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Did the Patriots cheat to win Superbowl 39?

We all remember that fateful night... when the Eagles came 3 points short of sending superbowl 39 into overtime thanks to a Rodney Harrison interception.

Well, as we found out a couple weeks ago Rodney Harrison cheated by using steroids(human growth hormone.) Whether he was on the juice during that game... who can tell?

Then today, maybe an even more damning story broke. ESPN has confirmed that the Patriots cheated in their week one game against the Jets by illegally taping their defensive calls.

NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella on the New England sidelines when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Sources say the visual evidence confirmed the suspicion.

The NFL is also investigating the possibility that the Patriots were stealing the Jets' radio communications.

Yahoo! Sports found that few in the NFL are surprised to hear the news.

"I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying,'" said San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

"You hear rumors of things of that nature," Tomlin said, noting it often comes from the "New England family." "In terms of confirming it, it's never been confirmed in any instance to my knowledge. But usually where there is smoke, there's fire. Those rumors are founded on something. So it's not totally shocking, no."

This isn't a new allegation either. Last year the Packers complained to the NFL last year that they had caught the Pats videotaping their signals. The word is that Commissioner Goodell is considering several punishment options including the loss of multiple draft picks, fines for the team and several employees, or suspension of the coach and members of his staff. Frankly, if the NFL finds that the Pats did indeed break the rules... why would they not forfeit the game?

It should be noted that there are several examples of teams that have been stripped of wins or even titles following proof that they had been cheating. The champions of the Italian soccer league Serie A were stripped of two titles after it was proven that they had been bribing referees. Here in the US, the NCAA has stripped 7 teams of national titles after it was proven that they had broken various rules.

Ultimately, if the Eagles were retroactively awarded a superbowl it would be completely meaningless. So I'm certainly not advocating that, plus I know it would never happen. In the end it's about that moment, that victory, that parade afterward, the year of gloating, the raising of the banner. Without that, a title would mean nothing. That said, I still think that the possible punishment of retroactively awarding the Jets a win if it's proved that the Pats cheated should be considered. That would be a greater deterrent to cheating than any fine, suspension, or even loss of picks would do.

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