So, is anybody surprised that the Patriots have been caught cheating again in the wake of the release of the NFL report on “Deflategate”?
Sure, there is just enough wiggle room in the “more than probable” language to allow Patriots Owner Bob Kraft & Tom Brady’s agent to embarrass themselves with absurd statements regarding the findings. Enough wiggle room for “They hate us ’cause they ain’t us” Pats fans to keep ignoring the reality as well if you frequent Facebook threads about the subject.
But the rest of the world isn’t buying it. They cheated. We knew it, and now we know it.
In Roger Goodell’s NFL a cheater held aloft the Lombardi while confetti fell on him & the Superbowl ended with a brawl. Well done NFL.
But, none of this is new to the Patriots, read below for 5 other times they cheated or just skirted the rules enough to not be punished…
5: Illegal Use of the Injured Reserve List
In 1986 the Patriots lost a 3rd Round pick as punishment for illegal use of the injured reserve list.
As things go this was fairly minor, or at least the Patriots organization thinks so, because they have been consistently accused of manipulating the IR by players. Including practicing while on the IR in 2001 and former Patriots saying the IR was used as punishment in 2014.
4. Snowplow Game
In 1982 The Dolphins & Patriots played in a blizzard in New England. With about 4 minutes left in the 0-0 game the Schaefer stadium snowplow operator drove onto the field & cleared a spot for the Patriots to attempt a field goal that was good & won the game. The Patriots gave the snow plow driver a game ball.
While not covered in the rules at the time (who would think ahead to the Patriots deceptive practices?) Dolphins coach Don Shula expected the league to step in & rescind the game as a scoreless tie. The League didn’t so that, but the NFL did ban the use of snow plows in games the following year.
In a 2007 Shula recalled protesting the “unfair” act. Then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle said he agreed wholeheartedly, but without a rule explicitly addressing the snow plow, there was nothing he could do.
3. Illegal Formation
Another instance of the Patriots “legal cheating” was in the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoff game VS. the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots used an obviously deceptive formation to throw off the Ravens defense & rebound from a 14 point deficit to win the game & go on to win(*) the Super Bowl.
Again, while not specifically illegal at the time it was competitively deceptive & the NFL has since changed the rules (again) for a Patriots team skirting what’s legal.
Worth noting is that this was the game before “deflategate” broke & while much of has been made of the blowout versus the Colts, this game where many believe the balls were deflated as well was a 4 point win where the Patriots threw the (soft) ball over 50 times.
2. Filming Rams Super Bowl Walk-through
Although just a claim by Rams’ running back Marshall Faulk, it gained weight with the “spygate”. Faulk said “I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl” about the Rams 20-17 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI
He went on to say; “We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn’t ran. . . . And a couple of plays on third down that we walked through also . . . And they created a check for it. It’s just little things like that. It’s either the best coaching in the world when you come up with situations that you had never seen before. Or you’d seen it and knew what to do.”
Kurt Warner is also suspicious of the loss saying “Yeah, there’s a sliver of a doubt. … Was there any advantage they gained in any game? “Not just our Super Bowl game, but maybe a game before that to get to the Super Bowl. All those things enter your mind. It’s not because I’m bitter. It’s not because I say they cheated, because I have no idea.”
What gives weight to Marshall Faulk’s claims? Spygate does. In 2007 the Patriots were actually caught filming signals from Jet’s coaches & disciplined by the league.
Patriot’s couch Bill Belichick owned up to the filming, apologized & saying he had a “different interpretation” of the rule.
Belichick was fined $500,000, the team was fined $250,000 & lost their 2008 first round draft pick.
Teams cheat, we know it. “Bountygate”, PEDs, etc. No NFL fan can take the absolute moral high-ground on his/her favorite teams history. But rarely have we seen a team with as much success in the last 15 years do it so often.
Tom Brady & Bill Belichick are two of the greatest modern personalities in NFL history, but their propensity for skirting & breaking the rules consistently will mar their records forever.
Asterisks used to be for footnotes, now they are for athletes, franchises and Super Bowl wins.
Web Administrator for CBS Radio Baltimore – Ravens, Orioles & snark enthusiast.