New England Patriots: From Perfection to In-Question

Jeffrey SantonAnalyst IFebruary 5, 2008

One of the great Super Bowls of our era is over.

Goliath has been slain and a season of butt-kissing (which was earned, pending cheating allegation validity) will be followed with an offseason of scrutiny and questions.

New spying alligations have been raised, and sportsmanship and character issues are a hot topic, along with critics already questioning player and coach’s abilities alike.

Yes, that fast. A one-game 180. 

The biggest game was not won, and the achievement of perfection was lost. In all probability, with the NFL's parity, nobody will be this close to perfection for generations to come. This one hurt bad for the Patriots.

For the players, speaking after the defeat looked to be about as enjoyable as stabbing oneself in the face with an ice pick. Coach Belichick has never been a man of many words and almost at times seemed to enjoy the stigma that he has earned with brief responses. He even seemed to force himself to crack smile at times, looking to be amused by his own comments, or lack thereof.

Coach wasn't much different in his post-Super Bowl interviews but Vegas odds on Belichick cracking a smile weren't very favorable on the side of a cheese or two.

When asked about the game, he said, "Congratulations to the Giants. They made plays, we didn't, it's disappointing."

Very Belichick.

He was hit with a question in regards to rumors he had someone tape the Rams' final walk-through before a game.

"I haven't heard them" said Belichick.

Yeah, I bet you haven't. Can't wait to slip into the offseason and dodge that one for a while, huh?

I think reporters should have kept hammering away on that. I doubt you would get much out of him, but he should be forced to squirm a bit on that issue—especially if it's true.

That is a big time no-no, and the timing allows him to avoid answering questions on it for some time.

Three different questions were asked in regards to what the Giants did on defense, the Giants did on offense, and the Giants' ability to have an effective pass rush—nothing earth-shattering in response.

"They are a good team, they played well," was really the gist of all three answers.

Tom Brady was asked a few questions, although his answers being much longer only really translated into more of the same, "they played well, good team, they deserve it." Blah, blah, blah.

Seau was asked what he was thinking when laying on the field after the Giants go-ahead score, "It was disappointing and it was something I didn't want to feel." Yes, we know.

I ask my pessimistic self sometimes about Junior. He is an older player that is still performing at a rather high level for his age. I don't know that it's my fault in this day in age that I question the reasons.

Unfortunately, whether guilty or innocent I doubt I am the only one who wonders if older players are getting a little "shot" of youth at times (if you know what I mean).

Obviously, there's no factual information, nor has there even been speculation, but I wonder. I think we've seen that the organization isn't very concerned about bending the rules a bit now and then, and again I just wonder.

In the wake of baseball's discoveries that it's a fairly common thing—I can't see football being much better. Better at hiding it and keeping alum from snitching—yes, but using, I would bet no.

Again, speculation. And as Bleacher Report's Ryan Alberti would put it: "Just saying, is all."

But I have been thinking about something in this tricky world of performance enhancing, and I think a have a way to help detour it a little, at least.

No grown man's feet or head should be growing. HGH is a performance enhancer that is known to cause this to happen, yet this substance is next to untraceable. I think shoe and hat or helmet sizes should be documented and watched over. If a guy wants to squeeze his head into a helmet or shoes that don't fit anymore to hide use, he will be taking away from his game by playing in equipment that is too small.

In essence, this make a guy cut down on whatever's causing himself to be comparable to a circus freak. It's not unreasonable to make a guy wear the same shoe or hat size. I mean, flat out—once grown, your head should be grown with you. Not inflating in size year by year because you put "extra time in."

Patriots have never been accused of having players that used HGH anymore than any other team. But with a leader that allegedly cheats, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

So in closing, when you're the Patriots, and you win like you do (running up scores) and lose like you do (running off the field early) and now allegedly cheat like you do; you can expect a rough offseason. Whether it be an aspiring writer questioning how far your cheating goes, or others turning up the volume in obtaining dirt on you, eyes will remain.

Now in one loss, there's a lot more negative than positive. 

All the discussions of greatest team ever and genius coaching turn to speculation of cheating and poor sportsmanship in one quick modern-day immaculate reception and fade route. 

No question they will be back next year ready to play, but by that first kickoff I find myself wondering how much mud they will have been dragged through, and how much more villainized they will be after this offseason.