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Shula says earlier criticism of Patriots was ill-advised

MIAMI -- Don Shula revisited Spygate on Friday, saying his
earlier criticism of the New England Patriots was ill-advised.

"I'm probably not the guy that should have said it," he said.

Shula coached the 1972 Miami Dolphins to the NFL's only perfect
season. New England will finish 19-0 if it beats the New York
Giants in the Super Bowl.

In November, Shula said the Patriots' success was diminished by
the spying scandal that prompted stiff punishment from the NFL
early in the season. On Friday, he acknowledged that because the
Patriots threaten to match his team's perfect-season achievement,
his comments could be interpreted as sour grapes.

"I think a lot of people, when I said it, perceived it as
helping yourself," Shula said.

Following the Patriots' season opener, the NFL determined New
England used a video camera to spy on opposing coaches and steal
signals. Commissioner Roger Goodell fined coach Bill Belichick
$500,000 and docked the team $250,000 and a first-round draft pick
in 2008.

"As I mentioned, I didn't fine them," Shula said. "I didn't
take away the draft choice. I wasn't the one that coined the term
'Spygate.' All those things happened, and all I did was refer to
them.

"Somebody else probably should have done it instead of me,
because people thought it was self-serving when I did it."

Mercury Morris, a 1,000-yard rusher for the 1972 Dolphins, said
Spygate doesn't taint the Patriots' accomplishments.

"It was one game. It happened. I don't think their season
should be defined out of that mishap," Morris said. "They soon
realized they're so good, they didn't have to have that small
advantage they tried to get. In hindsight, I'm sure they wish they
hadn't done that."