New England Patriots, Marshall Faulk, and the Super Bowl


NFL network broadcaster and St. Louis Rams former running back Marshall Faulk. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes it is impossible to stay silent. No matter how much one tries not to speak out and make a fool of oneself, the voice has to be raised and the comments must come out.  NFL Network talking head and former St. Louis Rams running back Marshall Faulk could take it no longer and had to open up his mouth this week and try to drag the New England Patriots Super Bowl legacy into the mud. Speaking to Comcast SportsNet New England QuickSlants TV show host (who is outshined on the broadcast by rising star Mary Paoletti each week) Tom E. Curran at the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, Faulk stated, “I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl.”

Yes, Marshall Faulk was referring to the 2002 Super Bowl (also in New Orleans) when the underdog New England Patriots coached by Bill Belichick and quarterbacked by first year starter Tom Brady upset the “Greatest Show on Turf” 20-17 in what is arguably the greatest Super Bowl game (huge upset, Rams comeback in the fourth quarter, the game coming down to Patriots driving down the field and kicker Adam Vinatieri’s game winning field goal at the end of regulation).  Faulk believes the Patriots filmed the Rams walk-through prior to the game and that “I know, in that game, in the red zone, the plays we ran, most of them we hadn’t ran most of those plays that year. And a couple of plays on third down that we walked through also . . .  Any time that I was offset, I was always stationary. And we had creating motioning in the backfield at the same depth on the other side of the field. And they created a check for it. It’s just little things like that. It’s either the best coaching in the world when you come up with situations that you had never seen before. Or you’d seen it and knew what to do.”

Jan 13, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

So break the news to Patriots coaches from that team, and cornerbacks Ty Law, Terrell Buckley, and Otis Smith; safeties Lawyer Milloy and Tebucky Jones; linebackers Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Roman Phifer, and Mike Vrabel; and defensive linemen Anthony Pleasant, Richard Seymour, and Bobby Hamilton that they did not go out and play a great game on the biggest stage, they cheated. The St Louis Rams were unstoppable.  No one could go out on the field and stop them, apparently.

Almost almost a dozen years later, Marshall Faulk still has to bring out the sour grapes.  Someone had better ask him about investigating the New York Giants–they beat an “unstoppable offense” twice in five years in the Super Bowl.  Has any Patriots player come out and shot off their mouth like Faulk stating that they were cheated out of a Super Bowl?  Of course not.  They expressed their disappointment with losing the game when they believed they were good enough to play better, and tipped their cap to the Giants defense for playing great games.

Sportsmanship has always been expressed as the character shown not only in victory, but one’s behavior in defeat.  Sadly, a well-respected former NFL player has cast his character in doubt by  making ridiculous comments all these years after the fact.  Last time I checked, the Rams ran up over 400 of offense against the Patriots back in the 2002 Super Bowl.  The Rams lost the turnover battle 3-0 and fell in a hole early in the game.  The Rams offense showed character on the field by getting back to making big plays to tie the game in the fourth quarter.  Blame your defense for letting Tom Brady carve them up on the final drive of the game if you must, Marshall Faulk.  But to whine about losing and throwing out allegations of cheating, that is a new low.

Marshall Faulk may have been “cheated out of the Super Bowl” by legitimate, excellent defensive game planning and execution, and he may have been “cheated out of the Super Bowl” by a great final drive of the game by the Patriots offense, but to come out with ridiculous allegations of cheating, Faulk had better bring out some kind of “substantial and credible evidence” or else he is nothing more than a poor loser, even almost a dozen years later.   To come out and attempt to discredit the New England Patriots’ greatest victory in team history is beyond reproach.