IRVING, Texas (AP) -Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips insisted Friday that he never said that New England's three Super Bowl championships were tainted.
Two days before the already much-hyped matchup of 5-0 teams, when the Patriots play in Dallas, Phillips denied making such comments after New England coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team lost a draft pick for videotaping an opposing sideline this season.
``I think it's ludicrous to demean a team, an organization that has done a great job and won all those games, and deserved every bit of it,'' Phillips said. ``They won all those championships. They deserve every bit of what they got.''
On HBO's ``Inside the NFL'' program this week, Peter King claimed in a discussion about the Patriots that Phillips suggested to King that their three Super Bowl titles in four seasons were tainted because of the spying allegations.
``The league, the Patriots, everybody, they just want this spygate thing to go away,'' King said. ``But Wade Phillips this week told me something that I think a lot of coaches around the league and a lot of people around the league are still thinking, and that is, 'Hey, New England was caught cheating and it is a black mark on their success.'''
Phillips acknowledged talking to King, but insisted that isn't what he said - or even inferred - during their conversation.
``To quote me as saying black mark, that's an Eastern term. That's a Connecticut term,'' Phillips said. ``I might use smudge or something like that from Texas. ... I'm sure he misconstrued what I said.''
Phillips, the folksy coach and Texas native, said he doesn't think the alleged comments would have any impact on Sunday's game.
``I don't think Wade did anything. He's a pretty trustworthy guy,'' Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said.
``That's not the character of our coach. I'm sure he didn't do anything like that,'' linebacker Bradie James said. ``It really doesn't matter. We're about 48 hours away from playing a pretty big in-season game, so that really doesn't matter.''
The Patriots were fined $250,000 for allegedly recording defensive signals relayed to opposing players on the field. New England also must forfeit a first-round draft pick next year if it makes the playoffs, or a second- and third-rounder if it doesn't.
A video camera aimed at New York Jets coaches was confiscated from a Patriots employee during the first quarter of the team's 38-14 win Sept. 9 over New York. Jets coach Eric Mangini is the Patriots former defensive coordinator.
``If you're cheating and you get caught, something is tainted,'' Cowboys defensive end Marcus Spears said. ``It has an asterisk by it.''
Spears then mentioned Marion Jones, who returned five Olympic medals after admitting she used performance-enhancing drugs. So should the Patriots have to give up their Super Bowl trophies?
``No, because I didn't know if they were cheating before they won the Super Bowl. They got caught after they won the Super Bowl,'' Spears said. ``It's not cheating if you don't get caught. ... When you get caught, say you're sorry, take your punishment and move on.''
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