Marshall Faulk is on my list of top ten running backs of the last thirty years. He has won two MVPs. He has a Super Bowl ring. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
So why is he so bitter about something that happened over a decade ago?
In an interview on WEEI on "The Mut & Merloni Show" from Radio Row at the Super Bowl, Faulk was feisty from the git-go.
He started by recounting a story about a conversation he had with then-Patriots head coach Bill Parcells prior to the 1994 NFL draft. Parcells looked at the diminuitive Marshall Faulk and questioned if he could carry the ball 10-15 times per game. Faulk says he replied that he could carry the ball 10-15 times in the first half if the coach wanted. Parcells shot back with, "Well, I don't think you can."
Sounds like that may have been the first salvo.
The obvious thorn in Faulk's side is Spygate. He, obviously, feels he was denied a second Super Bowl ring because the Patriots did something unfair, circa 2001. "In the NFL, you don't get fined for nothing-- alright," Faulk said, referring to Belichick being fined $500,000 for his indiscretions.
Faulk continued, "At anything you do, if you find out somebody cheated you in any little way, and you're OK with it, then you're not a competitor. I'm a competitor."
Faulk went on to ask his Boston radio hosts, "The question is how did they become a championship team?" He egged on co-hosts Mike Mutnansky and Lou Merloni further, "Ever since they got fined and, 'OK, we're not doing that anymore,' they won how many Super Bowls?"
When Merloni mentioned the Patriots had "great" defenses back then, Faulk pounced, "Tell me the 'great' players (they had). I wanna hear."
The insinuation was that videotaping and cheating gave an average-to-very-good team the edge it needed to win a championship. The Patriots were good under Pete Carroll in the late 1990's, but became champions under Belichick.
The Patriots had no right to beat the almighty Rams, the "Greatest Show on Turf," in 2001. When they did, there had to be some mischief going on. There could be no other explanation. Or so Faulk thinks, and, surely, so do many of his teammates and coaches from that team.
According to Mutnansky, the discussion continued off the air. Faulk continued to sit with the hosts and argue his points, apparently, in no hurry to continue on to his next interview on Radio Row.
Faulk needs to get over it. Bill Cowher, the former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach, has gotten over it. Cowher, just last month in a radio interview on 93.7 The Fan, said, "We didn't lose the game [2004 AFC Championship Game] because of any 'Spygate.'" Cowher continued, "[If} they're guilty of anything they're guilty of arrogance because they were told to not to do something, but it was something [stealing signals] everybody does. They got caught doing it with a camera."
Everybody was doing it. Got that, Marshall? Your own team was probably doing it back in 2001. Or maybe your team didn't think they had to because they could just coast to victory.
Even though the Patriots haven't won a Super Bowl since the Patriots were punished for Spygate, I don't think you can dispute their success. In fact, the Patriots didn't lose a single regular season game the year Spygate was exposed. They went to the Super Bowl after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. It took a miracle catch for them to lose in 2007 and a Wes Welker drop (Tom Brady bad pass?) for them to lose in 2011. Videotaping would have been no factor.
I can understand Faulk's "competitor" comment. It hurts to lose. It, especially, hurts to lose when you probably went into the game a little overconfident. The Rams were 14-point favorites going into that Super Bowl.
The Patriots were just better that day. The Rams would have beaten the Patriots at least eight times if they would have played ten times indoors and on turf in 2001. They just didn't win that day.
Faulk has accomplished a lot in his life and career. Be happy and move on. There is still a lot of life to live.