John Harbaugh. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
By Robert Klemko, USA TODAY
Ravens coach John Harbaugh was talking charity work in a fun interview with Baltimore's 98 Rock radio on Tuesday morning, but ended up laying down some serious assertions about the NFL and those who break its rules.
Asked if he would ever consider bending the rules to get ahead, Harbaugh said no, adding that the accomplishments of the Patriots and Saints during 'Spygate' and 'Bountygate' have been stained by the violations.
"In the end, everything is brought before the light of day, when it's all said and done," Harbaugh said. "What happens, even the thing in New England, no matter whether those things had any impact on whether they won their championships or not, they got asterisks now. It's been stained."
The Patriots were punished for taping the opposing defensive signals of Jets defensive coaches in 2007, the season they won the AFC title and lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl. The Saints, whom Harbaugh's interviewer referenced, are being punished for the payment of non-contract bonuses to players for harming opposing players during a three-year period in which they won the Super Bowl.
Harbaugh said in January he respects Belichick, who recommended him for the Ravens job. "I just respect Bill Belichick as a coach and man, I really do," Harbaugh told reporters before the Patriots and the Ravens met in the 2011 AFC Championship. "He's the greatest coach in our league right now, and that's proven. That's why you get so excited to play against him as a coach."
Still, Harbaugh tells the radio station that cheaters end up getting discredited.
"To me, it's never worth it," Harbaugh said. "You have to figure out ways to use the rules to your advantage, you have to figure out ways to make the most of everything. We have new work rules here as far as what we can do and what we can't do with our players, and we're going to make the most of it. What we're finding is, 'Man, maybe we can do some things even better than we did before, because these rules make us focus more on some things that we didn't focus on before. You just have to make them work for you. That's what success is in the world. You have to find a way to do things better than somebody else. But if you're cheating, in the end, you're going to get discredited. It's not worth it."