Originally written on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 11/5/14

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 7: Head coach John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens yells at referee Walt Anderson #66 against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 7, 2009 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Ravens 27-17. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, Ravens coach John Harbaugh spoke about the cheating culture of the NFL during a radio appearance. With the Saints having recently been roasted for running a bounty program, the topic is still fresh on everyone’s minds. Naturally, you can’t talk about cheating in football without bringing up Spygate. Despite the fact that Harbaugh and Bill Belichick are relatively close, the Ravens coach decided to remind listeners that the Patriots’ Super Bowl rings have baggage attached to them.

“You know, the funny thing about that is in the end everything is brought before the light of day,” Harbaugh said during an interview with 98 Rock in Baltimore. “Even the thing in New England — no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they’ve got asterisks now. They’ve been stained. So to me it’s never worth it. Yeah, you’ve got to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage and figure out ways to make the most of everything. …

“That’s what success is in this world. You’ve got to find ways to do things better than somebody else. But if you’re cheating, in the end you’re going to get discredited. It’s just not worth it.”

Some will say Harbaugh is simply stating a fact about the way Belichick’s legacy is viewed while others will argue that he is taking a shot at an AFC rival. As Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network pointed out, Belichick called Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to recommend Harbaugh back when Baltimore hired him.

When pressed about it, Harbaugh will likely say he was simply speaking the truth about how people like this former receiver feel rather than trying to downplay what the Patriots have done. The interesting thing is that the discussion was clearly brought up in the wake of Bountygate, and Harbaugh chose to talk about how the Patriots’ Super Bowls are “stained” rather than the Saints’ championship in 2009. Whatever the case, we should all start preparing ourselves for extensive coverage of “the handshake” when Baltimore and New England square off next season.

Photo credit: Stew Milne-US PRESSWIRE

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