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Thread: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Like Btown said, there's more to it than that little ESPN blurb, pacertom. I actually saw what Shade said reported somewhere. Don't remember where though.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Since 86,

    Give Manning the receivers, other teammates, and coaching philosophies that Brady has had and I think that he has Brady's rings and probably Brady's numbers.

    Give Brady the receivers, other teammates, and coaching philosophies that Manning has had and I think that he has Manning's ring and probably Manning's numbers.

    What is clear is that they are at the very top, and to quibble about the size of the gap between then is pretty pointless and would only reflect the bias of the person doing the quibbling.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Brady wouldn't be able to do the job that Peyton does at the line of scrimmage. Peyton is pretty much the offensive coordinator on the field. He's not given a play, and the option to audible out of it. He's given multiple plays to choose from and then the option of audible to something else.

    Peyton Manning has the most responsiblities of any football player in the entire league. You couldn't just throw another QB in the Colts system and expect the same results. There's a reason why Peter King routinely touts him as the smartest player in the league.

    EDIT: There won't be an argument in 10yrs. Peyton will go down as the best QB ever. He'll 90% of the passing records, and he won't have that Dan Marino schtick of never winning a ring.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Products of the system
    By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
    September 11, 2007


    The National Football League's greatest rogue philosopher offered the most succinct and enduring mission statement about the league and the game of football.

    "Just win, baby," Oakland Raiders managing partner Al Davis always says, cutting to the chase like no one else.

    There is no honor in the NFL. This is our most violent game, a cut-throat, all-out, win-at-all-costs sport where cheating – be it holding on the line, bumping in the secondary, or injecting a drug in the corner of a weight room – is, if not applauded, at the very least accepted.

    Each sport has a culture and what people raise hell about in baseball, golf or basketball is mostly shrugged off in the NFL. That this is far and away our most popular sporting pursuit – the new national pastime – says as much about America as it does about the league's morals.

    So what to make of the NFL's present-day coaching deity, Bill Belichick, the one who has won three of the last six Super Bowls but now is embroiled in a cheating scandal?

    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has "determined" that a New England Patriots employee videotaped the New York Jets defensive signals in a 38-14 victory Sunday, according to ESPN. The commissioner awaits the Pats' defense later this week.

    So is Belichick the greatest Machiavellian mind in this ruthless game, one who just happened to get caught this time? Or is he just a lout and a cheat?

    Is he an NFL problem or is he the NFL; a byproduct of a business where a coach that doesn't seek every last advantage is doomed to fail, like an honest politician?

    "I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying,' " said San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

    Here's the thing with Belichick: this charge fits perfectly with everything we know about him on and off the field. He's no angel, a lifetime of drama that ranged from backing out of contracts, feuding with mentors (Bill Parcells) and protégés (Eric Mangini) alike and even giving the tabloids plenty of fodder for his, ah, extracurricular behavior, if you will.

    But it also fits with everything we know about the NFL. Don't coaches hide their mouths when they speak, use multiple sideline signalers and guard playbooks with their lives? Wouldn't they sell their soul to know what an opponent is thinking?

    "Really, it's nothing new," said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin about signal stealing. "When you see offensive coordinators covering their mouth – and that's been going on a long time – that's one of the reasons why that's done.

    "You hear rumors of things of that nature," Tomlin said, noting it often comes from the "New England family." "In terms of confirming it, it's never been confirmed in any instance to my knowledge. But usually where there is smoke, there's fire. Those rumors are founded on something. So it's not totally shocking, no."

    Not shocking, perhaps. But embarrassing? Absolutely. The Green Bay Packers claim they caught a Patriots employee videotaping their signals a year ago and complained to the NFL.

    If New England's defense is as feeble as expected, then the franchise should be punished. The rules are the rules, no matter how often they are broken; no matter the base culture.

    Goodell should take a draft pick or even suspend Belichick, who's iron-fisted leadership means no employee would dare try this without his knowledge. Stealing signals via the human eye is one thing. Having an employee use a video camera speaks to an operation that is both brazen and premeditated.

    It also shows the depths these coaches will go for a competitive edge. When properly executed, the advantage would be considerable. But in this instance, the risk/reward variable seems painfully small since the Patriots are more than capable of whippin' the Jets all on their own.

    Perhaps that's just football. Whether Belichick is actually worse (or better) than any other coach in the league is difficult to determine. All of these coaches are nuts. To be an NFL coach is to work endless 100-hour weeks, sleep in your office and go bleary-eyed looking for the slightest flaw in an opponents’ Tampa 2. Then you wind up losing because a kicker goes wide right.

    They sacrifice everything in their lives in pursuit of victories. The casualties are easy to see: health, marriage, children, sanity. It's why NFL football coaches, despite being multimillionaires, are perhaps the single most miserable group of people you'll ever know.

    If you are willing to virtually abandon your wife and kids to win a game, what won't you do?

    The NFL isn't alone here. Cheating is everywhere. And it can be confusing, each sport has a different culture. In golf, you can't improve your lie an inch, yet in soccer flopping is considered a skill. In baseball, cheating pitchers are colorful but corked-bat hitters are condemned. In NASCAR, a crew chief that isn't pushing the legal limits of engineering isn't doing his job. College sports is often hailed for its "purity," yet illegal recruiting is so prevalent former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian once surmised, "Nine out of 10 teams are cheating, the other is in last place."

    So why expect anything less in the NFL? Fans want victories and nothing else. There are no illusions of purity here. They'll gladly cheer for players who can range from miscreant to felon. The players themselves will vote peers who have been busted taking performance enhancing drugs into the Pro Bowl.

    Nobody cares. Nothing matters. If you're not cheating, you're not trying. Just win, baby.

    That's the NFL. And that is the world that would lead someone such as Bill Belichick, someone with so much to lose, to insanely risk his reputation on the long shot that a small advantage might provide just one more victory he probably would have gotten anyway.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Wetzel comes across as a Patriot apologist . He implies that the Patriots are part of a culture in the NFL where cheating is expected, but they just happened to get caught in the cookie jar. Belichik? Ah, no choirboy, but who is? C'est las vie. I hope a suspension of him personally is part of the punishment.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    Where did you get that from the espn blurb mentioning "radio frequency issues" during the game.

    That seems to be a huge leap, to assume from that little tidbit that they were actually intercepting coach-QB communications.

    Since your inherent assumption is that the Patriots are pure evil, I guess it is not surprising, but I would have expected that since the Brady/Manning championship ring ratio decreased dramatically from infinity to 3 that there would not be such open hatred anymore.
    I saw discussion of it on a board somewhere (think it was a Pats board, but don't recall for certain).

    And winning a ring doesn't make me dislike a team any less, as long as I have legitimate reasons to dislike that team.

    If the Pacers won the championship, I wouldn't dislike the Pistons or Lakers or Knicks any less.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    word is they're not going to lose any worse than a 3rd rounder.

    Lame.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    Since 86,

    Give Manning the receivers, other teammates, and coaching philosophies that Brady has had and I think that he has Brady's rings and probably Brady's numbers.

    Give Brady the receivers, other teammates, and coaching philosophies that Manning has had and I think that he has Manning's ring and probably Manning's numbers.
    No way. Don't get me wrong, I think Brady is a great QB, but I don't think he's capable of throwing 49 TDs in season. You plug him into that 2004 season, and there's no way he does what Peyton did. Similarly, Peyton's lowest TDs in a season are within 2 of Brady's best. (How has Brady never thrown 30+ touchdowns?)

    I think it's pretty clear that, in terms of consistency and production w/in the regular season, Peyton is at a level that Brady can't touch. The postseason is where things get sticky, since Peyton is just now beginning to stake his claim there. His 2nd half of the AFC championship was as clutch as anything Brady has shown. Peyton just has to have a few more of those brilliant playoff moments.

    Anyway, I agree w/ you about it being silly to argue this. They're both amazing QBs, lead pipe locks for the HOF. Years from now, we'll be considered privileged for getting to watch them duke it out year after year--it really is something special. There are some things about the Pats I don't respect, but Brady is solid.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    word is they're not going to lose any worse than a 3rd rounder.

    Lame.
    Absolutely unacceptable. If this is true, the commissioner is a fraud.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    word is they're not going to lose any worse than a 3rd rounder.

    Lame.
    Wow. That is lame.

    If there isn't a first-round pick lost, then this is just pathetic. I know it's a different league, but T'wolves got he hammer laid on them for freaking Joe Smith. (I think that was his name.) Come on, Commissioner!
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    So number of touchdown passes in the regular season is the be-all-and-end-all of quarterback ability.

    I guess it is settled then. Very clearly the 6 greatest college football quarterbacks of all time are Ty Detmer, Tim Rattay, Danny Wuerffel, Chad Pennington, David Klingler, and Andre Ware. The greatest NFL QB will likely be Manning then.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    word is they're not going to lose any worse than a 3rd rounder.

    Lame.
    Isn't that what the Broncos got when it was proven that they circumvented the salary cap rules in their championship seasons?

    I expect the Pats' penalty to be worse, not because the crime is worse than that of the Broncos but beacuse they basically ignored league directives about this issue.

    Minimum: 2nd round pick, 5th round pick, 1 game suspension for Belichick, 1 million dollar fine vs. the team.

    Maximum: 1st round pick, 4th round pick, 4 game suspension, 5 million dollar fine.


    Outside of either extreme would be unprecedented (on the high punishment end) or an ineffective deterrent (on the low end)

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Well, that's pretty clearly not what I said. Are you being unreasonable on purpose? I don't mean for that to sound as snarky as it comes off, but that's just not what I said at all. I rejected your reversed-roles ideas. Where did I say Peyton>>>Tom? Like you, I think Tom>Peyton or Tom
    Last edited by SoupIsGood; 09-12-2007 at 10:21 PM.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    ProFootballTalk.com with the continuing rumor about radio devices in the helmets of defenders. They also make a pretty good case for the suspension of Belichick because of the hard *** way Goodell has come down on the players in disciplinary matters since taking over for Tagliabue:

    http://profootballtalk.com/rumormill.htm
    DID PATS USE RADIOS ON DEFENSE?

    Now that the entire pro football community is atwitter over the allegations/proof of cheating by the New England Patriots, we're hearing more rumors on the NFL grapevine regarding the extent to which this stuff went on.

    In addition to the rumor we heard on Wednesday that the Pats were putting microphones on defensive players in 2006 to pick up audibles and offensive line calls, we're now hearing that there has been a rumor for years that the Patriots have inserted a radio in the helmet of one or more defensive players for the purposes of direct communications with the coaching staff.

    Such a tactic, if true, would be an even more significant violation of the rules, in our opinion. As several readers have pointed out, the only thing illegal about the signal-stealing issue is the use of the electronic equipment to record the images. Nothing prevents a team from using low-tech means to track signals and connect them to the defensive coverages used. It's simply harder to do it via the naked eye, especially since the video can be used later to confirm the specific signals given, if/when the team with the video is preparing to face the same opponent in the future -- or a member of that coaching staff who might use the same signals in a new city.

    So the only competitive advantage is that it's a better way of doing something that already can be done.
    In contrast, using radios in the helmets of defensive players gives the team access to something that folks who follow the rules simply can't use.

    Keep in mind that this new twist is only a rumor, one of many that are now on the NFL grapevine as this story continues to percolate. Still, given the events of the last 48 hours, it's hard not to rule out anything at this point.

    SO WHAT SHOULD THE PENALTY BE?
    As the Patriots signal-stealing continues to dominate the headlines and the discussions regarding the NFL (we've gotten more e-mails on this one than ever), we've heard all sorts of ideas as to what should or could happen to the franchise and/or to coach Bill Belichick.

    Plenty of folks think that the Patriots should forfeit the Week One game against the Jets, but we're not comfortable with the notion of altering game outcomes after the fact. However we also think that taking away a couple of draft picks is not an adequate remedy, especially in the age of free agency and the salary cap.

    Another possible solution would be a reduction in the team's overall salary cap room for 2008, but the union would likely object to anything that reduces the total money paid to the players.

    We think that, before any penalty is announced, Belichick should be interviewed by the NFL in detail as to what was done and how it was done, and for how long it was done. All current members of the coaching staff and front office should be interviewed as well, and the NFL should make a decision based on all of those interviews as to the extent to which this practice occurred.

    Like Mike Vick's dog-fighting ring, this wasn't a "mistake." It was, by all appearances, a way of life. If that's true, there should be a separate sanction for each occasion on which it occurred.

    As to Belichick, there should be a stiff suspension -- as we explained on Tuesday night and as we discuss in the following PFTV segment regarding the situation.


    The belief that others have been doing it (and/or will continue to do so) shouldn't change the fact that the team that got caught should suffer the consequences. For the same reason that the federal government locks in on big targets (like Mike Vick) in order to deter the rest of us from engaging in similar conduct, slapping the Pats hard is the only way to get others to realize that the potential cost isn't worth the potential benefit.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    What in the world? My post keeps getting cut off.

    Anyway, I was trying to say this:

    Well, that's pretty clearly not what I said. Are you being unreasonable on purpose? I don't mean for that to sound as snarky as it comes off, but that's just not what I said at all. I rejected your reversed-roles ideas. Where did I say Peyton>>>Tom? Like you, I think Tom>Peyton or Tom
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    I give up.

    Edit: Wait, I think the board thinks I'm trying to insert a paragraph tag.

    Let's try again.

    Well, that's pretty clearly not what I said. Are you being unreasonable on purpose? I don't mean for that to sound as snarky as it comes off, but that's just not what I said at all. I rejected your reversed-roles ideas. Where did I say Peyton>>>Tom? Like you, I think Tom>Peyton or Tom<Manning is splitting hairs. I don't think TB would have PM's stats if he were here, and I don't think NE would have been better off with PM during their championship runs. Peyton changed pretty dramatically as a QB, recently. (I think it was Moses that pointed this out recently, and I agreed with the gist of it.) Brady was probably perfect for those NE teams.
    Last edited by SoupIsGood; 09-12-2007 at 10:24 PM.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    Isn't that what the Broncos got when it was proven that they circumvented the salary cap rules in their championship seasons?

    I expect the Pats' penalty to be worse, not because the crime is worse than that of the Broncos but beacuse they basically ignored league directives about this issue.

    Minimum: 2nd round pick, 5th round pick, 1 game suspension for Belichick, 1 million dollar fine vs. the team.

    Maximum: 1st round pick, 4th round pick, 4 game suspension, 5 million dollar fine.


    Outside of either extreme would be unprecedented (on the high punishment end) or an ineffective deterrent (on the low end)
    I was thinking a 1st rounder, and some kind of fine. Where does the call for a suspension of Belichick come from? I -do- think that'd be piling on. I mean, of all the NE coaches, how do we know he's the one behind it? Or why just him? It should just be punishment directed at the team, not one guy, I'd think. Then again, I'm pretty clueless to the process here. Someone enlighten me.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    my apologies SoupIsGood, for my overreaction.

    I rarely come to this sub-forum (as a non-Colts fan) so I am pretty unfamiliar with the opinions of those who post here.

    FWIW, if the Colts had moved to Indiana while I was growing up, I would probably have been a Colts fan. Since I was already in college when they did, I didn't really follow football much until I moved to Massachusetts and started following them in the Parcells days.

    With the intensity of the rivalry, it is hard, but I try to root for the Colts once the Pats are eliminated.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Am I crazy?? I thought Moses said the thing I was referring to, and I was going to bump it and give due props, but apparently he didn't post it? Was it Jay? I'm actually looking for an opportunity to eat a little crow here, and I can't find it.

    God, did Bill Simmons say it? Did I make the whole thing up?

    Anyway, I think there's some truth to the criticism that Jay would sometimes make of Peyton. Like when he would say Peyton was a better passer than a QB. I think Jay overstated it, but it was there a little bit, and Peyton made some sweet adjustment to his game. Yeehaw.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    my apologies SoupIsGood, for my overreaction.

    I rarely come to this sub-forum (as a non-Colts fan) so I am pretty unfamiliar with the opinions of those who post here.

    FWIW, if the Colts had moved to Indiana while I was growing up, I would probably have been a Colts fan. Since I was already in college when they did, I didn't really follow football much until I moved to Massachusetts and started following them in the Parcells days.

    With the intensity of the rivalry, it is hard, but I try to root for the Colts once the Pats are eliminated.
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    I don't want this to turn into a Manning vs Brady war because we've been down that road before. After last years post-season and what Manning did, I am willing to call Brady and Manning equally great QBs. What will define who is better, is who wins in the next 5-10 years of their careers. I wouldn't be surprised to see Brady put up close to 40 TDs this year now that he finally has some weapons. Who knows who will win more SBs down the road though. I'm just glad I get to watch these guys play in their prime.

    I don't want to derail the topic though. I've lost quite a bit of respect for the Patriots franchise as a whole as well as Belicek. Nothing can justify what he did. You prepare how every other team in the NFL is supposed to prepare..and that's spending hours and hours looking at game film and hard practice.

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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Simmons chimes in:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2...simmons/070912

    Camera doesn't lie: Pats have their Watergate
    By Bill Simmons
    Page 2
    (Archive | Contact)
    Updated: September 12, 2007, 7:20 PM ET

    For the past 24 hours, since CameraGate was exposed, I've been trying to think of a good excuse for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. There has to be a good excuse, right? So why couldn't I think of one? How could I save them from America's scorn? How could I remove those three asterisks from the Super Bowl titles? Even when I channeled my inner O.J. and decided, "If Belichick did cheat in the Jets game, it's only because he loved the Jets too much," it didn't quite work.


    Will Bill Belichick be remembered for three Super Bowl wins ... or the camera on the sideline?

    The truth is, there's probably no saving the Pats. Everyone outside New England was searching for a legitimate reason to hate them for the past four years, and now they have an excellent one. Spying on opponent's signals is just plain seedy. It's one step above playing footsie with someone in an airport men's room. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing. Even though everyone probably cheats in the NFL to some degree, the 2007 Patriots have been caught twice in a month -- once because their defensive leader (Rodney Harrison) admitted to buying HGH, once because they videotaped defensive calls at the Meadowlands. We're on a blistering pace of 17 *******izations of the sport this season.

    Just know that every Pats fan is horrified -- not as horrified as Michael Myers' mother in the "Halloween" remake when she finds out little Michael butchered his family, but definitely more horrified that 50 Cent during Britney's drunken stripper routine at the VMAs on Sunday night. Since I had trouble sorting out my thoughts on the month when the Patriots officially became the Cobra Kai, I decided to e-mail another sportswriter and Patriots fan -- Aaron Schatz, the creator of Footballoutsiders.com and author of the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus -- so we could sort through this stuff and search for some mutant form of peace. Here's what transpired:

    Simmons: Where do you stand on this whole thing? Part of me is astounded by the negative reaction, part of me feels like we deserve it.

    Schatz: As a Patriots fan, of course, I'm sick to my stomach. Nobody likes to see their favorite team get caught doing stuff like this. Part of it is having to take the scorn of the fans of the other 31 teams. Part of it is wondering when your genius head coach turned into a total moron. What on Earth was Belichick thinking? The team had been warned by the league multiple times. They were playing the Jets -- did they think Eric Mangini had suddenly forgotten everything the Patriots had done when he was their defensive coordinator? Could you guys be a little more obvious with your cheating?

    On the other hand ... the negative reaction to this is just completely overblown (as King Kaufman pointed out in Salon.com today). The Patriots were breaking rules because they are obsessed with getting every minor strategic advantage, but that doesn't change the fact the strategic advantage is minor. The idea that suddenly all three Super Bowl championships are tainted is ridiculous. If they caught Tampa Bay doing this, would people be suggesting that the Bucs' 2002 championship was tainted? Terrell Davis actually suggested on NFL.com that the league should ban the Patriots from the playoffs for two years. You know, since that's how the NFL became the most popular sports league in America, by sending a message to every sports fan in six states that they should go away and stop paying attention for two seasons.

    Simmons: I love the fact you just quoted a Terrell Davis column. I'm just finishing his book about the Gaza Strip. Anyway, here's why I don't buy the whole 'this casts a shadow over all three Super Bowl wins' argument -- if you're videotaping an opponent's signals, common sense dictates this advantage couldn't be realized until the second half of a game, following a halftime in which these signals would be broken down the same way you'd break down a country's radio frequency during a war or something. (Certainly, you could argue the Jets game played out this way.) But during all three Super Bowls, the Pats were better in the first half and not nearly as good in the second half -- in fact, they barely held on in the final few minutes to win all three games. I don't see how anyone could watch the replays of those games and say, 'Voila! They cheated! It's all right there!'


    Memo to the other 31 teams in the NFL: Don't hate the Pats because they're beautiful.

    On the other hand, I can't say I'm completely shocked because there have always been whispers about Ernie Adams, Belichick's longtime consigliere who was immortalized in David Halberstam's book about Belichick three years ago. People wondered about Adams because he didn't have a defined role -- he wasn't an offensive genius or a defensive genius in the conventional sense, but Belichick clearly considered him to be indispensable (only we didn't know exactly why). Word on the street was Adams had a photographic memory that enabled him to remember every play that either worked or didn't work in any possible situation, as well as a supernatural ability to decipher signals and audibles of opposing teams as the games were happening. The thing is, I always thought he did this using binoculars, which is something every team does. (Check out this Rick Reilly column from five years ago in which Mike Shanahan admits to stealing signals.) That's why coaches and offensive coordinators call in plays while hiding their mouths. It's not because they have bad breath.

    But using an actual cameraman to tape signals on the other team's bench? It's all so seedy and Watergatey. I'm depressed. Over everything else, why in God's name did we have to cheat to beat the Jets??? Couldn't we have saved the chicanery for the Chargers game when we actually needed it?

    Schatz: The Patriots don't cheat against San Diego. They dance against San Diego. Disco fever!

    This whole thing has an 'I'm shocked ... SHOCKED that gambling is going on in this establishment' feel to it. Everything about the Patriots seems to make people too emotional, so I wish fans would take a step back and ask 'How would I feel about this if the Jacksonville Jaguars had been caught doing it?'

    This is what we know: Teams in every sport often cheat in little ways to try to get a small advantage. When cheating is exposed, teams are punished. You take your punishment like a man, and you move on -- and the fans of the other teams ALSO move on. The Patriots did something wrong, but the level of the response is just ludicrous because so many fans just hate the Patriots -- not because of anything the Patriots have done, but because of the constant praise they've received from the media over the past few years.

    There's no question the league should punish the Patriots, and taking away a rinky-dink second-day pick is pointless. They should take away a higher pick, maybe a second-rounder. I certainly would not find that unfair. Should they suspend Belichick? I can't remember a head coach ever being suspended for a game in the NFL. Stuart Fraser from FO suggested the league should do us all a favor and just suspend Belichick for the second Jets-Patriots game so that we don't have to put up with endless analysis of any Belichick/Mangini on-field meetings. It should be a realistic punishment to fit the crime, and then we should all move on. Unless you want to retroactively remove Gaylord Perry from the Baseball Hall of Fame and force the San Diego Chargers to forfeit any game Shawne Merriman played before his positive steroids test last year.

    Simmons: Merriman had a positive steroids test last year? Whaaaaaaaat??? I thought LaDainian 'I stole Lawrence Taylor's nickname' Tomlinson just told us the Patriots were the cheaters. I'm so confused. The next thing you're going to tell me is that Luis Castillo failed a steroids test right before the 2005 draft or something.

    Schatz: I loved how Tomlinson told reporters today that the Patriots' motto is 'if you're not cheating, you're not trying.' What's Shawne Merriman's motto?

    Simmons: I think it's 'I'm going to be the last Pro Bowler ever who failed a steroids test during the same season he made the Pro Bowl.' You're right, people love hating on the Pats. I even wrote a column about this last January. Look, I get why people hate the Red Sox -- the fans went a little overboard after October '04 (myself included), and we get to spend more money than everyone else in baseball except for the Yankees and Mets. Even during a season where they might finish with the best record in baseball, there was no real art to how Team Theo put the team together. They just spent a ton of money on free agents and poured a ton of money into their farm system, and when they spend buttloads of money on the wrong guys (Renteria, Clement, Drew, Lugo, maybe even Dice-K), it never matters because they can always cut their losses and spend money on someone else. They have a legitimate competitive advantage and they're smart enough to take advantage of it. As a Red Sox fan, this makes me happy. As a baseball fan, this makes me unhappy.


    Like Nixon, Belichick didn't really need to resort to spying to beat an inferior opponent.

    Part of the charm of the 21st century Patriots -- at least for me -- was that they remained consistently good without any real financial advantages. The hard salary cap prohibits an NFL team from saying, 'We need a good receiver, let's offer Chad Johnson $110 million over five years,' and even when a team with deep pockets (like the Redskins) splurges on free agents with big signing bonuses, it's a short-term boost that hurts them long-term. For an NFL team to win 79 games and three Super Bowls over a six-year span and have its most talented roster in Year 7, it requires a superhuman effort from the coaches and the front office. You have to nail the draft, you have to determine who's expendable and indispensable on your roster, and you can't make any major mistakes in free agency. And this needs to happen year after year, without any slips. So for a team like the Patriots to remain competitive for more than five years ... it's practically impossible. I never thought they got enough credit for that. They didn't win for the past six-plus years because they cheated; they won because they out-thought and out-drafted everyone else.

    Here's the thing that shocks me: I always thought Belichick cared too much about his legacy to risk tainting it like this. He's a history buff and someone who allowed Halberstam to follow him around simply because he understood the intrinsic value of a great writer capturing his 'brilliance' in a widely read book. The whole thing is just bizarre. I'm a big Watergate buff, and there are some eerie parallels to last Sunday's Jets game and the '72 presidential electon -- not just the spying symmetry, but that neither the Patriots nor Nixon needed to take the risk. Nixon had the '72 election locked up but was so paranoid, he allowed his guys to basically defame Edmund Muskie and George McGovern and tried to break into the Democratic headquarters multiple times. Belichick knew he had a better team than the Jets, but he tried to steal their signals anyway. Let's hope this doesn't lead to a disgraced Belichick climbing on a private jet in 18 months and raising his arms defiantly in the air.

    Schatz: It is strange Belichick would let his history be tainted like this, but then again, I'm not exactly sure how tainted the history is going to be. Are people going to be thinking about this when the NFL Network does a new version of "America's Game" in 2017? In the long run, this is going to be relatively forgotten. It will be a footnote to the dynasty, a funny story like when some guy from the 1967 Packers talks about how they gouged each other's genitalia at the bottom of the fumble pile.

    Hey, remember a couple years ago when the Steelers accused the Colts of piping in crowd noise at the RCA Dome?

    Remember when the Broncos broke salary-cap rules in order to build the 1997-98 championship team?

    Remember when Jim Haslett admitted to using steroids when he was playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers during their dynasty years of the '70s?

    Remember when Herm Edwards admitted to breaking NFL rules by using Stick-Um even after it was banned in 1980?

    And remember when Lawrence Taylor said he used to send hookers up to the hotel rooms of opposing running backs while he sat at home doing blow? I mean, are we taking away the '86 Giants' Super Bowl championship too? Come on, already. This stuff happens.

    John Elway's two NFL titles were hardly tainted by Denver's attempts to get around the salary cap.

    Simmons: And, as we learned from the Tim Donaghy scandal this summer, people tire of scandals pretty quickly. We have the attention span of tsetse flies at this point. When that Donaghy thing happened, everyone thought it would dominate the rest of the NBA's offseason ... then the Celts pulled off the KG Trade and everyone shifted into 'Wow, the Celtics are good again and KG finally landed on a good team, this is amazing!' mode. The Donaghy story only had a weeklong shelf life. David Stern never got enough credit for forcing Kevin McHale to make that KG deal.

    Schatz: The public's hatred for the Patriots is a different issue, of course. I think that in the era of the Internet and 24-hour media, a successful team just gets shoved down the public's throat about 100 times stronger than back in the '70s or '80s, so people have stronger emotions about the teams they are tired of hearing about. It doesn't help, for example, when SI runs a cover that says 'Tom Brady is a God,' which is slated for this week. It also just so happens that the rise of the Patriots coincided with the rise of a number of football writers who happen to be from New England: you, me, Michael Smith, Peter King -- well, he was already well-established, but you get the point. Nobody knew about his Red Sox loyalties until the Internet era and the weekly MMQB, and people naturally assume that if he is pro-Red Sox he must be pro-Patriots.

    I was talking to some guys in Seattle at my book signing last week and I said, 'You know, Patriots-Colts is a lot like Yankees-Red Sox.' For a while, the Red Sox were everyone's favorite and people wanted them to beat the Yankees, but after a while, people were so sick of the whole thing that anyone who isn't a Red Sox or Yankees fan despises both the Red Sox and Yankees. I think we're about four months and five billion Peyton Manning ads away from hitting that same point with the Colts and Pats. Right now, everyone is out to get the Pats, but in a few months, they'll hate the Colts just as much and be desperate for someone like San Diego or Pittsburgh to win something.'

    Simmons: That's a great point. When Dallas went on its run in the '90s, I specifically remember thinking, 'OK, I'm tired of these guys, I'm tired of watching them. I'm tired of reading about them. I want them to go away.' (And I liked watching those Cowboys teams -- to this day, I will argue the merits of Emmitt Smith over Barry Sanders with anyone at any time.) Everyone outside of New England started feeling that way about the Pats three Januarys ago, when they rolled through Indy and Pittsburgh and outlasted the Eagles with a devastated secondary because Donovan McNabb wasn't in shape. Of course, everyone from New England is completely befuddled that our blacksheep Pats ever rebounded to the point that anyone would ever say, 'I'm tired of these guys. I wish they would stop winning and go away.' I'm more cynical than you about the national repercussions of CameraGate, but you could be right: There's a chance it will die down after Sunday's Pats-Chargers game, which had 'Game of the Year' potential (and still might), only now, it's going to be overshadowed by nonstop debate about that Jets game and the validity of the Pats dynasty.

    On a personal note (and this is terribly depressing to write), I had already reached the point with professional sports where any story about someone 'cheating' didn't phase me. I wasn't even 1 percent shocked by the Harrison or Rick Ankiel stories. I wouldn't be shocked if it was revealed tomorrow that Pujols, A-Rod or Big Papi hooked themselves up to HGH IVs after every game, or that KG and Kobe dope their blood like Tour de France cyclists, or that Tiger Woods spent $25 million to develop an advanced form of HGH that can be taken orally every day like a Flinstone vitamin. Athletes, trainers and coaches are always going to be searching for an edge, whether it comes through performance enhancers, stealing signs, corking bats or whatever else.

    During Game 7 of the '81 Eastern Conference finals, the Sixers stupidly allowed the CBS cameras inside their timeout huddles, so Celtics coach Bill Fitch sent a ball boy scurrying into their locker room before every timeout to see what the Sixers were planning on TV. With one second remaining, trailing by one, Billy Cunningham diagrammed a half-court alley-oop lob from Bobby Jones to Julius Erving -- if you watch the replay on NBA TV, you'll see him spell out the entire play to his team and how it should work. The ballboy caught everything, ran back on the court and told Fitch what was coming; Fitch alerted the Celtics, who were so prepared for the play Jones ended up winging the pass off the top of the backboard. On the cheating scale, was Fitch more or less culpable than Belichick last week? Tough to say. Did Fitch's play-stealing eventually taint how I feel about 'Boston 91, Philly 90,' one of my all-time favorite Celtics games? Hell, no! That's one of my favorite games of the Bird era, and Philly deserved to lose for letting CBS into its huddles in the first place.

    Eventually, CameraGate won't bother me, either. I'm sure I'll come up with dumb rationalizations for it -- you know, something like 'Mangini blew the whistle on Belichick because he wanted to deflect attention away from the butt-kicking that was happening.' Give me a couple days. Right now, I'm just bummed that the rest of the country has a valid reason to hate the Patriots other than 'I'm tired of watching them win.'

    Schatz: This does really ruin Sunday night's great game, doesn't it? I like stats, and I like X's and O's. That's what I write about because that's what I care about, and I don't want to spend the next month talking about this stupid camera. I want to talk about whether Adalius Thomas can help the Patriots cover Antonio Gates, and whether Merriman can get to Brady before Randy Moss gets open against the completely overrated Quentin Jammer. If San Diego can walk into Foxboro and beat the Patriots, a lot of the media response will be, 'See, they can't win without their video camera,' when it should be, 'Oh my god, the Chargers are an amazing football team with so much talent that even Norv Turner can't screw it up.'

    I feel the same way about giving the Patriots-haters something to sink their teeth into. It upsets me. But I just don't think the cheating thing is new. People in sports have always looked for a way to get better than the other team, even if it was technically against the rules. They did it in the '20s and '30s, too, but the relationship between the media and players was different then, so it wasn't reported on. It has continued to the present day.

    That Broncos story remains the best analogy. The Broncos broke the rules. They were punished by losing two third-round draft picks. However, fiddling with the salary cap didn't hand them the championship, and anybody who says that the 1997 and 1998 Broncos did not deserve to win two Super Bowls is an idiot. Come to think of it, if the public does decide that cheating renders your Super Bowl championships void, do we get to start making fun of John Elway because he could never win a ring?

    Simmons: We can't make fun of Elway in this space, ESPN is still operating under the 'No More Elway Jokes For 10 Years' umbrella that went into effect after Norm McDonald humiliated him at the '98 ESPYS. But I'm with you. If we're going to stick an asterisk next to the '01, '03 and '04 Pats, don't stop there -- it needs to extend to Elway's Broncos (cap cheaters), DeBartolo's Niners (cap cheaters), the '90s Cowboys (drugs and hookers), the '86 Giants (coke), the '85 Bears (Tony Eason was on the other team), the '70s Steelers (steroids) and pretty much everyone who ever won a Super Bowl. Well, you've done it. I'm now in the proper frame of mind to defend the Patriots and turn my attention back to the first-ever 16-0 season in NFL history. Thank you for talking me off the ledge, Aaron Schatz.

    Schatz: My pleasure. One last thing: the best example of this story being completely overblown is that some people are suggesting Robert Kraft might fire Belichick over this. You don't think Robert and Jonathan Kraft knew Belichick was doing this? Robert Kraft knows what's going on in his organization. At least it's the right time of the year for Kraft to fess up to doing something wrong. His rabbi is busy right now on his Rosh Hashanah sermon, entitled 'Cheating is a sin, and yes, I'm talking to you, Robert.'

    Simmons: I went to an Irish-Catholic college so I didn't get that joke.

    Schatz: Then you won't get this one either: I keep thinking of Kraft in shul on Yom Kippur saying the prayer that apologizes for all the sins. 'For the sin of breaking vows ... for the sin of videotaping the Jets' signals ... for the sin of messing with the guy the Vikings wanted on their practice squad ...'

    Simmons: You're right, I didn't get that one, either. But I still laughed. Thanks again and good luck trying to determine the negative DVOA of the Chiefs offense on Sunday.

  23. #73
    Go Colts! Shade's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Simmons spent the first half of the article talking about how shocked he is and how what the Pats did was indefensible, then the second half talking about how it's not that big of a deal, that everyone cheats, and that it will be forgotten in time.

  24. #74
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    If they caught Tampa Bay doing this, would people be suggesting that the Bucs' 2002 championship was tainted?
    Yes, but then again I already consider it tainted because they were playing John Gruden's old team who hadn't bothered coming up with any new plays after Gruden left.

    Memo to the other 31 teams in the NFL: Don't hate the Pats because they're beautiful.
    Nope, hate 'em becauses their coach is a douche bag who cheats.

    Over everything else, why in God's name did we have to cheat to beat the Jets???
    Practice?

    I wish fans would take a step back and ask 'How would I feel about this if the Jacksonville Jaguars had been caught doing it?'
    I wouldn't be surprised. I'd only be surprised if I found out Tony Dungy was doing it.

    The Patriots did something wrong, but the level of the response is just ludicrous because so many fans just hate the Patriots -- not because of anything the Patriots have done, but because of the constant praise they've received from the media over the past few years.
    If you consider Sports Guy the media then you might have a point. Actually the level of response was in anticipation of Pats fans saying it's no big deal.

    As for what to do with Belicheck if you're not going to suspend him I say make him coach in a 3 piece suit and require him to keep answering questions in his press conferences until all the reporters fell like he's actually answered the question.

    Schatz: I loved how Tomlinson told reporters today that the Patriots' motto is 'if you're not cheating, you're not trying.'
    No, that's NASCAR's motto. See Belicheck even stole that!

    O.K. I couldn't make myself read the rest of it.

    Hey Sports Guy, if you're going to gloat whenever your teams do well you've got to take it when they screw up.

  25. #75
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    Default Re: Pats suspected of stealing Jets' signals

    Quote Originally Posted by Mal View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I think he's a great coach AND a cheater. Which makes it all the more sad he stooped to this.
    I don't think hes a great coach. He might be good, but definetely not great. You give me Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel as my coordinators with Brady as my QB and I'll deliver you a championship or two.

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