Don Shula, the only coach to lead a team to an undefeated season and win the superbowl (1972 Dolphins), expressed his feelings on the possible 19-0 Patriots yesterday in a couple familiar words.
Shula recommends that the NFL needs to place an asterisk next to the Patriots in the record books if they do go undefeated and win the Super Bowl for Bill Belicheck's "spygate" scandal. Like Barry Bonds' home run record, Shula believes that this record, if broken, will be tainted and in need of an explanation.
Shula, obviously wanting his '72 Dolphins to stand alone in the record books as the only team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl, stated, "The Spygate thing has diminished what they've accomplished. You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments."
Shula goes on to say "Belichick was fined $500,000, the team was fined $250,00 and they lost a first-round draft choice. That tells you the seriousness or significance of what they found. I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds' home run record. I guess it will be noted that the Patriots were fined and a No.1 draft choice was taken away during that year of accomplishment. The sad thing is Tom Brady looks so good, it doesn't look like he needs any help."
Was this a valid argument coming from a respected, legendary coach, or was this an excuse to save the record? Was it a little too early to come out and express the opinion, or was it just right after New England's victory over the Colts?
The Bill Belichik Patriots' Spygate scandal occured in the first week of the season. The New England Patriots were caught videotaping defensive signals of the New York Jets and using the signals to know what the Jets were going to do. This tactic and cheat has been used in baseball since the dawn of the sport but is illegal in the National Football League. As a result, Belichik, the Patriots head coach, was fined $500,000, the Patriots organization was fined $250,000 and lost their first round draft pick in the 2008 NFL draft. Belichik accepted full responsibility and stated that he misunderstood NFL rules.