By: Cullen McIntyre, Sports Editor
The New England Patriots face the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53, in their ninth Super Bowl appearance since 2000. The Patriots are known for being the best sports dynasty in this era, but many don’t see it that way as the team has been accused of scandal and cheating many times.
It all began in 2007, with what is known as “Spygate.” The Patriots were caught videotaping their 38-14 regular season victory against the New York Jets from the wrong location. The team filmed from an unapproved sideline location instead of from an approved indoor location. As a result, Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the team as a whole were fined $250,000 and docked their 2008 first-round pick.
The next well-known offense was “Deflategate.” The facts of “Deflategate” are truly unknown and nothing was ever proven. But, it is stated that Tom Brady may have had knowledge of the footballs used during the Patriots AFC Championship Game vs the Indianapolis Colts being deflated. The National Football League suspended Brady four games for the beginning of the 2016-17 NFL season and the Patriots lost their 2016 first round and 2017 fourth round picks.
Though the Patriots have been accused of cheating many times, the team’s success is still unrivaled. The Patriots have more Super Bowl appearances than any other team in the NFL, and Brady has an unparalleled career.
When speaking to USM students, they shared similar thoughts.
One student stated “The Patriots may have cheated, they may have not, it wouldn’t have changed anything. Tom Brady is the best, so is Bill Belichick. Cheating or no cheating, it wouldn’t have stopped the Patriots from winning what they have won.”
Another student strongly spoke about how he believes the Patriots have never cheated, and the blame for the Patriots is because they’re the best,
“No! Not at all. Because they are good doesn’t mean they are cheating” he said, “so the NFC Championship game when the Saints wide receiver got hit, if it was a Patriot that hit him like that they would have made the call against the Patriots. They hate us because they ain’t us.”
The idea that the Patriots are cheaters is one that is widely rejected by New England fans, as many have blamed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for the idea even coming to light.
“Goodell is the only cheater. Every time the Patriots win it’s something new from Goodell to make the Patriots look bad again,” one student said. “They never can accept that we are the best and nobody is as good as the Patriots.”
The Patriots success is undeniable, but as they have been accused of more scandals and rule issues each time they win a Super Bowl, it has scarred their reputation. But students still supported them through and through, no matter what they did.
“I honestly don’t know or care if they did,” one student said. “I’m still a Patriots fan no matter what. I support my local team and they just happen to be the best, if they cheat they are good enough that it shouldn’t affect the outcome.”
Students at USM are in consensus about one thing, the Patriots are the best. Many of the undergraduate students currently at the university were born into the Brady and Belichick era, arguably the greatest sports era of all time. The students that have grown up as Patriots fans have witnessed the dominance over their entire lives, and will continue to support the New England football team no matter the accusation.