- DJ Gallo, ESPN.com
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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has said that the Patriots' Super Bowl titles from seven-plus years ago have "asterisks" and are "stained." This has riled up a lot of folks because everyone else in the country had tired of saying this exact thing about four years ago.
But the Patriots are not the only team whose titles deserve an asterisk. We can put one beside the name of every Super Bowl winner from the past decade.
2010: *New Orleans Saints -- This is a pretty obvious one. No need to elaborate. Double asterisk!
2009: *Pittsburgh Steelers -- Were Santonio Holmes' feet really in? How can you be positive? And don't forget Holmes' catch wasn't the last play of the game. The Cardinals got the ball back and had one last shot, but Kurt Warner was strip-sacked by LaMarr Woodley -- but we've all seen plays like that ruled to be incomplete passes. Suspicious! Asterisk!
2008: *New York Giants - The iconic play of New York's upset over the 18-0-1 Giants is Eli Manning's scrambling pass to David Tyree's helmet. But watch that play again. There is holding all over the pocket. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. The Giants may also have been given nefarious help with the clock. Really. This totally-not-sad-in-any-way Patriots fan has an 8 minute, 40 second video revealing the truth. OPEN YOUR EYES, PEOPLE!
2007: *Indianapolis Colts - The Colts got to the Super Bowl by beating their long-time nemesis, the Patriots, in the AFC Championship Game. But did they really beat them? The league later admitted it blew a call in the 2007 AFC Championship Game that went against New England. Here are all the details from a blog dedicated to the Patriots, whose fans, to their credit, are always on the lookout for NFL cheating. (Just maybe not cheating conducted between 2001 and 2005).
2006: *Pittsburgh Steelers - As most anyone in the state of Washington will tell you, there was an NFL plot at the highest levels to hand Super Bowl XL to the big-market Steelers. The conspiracy was so far-reaching and evil that it even prevented the Seahawks from making a single big play in the game on the way to a 21-10 "loss." Obvious conspiracy aside, the Steelers may not have even made it out of the wild-card round if not for Kimo von Oelhoffen's hit to Carson Palmer's knees ... a hit that only after that became illegal. Dum-dum-dummmmmm. Conspiracy! Asterisk!
2005: *New England Patriots - Cheaters!
2004: *New England Patriots - More cheating!
2003: *Tampa Bay Buccaneers - If the Steelers' winning Super Bowl XL was a conspiracy, Super Bowl XXXVII was an even more obvious case. Getting to play the Oakland Raiders, coached by Bill Callahan? In the SUPER BOWL? Only a league intent on getting the long-suffering Buccaneers their first championship would allow that to happen. This whole season was rigged more than any pro wrestling match ever.
2002: *New England Patriots - The original cheating! Also: the Tuck Rule. Let's just tattoo a big asterisk on the forehead of every Patriots player.
2001: *Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens had one of the worst offenses in NFL history during the 2000 season. The only reason they even made the playoffs was because of Ray Lewis and the defense. If Roger Goodell had been commissioner back then, Lewis would have been suspended for the entire season and the Ravens would have gone about 4-12. It's about time we asterisk Baltimore's lone Super Bowl title. No doubt John Harbaugh would agree on this.