Who's sorry now, sort of?
"Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players," Belichick said. "Following the league's decision, I will have further comment."
Also at stake is the legacy of the NFL's latest dynasty, one that memorably rejected individual on-field introductions before its first victory, instead "choosing to be introduced as a team." Stressing individual discipline and salary cap selflessness in a league where they tend to be in short supply, the Patriots won three NFL titles in four years and held themselves up as a model organization.
Now, they're being accused of cheating. "That's not going to tarnish this team," running back Kevin Faulk said. "We know what we do and how hard we work."