In the end, everything is brought before the light of day, when it’s all said and done. What happens, even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It’s been stained. - Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh
In an interview on Tuesday morning with 98 Rock this morning, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that he thought the New England Patriots‘ three championships won under Bill Belichick “got asterisks now” and have been “stained” by the 2007 Spygate scandal. When asked about the Saints’ bounty scandle, Harbaugh expressed his thoughts on the Patriots as well.
To me, it’s never worth it. You have to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you have to figure out ways to make the most of everything. We have new work rules here as far as what we can do and what we can’t do with our players, and we’re going to make the most of it. What we’re finding is, ‘Man, maybe we can do some things even better than we did before, because these rules make us focus more on some things that we didn’t focus on before. You just have to make them work for you. That’s what success is in the world. You have to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited. It’s not worth it.
Many were shocked by John Harbaugh’s comments and questioned his loyalty to Bill Belichick, who helped Harbaugh get the head coaching job in Baltimore.
Harbaugh clarified his comments in a statement released by the Ravens on Tuesday afternoon.
While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain. My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league’s actions.
I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill (Belichick) and Sean (Payton) both know that.
There has been some distortion about what I said.
The original tweet indicated I pointed the finger at Bill Belichick and mentioned Bill’s name. I did not. I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. I called him to remind him of my respect for him. I also reached out to Tedy Bruschi, who rightfully defended those Patriot players and coaches on ESPN, to tell him that I agree with him that the Patriots earned every victory.
In September of 2007, a cameraman affiliated with the Patriots was caught illegally videotaping the New York Jets‘ sideline during a game. This left a bad taste in many fans’ mouths and led to skepticism concerning their 16-0 season. The NFL severely punished the Patriots, fining Belichick $500,000, the Patriots fined $250,000, and removing their first-round draft pick.
While this definitely isn’t the last we’ll here of this controversy, the two teams will be able to settle the score this season as the Patriots face the Ravens in Baltimore during Week 3.