The New England Patriots have been a huge threat in the National Football League since their surprise upset victory over the St. Louis Rams at Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.

Names like Kevin Faulk, Adam Vinatieri and, of course, Tom Brady became instant superstars in the NFL.

They went on to win to more Super Bowl championships in 2004 and 2005. The Patriots had officially become a dynasty.

Every single year, when football season arrives, New England has become the first team on people's minds when asking who is probably the favorite to win it all.

During the NFL Draft earlier this year, the Patriots made big news when they signed outspoken wide receiver Randy Moss to the team.

As soon as that announcement was made, I had already placed an order for a New England Patriots Super Bowl XLII championship T-shirt, as did most other people.

So here we are at week one of the regular season last week, and the Patriots faced the New York Jets.

Obviously, the Jets were much improved last year, but New England was a heavy favorite to win. The Patriots went on to beat them 38-14. Brady had a ho-hum game throwing 22 completions out of 29 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, and Moss had a not-so-exciting debut receiving for 183 yards and one touchdown reception.

All sarcasm aside, New England looked like the championship caliber team that everybody is expecting them to be.

All was right with the world as the Patriots went on their merry way along with the cameraman who was spying on the Jets. Wait… What?

I'm sure the Jets were dumbfounded when security caught that man spying on them to get plays for New England.

This scandal has become a huge issue, not just in the NFL, but also in sports in general. The Patriots were caught cheating. That's right. Those beloved Patriots were accused of stealing signals from New York's sideline after cameraman Matt Estrella was found videotaping them.

The dynasty got a black eye. In fact, this is one of those black eyes where the swelling goes down slowly.

What got to me about this whole situation is if this has gone on longer than just that one game.

Could it be that the Patriots had possibly been doing this since they won their first Super Bowl?

Have we, the football fans, been had this whole time?

It's questions like those that swirled around my brain over the last week.

In all honesty, I sure hope not.

New England's team is not the kind of team that produces a bad reputation within the league, and besides that it's the Patriots.

Why in the world would a team so stacked with immense talent want to cheat?

If it were a team like the Oakland Raiders, I would understand. That team needs all the help that team can get.

Throughout last week, many fans were wondering what kind of punishment New Engaland head coach Bill Belichick would receive.

When it had been announced last Thursday that he was fined $500,000 for his actions, my jaw not only hit the floor, but it dropped below the Earth's surface.

There are players on the bench that don't even make that much per year.

Do you know what $500,000 could get you? That's a lot of video cameras.

In addition to his fine, the team was also fined $250,000 and has to forego its first round draft picks if the team makes the playoffs and their second- and third-round picks if they don't.

Belichick has apologized for his mistake, and I am really hoping that it is the only one he has made.

Although the fine was monumental to say the least, I thought it would have been fair to either give New York the win or suspend him for a game or two.

Nevertheless, the Patriots look like they have overcome their drama from that tumultuous week.

New England went out there to prove a point in their second game Sunday night and beat the San Diego Chargers in their home opener.

This is a winning team, and they are still a threat to win the Super Bowl this year.

I just don't understand why the camera incident happened in the first place. What was Belichick thinking? Seriously, I'm going to be scratching my head on this situation for a while. I actually feel for that guy. He had the same look I had when I got caught cheating at school my first time.

He has apologized, he has been punished, and now a dark cloud will be hovering over him.

I'm expecting the cameraman jokes to linger on for the entire season, and I'm sure that's fine with the Patriots.

Although it seems like the incident against the Jets is behind them, they do have to face them again on Dec. 16 and I'm sure New York will try to get its revenge. They have to feel bitter about that loss, and they deserve to be.

Cheating is unacceptable, and it's a mistake that can be fixed. It wasn't like they were holding a dog-fighting ring or they attempted to kill somebody, it was cheating.

I hope New England ends up going to the playoffs, and it would be sweet redemption if they win it all this year.