Ravens head coach John Harbaugh made some interesting comments about the New England Patriots, Spygate, and the Patriots’ three Super Bowl titles during a Tuesday morning appearance on 98 Rock.
Harbaugh, on the airwaves to promote the upcoming ALS charity run for O.J. Brigance, was asked by the 98 Rock morning show crew -- which I’m sure most of our Baltimore readers are familiar with -- about the New Orleans Saints and their recent bounty scandal, and also cheating in the NFL in general.
Here was his response (and no matter his intentions, you can guarantee it is going to make headlines):
“In the end, everything is brought before the light of day, when it’s all said and done,” Harbaugh said. “What happens, even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It’s been stained.
"To me, it’s never worth it. You’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you’ve got to figure out ways to make the most of everything. We’ve got new work rules here as far as what we can do and what we can’t do with our players, and we’re going to make the most of it. What we’re finding is, ‘Man, maybe we can do some things even better than we did before,’ because these rules make us focus more on some things that we didn’t focus on before. You just have to make them work for you. That’s what success is in the world. You have to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end, you’re going to get discredited. It’s not worth it.”
Harbaugh was then asked if during a game he ever felt like the other team -- no specific team was mentioned -- knew what play the Ravens were going to run.
“Yeah, I have, but if I say when, it’s going to be like Pro Football Talk is going to blow up and go crazy and I’m going to get accused of accusing somebody of something,” Harbaugh said.
This hasn’t blown up on Pro Football Talk yet, but I’m guessing it will be by lunchtime. Here is the audio of Harbaugh’s interview so you can judge it for yourself first (skip ahead to the 2:30 mark).
The Ravens host the Patriots in a Sunday night game Sept. 23.
UPDATE (1:08 p.m.): The Ravens have released a statement from Harbaugh regarding those comments.
Following is the full statement:
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“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.
“There has been some distortion about what I said.
“The original tweet indicated I pointed the finger at Bill Belichick and mentioned Bill’s name. I did not. I have so much respect for Coach Belichick and the job he does and has accomplished in his Hall of Fame career. I called him to remind him of my respect for him. I also reached out to Tedy Bruschi, who rightfully defended those Patriot players and coaches on ESPN, to tell him that I agree with him that the Patriots earned every victory.”