The Patriots 20-17 victory over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI was the first of three titles for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in New England.
Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard game-winning field goal denied Kurt Warner and the Rams a second Super Bowl title in three seasons.
On the heels of Deflategate and Spygate, Warner said Tuesday that he now has at least a little shred of doubt as to whether the Patriots win to cap the 2001-02 season was all on the up-and up.
In an interview with Dave Mahler of Sports Radio 950 KJR at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day on Tuesday, Warner said he now has to wonder whether the Patriots may have used an unfair edge to their advantage to earn that first Super Bowl.
“I don’t want to believe that there was anything outside of his team beat our team,” Warner said in regards to his reaction to Deflategate. “That’s what I want to believe. Yeah, there’s a sliver of a doubt because I think, as a human, you can’t help it. To know that if you were a part of that process at that time, was there any advantage they gained in any game, not just our Super Bowl game, but maybe a game before that to get to the Super Bowl? I mean, all those things enter your mind.
“It’s not because I’m bitter. It’s not because I say they cheated, because I have no idea, but it adds a sliver of doubt that I think is unfair to everybody. It’s unfair to them and their legacy. It’s unfair to me and my legacy because I don’t want to have to wonder, well did they beat me fair and square or was there something extra? And that’s the unfortunate part that I don’t think you’ll ever get over because you know something was done outside the rules. I don’t know how it helped them. I don’t know if it gave them an advantage on one play – that turned into an interception or a touchdown – or it gave them no advantage. I don’t know.
“I don’t want to talk about it. I want to know that I got beat fair and square. That’s the spirit of fair competition. That’s what I believe every time I step between the lines is that I’ve got to beat that guy across from me. And if I’m better, I will do that. If I’m not, I won’t. But now when you add other things to the mix, now all it does is give you a little bit of a doubt. That’s what I’m saying. It’s unfair I don’t look at it that way because I try to fight against it because we’re never going to know, but it’s unfortunate that I even have to consider it.”