References to the "S-word" really don't irritate the Patriots, because Spygate or not, New England keeps winning.
As the Patriots attempt to make the Super Bowl for the sixth time in 12 seasons, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo became the latest player to discredit the Patriots with tweets last Sunday that touched on Spygate. Although Ayanbadejo subsequently apologized, he's unlikely the last critic to make such a dig. "For me, honestly, no, it doesn't matter," New England quarterback Tom Brady said. "By this time, we've heard it all."
And they keep beating people in the process.
This year marks the sixth season since the scandal broke following the 2007 season opener, putting the incident in the midpoint of New England's long run of high-end play. Since the start of the '07 season, New England has gone 76-20 in the regular season. In the six seasons before the scandal, the Patriots are 70-26.
Critics will point to the lack of championships since the incident: New England won three Super Bowls prior to 2007, winning their first 10 postseason games under Brady and coach Bill Belichick, and was 12-2 in the postseason. Since then, they're just 5-4 in the postseason heading into Sunday's AFC championship game against the Ravens. However, they have come about as close as humanly possible to capturing a fourth title. It took a miracle catch by David Tyree in Super Bowl XLII and a spectacular two-minute drive last season to prevent them from winning two more titles.