There is no denying the affect of the underdog mentality in football. We as Ravens fans have experienced this first hand with the team's two Super Bowls coming off the backs of being denied throughout the season. With the Patriots facing stiff penalty for cheating, it should come as no surprise if the Patriots are actually able to be better off at the end of the year for it.
It's sad to think about, but a lot of the players in the NFL come from broken or dysfunctional homes. From bad cities to worse neighborhoods, the National Football League is littered with ex-gang members and young men that could have turned to crime if it weren't for their desire to be better than everyone else around them. Even for the players that never make it big, they were the ones juking kids in their neighborhood and performing better than all the rest on their high school teams. That attitude was born from talented kids facing an uphill battle to just get out of poverty, much less make it to the biggest stage in the world.
That same attitude is surely what the players for New England are feeling right now. Despite the cheating and the frequent bending or breaking of rules, those men undoubtedly feel wronged in some fashion. They, along with the New England fan base, feel that the punishment was unjust and that the league is out to get them. You can be sure that head coach Bill Belichick will use this as motivation for his players and staff members.
That's why the Patriots could very well be the most dangerous team in the NFL come the regular season and playoffs. That fire; that chip on their shoulder could very well serve as the extra needed motivation to prove the NFL and fans wrong about them as they look to repeat in the face of intense scrutiny and missing their best player. I'd certainly hate to face them in week one like the Steelers have to do, even without Brady suiting up. In primetime, the Patriots will look to send a message to the NFL and the rest of the teams that they are very bitter about the punishment and the talk about them.
Cheating might be a bad color on the Patriots, but it will absolutely fire them up now that it's over.