Parker: Hard to root for cheaters...err...Patriots

Deflate-gate taints New England's legacy

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - Most around these parts will probably be rooting for the New England Patriots to beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl on Sunday evening.

And there are two reasons for that.

First, they can't imagine the Lions ever being in the Super Bowl. After all, they are just one of four teams that have never played in it. Worse, the other three teams are all expansion teams - Cleveland, Jacksonville and Houston.

Secondly, many have fondness for Pats' QB Tom Brady, the former Michigan star. It is Detroit fans' connection to greatness. It's easy for many get on the Brady bandwagon since he has won three Super Bowls in five appearances. This will be Brady's sixth trip to the big game.

Still, for many, it will be hard this time around because of "Deflate-gate."

Let's face it: It's hard to root for apparent cheaters, especially serial cheaters. Enter, Patriots.

Even if you think there's been too much made out of the 11 (out of 12) Pats' footballs that were under inflated by two PSI, according to NFL rules, in the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts, there was still something rotten about the situation.

It's hard to shake that the Patriots have been branded as cheaters again. They were found guilty in 2007 of recording opponents' defensive signals. The NFL fined them big time (a total of $750,00) and took away a draft pick.

This time around, although the NFL hasn't rendered a verdict yet, the Pats' integrity has been called into question.

And this time, Brady is front and center. His word about not having any knowledge of what happened doesn't play well.

Not just with some fans, but former greats in the game. Even John Madden and Troy Aikman have pointed the finger at Brady being involved.

On Thursday at the Super Bowl, Brady's boyhood idol, Joe Montana, blamed Brady for this scandal.

"If I ever want a ball a certain way, I don't do it myself," Montana said. "So, somebody did it for him. But I don't know why everybody is making a big deal out of trying to figure out who did it. It's pretty simple. If it was done, it was done for a reason. There is only one guy that does it. Nobody else cares what the ball feels like."

Enter, Brady.

Everybody knows that taking the air out of a football would help a quarterback in wet weather. That's what Brady faced in the championship game.

Brady missed a golden opportunity to come clean and be honest.

He could have accepted responsibility, telling the media that he asked the ball boy to let some air out of the balls, but didn't realize it was below NFL regulations. That would have been more believable than acting as if some rogue ball boy took it upon himself to do it. That makes no sense at all.

We get it. Most Pats fans are trying to downplay the whole situation, blaming it totally on haters and reporters out on a witch hunt.

In reality, Pats' fans are shaking in their boots. They are afraid that if the league rules against the Pats and Brady in "Deflate-gate," this incredible rule by the Pats will be tainted forever.

Other fans will have the opportunity to turn their nose up at all the Patriots' success in the Brady era.

It would pain New England fans almost as much as the Pats losing their third straight Super Bowl appearance. And that would be the case with a loss on Sunday.

Remember, the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since "Spy-gate."

Parker's pick: Seattle 24, New England 17.

Lynch Mob

Fans that side with Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch just don't get it.

Lynch's unwillingness to talk to reporters at the Super Bowl is a slap at fans, not the media.

Reporters could care less. They are there for the fans, not personal reasons. It's their job to get comments from the people playing in the game.

Lynch is totally unprofessional. It's in his contract to deal with the media. That's why he can be fined by the NFL.

This notion that reporters are doing something wrong and should leave Lynch alone is dumb.

And a memo to Lynch: He'd better not try to get a job in the media when he retires, because nobody will want to hear from him then.

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