The Patriots entered Super Bowl XXXVI as 14-point underdogs to the "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams. When it was over, New England pulled off the upset and had its first Lombardi Trophy. Pats fans would tell you that coach Bill Belichick, second-year quarterback Tom Brady and kicker Adam Vinatieri deserved most of the credit. But 11 years later, Hall of Famer and former Rams running back Marshall Faulk has another explanation for the outcome.
"Am I over the loss? Yeah, I'm over the loss," Faulk told CSNNE.com's Tom Curran on Tuesday. "But I'll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl. That's a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl; that's fine … But how things happened and what took place. Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them. But if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don't burn 'em."
Faulk is referring to the Patriots having tape of opposing coaches sending in defensive signals. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell never found evidence that New England had taped a Rams walkthrough in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, and he eventually destroyed the tapes that he had confiscated as part of the investigation.
"The reason I destroyed the tapes is they were totally consistent with what the team told me," Goodell said in 2008. "It was the appropriate thing to do, and I think it sent a message. The actual effectiveness of taping and taking of signals from opponents -- it is something done widely in many sports. I think it probably had limited if any effect on the outcome of games.
"That doesn't change my perspective on violating rules and the need to be punished."
Not surprisingly, Faulk -- along with plenty of Rams fans -- is skeptical that the Patriots were blameless.
"I understand Bill [Belichick] is a great coach," Faulk told Curran. "But No. 13 [Kurt Warner] will tell you ... Mike Martz will tell you ... We had some plays in the red zone that we hadn't ran. I think we got to fourth down -- we ran three plays that we hadn't ran, that Mike drew up for that game. Bill's a helluva coach … we hadn't ran them the whole year [and the Patriots were ready for them]." And the only time that Rams practiced those plays? At the walkthrough.
Faulk, who is from New Orleans, then asked the question that many Saints fans have asked during the Saints' bounty scandal.
"… But am I bitter about how that went? Am I bitter about how the league handled them taping people? If Bountygate was that bad and [Saints coach] Sean [Payton] got suspended for a whole year? If we want to talk about some unfair assessment of how we're assessing things? Man. If you lost a game and your brother cheated you," Faulk continued, "you'll remember that."
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