John Harbaugh Says Bill Belichick and New England Patriots' Titles Are 'Stained'

Aaron NaglerNFL National Lead WriterMay 1, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22:  Head coach Bill Belichick (R) of the New England Patriots talks with head coach John Harbaugh (L) of the Baltimore Ravens after the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the Baltimore Ravens 20-23.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick are, if not friends, somewhat friendly. So it would be interesting to hear the next conversation between the two after Harbaugh made some less-than-flattering remarks about the Patriots' Super Bowl titles earlier this morning on Baltimore's 98 Rock radio station.

Harbaugh was asked (you can hear the full audio of Baltimore's 98Rock interview here) if there was a part of him that was ever tempted to take things "over the edge" in regards to the rules. The host was referencing the Saints and Bountygate, but Harbaugh, unprompted, brought up the Patriots and Spygate.

Saying that things always ended up "being brought before the light of day," Harbaugh then referenced Spygate, saying that regardless of whether or not the Patriots actions had any effect on the outcome of the games, the Patriots' titles are now "stained" by Spygate and deserve an asterisk. 

This might be a widely held belief by, say, fans of the New York Jets, but hearing another NFL head coach say so publicly is somewhat unexpected. 

One interesting note on Belichick and Harbaugh comes from NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

Know this about Belichick & John Harbaugh: Belichick called the Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti & recommended Harbaugh for the job. 

Harbaugh will no doubt head into damage control mode later today or tomorrow, but this will certainly add a little extra sizzle to the Sunday night matchup between the two on September 23rd. 


Well, that didn't take long. 

As predicted above, Harbaugh has issued a statement "clarifying" his comments. It reads in-part:

While on the 98 Rock show this morning to talk about the run to honor O.J. Brigance and raise funds for ALS research, I answered a question about playing within the rules and referred to the perception that the Super Bowl championships won by the Patriots and Saints have a stain. My reference was to the perception out there that came as the result of the league’s actions. 

I could have been more clear that I was referring to those viewpoints. I totally believe that the Patriot and Saint coaches and players earned those championships. Bill (Belichick) and Sean (Payton) both know that.