As a fan with bitter memories of the '02 Super Bowl loss to the Patriots, I want to be bitter. I want to spew venom. But, I just can't get all that upset about it. If you'll recall, that season saw the 911 attacks, and, for awhile anyway, those events moved the frame, giving us a little perspective on things, and by February, I was just happy to be watching a football game. I'm not exactly a Quaker (I do enjoy oatmeal), but I just don't have the stomach for blood-thirsty revenge anymore.
However, just because I'm not pounding my fist on the desk demanding my poound of flesh doesn't mean there shouldn't be consequences. And the report today that there is no tape of the Rams practicing before the Super Bowl ...ha! I don't believe it. A three point game that decided the championship...what tape would you destroy first? You didn't have to be a Plumber to learn a few things from Watergate. The Patriots had a good defense that season - 13th best DVOA and 10th best pass defense . But you can't go back and look at the box score and not think that maybe, just maybe, the Pats defense had a little help knowing the Rams signals and reading the plays. They held the Rams to a field goal until the 4th quarter, and picked up their first TD on Ty Law INT. They taped the Steelers ahead of the AFC Championship; why stop there?
But, if the evidence isn't there, there's nothing that can be done...for the Super Bowl at least. The tapes that they did get from Walsh give the league plenty of evidence to merit out some kind of punishment. They can't really give back the trophy (though it would actually be kind of funny to replay the SB with the same roster of now aged and retired players), but losing another draft pick...or even being disqaulified from the playoffs would hardly represent cruel and unusal punishment.
That's not a vengeful proposal; just fairness.
Don't get your hopes up though. According to Hashmarks, the league's desire to move on from this PR nightmare outweighs their motivation for repremand.
Will the new information lead to further sanctions against Bill Belichick or his team? I highly doubt it. In fact, the NFL began discounting the tapes before they even had a peek at them.
"This is consistent with what the Patriots had admitted they had been doing, consistent with what we already knew," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Of course, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) is waiting on the Hill, gavel in hand, to do more investigation. Unfortunately, after seeing what happened with the ridiculous Congressional hearings on steroids, it's probably a little much. Besides, doesn't Congress have anything better to do? Oh wait, election year...Pennsylvania...tapes of the Steelers...