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Former San Francisco 49ers/Oakland Raiders wide receiver and Hall-of-Famer, Jerry Rice, admitted the day before the AFC Championship game between the Patriots and Colts that he used to use illegal substances on his gloves.

This is the same guy that said after Deflategate ran rampant, that if the Patriots won the Super Bowl, it should come with an asterisk.

SERIOUSLY?!

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, some of his readers had been emailing this video that contains Rice admitting he cheated. In speaking to Jim Rome, Rice said the following:

“I know this might be a little illegal, guys, but you put a little spray, a little stickum on them, to make sure that texture is a little sticky,” Rice said, laughing.

Florio then offered his take:

It wasn’t a little illegal, it was a lot illegal. As explained in the ESPN feature, gloves were introduced to football after the NFL decided to outlaw the stuff that guys like Fred Biletnikoff and Lester Hayes (pictured) would spread copiously on their hands, and elsewhere. Rice admitted in the feature that he enhanced the surface of gloves approved for use in the NFL with a substance that would make it easier to catch the ball.

An overwhelming thought by fans and media is that the Patriots have been good enough throughout the years that they didn't need to cheat to win. That was never more obvious than this season. Whether or not there was any wrongdoing with any footballs, the Patriots still would have beaten the Colts handily. No one is disputing that, but of course, that isn't the issue at hand.

That's the same thought I have with Rice, and most people probably have as well - he was good enough at what he did that he never needed to cheat.

Here's what Rice said on Deflategate:

I’m going to be point blank, I feel like it’s cheating,” Rice told Rome on January 22. “Because you have an edge up on your opponent and its unfortunate that it happened. I’m not saying the outcome of the game would have been different or anything like that because they got beat 45-7, but they still had an edge.”

In that same interview, Rice added, “I’ve played in cold weather, I know how hard the football is and you can grip the leather [if deflated] just a little bit better.”

Let's backtrack to Spygate for a second.

Bill Belichick has admitted to Spygate, and said it never truly gave them an advantage. Do with that what you will. At the end of the day, though, the players still have to go out and make the plays. Also, didn't Super Bowl-winning coaches Jimmy Johnson and Bill Cowher come out and say they did the same thing? Where was the outcry there? The Steelers and Cowboys also have had massive runs of success, but it seems like whatever they did to gain an advantage went by the wayside.

Throughout this entire run of success, the only game I could see Spygate helping the Patriots was in Super Bowl XXXVI against the Rams only because New England was a 14-point underdog. There was speculation that the Patriots taped the Rams walk-through before that game, but former video tape operator Matt Walsh, who claimed to have evidence that would damage the reputation of the franchise, admitted he lied and that it never happened.

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What's more, if the Patriots were taping signals in a Super Bowl, I would have to think someone would have ratted them out for it. Marshall Faulk claims that he knows things about that game that would destroy the Patriots' credibility, but hasn't come out with anything yet and keeps saying that one day he will. That game happened 13 years ago. What are you waiting for?

Still, there are a ton of people out there who refuse to believe anything that goes in favor of the Patriots simply because of how successful they've been. It seems that Rice is one of those people.

Look, I get it. The Patriots are universally more hated than the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, they are the new Dallas Cowboys. Other than the 49ers, who won five rings in 13 years, no one has sustained success as long as the Patriots have. People are naturally going to get sick of seeing them in big games all the time. It's the way Red Sox fans felt, and still do feel about the Yankees, the way hockey fans feel about the Pittsburgh Penguins, the way basketball fans felt about the Lakers or whatever team LeBron James is playing for.

Are the Patriots cheaters? By rule, yes they are. But what we don't know, and never will know, is how long this went on for. Were they taping signals for more than just a game against the Jets that they would have won anyway? Probably. Were they deflating footballs for a while as well? I highly doubt it.

But now, how can any rational football fan take his opinion seriously now after this admission? This also moves the "all teams looked for some kind of competitive advantage at one point, not just the Patriots" argument further into the spotlight. Does anyone talk about the 49ers messing with the salary cap? How about the Broncos taping signals and getting less than a slap on the wrist for it in 2010?

No.

Why? Because the Patriots are the modern-day dynasty, and they were well into their run when all of this cheating stuff first occurred.

This proves that cheating in the NFL goes far beyond what the Patriots have done. Whether or not people want to acknowledge that is up to them. So to the massive population of people who think the Patriots are the only ones in the world who have done something to gain an advantage, get over it. Your team bends the rules too, whether you know it or not.

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Deflate that.

Follow me on Twitter - @JesseGaunce

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Jesse Gaunce 2/06/2015 11:13:00 AM Edit
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