NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As far as some of the Jets see it, the underinflated footballs saga is just the Patriots being the Patriots.
“I’m not surprised at all. If they ain’t winning with controversy, they ain’t winning,” Sheldon Richardson told the New York Post on Sunday night after taking part in the Pro Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.READ MORE: Exclusive: Cellphone Video Shows NYPD Sergeant Throw Man To Ground During Violent Arrest On Lower East Side
The Jets’ stellar defensive end, along with perennial Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold, didn’t mince words when asked about the controversy that has threatened to hijack the spotlight away from Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX, between the Pats and the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.
“All 12 of (the Patriots’) balls having something wrong with them does tell you something is amiss,” Mangold said, referring to the NFL’s findings following New England’s 45-7 destruction of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship game on Jan. 18. “It does seem like it’s always something with the Patriots. It does seem that way.”
Since that bombshell report was released, the Patriots have come under national scrutiny. They have also stuck to their guns in saying they believe they have done nothing wrong. Late last week both head coach Bill Belichick and Tom Brady denied any wrongdoing and on Saturday Belichick reiterated his team’s stance, saying he was certain his team had operated within the rules.
Still, the Patriots have been linked to all kinds of shady behavior over the years, ranging from the “Spygate” fiasco of 2007, when they were disciplined by the league for videotaping Jets’ defensive coaches during a game in September of that season.READ MORE: New York City Councilmember 'Baffled' By Mayor's Hesitance To Mandate Masks As Delta Variant Spreads
Six months after that incident, a Boston newspaper reported that the Patriots were accused of taping the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in February of 2002. Belichick denied the allegation and the newspaper later retracted the story. The league never found a basis to act against the Patriots.
During the divisional round of this season’s playoffs the Baltimore Ravens accused the Patriots of using questionable substitution and reporting tactics. During a drive in the third quarter of its eventual 35-31 win, New England used just four offensive linemen and declared a normally eligible receiver as ineligible to keep Baltimore off balance.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh called the tactic “clearly deception,” but the NFL found nothing illegal about the action.
Regardless of the lack of penalties handed down over the years, the Patriots have been labeled as a team that will literally do anything to win, things that are considered unsportsmanlike or outside the unwritten rules of the game.
“It’s funny when they say, ‘We keep it professional and clean cut,’ ’’ Richardson said of the Jets’ long-time rivals. “Because they don’t. They don’t at all.”MORE NEWS: Criminal Justice Expert Says Police Intervention Only Part Of Solution To New York City's Gun Violence
The topic is sure to be addressed during Tuesday’s Super Bowl media day. The NFL isn’t expected to announce what its investigation has uncovered until after the Super Bowl.