Former Rams are about to ruin it for the current Rams.
Those who were part of St. Louis’ football organization during the 2001 season, their belief is that the New England Patriots’ dynasty should’ve never even begun on Feb. 3, 2002. For they believe they were cheated out of their own “dynasty” that night.
And their continued displeasure with it will only lead to more bulletin-board material for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady as they prepare for Super Bowl LIII.
The Patriots defeated the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, 20-17, thanks to an Adam Vinatieri 48-yard field goal at the end of regulation. It was New England’s first Super Bowl win and the beginning of the greatest dynasty in the history of professional sports.
Now, 17 years later, the two franchises meet again in the big game, only, the Rams have since relocated to Los Angeles. Still, it’s the Patriots and the Rams in Super Bowl LIII, and before they kick off a week from Sunday in Atlanta, I have a feeling we’ll be hearing from some former St. Louis Rams players and coaches.
Seventeen years ago, Belichick and Brady’s Patriots entered the Super Bowl as a 14-point underdog. Not only did they cover the spread, but they also shocked the world with an upset over the “Greatest Show on Turf” at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans.
It was later reported by the Boston Herald that the Patriots had filmed the Rams’ walkthrough before that game. That same report was then retracted by the Boston Herald, which included an apology from the reporter, expressing regret for writing the original controversial story.
That hasn’t stopped former Rams players from believing their Super Bowl walkthrough was still actually videotaped by former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh. Just last January, Hall of Famer Orlando Pace told NBC’s Pro Football Talk that “There’s a little bit of suspicion there. I think guys all feel that way. They had a pretty solid game plan for us, so I don’t know. They knew exactly what we were going to do down there.”
Marshall Faulk has also gone on the record multiple times in recent years to express that he believes the Patriots cheated to win that game. Even Kurt Warner began publicly questioning it after the Deflategate accusations. And that’s just naming a few.
As Belichick and Brady continue to win and are about to play in their ninth Super Bowl together, that entire 2001-02 Rams team must be even more bitter now than ever before. And I expect their bitterness to be unleashed next week as the Super Bowl media coverage begins in Atlanta.
None of it will be good for the current NFC Champion Rams, who seemed rattled and unprepared by crowd noise in New Orleans last Sunday, in a game that the Saints should’ve won, if not for a brutal non-pass-interference-call in the final minutes of regulation.
These Rams enter the Super Bowl with plenty of inexperience. The last thing they should want is for the experienced Patriots to find even more reasons to prove people wrong.
There’s no doubt that Brady has already convinced himself and his Patriots teammates that they’ll be the underdog in this Super Bowl, even though they’re a three-point favorite. Just wait until he hears former Rams players coming out of the woodwork next week to tell the world that he “cheated” his way to the beginning of this Patriots dynasty.
Brady will hear it. Belichick will hear it. And the Patriots will use it to their advantage — like they always do — while preparing for Super Bowl LIII.
And that’s horrible news for the current Rams.
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