Earlier this week, Jerry Rice joined the masses in talking about the edge the Patriots might have gotten from deflating footballs. In an interview on the Jim Rome Show, Rice said he felt like it was cheating, and the Super Bowl win deserved an asterisk:
I'm going to be point blank, I feel like it's cheating ... 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.
Charles Haley brought up the issue as well, and in discussing that, I said, "[i]f you get caught, you're bringing it on yourself, but it's hard for me to get too fussy about whether or not the Patriots cheated in a league where it is win at all costs."
Welp, looks like we have our first specific example of why people shouldn't be throwing too many stones. A couple weeks ago, Jerry Rice was part of Jim Trotter's look at the evolution of NFL gloves for wide receivers. In the video, they discuss the use of stickum, and at the 1:13 mark, Rice says, "I know this might be a little illegal guys, I just put a little spray, a little stickum on 'em, to make sure that texture is a little sticky."
Rice was talking about the occasional use of stickum in the context of the old gloves they started using that were not particularly good. Gloves today include much better grip, but it seems like use of stickum back in the day was up there with the spit ball in baseball. It was illegal, but it was often sort of a nudge-nudge, wink-wink type of deal. You'd get in trouble if you were caught, but it seemed like it was not overly difficult to get away with it.
The point of all this is once again that this is a win at all cost league. Cheating is not a good thing, but players calling out other players for cheating is often going to end up being at least a little bit hypocritical. I get that often we have former athletes talking because they can't help themselves, but more often than not it seems like they'll just sort of step in "it" unintentionally.