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  1. #1
    MauiRam's Avatar
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    Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL

    Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL
    By Jeff Gordon

    At the Red-Eye Grill in New Orleans a few nights before Super Bowl XXXVI, an animated football fan cornered your cyber-correspondent with a startling claim.

    The fix was in. The Patriots, massive underdogs to the Rams, were going to win the big game. His presentation went on for a LONG time; he believed, passionately, that a high percentage of American sporting events are scripted.

    And he was sure this game was on the list.

    After the Patriots won that game, the fan was back at the Red-Eye for late-night cocktails. He shrugged off praise for his bold prediction.

    To Conspiracy Guy, it was cut and dried: The NFL decided the Patriots should win the game, so they did.

    So now we fast-forward to 2008 and new questions about the integrity of league competition. A former Patriots video assistant, Matt Walsh, has told folks he has information that could damage the Patriots. Allegedly, he taped the Rams’ “walk-through” practice before the game.

    Hmmmmm . . .

    I still maintain the Rams can only blame themselves for losing to the Patriots. Coach Mike Martz should have adjusted his game plan sooner than he did, since New England dropped six and seven defensive backs into coverage. Why not let Marshall Faulk run the ball again and again and again?

    Dropped passes hurt the Rams, as did Kurt Warner’s disastrous interception for a TD and Ricky Proehl’s untimely fumble. At some point, the Rams could have stopped New England’s final drive with the game tied 17-17.

    And if this game was fixed, as Conspiracy Guy claimed, then I’d point to the game officials. They allowed the Patriots to manhandle Rams receivers while they attempted to run routes. These muggings prompted changes in how officials implement the rules.

    “Again, they had a great game plan,” Warner told “Coach (Bill) Belichick has been known for that. They executed it very well. And I think you look back from our side and say, 'Well, we had played them once [that] year. They had a good feel for what we were doing and how to stop us. I go back and look at that game and say, 'The approach they took with us is that we're going to beat them up and beat them up and beat them up until the officials make a call.' And I think they went in with a premise that in a Super Bowl, the officials don't want to dictate the course of action. So they're going to be slow to throw flags, especially a bunch of flags.”

    Fair enough, I suppose. But did the Patriots cheat? Were they sitting on Rams plays because they knew what was coming?

    I doubt it, but this isn’t an outrageous concept. Another Patriots staffer got caught videotaping the New York Jets defensive signals from the sideline during New England's 38-14 win Sept. 7, 2007 at Giants Stadium. This transgression cost Belichick a $500,000 fine (likely to be offset in his next contract extension) and it cost the Patriots franchise $250,000 and a first-round draft.

    Commissioner Roger Goodell destroyed the “Spygate” tapes, to the chagrin of Sen. Arlen Specter. And while trying to hold off a Congressional probe, Goodell had to deal with this new speculation about Super Bowl XXXVI.

    The plot thickened. Not to get all Oliver Stone about this, but what, exactly, is going on in the shadows of the NFL?

    Goodell would like to discuss this matter with Walsh and put it to rest, but the former Patriots employee is demanding total protection from litigation. This request is not unreasonable, given the $100 million lawsuit filed against the Patriots by obscure former Ram William Gary and three fans.

    “The NFL has to take some action to restore the faith among fans and people who are involved with the game,” Hugh Campbell, one of the attorneys who filed the suit, told the New York Times.

    Belichick finally addressed the “Spygate” controversy in some depth with the Boston Globe. He apologized for his role in the Jets taping, but he denied ordering Walsh to tape the Rams before the Super Bowl.

    “In my entire coaching career, I've never seen another team's practice film prior to playing that team,” Belichick told the Globe. “I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any other team's walk-through. We don't even film our own. We don't even want to see ourselves do anything, that's the pace that it's at. Regardless, I've never been a part of that.”

    That is a firm, Roger Clemens-caliber denial. But Rams fans still want to hear what Walsh has to say. And if the former staffer implicates the Patriots, Rams fans will want payback.

    They will want New England’s remaining first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. They will want Belichick punished severely. (To heck with fines – one user wants the coach imprisoned. Folks were cranky in Monday’s Gordo Live chat.)

    Some fans are even calling for the Rams to get New England’s title from 2002. They don’t want a parade, but they do want the Lombardi Trophy.

    None of that will happen, of course, but Rams fans still deserve answers. Goodell has to hear Walsh out, one way or another. Taking Belichick’s word for it isn’t good enough.

  2. #2
    Ramer Guest

    Re: Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL

    Great artical MauiRam! And yes we are owed an explanation from the NFL.

  3. #3
    TekeRam's Avatar
    TekeRam is offline Registered User
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    Re: Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL

    I know I want our trophy... but I'm also willing to say that unless Walsh's evidence is downright damning, there's nothing that will be done about it to repay the Rams for any potential cheating.

    That #7 pick from the Whiners would be very nice however...

  4. #4
    Mooselini Guest

    Re: Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL

    In all honesty, they won't give the title back to us. Sorry guys, but it won't happen.

    I think there will just be another major fine, a draft pick would be super nice though.

  5. #5
    laram0's Avatar
    laram0 is offline Superbowl MVP
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    Re: Rams fans are owed an explanation from NFL

    I'm not so much looking for us to prosper as am the Patriots paying dearly.

    I want the air let out of Belichick and Brady's balloon.

    Brady was the undeserved MVP of Superbowl XXXVI anyway!!!

    The "GREATEST COACH" title will hopefully be ripped out of any sentence or story with Belichicks name in it.

    This whole thing really frosts my cookies!!!

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