February 14, 2008
might not be the right word, but it's something that Specter got Roger Goodell
to admit, and then Specter relayed the information to the public, since Goodell
clearly had no intention of doing so.
Specter said that notes existed indicating the the Patriots illegally videotaped both games they played against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 04/05 season.
Why is that significant?
Because the first time the two teams played, the Steelers destroyed the Pats, and the second time they played, things were very, very different. I remember the first game very clearly, and that game wasn't anywhere near as close as the 34-20 final score would indicate.
The Patriots, heading into that contest, hadn't lost a game in 399 days, and were riding a 21-game winning streak. And they were positively handled by the Steelers. The Pats ran for 5 total yards, and allowed Pittsburgh to run for 221. It was a vicious and merciless beating. That game, plus the Steelers trouncing of the undefeated Eagles the next week, prompted Peter King to rank that Steelers team alongside the '85 Bears, '89 49ers, '90 Bills, and the early 90's Cowboys.
They were that good.
Fast forward to the AFC Championship game, where Pittsburgh had a record of 16-1, the only loss being an obvious fluke in Week 1 against the Raiders, who went on to finish 5-11.
The Pats won the rematch by two touchdowns.
Is it fishy? Yeah, it's pretty easy to conclude that things are fishy. A lot of people will look at these results and see that the Patriots gained an obvious unfair advantage.
However, I'd point this out, too: Before any of this Spygate stuff broke, no one looked at those two games and suspected cheating. Everyone saw that two teams played, and the results were just different. If the cheating was so obvious, why didn't anyone bring it up before now?
It's not at all uncommon for teams to play twice in a season, and split the games, sometimes by vastly different margins. That happens.
Given what we know about the Patriots, however (and we're learning more all the time), it's certainly perfectly legitimate to wonder if the Patriots win in the 2004 AFC Championship game was tainted. And if that win was tainted, the same is true of any win that followed it.
• Senator Specter Says the Patriots Taped the Steelers Twice During 2004 Season / NFL FanHouse
• Downright dominant: Steelers rank up there with great teams of the last 20 years / SI.com
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