Jon Hamm: Patriots 'cheated' against Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI


Mad Men star and noted St. Louis sports fan Jon Hamm appears to still be mad -- about the famed Super Bowl that kicked off the Patriots dynasty and launched Tom Brady's legendary career.

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The veteran actor took a cheap shot at the Patriots during his appearance on ESPN's Manningcast in the fourth quarter of the Rams-49ers game on Monday Night Football.

According to Hamm, the Kurt Warner-era St. Louis Rams would have won a second championship, in Super Bowl XXXVI, if the officials hadn't "allowed" the Patriots "to cheat" by declining to call defensive holding on New England's secondary in their matchup against St. Louis' speedy receiver corps in February 2002.

"I was a big believer in The Greatest Show on Turf, when all that went on, and if the New England Patriots hadn't been allowed to cheat in the Super Bowl in 2000, that would have been another ring we could have had. But, now they've decided to call defensive holding, so here we are."

The Patriots were heavy underdogs in Super Bowl XXXVI, in what was supposed to be a mismatch against an offensive juggernaut. The Rams did indeed outgain the Patriots by a wide margin in the game, but three St. Louis turnovers also proved costly.

One theory as to how the Patriots pulled off the upset was that their notoriously physical defensive backs were especially handsy against the Rams' dangerous wide receivers, led by Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

The Peyton Manning-era Indianapolis Colts later went public with a similar complaint against the Patriots, eventually leading to a leaguewide crackdown on downfield contact, which colloquially became known as the "Ty Law Rule."

Another allegation, which Hamm didn't mention, was that the Patriots had taped the Rams' practices in the days leading up to the big game. The Boston Herald retracted a report indicating as much, but several Rams players, including running back Marshall Faulk, maintained that it was true.

In any event, it seems Hamm hasn't gotten over the sting of defeat two decades later, even after the Rams have relocated to Los Angeles.

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