Were My Rams Shafted in Super Bowl XXXVI?

As I’ve stated several times before, I’m a believer that the Patriots played fair and square in Super Bowl XXXVI, but the refereeing indicated otherwise, in my opinion. I’ve posted two separate articles (one back in September, one earlier this evening) about the Patriots’ cheating scandal from other sources (STL Today and ESPN). Now, I’m going to write about this delicate subject in my own words, a Rams fan’s words.

Even on this day, the Super Bowl loss the Rams endured against the Patriots remains the most hurtful loss in my time as a sports fan. The hype surrounding that Super Bowl that encompassed the Rams on winning two Super Bowls in three years was overwhelming. The Rams knew they had the game in the bag, but didn’t realize they had to play 60 minutes of football, and when they realized that they were about to lose, it was too late, albeit tying up the game late in the 4th quarter.

The Patriots threw so many looks at the Rams offense that it was mind boggling for Kurt Warner to detect the Pats defenses’ movements. New England lined up in various six- or seven defensive fronts. They hit Kurt Warner in the mouth and made him pay for every pass his tossed into the air.

But, there are some inconsistencies.

There was this website that was known as http://stlouisrams.net which showed a whole lot of information about Super Bowl XXXVI. There were several videos showing many, many Patriots plays where Marshall Faulk was being held in the backfield by Willie McGinest and other Patriots defenders, roughing the passer being put into appliance to Kurt Warner, late hits on Rams receivers, and Tom Brady throwing passes that weren’t even 15 yards of a receiver’s radius.

It didn’t add up. The evidence against head referee Bernie Kukar favored wrongful refereeing. The website wasn’t taking shots against the Patriots, it took shots against the terrible reffing. And looking/thinking back at the website, the guys who constructed those videos were right — Kukar had officiated so many Patriots’ games that the end result had so much seasoning poured on it that illegal play was involved by Bernie, and I’ve hated the guy’s guts since. He remains, to me, as the worst referee in the league.

I watched the whole game on NFL Network on Wednesday night (like the scene from the movie Fever Pitch when Jimmy Fallon’s character Ben is in a trance where he can’t stop watching screw-ups of the Boston Red Sox, with a tune in the background incessantly playing a song repeating Carl Yastrzemski). You see, I always wondered how the Patriots D was able to keep Marshall Faulk in check so well. After watching the game, I seen so many suspicious plays that weren’t officiated very well. For example, on nearly every pass that Kurt Warner snapped back for, pressure would get to him so easily, as Faulk would be held by the waist for three, four and even five seconds before he escaped a Patriots defender’s grasp to be let go and go out to receive a pass. No fucking wonder.

What about the two concussions that Kurt Warner endured during the game on some of those blatant roughing the passer hits that were tagged by defenders into Warner as he fell onto the turf? How about those plays where two seconds after the play was clearly over where Torry Holt would get the hell knocked out of him out of nowhere with no flags being thrown for late hits?

What about the Patriots first and only offensive touchdown in the game when Brady was driving the Patriots up the field, throwing 15-yards behind his receivers, not even in a seeing distance of where the ball should be placed without a receiver even in the area?! I remember watching the game and wondering what was going on out there on the field when this was all going down.

It just doesn’t add up. I don’t blame the Patriots and this on-going ignorance known as this overblown “cheating scandal,” I blame Bernie Kukar, the worst referee in Super Bowl and NFL history, and the rest of the officials that didn’t understand how to call a game the right way.

Six years to the day the Rams lost Super Bowl XXXVI, I’m writing you this.

Ironic. This Super Bowl result derailed a franchise and damaged careers and reputations.

21 thoughts on “Were My Rams Shafted in Super Bowl XXXVI?

  1. Although I understand why you think this, I think the Pats would have won this game regardless of spying or not. However, there is a chance that they figured out the Rams gameplan from the spying and that could have been the difference. But judging on how they kept winning and winning after the superbowl (while there is yet to be evidence that they spied after that, besides the Jets incident), I think they won that game of good coaching, and playing, and not knowing what the Rams were going to do every play.

  2. Which I think, again, as what I said, the Pats won the game fairly. It’s just that I’m adamant on how the game was reffed, and looking back it’s a little demoralizing as a fan to think about the refs. I was talking to journalist Christi Lewis earlier, and her thoughts were pretty similar, but a way of blind reffing and bad calls, linking the game to Super Bowl XL. The Rams entered the game as bombastic as ever. Fanfare fever occurred before the game while the introductions were going on with the Rams running onto the field individually, as the Patriots ran out as a “team.” A Rams player said before the game, “Tonight, a dynasty is born.” He was right, a Patriots dynasty was born.

  3. Troy, as a fellow Rams fan I think you’re being MUCH too diplomatic about this subject. You don’t blame the Patriots, but do blame the officials? I place the blame squarely on both – the Patriots, because of their cynical and arrogant disdain for the rules of the game, and the officials for letting them get away with the equivalent of murder out on the field.

    Now I say this as someone who never had a previous grudge against NE – in fact, I rooted for them in both their previous SBs against Chicago and Green Bay. This particular squad is different, however, and it all started with the way they were coached to play in SB XXXVI. Living just outside of Boston, I find it EXTREMELY ironic that the Pats continue to say how arrogant the Rams were before that game. Let me truthfully tell you, the Patriots and their fans have re-defined the word arrogance in the six years since that match.

    As one example out of legions I could cite, a number of their fans have just sent a petition to the Commissioner of the NFL demanding that the National Football League and Commissioner Roger Goodell review the last 1:40 minutes of this year’s Super Bowl against the Giants – a letter which includes these exact quotes:

    “The Commissioner has sole authority to investigate and to take appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures if any club action, nonparticipant interference, or emergency occurs in an NFL game which he deems so unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of a game.”

    “We the fans of the NFL (* my note here: The fans of the NFL?!! Oh, the audacity…) demand that Commissioner investigate this matter as it is in his ability and it is his responsibility.”

    As the saying goes – you really couldn’t make it up.

    NE fans obviously think the rules of the game are incidental to their interests. If THEY break them and win, everything’s hunky dory and Life in the Universe is as it should be.
    If someone else has the unmitigated gall to try the same against God’s Almighty Squad ,the swift and terrible gavel of justice should wallop them with the force of a hurricane.

    I can’t tell you how delighted I am that their karma came back to flatten them in the SB against the Giants. Granted, it wasn’t the Rams that beat them this year, but all things considered it was the next best thing – a New York team, in the waning moments of the game. God bless you Eli Manning, David Tyree, Justin Tuck, and the rest of the NY Giants. All NFL fans outside of Patriot Nation salute you.

  4. Despite my love for the Red Sox, I am NOT a Patriot fan. They are a very good team, but built their “dynasty” with considerable aid from tuck rules, late hits and illegal holds on receivers. Yes, the Rams got shafted. So did a few other teams along the road to this pseudo dynasty.

  5. I won’t go into how much or how long I have been a Rams fan (think Farragamo) but I feel compelled to respond to all of this.

    Do I think the Patriots cheated – yes. However that is such a generalization. I hate many of their players …Harrison most particularly. but I feel that none of the players are ultimately to blame – they were coached, told what to do and when to do it. The coaches and ultimately the head coach are to blame and should be held accountable. In SB XXXVI my heart was ripped out and I cried foul immediately …it fell on deaf ears …much like it is today with the media. ESPN, FOX all the blow-hard sports guys always and I mean always tow the line of the winners. They love winners because America loves winners ..thus they HAVE to jump on the bandwagon to appease their core ..their bread and butter. I listen to the media … Say Jimmy Johnson former coach of the Cowboys …windbag – his comment about the videotape of the walk thru – those things are not tape worthy, Pats are innocent. my guys wore suits and we literally walked the field…Homer! Sorry Jimmy, thats not what the Rams did during their walk thru – get your facts straight before jumping on the bandwagon!

    However his word is like gold because he has a suit, a nice hair cut, won a SB (with a team anyone could have won a SB with ..) but mostly ‘cuz they stuck a mic in front of him and now he’s THE authority.

    I ask the media to be objective… The Pats cheated and were caught, now new “evidence” appears and they want to say …oh its nothing and all teams do it – he just got caught. BOY am I tire of that argument. SHOW me that all teams film signals … show me those tapes from the other teams!! The Pats rightly have a target on their backs and its time to pay the piper.

    The bottom line is if Walsh has film, if the film shows the Rams calling plays (goal line ones as Kurt spoke of) and the signals used to call them, and it can be shown that the tapes were in the possession of the NE coaching staff the day of the SB XXXVI. Then Guilty! Now if Guilty – what should be the punishment?? In a game decided by a field goal … I say Rams win. Cheating is cheating and an asterisk will not do! A team, careers, an organization, fans like me and a city were robbed! and therefore the Lombardi should reside in StL!

    Keep the pressure on – Investigate SB XXXVI!

  6. I love hearing the feedback, fellow Rams fans. Great stuff all around. Now, to get on topic:

    I nearly busted a vocal cord when that play where Warner’s “fumble” occurred. I was standing up from my comfy bed (which wasn’t comfy at all that night) and yelling into the air the whole game. Every time Warner was popped seconds after he got rid of the ball, every play where Faulk was unconventionally held in the backfield, every play where Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce and Az-hir Hakim were getting their faces ripped off via late hits. A part of me died that night, which you and every other die hard Rams fan can understand and run current with in the same fashion.

    Walsh obviously has something to say because he wouldn’t be so intimidated by the Patriots organization possibly suing him if he says anything. I hope that he will get full support in legal protection to go out and speak his mind and disclose those damned tapes.

  7. The Patriots suck, and all Patriots fans (BANDWAGONERS) suck. When discussing spygate and all that, all Pats fans should be forced to STFU because of their ignorance towards the subject (or denial of it).

    Fact is they CHEATED, and got a slap on the wrist. Unexcuseable by Roger Goodell, the worst NFL Commish EVER (and he’s only been there a few years, hey, let’s send the Super Bowl to London!)

    Goodell = crap

    Anything to do with the Patriots = TRASH

  8. has anyone thought that goddell was paid off? i dont understand why he destroyed evidince ( the tapes ) and nobody seems to care. it was just swept under the rug. i have always hated the patriots because they have always been cheaters. how about the time they ran the snowblower out on the field so their kicker could kick the winning field goal. how about the game against the raiders they won to go to their first superbowl. it will live in infamey on espns 10 worst calls in the nfl. brady goes back to pass has the ball knocked out of his hand. raiders recover. game over. wrong. the refs huddle together and call for a replay. they go under the hood and watch it in slow motion and come back out and reverse their call on the field of fumble. they call it incomplete pass his arm was in motion. what a payoff. they saw the same clips the rest of country saw. i was outraged and im not even a raiders fan. brady gets a second chance and drives down the field and wins the game,goes to the superbowl and pays off more refs. they stole that superbowl not only from the rams but also the raiders. cheat cheat hard to beat. i think goddell destroyed tapes becaused it exposed the dark underbelly of the nfl. corrupton, payoffs, bribes, cheating, gambling, & organized crime. or it could have just been a payoff by the patriots. who knows, the whole thing stinks imo.

  9. Wouldn’t it of been great, The Rams Vs Raiders superbowl that should of happened??? But two words brought out of thin air fucked sports forever “Tuck Rule” I will never believe in sports and I’ll always have in the back of my mind that teams are cheating, and the referees, owners, coaches, and many more people who make much money because of it all know it.

  10. I would like to point out just a couple of points that no one addressed here. Is anyone aware that the commisioner, Goodell is part owner of the Patriots? Also no one has even addressed the part where the rams recievers got mauled 15 or 20 yards out even though there is a rule that states you can only bump a receiver within a 10 yard limit? There were not only uncalled cheats (yes blatant cheats) from the Patriot purchased referees but there were also some phantom calls made on Ram offenses that never occurred. It was obvious even before the game which way they officiation was going to lean just listening to the way the pregame show was already slanted. Hell, even Paul McCartney was used in the pregame hype of the Patriots…..”wouldn’t it be great if a team named the Patriots would win after the events of 9-11?” Not exactly subtle NFL. Nice “arranging” superbowl wins instead of letting the best team win. Next you will be fixing boxing matches? The whole damn NFL needs to be taken from the owners and reorganized in a fair and equal way so that the best team can win instead of the most favored by the powers that be.

  11. You are 100% correct, it was the worst officiating I have ever seen…EVER!!! The worst was the obvious “blow to the head” on Kurt Warner on the interception that was returned for a touchdown. If that penalty is called, like on every similar play during every regular season game…ever..the Rams win the game regardless of Faulk being held on every play. Just ridiculous and inexcusable…the Rams were ripped off completely in every sense of the word.

  12. Belichick knew the refs like to keep the flags in their pockets for the Super Bowl. Nobody wants a Super Bowl repeatedly delayed by a rain of yellow flags, and he took advantage of that with a game-plan of extreme physical punishment. The Rams were soft and the Patriots were tough, that’s all there is to it. The Rams were punched by a bully and didn’t punch back because they couldn’t. Did Martz adjust to the 6 and 7 defensive back formations and perhaps try more power rushing? Of course not. It’s the Super Bowl, so Martz wanted to showcase his “Greatest Show on Turf” aerial assault. Belichick gambled on Martz’s arrogance to keep throwing and won.

    And I’m not a Patriots fan. I’m a fan of tough, physical football, but sadly the NFL has shifted and you don’t see much of it anymore except from the Ravens, Steelers, and 49ers. I applauded when the Patriots beat the Rams, just as I applauded when the New York Giants repeatedly hammered Brady and won that Super Bowl with toughness over finesse.

  13. …Duh is right…so what you are saying is that Belichick knew he could cheat in the Superbowl and get away with it….great game plan…to beat a vastly superior team….by three points….and be remembered for perpetuity as cheaters….way to go Patriots….hip hip hooray!!!!! By the way….tough, physical football can be played legally….within the rules…the way it should be!!!

  14. “duh”, your name is very apt; you either don’t know that the rules of the game are SUPPOSED to be enforced by the officials, or you have just taken a few too many shots to the head. You’re right, the Rams did get punched by a bully that damn well should have been called out for it on too many plays to list (and as is rightly said above by Steve Nielsen, only ONE of those infractions – IF called correctly – would have won the game for the horns.). Keep spouting the NFL party line horsesh*t that the Pats played the Rams tough and the Rams couldn’t handle it; the evidence is right there on film, clear as day. Amazing that people like you can look right at it and still claim it never happened. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt…

  15. And BTW, for Troy – you are FAR to lenient on NE in your article. Belicheat coached the Patriots to play dirty and that’s exactly what they did, and the refs quite simply let them get away with it.

  16. I just saw the winning drive on espn and noticed two huge mistakes.
    First, I believe on 2nd down with about :40 left in game, the Rams blitz Brady and he throws it away, still in pocket with no receiver even close. The whole Rams sideline jumps up and you can tell that they are yelling for intentional grounding which was never called. That would’ve pushed the Patridiots back another 15yds and it would’ve been 4th down.

    Second, after Vinatieri makes the winning field goal, there clearly is 2 seconds left ontogeny clock (I replayed it twice and the ball is clearly dead). They let the 2 seconds tick away and game over, complete bull. What’s just as bad is the announcers say nothing about either screw up.

    I don’t care whether you’re a Rams, Patriots or just an NFL fan in general, I’m pretty damn positive that everyone wants a fair game and the best team wins without cheating and/or favoritism.

  17. ……just bad bad bad and bad……the horrible officiating will forever cheapen the Patriot win over the far superior Ram team…..I too will never get over that game….I’m certain Marshall Faulk still to this day has marks on his body from the Patriots holding him on every play….I still get sick to my stomach when I think about it…I’m gonna throw up now…

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