibly winning those first three under a cloud of cheating remains. Belichick declined to answer questions about it here, but others have no problem doing so.
“They definitely cheated,” said Hines Ward, who will be part of NBC’s five-hour pregame show today.
Ward’s opinions, like those of most Steelers involved in the 2001 and 2004 AFC championship games, are much stronger because they are convinced the Patriots won both of those games in Heinz Field because they cheated.
They are not the lone voices on the matter, though.
Amani Toomer, a longtime Giants receiver now retired, helped beat the Patriots four years ago in this game. He said this week he would place an asterisk next to the Patriots’ three Super Bowl victories.
For once a year football fans, perhaps this gives you a reason to root for a team tonight.