Why'd it have to be the Pats?
That's what we think St. Louis' beloved Kurt Warner, quarterback and MVP during the Rams' 1999 Super Bowl win, must have been thinking as he marched the Vince Lombardi trophy to last night's Super Bowl winners, the New England Patriots, at the pace of a flower girl walking down the aisle.
Before the Patriots challenged the Seattle Seahawks on the gridiron, Warner was back in the news to say he still has doubts that the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI fair and square. The NFL busted the Patriots for illegally videotaping the New York Jets in 2007, and an anonymous report months later accused New England of filming the Rams' walkthrough practice before St. Louis' second Super Bowl in three seasons.
Kurt Warner carrying the only fully inflated ball the Patriots have touched in the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/IdxVlcHX3J— Anthony De Rosa (@AntDeRosa) February 2, 2015
The Patriots denied the claim, but Ballghazi (a.k.a. "Deflategate") put the Patriots back in the spotlight as potential cheaters ahead of their fourth Super Bowl win.
"I don't want to believe that there was anything outside of [Patriots coach Bill Belichick's] team beat our [1999 Rams] team," Warner told Seattle's Sports Radio 950 KJR Tuesday. "That's what I want to believe. Yeah, there's a sliver of a doubt because I think, as a human, you can't help it. To know that if you were a part of that process at that time, was there any advantage they gained in any game, not just our Super Bowl game, but maybe a game before that to get to the Super Bowl? I mean, all those things enter your mind."
A 48-yard field goal made the difference in Super Bowl XXXVI, which the Patriots won 20-17 over the Rams. Warner says he still wonders whether the Patriots cheated by spying on their plays before the big game.
"It's unfair to me and my legacy because I don't want to have to wonder, 'Well did they beat me fair and square, or was there something extra?'" Warner said. "And that's the unfortunate part that I don't think you'll ever get over because you know something was done outside the rules."
Even Boston sports columnist Adam Kaufman admits Warner has the right to feel robbed.
"Sadly, there's no room to attack Warner here," Kaufman writes for Boston.com. "He appropriately and eloquently expressed what many around the league have probably felt ever since the moment the Patriots were caught red-handed with their hands on the red record button."When it was time to present the Patriots with their Super Bowl XLIX trophy, Warner marched it to the stage with class, a winning smile and no hint of suspicion in his eyes.
Since we missed Warner's reaction to that last little dig, here's our best guess of how he looked: