After the Dallas Cowboys were eliminated from playoff contention, if you are anything like me, your interest in the upcoming Super Bowl game steeply diminished. Still, the event is often celebrated and watched by anyone who is simply a fan of the game.
But with longstanding allegations of cheating, unsportsmanlike behavior and general rule breaking levied against both of the teams participating this season, will you be watching the ultimate Football event at all this year?
“Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out” – Tom Brady on the Ravens
The Super Bowl is often an excuse to gather with friends and family to celebrate a sport fans love. And that fact is, the Cowboys haven’t participated in one since 1995.
So there is a chance you’ve watched one or two, with a less than passionate interest in seeing or caring about the outcome. And for those who don’t know or dislike the game, there’s always those darn commercials.
But the fact both of these teams have been drowning in allegations of dishonesty may make this game unwatchable for some.
The New England Patriots used to be the joke of the NFL. Now, the Pats are known for two things. Winning and Spygate. The Patriots will make their sixth Super Bowl appearance since 2002 next weekend. But the journey wasn’t without allegations of cheating, testing of competitive fairness and shady tactics used by the Pats.
During a playoff game between New England and the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium back in 2005, the headsets used to communicate between then head coach Jack Del Rio and his quarterback mysteriously malfunctioned.
In 2007, New England was disciplined for videotaping signals from coaches on the New York Jets staff during a practice. The Pats were fined $250,000 and lost their first round pick in 2008. Head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 for his part in the incident.
This season, New England landed in hot water again as the Baltimore Ravens claimed the Pats used an illegal alignment using four-offensive lineman and running back Shane Vereen in the divisional round of the playoffs. The running back was announced as an ineligible receiver, but could still run backwards and catch laterals.
The alignment confused the Ravens and help the Patriots’ get back into the game down 14. New England would ultimately win the game and move on in the playoffs. Ultimately, the league found nothing illegal about the alignment. But many called it unsportsmanlike. Pat’s quarterback Tom Brady simply didn’t care.
"“Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” Brady told Fox Sports after the game. “We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. It was a real good weapon for us. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week.”"
In fact, the next week in a blowout victory over the Indianapolis Colts, it wasn’t the creative alignments that set the league on fire. It was deflated footballs.
According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, the NFL has found that 11 of the 12 game balls used by the Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game were inflated significantly below the league’s requirements. By deflating the balls, it is deemed the Patriots’ had a better grip on the football for the first half of the contest.
It is unknown what the penalty, if any, will be levied against New England for what is now being called Deflatgate. These latest allegations do not bode well for the legacy of the Patriots and their head coach moving forward. But will their actions, or perceived actions, influence the audience for the NFL’s biggest game of the year?
On the opposite of the ball, the Seattle Seahawks have not escaped controversy either. Since Pete Carroll became the Seahawks’ head coach back in 2010, Seattle has lead the NFL in suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs.
Carroll face similar rumors as the head coach of USC. His exodus from the university just before the school was hit with sanctions for numerous alleged violations had many wondering just how much Carroll was involved with the situation.
Still, this is the Super Bowl we are talking about. The single biggest celebration of any sport outside of the Olympics. Even amidst these allegations, there is still fun to be had watching the game and enjoying shared time with friends and family.
With that in mind, please answer the poll question below. And feel free to explain your vote in our comment section below.
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