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Deflategate Means Nothing in Wake of Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX Win

Erik Frenz@ErikFrenzSenior Writer IFebruary 2, 2015

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No matter what comes of the NFL's investigation into Deflategate, nothing can take away the New England Patriots' win in Super Bowl XLIX.

The Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24. Another high-profile opponent derailed after the Patriots looked like they would be derailed on the heels of another high-profile scandal.

The rest of the NFL can make all the jokes they want, but the Patriots are four-time Super Bowl champions, cementing themselves as the best team in the league since 2000 (if they weren't already) and cementing Tom Brady as one of the best quarterbacks, if not the best, of all time (if he wasn't already).

New England owner Robert Kraft shared his thoughts on all that, via CBS Sports' Will Brinson:

Will Brinson @WillBrinson

โ€œWe won that game 45-7. We won today 28-24. Our people didnโ€™t touch the balls.โ€ - Bob Kraft on DeflateGate

Not only did the Patriots win the Super Bowl, but they beat last year's Super Bowl champions in the process, preventing the Seahawks from repeating on the biggest stage.

The questions will still linger, as they always do with a scandal like this. The Patriots have been winning games at a higher rate than the rest of the NFL for nearly a full decade since the news hit about Spygate, and folks are still pondering the legitimacy of the Super Bowl wins attained from 2001 to 2004.

There will always be some critics, but former NFL quarterback Erik Ainge doesn't seem to think too much of this latest criticism:

Erik Ainge @ErikAinge3

Not sure why, maybe because I think DeflateGate is a joke, but I'm finding myself rooting for the Pats! Weird.

But there can be almost no doubt that nothing shady took place during the Super Bowl. The NFL has already begun its investigation into whether the Patriots illegally under-inflated their footballs in the AFC Championship Game, a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.

Surely, with the entire world aware of the scandal, no one would have let anything happen to those footballs that would cause anyone to have an unfair advantage.

Who knows what the Ted Wells investigation will uncover, but reports continue to pour out that make the Patriots seem less and less like culprits and more and more like victims of a sting operation that was handled sloppily. That sting operation may end up uncovering barely any evidence, according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.

"Eleven of the 12 footballs used in the first half were judged by the officials to be under the minimum of 12.5 PSI, but just one was two pounds under," Rapoport writes. "Many of them were just a few ticks under the minimum."

It only took a few ticks to tick off the Patriots enough that they knocked off the best team in the NFC and responded to criticism in a way that only the Patriots can do.

After Spygate in 2007, the Patriots came out the next week and pounded the San Diego Chargers into a 38-14 submission on prime-time television. They took the skepticism in stride following their Week 4 decimation at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefsย this season and turned doubters into believers by winning 13 of their final 15 games of the regular season and playoffs.

Deflategate was never going to completely take the air out of the Patriots' tires. Now, regardless of the findings in the investigation, it won't take away from their huge, epic, unbelievable victory.

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