The New England Patriots have long been referred to as cheaters since getting caught for illegally videotaping opponent's defensive signals the Spygate scandal back in 2007. Eight years later, it appears they're not doing anything to shake that reputation. Check out these tweets from Indianapolis reporter Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz):
"Breaking: A league source tells me the NFL is investigating the possibility the Patriots deflated footballs Sunday night. More to come.
I'm told at one point the officials took a ball out of play and weighed it. Should hear more tomorrow on this subject.
Didn't have a chance to talk to colts officials about this. They were long gone when I heard this.
Nobody is suggesting this is why the colts lost obviously. They were manhandled.
Told if a league investigation confirms deflated footballs it will result in lost draft picks. Stay tuned."
As Kravitz notes, deflated balls wouldn't explain why the Patriots stomped the Colts by a final score of 45-7. But it can't just be ignored that the Patriots were allegedly breaking the rules. A deflated football allows players to have a better grip, which allows for easier throwing, catching, and holding.
Philadelphia Eagles players, past and present, haven't been shy to show their disdain for New England. Several players have outright called the Patriots cheaters. Cornerback Cary Williams gave his thoughts on the Patriots during Philadelphia's 2014 training camp:
"They are cheaters. They are," Williams said, before pointing out that the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since the Spygate scandal.
Going back a little further, several former Eagles players were happy to see the Patriots lose the 2012 Super Bowl to the New York Giants. Why? Because they felt they had been cheated when the Eagles lost to the Patriots in 2005.
Darwin Walker: "I want my ring back, and you can write it. I'm still mad about it. Do I think they were cheating? Point blank, the answer is yes."
Hugh Douglas: "You can't cry over spilled milk, but you do look at it and it makes you wonder how, in the game, in those situations, Tom Brady used to be lights out and couldn't be stopped."
Ike Reese: "I guess I'm one of the few that think, 'Kudos to those guys for coming up with a more conniving, deceptive way to win games.' I wish they had gotten caught after [beating Carolina in Super Bowl XXXVIII, the year before], and we would have benefited"
And so on.
It'll be interesting to see what the NFL investigation reveals. In the meantime, the Patriots sure would be gaining any extra fans as they head into Super Bowl XLIX to face the Seattle Seahawks.