Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

13 Sep 2007

NFL Announces Punishment for Patriots, Belichick

The NFL just announced the punishment for the Patriots' and Bill Belichick's signal-taping shenanigans. Bill Belichick will be fined $500,000; the Patriots organization will be fined $250,000; and, shrewdly, the Patriots will lose their first-round draft pick in 2008 if they make the playoffs this year (if not, they lose their second and third-round picks). Quote Commissioner Goodell: "This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field." Goodell also stated that he considered suspending Belichick, but decided the fines and pick forfeitures would be "more significant and long-lasting."

Posted by: Ben Riley on 13 Sep 2007

490 comments, Last at 17 Sep 2007, 2:05am by johnR

Comments

1
by dave crockett (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:10pm

I gotta say I agree with MDS, the commish should have suspended the coach. The fine isn't exactly meaningless--nobody wants to write a check for five-hunnit yards--but it's close.

2
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:11pm

OK, so what's the O/U for this thread?

3
by Pat on the back (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:11pm

Well, it appears "an example is being made". A 1st rounder? Seriously? I said I would be angry if the pick was as high as a 4th rounder. I'm blown away.

4
by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:11pm

This is absurd. It's nothing more than a slap on the wrist compared to the massive advantage this may (or may not) have given the Patriots.

5
by Bawth McCuddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:13pm

The Cheaters got lucky. They deserve much worse.

6
by billsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:14pm

I'd have preferred a 2-4 game suspension and/or forfeit of the Jets game. The loss of a first-round pick isn't much of a penalty, since they have two first-rounders next year. Slap on the wrist.

7
by raidermoishe (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:16pm

$500,000? Belichik spends that much a year on his mistress.

8
by Vern (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:16pm

Yes, the worst punishment ever meted out in the history of the NFL on a coach or a franchise.

Just a wrist slap.

9
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:18pm

This seems fair. The contingency for making the playoffs or not making the playoffs seems a little odd to me. Just making it a first round pick would be more of a message.

A half million dollar personal fine should make most coaches think twice before they attempt any such infraction again.

I personally would like to have seen the team fined more as well. Making the teams fine $5ook, bringing the total fine to $1m would have been more appropriate.

I would also like to add that the other message string relating to this topic was unusually irrational for an FO discussion.

ftr, I am a Patriots fan.

10
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:19pm

As I said in the 489+ post thread, the Commish's press release referred to having imposed the "maximum fines". So presumably league rules prevented him from going higher should he have wanted to.

11
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:20pm

The Timberwolves are unimpressed.

12
by andrew a (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:20pm

I mean how can he afford his snappy wardrobe after this fine?

13
by billsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:21pm

12:

He can't afford sleeves as it is, he might have to do without the hood, too.

14
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:21pm

You draft value board geeks -- what's more total value, the first rounder a deep-into-the-playoff team would have, or the 2nd and 3rd round picks the typical non-playoff team would have?

15
by AleX (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:22pm

This warranted a suspension and I'm a bit disappointed that the league won't go that far. Blatant cheating in the attempt to gain competitive advantage, regardless of whether the advantage gained is real, is exactly the kind of thing that gets a player suspended. The Patriots will shrug off this penalty.

16
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:25pm

According to a google-found draft chart, late first round (26-32) picks are 590-700 points.

The #20 (last non-playoff) picks in the second and third rounds are 380 and 170, or, 510 total points.

17
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:25pm

#14: The first rounder. By far. The second and third are piddling. By pretty much any measure, the first rounder is worth more.

18
by DWE (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:26pm

Interestingly, the Patriots still have a first round pick next year, or less likely two first round picks. (Thanks to SF.)

19
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:26pm

Money quote from a rant on sportinggurus:

"This is a sport where every possible advantage is relentlessly pursued, on every level from the owner’s box down through special teams coverage guys and all the way down to laundry attendants. It might be the most competitive single industry on God’s good earth. If I’m in that industry and I can get away with videotaping my opponents’ signals, you’re damn skippy I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do everything else I can think of that I can get away with. And docking me a first-round pick does not convince me I can’t get away with it. In fact, it kind of makes me believe I can."

Full ramble/rant's linked to my name, in case you care.

20
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:26pm

Re: #16

Thanks!

Oh, and I'm still waiting for someone to set an O/U number for this thread :)

21
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:30pm

Re: #18

Good point.

So (assuming making the playoffs), which do they lose? Their own? The highest?

22
by Jim M (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:32pm

It would likely be impossible to prove if such tactics ever helped the Pats win a game, or get into the playoffs, or win a Super Bowl, they wouldn't otherwise have won. But if it did? Wouldn't this be a slap on the wrist?

Personally I think there is a legitimate chance that the Pats won games they might not otherwise have - important games. Therefore I think Bellichek should have received a significant suspension of 1 year or more. Particularly given the fact that the teams were specifically warned against such behaviour. I think an entire draft class would have been more appropriate as well.

23
by Joe (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:32pm

All I have to say is it is time to put a * next to their wins. We will never know how good this team actually was. This team was one of my favorites and now has dropped to the bottom of my list. I cannot express in words how much I am disappointed with what the they have done to the image of the NFL. Glad to see that they received a decent punishment for this.

24
by johnt (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:32pm

Hmm. Not withstanding the crazy rants on both sides, this is a reasonable outcome.

The issue is that we don't (and maybe even Goodell doesn't, or doesn't want to) know just how long they've been doing it and just how much they got out of it. As a punishment for what they were caught doing it seems fair.

The larger issue, though, is what it means to what they have accomplished since 2001. If you consider that they may have been cheating while winning 3 super bowls, that's a much bigger deal than if the Browns are sneaking a little something something on their way to being 4-12. In that case a much larger penalty would be appropriate. But I don't think Goodell WANTS to know how far back it goes or how wide it has spread. I think he wants to deal with it like they started doing it this season, and I guess this is a fair punishment if you look at it that way.

25
by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:33pm

I think this is pretty fair, considering Goodell's penchant for harsh penalties. Kind of what I expected, anything more would have been an overreaction. Any talk of forfeiting the Jets game or losing the entire 2008 draft is ludicrous.

26
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:33pm

As long as BB pays the fine personally with no Kraft assistance, I think this is fair.

Team suffers for leader being a doofus.

I think Goodell figured that unless he stuck BB naked in a bunker with video suveillance the guy would be guiding the team somehow so suspension was pointless.

27
by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:33pm

The best suggestion I saw was to take the Pats 2008 draft picks and make them the last 7 (or however many picks they have) of the entire draft.

I favor this because by eliminating picks you are punishing the prospective players would would have been drafted since the draft would contain 7 fewer choices. Moving all their picks to the end of the 7th round though keeps the same # of picks in the draft overall yet greatly punishes the Pats

28
by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:33pm

So this story is over now, right? Right?

29
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:35pm

Re: #22

One could just as easily argue that because the Commish didn't do all those things, he didn't think it made that much of a difference.

30
by Jim M (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:37pm

A player hurts the NFL image by basically being a small time "crook" - Pacman - he's out a year. Belichick jeopardizes the integrity of the game and he gets a fine and the Pats lose a draft pick.

Seems to me that from that perspective the punishment is absurdly low.

31
by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:38pm

Vern, who says this isn't the worst case of cheating in the NFL? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but taking one of two first round picks and fining the coach and organization what amounts to a quick check doesn't hurt them very much for all of the unfair advantages they may or may not have gotten.

32
by Mark (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:39pm

Anything less than a lifetime ban for Bellicheat is a slap on the wrist. A real deterent is needed to make sure no coach cheats in such a manner.

33
by Pat27 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:40pm

They got what they deserved, if not more (A first round pick!). Now maybe this story will go away. I've gotta say, I'm almost bothered more by the sanctimonious moralizing of all those whose teams have been toyed with by the Patriots over the past five years than Belichick and his coaching staff. Seriously guys. First of all, this is the NFL. There are very few who are without sin. And second, if you really think they've been kicking everyone's ass because they've been videotaping signals you're out of your mind. I think the tongue bath that the media's been giving the Pats these past several years has made us all completely detached from reality.

34
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:41pm

Mark, come off it, dude. I happen to agree that this punishment was too little, but... don't be stupid.

35
by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:41pm

24 times since 2001 they've faced a team twice in one season.

8 of those times they lost the first game. 6 of those times they won the second time around. Against the Jets last year they won, then lost, then won in the postseason. Three times they have won the first game and lost the second.

Some dramatic turnaround the second time they face a team include losing to Buffalo 31-0 then beating Buffalo a few weeks later 31-0. In 2004 as some of you might remember they lost to the Steelers 34-20 in the regular season, and then beat them 41-27 in the posteason (but you can blame Ben for some of that).

Of those 24 times, 15 of the times Brady's stats improved in the second game anywhere from a little to significantly. As in, night and day.

Of the 12 times they won the first and second meeting, 8 times they did anywhere from a little to a lot better the second time around.

If you care to see the stats I put together, you can take a lookie (slick my name). I put up year, opponent, date, score, and Brady's stat line. I figure that if the allegations were true and there really was any benefit, it would just about all be on offense, and most of that benefit would go to Tom "Friend of Goats" Brady.

Maybe Belichick is just really good the second time around, or maybe he did a little "film study" and had an idea of what the other team was going to do before they did it. You decide.

36
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:42pm

#30

PacMan's a single player with no leverage.

Robert Kraft is an influential owner, who was involved in *approving Goodell for his job.*

37
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:42pm

An interesting question (which we mere mortals will probably never know the answer to) is how Goodell arrived at the specifics of his decision.

I can see two theories of punishment (not mutually exclusive). One is punishment based on the competitive effects of the violation. The other is punishment based on the fact that you broke a rule (regardless of the magnitude of the competitive effects of the violation).

I personally think the specific sentence handed down points at Goodell taking the latter approach. I think he knows/has been told there wasn't much of an advantage and that other teams are doing it. That coupled with him wanting to continue to be known as a hardass leads to the sentence handed down.

Given that he is trying to come across as a hardass, I have to think that if he thought the violation had meaningful competitive effects, he'd have come down a lot harder than he did.

Though as someone else pointed out, there is the realpolitik of dealing with Kraft, especially since either side can reopen the CBA in 2009.

38
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:43pm

Arrogance and hubris are what is being penalized here and I don't think Belichick will loose even 1% of his because of this incident.

I keep on feeling like the Sunday night game will feature a "thumbing your nose at the league" moment. Something to the effect of all blitzers raising their hands and yelling out: "I'm blitzing". I am actually looking forward to any miked up moments that this game has.

I can't wait to get to football.

Is the other thread officially closed now that this thread is open. In which case the under wins at 491. WOW!

39
by TomG (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:43pm

As far as I can tell, and I am not well-versed in legalese syntax by any regard, the Pats were fined for doing something allowable in a non-allowable area.

From the NFL.com story:

Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches' booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.

40
by Grand Wazoo (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:43pm

For those who think $500 000 is a lot of money, take a look at what happened today in Formula 1. The McClaren team has just been hit with a fine of $100 000 000 for... spying.

41
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:47pm

There is a new twist in this whole story. There were screencaps of the game floating around (one such linked) that was originally thought to be the Patriots cameraman. Well, that isn't the Patriots guy, and so now folks are thinking it was a Jets cameraman doing the exact same thing during the same game.

42
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:47pm

An interesting thing will be if Kraft will be willing to renew Belichick's contract (whenever it expires) due to this.

43
by billsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:47pm

25:
Ludicrous? Hardly. They engaged in acts that were "unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football" during the Jets game. Forfeit is one of the options in that case, at the commissioners discretion. Personally, I think the loss of one of two first-round picks (likely the later one--the Pats tend to do better than the Niners) is a lesser penalty than a loss to a divisional rival against whom they cheated. Remember, not only did the Pats cheat, but the Jets were wronged as wells. And the Eagles, if you believe Sheldon Brown (link on my name).

44
by Mark (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:49pm

Justin, come off what? How many years has this gone on? This is not a one time offence. How many games were won illegally? How many playoff games? How many Super Bowls? The man has tarnished the league. How many coaches would cheat, trading a draft pick or two for a Super Bowl win? A real deterent is needed. Seriously.

45
by Rory (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:51pm

It's not like every team in the league does this in some form. Or that the Dolphins essentially bought a tape with Tom Brady's cadences on it and the league didn't do anything.

Even if a football team was given the ability to clearly and unambiguously record the defensive signals from the sideline to the players on the field, they would still have to:

1) Properly identify the defense that was played that down, AND
2) Correlate the signals with the alignment of the D-line, LBs and DBs, AND
3) Cross-reference the signals with the play AND with any audibles called by the defensive players on the field after the set and prior to the snap

Assuming, of course, you can tell the difference between real and fake signals. Which means observing numerous plays and numerous hand signals, which makes it extremely difficult for this technique to yield reliable info for the game at hand. Even if you could somehow unambiguously decipher every single defensive signal, it's almost guaranteed that those signals would change by the next game. Which means this technique is only effective for providing a questionable edge for the second game of the year against division rivals. Three games out of sixteen.

Even given all this, the players still have to execute the plays - if the RB is poor in blitz pickup, it's not going to help much knowing which side the blitz is coming from. Either way, the RB is getting run over.

46
by Rory (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:52pm

The league is setting an example with the Pats. If this is Arizona, nobody even hears about this.

47
by Frick (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:52pm

500k for Bellicheck and 250k for the Patriots seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the 100M fine that the Williams F1 team was handed today. That and they can't compete for the constructors championship. There is also the possability that they will prevented from competing next year also. Oh, besides the fine they also lose the possability of money from the constructors championship fund. Can you imagine if the fine had been say 10M plus the lose of all shared revenue for the Patriots. It could have been much, much worse for the Patriots.

The reason for the fine, cheating. Stealing info from an opposing team.

48
by Otis Taylor '89 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:53pm

This is waaay overblown. $500K and pick for something that wasn't even a rule last year. of course, the Pats probably won't even need the pick next year...

49
by Zac (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:54pm

I'm not a Pats fan, but I think this punishment is fair.

Jesse, the problem is no one has any idea how much the taping has helped the Patriots. Your stats give no context. What is the average record when playing the same team twice in the season? The Patriots record in those games could be within the norm.
If they didn't gain much (which you don't believe is true, but is still possible) then a penalty much greater than this is probably overkill. And besides, giving the team an SMU-like-burial that affects their ability to compete for a long time is not in the best interests of the league.

50
by Derek (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:54pm

"Justin, come off what? How many years has this gone on? This is not a one time offence [sic]. How many games were won illegally? How many playoff games? How many Super Bowls? The man has tarnished the league. How many coaches would cheat, trading a draft pick or two for a Super Bowl win? A real deterent [sic] is needed. Seriously."

How many games WERE won illegally? Playoff games, Super Bowl games?

What kind of effect DOES this have on a teams capacity to win?

Because it seems like the crowd that says this tarnishes everything says that this has a huge impact. Fair enough, that makes some intuitive sense.

But then... pretty much all the football experts discussing what knowledge the Pats gained by using videotape instead of good ole binoculars seem to think this made very little difference.

The wild card seems to be the wild conjecture that's springing up around this... how much (if any) of the other accusations have merit?

And since no one rightfully thinks the Pats are the only team to engage in this practice... is it only a matter of time before the other accusations start to fly?

51
by Zac (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:57pm

Re: 41. How would the Jets get an advantage by recording their own team, as the guy in the picture appears to be doing?
Re: 44. The league decided that the Patriots broke the rules, and they were punished for it. Your denial only succeeds in making the discourse more and more heated.

52
by speedracer (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:57pm

Re: #35

I'll take "small sample sizes" for $200, Alex.

53
by Don Booza (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 10:59pm

dont look now, but Mortensen was just on ESPN radio and said the NFL was also going to open an investigation into the entire Patriots film department. Not sure what this means, but Mort said its possible that there is even more to this story...wow!

54
by JFP (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:01pm

BREAKING NEWS from ESPN! The Pats just traded their 2008 1st round pick for Detroit's 2008 2nd & 3rd!

55
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:02pm

Re #50. They were doing the same thing as the Patriots. Pointing at their own team when their team's defense is on the field, but point at the other team when their team's offense is on the field.

And even if they were just pointing at their own team, having a video camera on the field is illegal regardless of what it is recording.

56
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:02pm

The Evil Empire got away with one. The absurd part is that they STILL will have a first round pick next season, so what exactly did that accomplish? Oh boo hoo, they only have one first rounder now instead of two, what a tragedy.

I'm oh so sure the Pats fans will come out in drives complaining that this was way too harsh though, which will just make it even worse. I don't even want to read the obligatory Simmons whinefest. Or gloatfest if he realizes his team got off unscathed.

I've already decided that if the Pats win the Super Bowl this season I'm boycotting NFL football indefinitely. There's only so much garbage I can take. I thought about doing it THIS year thanks to all the criminals and thugs actually. It's gotten to the point where sports isn't sports anymore, it's just another avenue for the corrupt and amoral to do their thing. It's politics and organized crime with fast, strong guys running around on a field while people watch.

57
by Jesse (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:03pm

48, 51- I realize it doesn't come close to proving anything. When FO looked at Pats 1st half vs. 2nd half to see any advantage, I wasn't surprised that there was no change. I don't see how you could possibly run in and find anything in the 12 minutes they have for half time.

On the other hand, when you have two games in the same season, an advantage like what people are *speculating* the Patriots might have gotten would show itself.

I found the stats interesting, they may or may not mean anything. As someone on another site pointed out, people always noted how when the Patriots never lost to the same team the second time around and all

58
by billsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:05pm

25:

Ludicrous? Hardly. They engaged in acts that were "unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football" during the Jets game. Forfeit is one of the options in that case, at the commissioners discretion. Personally, I think the loss of one of two first-round picks (likely the later one--the Pats tend to do better than the Niners) is a lesser penalty than a loss to a divisional rival against whom they cheated. Remember, not only did the Pats cheat, but the Jets were wronged as wells. (sorry if this comes out double, I think the first got lost in Comment Limbo Land)

59
by vijay (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:06pm

My thought on this penalty was close to fair. For information, I'm a Cowboy fan and don't really care about the Pats one way or another.

My thought on a fair penalty would have been meted in three ways.
1. Monetary. I agree that adding $250,000 to the Pats would have been good to make a nice $1mil but otherwise, I'm fine with this.
2. Draft - My thought was a little more in line with what happened to the T-Wolves. I would have docked them 3 1st round picks, one each for 2008, 2009, 2010. Of course, with as good as the Pats have been at stockpiling picks, they would have gotten back in to the 1st round but the message is sent.
3. Penalty for this year. I thought a one week suspension for Belichick, against the Jets, would have been appropriate. And I say week instead of game so he wouldn't be allowed to be involved in the game planning for a week. He's a freaking genius so this would be a nice penalty.

You put those three things together and you have something very fair and something that is harsh so it can be a detterent but it doesn't make a mockery of the NFL by making it a 31 team league for an extended period of time (with Belichick permanent ban suggestions and other suggestions that have been passed around).

Just my thoughts... Feel free to call me an over-reactor or an under-reactor!

60
by BC Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:06pm

Goodell is the Metternich of sport.

61
by T. Diddy (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:06pm

#53 wins the thread.

62
by deshawn zombie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:07pm

The Pats only kept two of their 2007 draft picks (I thought they were supposed to be a great drafting team?!), so in essence, Goodell took away what might represent half of their draft. Seems about right. He could have thrown on an extra 4th, 5th, ect, but honestly, would that have made it any better? He can't forfeit the game-the Jets didn't deserve that win either (single coverage on Moss, really?). He seemed to think the max fine was worse than the suspension. If the league really wants to punish the Emperor, just keep him out of the Hall (you listening writers who pontificate piously right now?). His name is mud, and I think that is a punishment. He'll be hearing about this for the rest of his life. I think it was fair enough.

63
by dave crockett (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:07pm

My issue with no game suspension here is that the league office has made this basically equivalent to more or less "administrative" style rule violations--like trying to circumvent the salary cap.

I think that characterization is completely off base. This was not an administrative violation. It was the management equivalent of shooting up steroids. We have every reason to believe that videotaping, just like 'roids, is widespread. We also have no way to quantify just how much of a competitive advantage they give to players, just like 'roids. Therefore, when a player takes performance enhancers that potentially provide him with an unfair on-the-field competitive advantage the league doesn't slap him with a fine. That would be like buying a license to cheat. Rather, the league takes away his opportunities to compete.

I don't see why a coach who gets busted cheating should be treated any differently. For my money they could have kept the fine. Four games and a lower pick would have been fair.

64
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:09pm

Re: #62

The big difference is that videotaping the other sideline doesn't affect anyone's health.

65
by Stop McQuilken All Over My Stuff! (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:13pm

When college teams get caught cheating, they're often prohibited from competing for the national championship that year. That would have been harsh to do to the Patriots in this case, no playoffs for '07, but not unfair. The actual punishment seems maybe a little light to me. I'm neutral about the team, neither fan nor foe, but I think it'll look pretty bad for the league if they win the Super Bowl.

66
by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:13pm

The loss of a first-round pick is the bigger part of this penalty. Fines can be paid, but you can't purchase a first-round pick. The penalty is a significant competitive disadvantage for the Patriots.

67
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:14pm

Re #14: You draft value board geeks — what’s more total value, the first rounder a deep-into-the-playoff team would have, or the 2nd and 3rd round picks the typical non-playoff team would have?

Off-topic, but how deep you go in the playoffs short of the superbowl is irrelevant. The SB winner gets pick #32, the SB loser gets pick #31, and then the rest of the playoff teams get picks #21-30 based entirely on regular season record and not how far you make it in the playoffs. If you go 15-1 and tie for the best record in the league (with someone in your division, who wins the tiebreakers leaving you a wildcard), and then you lose in the wildcard round, you're picking 30th. If you go 7-9, sneak into the playoffs, and lose in the NFCCG, then you're picking 21st.

Anyway, back on the story, I have two questions.

First, how on earth is this a consistent punishment? A Dallas assistant coach breaks a rule by taking a "performance enhancing drug" (the quotes are because steroids would not actually enhance a COACH'S performance like they would a player's), basically gains no advantage, and gets a 5-game suspension- a game longer than a player would have gotten under comparable circumstances, despite the fact that the drug would ACTUALLY ENHANCE THE PLAYER'S PERFORMANCE. The message- the league holds coaches to a higher standard than players. And now Belichick gets off without a suspension? Talk about mixed messages. Or, scratch that, there's a message coming through loud and clear- if you're not a marquee name, you're expendable. If you're a big name who is a big draw, the league won't touch you because it might hurt their revenue.

Second question- whatever came of the suspicions that the Patriots were playing around with the radio signals?

68
by Randy S. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:14pm

Poor Wade Wilson. He does nothing to affect the team on field (and does something that only really affects him and his wife) and gets nailed for 5 games. Belichick is involved with something that clearly violates NFL rules and could affect the outcome of games for at least two years (from Mangini's time as DC to now) and he gets no suspension.

Not only that, but Wilson was publically embarassed. He's the real (unfortunate) loser here. I think everyone can agree that his punishment is out of line now and should be rectified by the league.

69
by andrew a (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:14pm

The patriots should minimize their penalty by winning the superbowl.

70
by tanner \'08 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:18pm

The steroids comparison is just silly. Possessing steroids without a proper prescription is a violation of federal law. Using a camera at a football game, not so much.

I'm a Pats fan and I would much rather have the draft pick back than lose Emperor Billpatine for a few games. I think this will be an extremely effective deterrent.

71
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:20pm

The Jets have weighed in:

The New York Jets have released the following statement tonight:

"We support the commissioner and his findings. The focus of our organization remains on the upcoming game against Baltimore."

I used to think the media would go totally bonkers if the Patriots had met the Parcells-led Cowboys in the Superbowl.

But now imagine what would happen (and imagine the ratings!!) if the Patriots met the Jets in the AFC Championship Game.

72
by andrew a (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:22pm

In a way I think this may help them... I felt one of Bellichek's flaws was his ego. That he did this after last year, after the league warning, and against his old coach speaks volumes.

Maybe this can deflate it. That apology probably pained him, and even if he was back to stonewalling I think he'll be a better coach in the long run for it.

73
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:23pm

If you go 15-1 and tie for the best record in the league (with someone in your division, who wins the tiebreakers leaving you a wildcard), and then you lose in the wildcard round, you’re picking 30th. If you go 7-9, sneak into the playoffs, and lose in the NFCCG, then you’re picking 21st.

Not exactly. The Giants, who snuck into the playoffs with an 8-8 record last year, picked 20th, while the Broncos, who missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record, were scheduled to pick 21st (but swapped picks with the Jaguars).

Teams who make the playoffs pick behind teams with the same record who don't make the playoffs, but non-playoff teams with more wins pick later. (Exception: had the Giants won two playoff games last year, they would have picked 21st - each playoff win is worth a half-win for tiebreaker purposes.)

74
by dave thomas (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:25pm

wow. I never realized how much the pats are hated. Most of the people on here are insane. This whole deal is nothing...I'd bet at least ten other teams, if not more, do something similar. Not to mention, I can't really see how its much of any advantage, since there are still keys to tell which call is on, and they can be changed at any time. Without the media hoopla, this wouldnt have resulted in ANYTHING. Grow up, people, and put things into perspective, instead of buying in to the inane hype.

75
by tanner \'08 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:26pm

Re 67 & 68,

Are you two honestly so naive that you think the Goodell was concerned about Wilson taking the PED himself? Really? I personally think the steroid hysteria is overblown, but if you have a policy to keep PED's out of the hands of the players, you can't very well let their coaches have them. The whole regime would become much harder to enforce.

76
by David (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:27pm

Hey look! It's ever homer argument ever fielded, in one convenient paragraph.

It's against the rules, they knew it was against the rules, there was a memo sent out this summer promising harsh penalties for breaking this specific rule, and they did it anyway. Why would they take the risk if there was no benefit?

77
by Jason (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:27pm

for all you whiners who are crying about a suspension, can you please explain to me exactly how this videogate justifies a suspension?

78
by gasman (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:28pm

The only team that has had the Pats number in the Belichick/Brady era is the Broncos. I wonder if Shanahan knew the Pats MO and put out dummy calls to throw them off.

79
by Don Booza (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:28pm

#66 Second question- whatever came of the suspicions that the Patriots were playing around with the radio signals?

Chris Mortensen is reporting that the NFL is starting an investigation into the entire Patriots film department. Mort indicated there could be more to the story down the road.

As much as we all want to get back to on-field discussion of actual football games, we could be seeing just the tip of the iceburg for Patriot Gate.

80
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:28pm

Easy to tell what a fair penalty would be. Patriot fans would feel like they were punched in the stomach and non-Patriot fans would say, " Wow, a little harsh". When I saw the TWolves lost like 5 1st rounders for jerking around with Joe Smith, I though " harsh". This penalty is meant to not bring too much attention that many people not in the NFL needed the Patriots to be good for subliminal reasons. Because remember, anyone who saw the tuck rule game KNEW it was a fumble and the NFL said " Nope, no fumble". We'll just alter the reality right in front of your face and MAKE YOU accept what we want the reality to be. This Goodell penalty to Belichick is a farce, and it's ironic he considers banning Vick for life for fighting dogs, and blows Belichick for basically altering the integrity of the whole sport. Yeah, I guess stealing signals isn't helpful, so let's just ignore this, move along, nothing to see here...

81
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:32pm

re: #79

and blows Belichick for basically altering the integrity of the whole sport. Yeah, I guess stealing signals isn’t helpful,

Stealing signals isn't against the rules, so there's no punishment for doing it.

82
by Louis (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:34pm

1) It seems to me that fans of the Patriots should be more outraged over this than anyone else. After all the admiration we've felt for this team and its accomplishments over the last six years, it pisses me off that I now have to question to what degree it was a sham. If Belichick was directing this sort of cheating the whole time, he was ultimately cheating his own fans.

Yeah, I've read many comments around the web about how stealing signals confers only a small advantage. People seem to be forgetting all the "Look at how they always win the close games! That's what makes a great team!" rhetoric that was playing like a broken record during their history-making 21 game winning streak. Well it's in the close games that a small advantage becomes a decisive one.

2) I'm pleased at the thought of Belichick bleeding half a million over this fiasco. It'd be nicer if it were twice that, but evidently that's the maximum, and in any case, no matter how rich the guy may be, you're foolish if you don't think he's going to feel it, emotionally if nothing else.

3) The idea that "OMG Belichick should have been suspended!" is misguided. Suspend him and the team starts slipping, what will people say? The temp coach is no substitute -- gosh, nobody could replace Belichick. If they tank on the season, it'll seem just an ill-effect of the coaching disruption.

But leave Belichick in place and the team starts slipping slipping, what will people say? Justifiably or otherwise, it'll be: HEY LOOK, HE CAN'T WIN WITHOUT CHEATING. Let his reputation now rest on this season. If the taping didn't confer a decisive advantage, let's make him at least generate some evidence of that.

Comparisons to the suspension of players are also foolish -- it's obvious whether or not a player is serving his suspension: Do you see him on the field? There's no way to make sure a coach isn't orchestrating things behind the scenes, whether or not he appears on the sidelines.

4) One thing I haven't seen much discussion of anywhere: How do you think this will affect BB's chances at the Hall? He was universally considered a lock before. Now I'm not even sure I'd vote for him.

5) I'm no less a fan of the Patriots than I've ever been, but I'm a bit less of a fan of Belichick. We'll see what he has to say now that the ruling has come through.

83
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:36pm

Oh, and to the guy above who said poor Wade Wilson, he was just trying to get an erection. Wake up and smell reality, big guy. Wade Wilson was the fall guy so guys on the Cowboys could use HGH without some snot nosed DA outing him publicly a la Rodney Harrison. Wade Wilson is guilty of DISTRIBUTING HGH to Cowboys; Wade Wilson's alibi might convince the lay public but medical facts unfortunately can't be subverted by some numbskull's subterfuge. I'm a Vikings fan and I am thankful that Wade disgraced the Cowboys and not the team he led.

84
by cd6 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:38pm

Aww man I didn't realize the other thread died because I missed this one being posted.

In any case, I'm totally out of the over/under business and retiring on top after the 500 post prediction last round.

Finally, I'm reposting my comment at the end of the other thread because nobody will read it there:

Sure the penalty was a little light, but the NFL penalty didn’t matter to me personally. It doesn’t affect me if the Pats are fined 250k or 2 million.

The great thing is, the have been caught red handed and everyone knows that they’re guilty. I never have to take a patriots fan seriously again when they talk about how great their team is, how clutch Brady is, or how much of a genius Belichick is. Because they’re cheaters.

And that, my e-friends, is priceless.

85
by MikeC (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:39pm

All in all this seams reasonable to me, maybe even a little harsher than I thought it would be. A first round draft pick lost will leave a mark. Maybe a 1 game suspension to go along with it was warranted, depending on what Belichick said in his defense.

However, I am not a Pats fan in the least, but someone needs to explain to me all of the uproar over the "integrity" of the game being besmirched, and Patriot wins deserving asterisks. Am I missing something, or is it not legal to steal an opponents signs? The Pats should (and were) punished for the method they used to do so (though it seems to me that what it boiled down to was the location of the camera, which really seems like splitting hairs to me).

Yeah, they broke a rule, and lke morons they did so in a blatant manner right after being reminded about the rule. They should be punished for doing so. But, I just can't work up any outrage about it. There is football to be played on Sunday, lets move on.

86
by vikinghooper (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:42pm

And to Patsfan #80, I'm glad you're using your law degree to nitpik the fact that your coach was caught DEAD TO RIGHTS cheating, and you still have the shameless to not just humbly accept that your team CHEATED and got caught. No your idea is it's all good. Typical Patriots fan; Manning is a choker, Patriots are gods. Now that we've been caught cheating, we'll say it's no big deal and we only did it once. The really infuriating thing is the headset malfunction in playoff games at Foxboro; I can't believe Del Rio didn't blow a head gasket, run out on the field, and wildly complain. Typical meek BS, couldn't stand up to authority giving them the " cellmate Earl " treatment.

87
by Purds (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:42pm

I don't like the ruling for two reasons:

1) If this is the way Goddell will penalize in the future (1st rounder if you make playoffs, 2nd & 3rd if you don't), isn't he in effect saying: "If your teams stinks, then cheating is a little less wrong than if your team is good"? That seems a dumb double-standard.

2) Money means squat. I don't know BB's pay, but I can't imagine this will make any dent for him, and I would guess that Kraft will pay, or give him a raise to cover it.

Which, of course, brings up an interesting question that NE and anti-NE fans can debate without bias: If you're Kraft, and there is no rule against it, do you pay BB's fine, or "wink-wink" pay the fine by adding to his salary? I mean, what is Kraft's right move here? I don't mean the public move, which is of course to NOT pay for BB. I mean the private correct move.

Finally, I am not saying this is a harsh penalty, or that it's a lenient one, I am just saying those two parts above seem wrong to me.

Oops, my real final statement is that folks who want to say that the loss of a 1st rounder isn't a big deal because NE has two -- that's silly. Whatever the NE draft stockpile is at the present should have no bearing on the penalty. The penalty should not be tailored to a team -- it should be a penalty that would be metted out to ANY team that cheated in this manner.

Full disclosure: I am a die-hard Colts fan.

88
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:43pm

Re: #84

I agree with your second paragraph and believe that penalty was what it was because Goodell didn't believe the violation had a meaningful competitive effect. If he did believe, he would have come down much harder, given how he has been acting in other cases that have come before him.

89
by DWE (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:43pm

So as of right now, the Patriots have a total of nine draft picks in 2008 -- two apiece in the first and third rounds, and one each in the second, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.

The picks to be surrendered would be the Patriot's own, not the picks they acquired in trades

But as part of trades the Patriots made during the 2007 draft, the team had already acquired some extra draft choices -- the San Francisco 49ers' 2008 first-round draft pick, and the Oakland Raiders' 2008 third-round draft pick.

(Stolen From Mike Reiss.Click my name for the original article.)

90
by Presto (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:44pm

I’ve already decided that if the Pats win the Super Bowl this season I’m boycotting NFL football indefinitely.

Thanks for giving me a reason to root for the Patriots again.

This was not an administrative violation. It was the management equivalent of shooting up steroids.

No, because there are a lot worse ways to cheat in the NFL. In terms of overall damage to the sport, there aren't many things above steroids (though there are a few, like fixing games).

This is the equivalent of a baseball player corking a bat.

91
by bob (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:45pm

Belichick is such an evil genius that he thought ahead enough to stockpile an extra 1st round draft choice, in the event he might be fined for stealing signals. Now that's f#$$ing brilliant!

92
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:46pm

BB is lucky I'm not the commish.

I would have summarily banned his ass from the league forever, and would have declared all wins during his tenure null and void.

93
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:47pm

Re: #86

I agree that the conditional nature of the draft pick penalty makes no sense. Why isn't it a 1st-rounder no matter what or a 2nd+3rd no matter what. Penalizing you less if you you're worse makes is bizarre.

As for the fine issue and if Kraft will try to work around it, I'm actually going in the other direction and wondering if this will cause Kraft to refuse to renew BB's contract when it expires. Kraft loves loves loves positive public image so this whole thing must gall him to high heaven.

94
by bubba0077 (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:49pm

As a Jets fan, I think the penalty is both appropriate and timely. To suggest the Pats should forfeit the game is silly (even though it would make *me* happy), as are the even more severe proposals. The only thing I think could be fairly added is a 1-2 game suspension for Billy-boy.

95
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:49pm

"Because remember, anyone who saw the tuck rule game KNEW it was a fumble and the NFL said � Nope, no fumble�."

Yay! more about the tuck rule.

Here is the actual tuck rule from the 2006 NFL rulebook.
Rule 3 section 21 article 3 page 12.
Note 1: When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional movement
forward of his hand starts a forward pass. If a Team B player contacts the passer or
the ball after forward movement begins, and the ball leaves the passer’s hand, a forward
pass is ruled, regardless of where the ball strikes the ground or a player.
Note 2: When a Team A player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward
movement of his hand starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the
ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the
ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.
Note 3: If the player loses possession of the ball while attempting to recock his arm, it is a
fumble.

I realize emotions are running high with the latest Pats news but for the love of god can we let the tuck rule go?

96
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:49pm

Re:81

Count me as another that thought many Patriot fans would be seriously ticked that their coach would do such a dumbass thing and risk tarnishing the reputation of the franchise.

It will be interesting to see if Mr.Kraft has any punishment for his coach, Winning is great, Winning at all cost's and bringing into question the integrity of the franchise is simply not worth it.

97
by chip (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:51pm

Alternative punishment:
1) Belichick suspended four games - must sit in Goodell's office for duration.
2) Belichick to wear a Reebok designed suit for remainder of the season. Grey hoodie auctioned off for a charity of the NFL's choosing.
3) Belichick to bear/man hug Mangini during Pats-Jets rematch. Must hold hug for 30 seconds and whisper sweet nothings/apology to the other (man)genuius.

98
by Josh A.H. (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:52pm

As a New Englander and long-time Patriots fan, I am deeply disturbed by the implications that this scandal has for the reputation of the franchise. I can't really imagine that the videotaping would confer a substantial advantage or that it has gone on a lot over the whole history of the Patriots' Super Bowl run - how could a guy with a video camera standing on the sidelines go unnoticed for all that time? On the other hand, I never would have imagined that the Patriots would be so foolish in the first place even in a single game, and especially not against a team coached by one of their former coaches.

At this point, coming off of the electrifying excitement of the Patriots' first game of the season, I feel completely deflated. I don't think I could enjoy watching the team compete with the stigma that will now hang over their past success. The value of their players and the integrity and intelligence of their on-field success has been immeasurably degraded. It doesn't really matter at this point if Belichick is the "best" coach or if Brady is a great player - the cheater label means that they fundamentally lack integrity (whether or not other teams cheat in the same way or would do so, it is the stigma that really makes the difference at this point). Do other people feel this way? I would imagine now that Kraft will have trouble filling the stands, that season ticket holders will be demanding their money back, etc. In my opinion, the emphasis that the league has placed on this incident burns a violent stain through the entire legacy of the franchise.

99
by Frankie (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:54pm

#83 dude, your last two paragraphs are priceless!

100
by Waverly (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:55pm

If I were Kraft, I would fine Belichick another $500,000.

I don't know how one can gauge the economic effect of such an embarrassing episode at this time, but it's got to cost the Patriots a significant amount over the long term.

101
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:57pm

Re: #85

Enjoying that high horse?

In any event, the person I was replying to claimed that "stealing signs" was "blowing the integrity of the entire sport".

Since stealing signs isn't even against the rules, it's hardly "blowing the integrity of the entire sport."

Two other things. First, if you'd bothered to look, instead of ASSuming, you would have seen I have always said the Patriots broke the anti-taping rule and deserved to be punished. Second, the Commissioner obviously didn't think this was "blowing the integrity of the entire sport" or the sentance would have been a helluva lot higher. Personally, I'll trust the judgement of the NFL Commissioner over some random anonymous Pats-hater.

102
by Ben (not verified) :: Thu, 09/13/2007 - 11:57pm

I've linked a shot of Jets cameraman (just to the left of the 1st down marker) pointing his camera across the field to right where the Patriots defense coaches should be. Unless the Jets have some strange explanation for this, its looking like they will be looking at some fines and loss of draft picks as well.

103
by Adam Gretz (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:00am

The only suitable punishment, in my view, would be to make Belicheck wear a slinky black evening gown, complete with over-the-top ear rings, a pearl necklace, heels, a matching handbag to complete the ensemble, and instead of that laminated play sheet, he has to cover his lips when he speaks with one of those gigantic hand fans that old ladies use when the bingo hall gets too hot.

All that being said, how much of a punishment is this? The Patriots still have a first round pick, the teams portion of the fine will be paid by its season ticket holders, Belichecks fine will probably be paid by Kraft, and he'll get his money from the season ticket holders.

104
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:01am

PatsFan:

I agree that the anonymous NE hater should be ignored, but I am not so sure I'd put my faith in the commish. He has vested interests, and they may conflict with the truth.

For example, do you think he really wants to uncover a story that the Pats used this illegal taping system in their SB runs/wins? (I am not saying they did, or that it would matter, I am just saying I bet he'd rather NOT find out that story, and that if he can avoid looking into it, he might.)

105
by Presto (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:01am

Count me as another that thought many Patriot fans would be seriously ticked that their coach would do such a dumbass thing and risk tarnishing the reputation of the franchise.

We are ticked, or haven't you been paying attention. But we're also ticked at the insinuations that we are somehow personally diminished by this, that we are implicated. We are not. We root for our team like everyone else. We are
ticked at calls for the coach to be banned, or the team to lose all its victories for the last five years.

They got punished, it was a fair punishment. Going forward, I will continue to root for them.

Hell, I lived through Victor Kiam, 1-15, Zeke Mowatt and Linda Olson. The Patriots survived that, they'll survive this.

I would imagine now that Kraft will have trouble filling the stands, that season ticket holders will be demanding their money back, etc. In my opinion, the emphasis that the league has placed on this incident burns a violent stain through the entire legacy of the franchise.

Nope. Are season ticket holders in Atlanta asking for their money back? In St. Louis? Tennessee? It isn't the end of the world. There is no scarlet letter.

106
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:05am

Nope. Are season ticket holders in Atlanta asking for their money back? In St. Louis? Tennessee? It isn’t the end of the world. There is no scarlet letter.

Ever feel like you just paid a premium for drilling rights, only to hit sand? Evidence is all over the Internet. Since Vick’s tenure with the team unofficially ended with news of a plea agreement, fans have flooded eBay, Craigslist and StubHub with their season tickets. The Web suddenly looks like a surf shop in Des Moines.

“Dude, there are people selling season tickets on the lower level, 50-yard line for below face value,� said Daniels, who had been on a waiting list for tickets for three years. “That’s unheard of in any market.�

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, August 22.

107
by Jonathan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:05am

Belichick statement per Reiss:

"I accept full responsibility for the actions that led to tonight's ruling. Once again, I apologize to the Kraft family and every person directly or indirectly associated with the New England Patriots for the embarrassment, distraction and penalty my mistake caused. I also apologize to Patriots fans and would like to thank them for their support during the past few days and throughout my career.

"As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week's game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress.

"Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.

"With tonight’s resolution, I will not be offering any further comments on this matter. We are moving on with our preparations for Sunday’s game."

108
by andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:06am

90 - no, an evil genius coach would be like one from the 60's on Lombardi's staff who was frozen for 40 years and thawed out and employed the methods from back then to take over the world.... of the nfl.

Fortunately, Pete Rozelle had a charismatic young intern who was also frozen and will administer old-style justice in stoping this evil mastermind.

... and we will win the superbowl again, thus dooming the ratings, unless the NFL pays us the sum of ONE HALF MILLION DOLLARS....

starring Bill Belichek as Coach Evil

Roger Goodell as Comissioner Powers

Scott Pioli as Number Two

Eric Mangini as Scott Evil

Romeo Crenel as Mustafa

Steve Belichek as Nigel Powers

Debby as Frau Farbissina

Robert Kraft as Goldmember

Charlie Weiss as Fat Bastard

109
by Frankie (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:11am

Re#103 makes a good point. I'm not sure the commish really wants to know the extent of this incident. The more they uncover, the worse it might be for the long term image of the league. However, if a contingent of other owners are sufficently upset about this, the commish may have no choice but to peel through all the layers of this onion.

110
by FJ (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:11am

I liked a suggestion I saw on the ESPN threads (I know, I was shocked by the idea I could get anything of value there). And maybe it'll get those Pats' fans who keep saying it's no big deal to think about it for a while:////////////////

Maybe the best punishment is that every other team should be allowed to use a camera and radio signals to make adjustments against the Patriots this year. Those of you that don't think that this gives a competitive advantage should be fine with that.

111
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:13am

Re: #90

Hubris intact.

112
by dbt (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:13am

#101: not a pats or jets fan, but I can't see squat. Are you sure it's not an NFL Films guy? Those guys are all over the sidelines during games.

#82: Are you on dope? Wade Wilson is being suspended for buying HGH ... in 2004! before he worked for the cowboys, or the bears. I suggest you get yourself an 8th grade education before re-entering polite society.

113
by Jesse (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:14am

109- Belichick would hire 15 guys off the street and have 14 of them giving dummy signals. It doesn't work when you know it's being done to you. The advantage comes when the other team doesn't realize you're doing it.

114
by dave thomas (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:14am

#82 - Wilson was WITH THE BEARS when the HGH incident occurred...is everyone an idiot these days? Jesus...at least read the basic facts of the story.

115
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:15am

OOPS!

I meant Re #106:

Hubris intact.

(Sorry for slandering you, bob)

116
by Vern (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:16am

Guys, if you really wanted to punish Belichick, you should force him to utter the soul searching novella that Peter King suggested he say.

As for being ashamed, I've already ordered my "New England Football - We're Watching YOU" T Shirt! (check the link)

And finally, Belichick just issued a statement that said he will offer no further comment. The writhing masses of sanctimoniousness will just have to writhe. This put a real smile on my face.

117
by andrew a (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:17am

I mean its not like he cheated at fantasy football...

118
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:22am

Anyone have a link to the full, actual press release issued by the Commish? Even NFL.com only has a link to an AP wire article which only quotes pieces of it.

119
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:22am

I realize I'm really late to the party with this, but I had an interesting conversation with a Colts season ticket holder today. I apologize for the hearsay, but I found it interesting and maybe someone can Google up confirmation.

He told me that Bill Polian banned all on-field cameras for last year's AFC Championship Game. He also wondered if Polian's altercation with a Jets official was related to videotaping signals. I seem to remember there was a camera involved, but I may be incorrect.

(Full disclosure: Colts fan here.)

Oh yeah. The punishment seems fair. A first-round pick is a pretty high price.

120
by andrew a (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:23am

By jove, I finally figured it out. Remember Mutant League Football? The game that involved all manner of cheating plays like "Bribe Ref"?

Its coming back, baby! And THAT is why Bill Bellichek's name is not in Madden. he's the covery boy for the Mutant League Football reborn! and about damn time too, that was one hell of a game...

121
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:25am

The AP article does say Goodell believed Kraft didn't know about it (Goodell justified fining the team on Belichick's position of essentially director of football ops, and therefore his actions could be imputed to the team, which is reasonable, IMHO).

122
by Rob (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:27am

wow, for those who think the patsies past achievements are not in doubt/will not be questioned, check out one of the headlines on Yahoo.com:
"Eagles: Did Pats cheat in Super Bowl?"

123
by cd6 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:29am

I'm starting a new conspiracy theory:

Goodell gave Belichick a light punishment because Belichick has a incriminating video tape of Goodell cheating on his wife or his taxes or something like that.

Everyone, if you would kindly repeat this as fact and spread it across the internets, I would be greatly obliged.

124
by JJcruiser (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:32am

WEEI had a few callers talking about this mysterious Jets cameraman (#101 referenced).

He's in the top right of the photo (I liked to it too) just to the left of the down marker. He's recording the field.

I don't know how that could be cheating, but I thought there were no video people allowed on the field other than official crews. Maybe he's got a reasonable explanation. It seems absolutely absurd that the Jets would call out the Patriots on the same day they were doing the same thing, but life is stranger than fiction.

125
by JJcruiser (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:34am

121:

Sheldon is a moron.

The Eagles are the most blitz-happy team in the league. The Patriots are the most screen-happy team in the league, especially under Weiss.

Put two and two together.

126
by Ben (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:35am

#111: NFL Film guys wear an orange vest. Network cameramen wear yellow or green vests. From the multiple screencaps that have been starting to pop up, it is clear he isn't wearing either of those.

127
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:36am

#118: So now it's official: the Pats really CAN'T win without cheating! Thank you a hundred times for that post, I loved it.

Yup, sure is funny how badly the Pats played in the second half of THAT game, isn't it?

This is going to be the Cheatriots' version of Appalachian State. As it should be.

128
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:39am

BTW as a DolFan, it sure wouldn't break my heart to see the Jets get punished too. Hell, at this point I think the NFL should look into the Bills' on field camera activities as well!

No wonder my team keeps finishing last, they're in the cheatingest division in football!

129
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:42am

BTW when I went to yahoo.com I didn't see anything about te Eagles, Cheatriots or football. But I did see this: "20 million fans bid for Led Zeppelin comeback tickets."

Forget the implications concerning the integrity of the game for a minute, THAT's frightening.

130
by Christina (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:43am

Re. 109:
The problem I have with giving all other teams permission to tape the Pats is that he is in essence breaking his own rule to let other teams have revenge on a team. I don't think that's an action that would reflect well on the commissioner in the long run. It strikes me as petty.

I personally was in favor of suspending Belicheck, not taking away draft picks. The fine is fine. I think this is a case where Belicheck consciously made the decision to break the rules, and responsibility for that starts and ends with him.

As others have said, there are reports that the entire film department is under investigation and all film will be looked at. Good. This should prove exactly what the Pats were up to. If they find lots of illegal film, I hope the league comes down on Belicheck *hard*. If all the allegations are true, a lifetime ban would probably be appropriate, because he would have put such a large stain on the integrity of the game that is simply disgusting. As for punishing the organization, I think that would depend on who knew what. If Kraft and most of the team was ignorant, I'd say a fine and maybe one or two more draft picks (next year's first and second?). If it was very widespread, then the sanctions should be much larger.

And yes, I'm a Pats fan, and I'm pissed at what has happened. Breaking the rules is breaking the rules, and they deserve to be punished for it.

131
by FJ (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:44am

112 - That's true, but you really only have to know who the defensive leader is and see who he's looking at. And you could force them to be in different parts of the field.

Otherwise, THEN you bring the full brunt of the law down and ban them from the playoffs if they do something so blatant to circumvent the penalty.

F

132
by FJ (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:49am

129 - But there's a certain amount of justice in their experiencing what they've done to others. Plus it would be considered fair by ALL fans (just as long as the Patriots didn't circumvent it).

I'll admit it isn't the most likely of punishment, but, then, we could see if there really IS a difference in recording the signals which a LOT of patriots fans say it ISN'T.

Plus, it has the added benefit that the Patriots' fans who say it's no big deal can't argue against that punishment since "it's no big deal."

F

133
by dave thomas (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:49am

Another point on all of this, that you rabid Pats haters should keep in mind (btw, Im a Cowboys fan, not a Pats fan) is what is to come...teams now know they can get rid of their arch-rivals first round pick for outing them on shady business....be prepared for a plethora of such outings in the near future...congrats to the Jets, and Goodell....you just made the NFL into MLB...
Not that I dont think they should have been punished....but most people are too bone dumb and lazy to learn the facts (as evinced by the number of people going on about the "cheating" of stealing signs...) and will (as with steroids in MLB) see the league as tainted.

134
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:50am

I do like the fact that this continues to be investigated. I said somewhere (trust me, I did, it's just buried in the last XP regarding this) that people were going to initially say 'oh, no big deal" and then further investigation would show that it indeed was a much bigger deal than anyone thought. I'm no prophet, that's just standard operating procedure for modern day Scandals Du Jour. It always happens like this. Dogfighting ring anyone?

135
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:52am

#132: I say bring it on. My team's so terrible they can't possibly be outed as cheaters. If anything THEY should be doing the outing!

Didn't think of that, did ya?

136
by ChargersFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:55am

Belicheat got off way too easy. He doesn't care about being fined 500K. He should be suspended for a year. That would send a message to coaches. And perhaps their super bowl wins should be invalidated. Everyone knows they're meaningless anyway, so why not make it official on the record books?

Aaron is wrong when he says people won't remember or care about this in the future. He mentioned Steelers of the 70s, but whenever anyone hears about that team, they think, "steroids." In the future, whenever anyone hears about the Patriots of the early 21st century, they will think, "cheaters."

Luckily, I think the Patriots will eventually get what they deserve. Like LT says, the Patriots live by the philosophy, "If you're not cheating, you're not trying." Cheating is what they're all about. They won't be able to stop doing it. And you can bet that next time, they'll be caught. Hopefully, they won't be given a slap on the wrist.

137
by Christina (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:57am

Re. 131:
I agree. It would be fair, in an "eye for an eye" sort of way. I was just stating reasons for why I thought that would be inappropriate for the commissioner to do because of how it would reflect on him, not because it was unfair.

138
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:58am

The penalty seems harsh, but relatively fair. Everyone who think that they should disband the Patriots, ban Belichick from football, or ritually sacrifice his oldest child to the Malaysian demon goddess Ruthura should just relax and say to themselves, "it's only a game, it's only a game, it's only a game...

139
by Jonathan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:58am

#134: unless they're equally terrible when it comes to cheating.

140
by dave thomas (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:58am

#134...that reply doesn't even make sense. I didn't say every team cheats, for one, two, you can suck and still cheat, and three, I was addressing the publicity impact on the league, which apparently you don't care about (even though you're happy to dump on the Pats for it. HMM. lol)

141
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:59am

#135: Damn right, playa. What goes around comes around. It might take a while, but karma always gets her man. Or her team in this case.

142
by masocc (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:05am

I didn't read the comments, so if somebody else already said this, my apologies:

It could be worse... F1 fined McLaren Racing 100 MILLION dollars for spying...

143
by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:10am

I agree with some of the posts when they say that it is unfair that one coach gets suspended 5 games for HGH, and BB gets a fine for this.

But has anyone considered that this is one of those NFL secrets that everybody does in one form or another?
I imagine in the off season that they probably gave everyone a warning, the Pats ignored it and this is a reminder to the rest of the league. If this were the case then Goodell is sending a message that no coaches are above the law.

Just a thought, it makes more sense this way.

144
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:15am

"Second question- whatever came of the suspicions that the Patriots were playing around with the radio signals?"

kibble, it was completely unfounded, like 90% of the other accusations in here. Just more hate-drivel.

145
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:16am

Dolfan, while you're sitting up on your high horse, you do realize that Shawn Taylor and Zach Thomas addmitted to buying illegal tape of the patriots last year, right?

146
by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:16am

Also to those of you who are suggesting a first rounder is nothing, you really need to think again.

Out of the 4 major sports, draft picks are the most important to the NFL.

NHL teams pick 17 year olds that they hope will turn into stars.

MLB has 900 rounds and often draft players knowing that the chances of them ever playing are slim.

NBA draft picks are traded so regularly that teams consistently end up with 3 or more first round picks, which rarely if ever happens in the NFL.

A first rounder is a huge punishment.

PS- Does this mean Peyton Manning is better than Tom Brady now?

147
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:19am

#137, you're correct, of course, that it is only a game, thus meaning it would have little import, yet more deterrent effect against future wrongdoing, to take away a lot more draft picks. The Pats likely got off easy, and there's a decent chance it was because Goodell really needs Kraft as any ally if the cba negotiations are reopened.

In any case, I really do hope to see the Pats back in the conference championship this year, but I'd appreciate it if little Billy Belichik can manage to not break the rules along the way. Perhaps he needs someone to explain them to him.

148
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:21am

"If they find lots of illegal film, I hope the league comes down on Belicheck *hard*. If all the allegations are true, a lifetime ban would probably be appropriate, because he would have put such a large stain on the integrity of the game that is simply disgusting."

A lifetime ban for something that wasn't against the rules up until this year? A life time ban for having a camera in the wrong part of the field?

149
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:22am

#145 That still goes on another thread. Don't make me link to it! :)

150
by cd6 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:22am

As if the total humiliation of my least favorite pro sports team isn't enough, we now get the added benefit of hilarious photoshops.

Click my name for one of the hundreds soon to follow.

I love the internet

151
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:23am

Will, its amazing how much better you think you are than everyone else, isnt it?

152
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:28am

The Eagles are the most blitz-happy team in the league. The Patriots are the most screen-happy team in the league, especially under Weiss.

Put two and two together.

... and you win by 3?

The article suggesting that the Eagles think the Patriots cheated in the Super Bowl is ludicrous, mainly because it was the reporters who were asking them that, and the closest any of them came to saying "yes" was Dawkins saying he was a little surprised at how much they adjusted after the half.

But please, please, please don't suggest that the outcome of game that was at the end of every quarter except the 4th and finished with the margin of victory just 3 points was in some way as obvious as putting "two and two together." Compared to the clunker blowouts we've seen in the past two years, that was a fantastic game. Don't demean it.

153
by Christina (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:31am

147:
Apologies, those sentences did not go well together. When I said "all the allegations", I was also referring to the accusations of micing d-linemen to steal audibles and putting speakers in the helmets of defensive players (those haven't magically disappeared, though they haven't been proven). If all that is true, there's a problem. But if it is, they would probably find recordings and film to prove it. That was what I meant.

154
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:32am

Mr. Allen, I have a personal request. Please do not respond to post #150. The thread will be better off because of it.

Regards,

155
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:32am

#151: I'm not demeaning anything, the Cheatriots are doing a fine job of that all by themselves.

#144: Who is this Shawn Taylor you speak of?

In any rate, the Pats went whining to the NFL about it (how hypocritical does that look NOW?) and the NFL said there was nothing to it. So, to throw back in your face a phrase thrown so often in mine, who are you to judge? :-)

156
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:32am

#142: Let me also say that the coach getting suspended for 5 games, while Belichick just gets a fine, is retarded. I think the main "retarded" aspect is the coach getting suspended, though.

Especially considering what he was taking it for. I mean, jeez, he probably makes nowhere near as much as the players, and so 5 games out of his paycheck is a heckuva lot of money. Plus the sheer embarrassment.

156
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:32am

Will, the only a game comment was directed at those people who take this personally.

If you apply it to the meting out of a reasonable punishment, then obviously everybody involved can say "it's only a game, act in my self-interest", and that leads nowhere.

Cheers!

158
by cd6 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:33am

Did I say hilarious photo shops? I meant brilliant youtube clips... again, there's one linked in my name.

And the pats are going to have to put up with boos and signs and so on in every road game they've got this year... I can't wait.

159
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:33am

"I would imagine now that Kraft will have trouble filling the stands, that season ticket holders will be demanding their money back, etc"

You mean like San Diego is having trouble filling the stands for those two cheaters, Merriman and Castillo?

160
by Boston Dan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:34am

It's interesting to see so many of you, none of which have acutally seen the evidence in question, offering up the wonderful suggestions for Belichick's penalty.

Nope, there is no piling on going on here...

161
by Boston Dan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:35am

The best part about this entire episode is that the Pats can honestly play the "respect" card again.

It's on!!!!

162
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:36am

Tell you what: out of respect for Christina, who seems to be the one Pats fan genuinely contrite and outraged about this, I'll stop posting in this thread. I'll admit I've gotten a little carried away tonight.

But only a little. All the rest of you Rich Conleys will just have to duel with me in another Extra Points thread about this. Because you know another one is coming when the NFL finishes investigating the entire film department.

163
by All of New England (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:37am

Dolfan,

Have fun watching your near last place team for the next decade or so.

164
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:37am

"In any rate, the Pats went whining to the NFL about it (how hypocritical does that look NOW?) and the NFL said there was nothing to it."

So basically, cheating is okay when the dolphins did it, but not when the patriots do it?

Zach Thomas also admitted last year that the dolphins regularly mic'ed there lineman so they could tape opposing QBs audibles.

165
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:39am

Golly gee, Rich, not for the first time I am left to wonder as to what form of english is used on your planet. My post merely agrees that football is only a game, thus is would have been no great disaster to take away a lot more draft picks, that the Pats probably got off easy, and there likely was some relationship to the fact that Goodell needs Kraft to be an ally.

Then I said that I hoped the Pats did well, but I'd prefer they not break the rules, and that little Billy Belechik might benefit from having them explained to him, given that it quite plain that he has difficulty in interpreting them.

Now, exactly, what happens within the synapses that fire in your skull that causes you to interpret those remarks as meaning "I am better than everyone else."? Is it the same process that leads you to think the words "I think they should hit Belichik pretty damned hard" mean "Losing a draft is no big deal"? Do tell!

166
by Boston Dan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:39am

re: 163

Rich,

Actually, it's pretty interesting, Zach Thomas is an accomplished lip reader.

167
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:42am

"Now, exactly, what happens within the synapses that fire in your skull that causes you to interpret those remarks as meaning “I am better than everyone else.�"

How about "little billy belichek"?

How is it that the synapses in your brain dont recognize that as an obvious attempt to look superior?

168
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:45am

Todd, I apologize, but I was truly curious as to a few matters, so I thought I'd inquire with Rich.

Rich, ol' buddy, I withdraw the questions! Just call me an "assclown" again, and we'll leave it at that, you ol' rhetorical titan, you!

169
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:47am

#167 No worries. I was a little slow on the post anyway.

Cheers.

170
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:48am

Will, please explain to me what the intent of using the pejorative nickname "Little Billy Belichick" if not to point out that you are better than him?

And thanks for patronizing me. I clearly see you're better than me, too.

171
by cd6 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:50am

158

Ahhh, Rich, even if you were to somehow totally ignore the whole illegal video tape thing, I'm not sure that "yeah well Chargers players used steroids" is a great path for Pats fans to go down, seeing as the most recent high profile 4 game suspension was Rodney Harrison.

172
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:50am

Somehow, Rich, you have confused the set known as "little Billy Belichik" with the set known as "everyone else". My word.

In any case, I will cop to thinking I am superior to little Billy Belichik in interpreting the meaning of memos from the NFL league office. There is no doubt, however, that little Billy could school me in the ways of the game of football, so no, I really don't think I'm superior to even lil' Billy.

173
by Todd S. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:53am

#157 Thanks for the link. That is an instant classic.

174
by cd6 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:57am

What's the standard for being considered as "better than Bill Belichick"?

Considering that, unlike Belichick, most of the country doesn't think I'm an unpleasant cheating sumbag, I'd say that makes me better than Bill.

And that's not even going into the fact that I'm personable, dress nicely, and haven't broken up any marriages.

Really, though, this comment thread has gone to a ridiculous level now.

175
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:00am

Now, now, the thread's not over until Rich calls me an "assclown", and don't you forget it!

176
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:11am

Shady Brady and Bill Belicheat...instant classic!

I never liked the Patriots under Belichick, due to the media adoration and the arrogant belief of their fans that they were the "model franchise" of the NFL--superior in every way to the rest of us. I never thought that Tom Brady deserved his success or mention in the same breath as Manning or even Palmer as far as QBs went. He never impressed me when the Broncos played his team...mostly because the Broncos own the Patriots. When Belicheat and Brady ran into a real genius coach, Shanahan, they were unable to counter it with their trickery.

I never understood how exactly the Patriots won all of those games when they never beat the Broncos...and indeed never looked particularly good when we did play them. Because of this, I could never respect them as a franchise the way I do respect the Colts.

This week's events really clears up a lot of things in my mind, and gives me a comeback to any Pats fans I come across. They deserve everything they get.

177
by JFP (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:25am

Reply to #175. Bronco Jeff I assume you root for the Broncos and would never condone any cheating or rule breaking by them. You know like when they broke salary cap rules during their Super Bowl victory seasons and were penalized by the league. That little fact seems to be left out when people talk about those teams.

178
by Moe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:35am

“My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect.�

You gotta be kidding. The rule says no video taping. They were video taping.

Speed limit is posted as 55 mph. “Officer my interpretation was that 70 mph was allowed was incorrect.�

Calling this a “mistake� is laughable.

179
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:36am

176: I'm not proud of that part of Broncos history, no...but please let me enjoy this while I can.

As has been mentioned in the other thread, the types of cheating were of different intent and overall effect. I don't remember the details too much of our salary cap violations (being young at the time), so I won't say much more than that.

I just take sick pleasure in the Patriot's sticky situation. I'm a Broncos fan and an Anti-Patriots fan--put it this way: when the Raiders or Chiefs play the Patriots, I root for the Raiders or Chiefs. I think that shows the depth of my dislike of the Patriots.

180
by dienasty (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:37am

1)You guys have got to be out of your minds. I kno they have been found guilty of cheating. But stealing signs...How much of an advantage is that really? Do you think that defenses are not changing those signals every week (If not w/in the game). I mean if im playin linebacker and reading my keys Im also memorizing the signals. If Im on the sidelines as a coach or player Im doin the same thing. "When he waves like this it means this." And because of this if im a D coordinator im changin the calls weekly if not every quarter.
2)Besides all this I am sure that it is not a much more increased advantage than what Miami D did last year recording our stuff. I wouldnt be suprised if Belicheck did this as a response to that. The whole "Brady is Probable" every week for two years was a response to what a team did at some time to us (I forget who Atlanta? w/ Vick bein probable and not playin). (BTW as a PATS fan this reason which is the most probable is also the one that makes me the maddest bc now I cant go anywhere w/o haters like on this board comin out da woodwork bc Belicheck was tryin to get back at MIA)
3)They definently have not been doin this for the whole run. There is no way they couldve gotten away w/it. If they have and they got away with it then a whole lot of other teams were doing it too and it was accepted practice even if against the rules therefore nullyfying its advantages.
4)W/o a doubt the punishment fits the crime and i can understand banning Belicheck for a game or two too (but that means he would watch the games on tv and steal signs for the next time they play that team. . . lol)
5)But to everyone on this board PLEASE RELAX. It doesnt tarnish anything. We have that greatest dynasty in the history of the NFL and we have our best team yet who is now fueled by the hate that you all have provided. If they win this week; 16-0.

181
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:40am

Post 179--Exhibit 23B as to why I hate the Patriots organization and why I dislike by-and-large their fan base.

182
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:42am

Shanahan was able to break the cameras....with his mind!

Do people really care about this? I mean for cheaters they have not looked particular good the last couple of seasons, I guess they were trying to throw people off their evidence and you think the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl-uh they would cheat better and not have to win in dramatic fashion.

Plus everyone knows their 1st Super Bowl victory was a NFL conspiracy trumped up to make people feel good again after 9/11. Who's your messiah now America?

and if the Raiders were caught doing this, Al Davis would have been given the death penalty.

183
by IrrationalEmotionalPatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:48am

OK, completely irrational, emotional response coming. I haven't read the whole thread yet, so I apologize if this has already been said. I also apologize in advance for my completely irrational and emotional rant. OK, here it comes...

OH MY F****CKING GOD, GIVE IT UP, PEOPLE!!!!! A LOT OF YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK!!!! I THOUGHT FO WAS FOR RATIONAL AND INTELLIGENT INDIVIDUALS!!!!!!!!

VIDEOTAPING SIGNALS THAT ARE IN PLAIN VIEW OF EVERYONE DOES NOT TAKE A BAD TEAM AND MAKE IT A 3-TIME SB CHAMP!!!! THERE ARE NO FRIKKIN ASTERISKS NEXT TO THE PATRIOTS WINS!!!! THEY HAVE GOOD PLAYERS, GOOD COACHING, A GOOD OWNER, AND A GOOD AMOUNT OF LUCK. AND THEY BROKE ONE MINOR RULE.

AND THIS DOES NOT DESTROY OR SHATTER THE INTEGRETY OF THE GAME. COACHES, PLAYERS, TEAMS, AND OWNERS TRY TO GET AWAY WITH ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING THAT THEY CAN ALL THE TIME, LEGAL OR NOT, IF THEY THINK THEY WILL NOT GET CAUGHT. THAT'S THE WAY THE NFL, THE NCAA, AND PRACTICALLY EVERY OTHER MAJOR LEAGUE SPORT WORKS. WAKE UP PEOPLE.

OK, sorry about that. But seriously, get some perspective, people. The Pats broke one rule, and skirted several others. As every team does. They got caught. They got punished. Move on.

It reminds me of the great line from The Sting:

"How could I call him for cheating better than I was?"

184
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:55am

182: Well, that just makes the Patriots particularly dumb and arrogant, even if what you say is true.

I'm just as satisfied with that conclusion as I am with the fact that they're convicted cheaters.

185
by JD (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:55am

Yer all missing the point here. The analogy is Watergate -in that we're probably only seeing ONE aspect of a much LARGER, longer, and very coordinated "dirty tricks" campaign.

You think this lone video guy is the only part of Belicheck's "CREEP" intelligence team? No way. As an above poster noted, for the footage to be useful at all, you need a whole coordinated system of guys to decipher/feed/relay the stolen signals both during and after gametime.

This has been rumored for a long, long time now, and only now did it have to take one of Bill's own former acolytes no less to actually catch em. So, I bet all those other rumors (hmm, like the Pats using special radios to steal the audio/headset signals) make a lot more sense now: like I said, a whole dirty tricks campaign, a Pats CIA if you will. This is just the only time they've been CAUGHT.

Of course, do the Pats really "need" to do all this? Probably not. But, hey, Nixon won in a landslide too, and it didnt stop him, either.

While the Pats are arguably the best team in the league now, you bet some inside info didnt hurt back when they were just barely beating people. So, did some of the dirty tricks really help out against everyone? Well, as that quote by Peyton Manning describes psyching out the Browns when he knew they knew his signals, probably not. But, hmm, against a "genius" coach, like say, Herm Edwards? I bet it worked like a charm.

Anyone who DOESNT think this tipped the scale of at least SOME close games is deceiving themselves. If Bill's the SMARTEST coach in the league to BEGIN with, then, just like with his schemes, he's probably also the SMARTEST CHEATER as well. To say that "everyone" is doing this, or, JUST AS WELL AS Bill has been doing it, yeah right.

Mangini is already a "baby" Bill, and if he thought he needed to go out and embarass the Grand Master like this, then you can bet he thought he NEEDED TO. After all, he could have just either taken countermeasures, or more reasonably, just DO THE SAME THING to the Pats.

But he didnt. Which proves the theory, because after all the publicity, now Mangini cant go ahead and do the video thing HIMSELF, which he obviously probably learned how to do perfectly well FROM Bill in the 1st place. So, Mangini just effectively "ruined" his OWN (and everyones) ability to do certain dirty tricks in the future, meaning he is indeed worried that Bill either 1) does CHEAT BETTER than anyone else, or, 2) at least cheats more RUTHLESSLY. Personally, I bet Bill does both. He is, after all, the best.

Knowing that Bill had the advantage then, Mangenius decided to LEVEL the playing field. If I cant, or wont, cheat as well as the Grand Master, I can at least see neither of us does.

186
by Acero (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:59am

Looking forward to receiving my first copy of PFP ever! This Patriot-cheating story has already left my realm of immediate interest; now it's on to seeing who's going to bash whom next on FO EP Boards - this season's HOT NEW drama!

187
by JFP (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 3:01am

178: Bronco Jeff, I'm not saying that you shouldn't be proud of the Bronco's. Their manipulations of the salary cap may have have given them an advantage during their Super Bowl runs, but it was mostly talent, coaching, and execution that produced those victories. When the league determined they broke the rules they were penalized for it. To me that's the end of the story. I apply the same standard to the Pat's. They broke the rules and are now paying the price. However, it was coaching and talent that won their Super Bowls. As for you taking joy in the Pat's current situation I can't fault you there. Personally I always like to see the Raiders in turmoil.

188
by ChargersFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 3:11am

Click on my name for a funny youtube video I came across. "Shady Brady and Bill Belicheat."

189
by Francisco (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 3:14am

Jesus people

190
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 4:00am

187: We know, that was post 157...but thank you for bringing it up again. Every time I watch that clip I am giddy.

191
by oldnumberseven (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 4:57am

Sure the penalty was a little light, but the NFL penalty didn’t matter to me personally. It doesn’t affect me if the Pats are fined 250k or 2 million.

The great thing is, the have been caught red handed and everyone knows that they’re guilty. I never have to take a patriots fan seriously again when they talk about how great their team is, how clutch Brady is, or how much of a genius Belichick is. Because they’re cheaters.

And that, my e-friends, is priceless.

:: cd6 — 9/13/2007 @ 10:20 pm
I recommend this as the anti-Pats manifesto.

:: oldnumberseven — 9/14/2007 @ 2:21 am

192
by R Arpin (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 5:05am

I know this is a thread on the punishment of Belichick, but I'm thinking a couple related things.

First, if you have a car accident they don't take away your license, they increase your insurance, at least the first accident (here in Canada). You can still prove you're a responsible driver. Every win Belichick gets now he's going to get cleanly, he'll have to, everyone will be watching him. If the pat's win the superbowl this year maybe the thinking that those other 'bowls are tainted won't have as much merit. Of course if BB flubs up again he'll definitely be out.

Two, Denver alignments are just plain wack. I remember watching the Wildcard a couple years back and it constantly looked like punt block formation. You can't even tell who'll be rushing.

Three, I thought the patriots won close games not because they scored so much and had a leaky defense but because they had a tight defense and an average offense. I've only been following NFL a few years, and only been on FO for a few weeks but didn't the pat's build their success on their defense? This is a stat's site, can someone tell me where they've ranked defensively and offensively the past 7 years?

For the sake of disclosure, I'm a Pat's fan that cheered for them because I thought they were clean. I don't really know what to do now, I feel like I've been cheated on. Needless to say, If they lose now because they don't have this advantage, I will definitely feel betrayed. I do hope they keep rollin' though, people (team members) that takes pay cuts to keep a team together have something good going on inside them.

193
by Raskolnikov (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 5:58am

I think the deeper and more enduring punishment will be how these Patriot teams will be remembered and seen.

This is now by far the most reviled team in the NFL. Other than their own, which fan base doesn't now hate the Patriots? They may as well embrace their villainy like a Vince McMahon. This will be their legacy and what these Patriots deserve for their cheating.

194
by Fourth (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 6:32am

Worst comment thread ever. This should get some sort of award. Has someone already said this? I can't get through 192 posts...

195
by iapetus (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 6:56am

141: They were fined $100 million dollars and effectively excluded from this year's championship, and were also told that their 2008 car will be examined in details, and if there's any sign of them taking advantage of the information they received then they'll be punished in that season as well.

I never thought the FIA would be so much tougher than the NFL, but I guess that's the way it is.

Of course, what's really missing from the NFL decision is any sort of further investigation. From what various teams have said, this might just be the tip of the iceberg on the Patriots' cheating - some of the allegations about convenient failures of the QB radio systems when playing in Foxborough are particularly interesting.

196
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 8:31am

What are the unforgivable sins in America?

Hypocrisy, not doing everything to win, and failing to accept reponsibility? The Patriots sure nailed #1. The Patriots fans sure nailed #3. For that Patriots the organization, this too shall probably pass like the Cowboys trunks full of pot, guns at the airport, beat down coked up hookers phase. For the Patriots fans, it might just live on like Eagles fans booing Santa, cheering career ending injuries, and trying to punch out moms.

In terms of "fairness" and protecting the "integrity of the game," the Patriots probably got off light. In terms of minimizing fan alienation, and maximizing deterent, I'm pretty confident these very smart, very cautious people who are very aware of taking care of the goose that lays the golden television contracts picked the best road available to them.

The Patriots fans will have to take their lumps. They can do so with class, and have it pass quickly, or they can make sure it's something that will never be forgotten. And it's not like this reaction wasn't invited. Maybe none of them had a hand in promoting 'The Patriot Way' but if there was a book called 'The Raider Way' it'd have a picture of a wild-eye'd Lyle Alzado gouging someone's eyes out on the cover and no one would be surprised about the allegations or anything else. Because the Raiders wouldn't be hypocrits and their fans wouldn't be party to it. The Patriots fans can try to shout it down, but as many and as vocal as they are, it's a lost cause.

197
by andrew (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 8:39am

194 - no, its not AND. The $100 million includes money they would have likely earned if they'd gone on to win the championship. However much that would be (and I imagine its quite a bit of the total amount), the fines then bring the total to $100 million. I imagine that unlike the NFL, F1 racing teams do not share revenues, so the difference is quite a bit.

I mean its still atmospheric, but you know what? If you're a F1 racing fan, you have no doubt that their racing league (or whatever you call F1) is damn serious about making sure this never happens again.

As for the Patriots, I think that the general public consensus on them probably hurts more than the fines or the pick. They'll still be profitable (though this may dent merchanidse sales or even attendence), they'll still get good players, but the damage on the rep is awful.

I'm a vikings fan, and the only thing I can think of that comes close for us is the love boat scandall, but even that isn't anywhere close, I mean its not like the public perception of that team was that great to begin with. The patriots, it wasn't just how good they were, its that they had the reputation for doing it the right way, the patriot way, they could even take other people's junk, polish it and turn it into gold.

Now, their reputation is somewhere between the Black Sox and Michael Vick, who I'll note no one is talking about, which probably makes the commish happy. Anti-patriot sentiment was probably prevalent enough in the fanbase that I wouldn't be surprise if this helps the NFL ratings even. And I know that people are already working on signs and banners for every road game the Patriots have left. I can already see a big fake foam camera with bellichek's face on it, Patriot Pat with a borg-like eyepiece etc etc....

198
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 8:57am

Ah yes -- the "integrity of the game people".

If the NFL had a rule against stealing signs, I'd agree with you wholeheartedly. But it doesn't.

This was a punishment for very arrogantly and stupidly flipping the bird to the Commissioner by pulling this stunt 3 days after everyone was explictly told not to. The punishment was richly deserved and fair (I was surprised there was no suspension, actually).

199
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:02am

and if the Raiders were caught doing this, Al Davis would have been given the death penalty.

No, because technically speaking, he's already dead.

200
by TED F!@#ING GINN!? (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:25am

Does anyone else see the Patriots trading their 1st round draft pick to the Lions for the Lions' 2nd rounder (with the condition that the trade only goes through if the Patriots make the playoffs of course)?

I can see Matt Millen now:

"Man, we absolutely fleeced them! Millen: 1, Rest of NFL: zip. Time to sit back and let the kudos start rolling in."

201
by mrparker (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:32am

WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS "TAPIN". "TAPIN" IS TAKING OVER THE SPORT AS WE KNOW IT. IF WE DONT STOP "TAPIN" NOW, "TAPIN" IS GOING TO GET OUTTA CONTROL.

Seriously, I'm kind of surprised at the outrage here. At least now Jemele Hill and LZ Granderson can't turn this into some kind of race piece over at ESPN. Any team dumb/lazy enough to employ easy to read signals gets what they deserve.

Now, if the Pats are intercepting verbal communication that is supposed to be on a secure channel, that is an entirely different can of worms. If they are doing that then they deserve to play an entire season on the road.

What does all this do to the irrational Brady/Manning debate?

202
by hooper (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:33am

Too much, not enough.

Whatever. 2 important points remain.

1) If Belichik had simply hired Chuck Norris, the Jets would have voluntarily given up the signals without all this hassle.

2) If ROBO-COMMISIONER were on the case, the Patriots would have been pinned down to 1 win on the season.

203
by brian (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:48am

Quick question: if, instead of standing on the sidelines, the Pats cameraman had a club seat and a zoom lens...would that be legal? How much advantage is conferred by having the camera on the field as opposed to someplace further away but with the same sightline?

204
by brian (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 9:58am

Also...presumably the cameraman would be visible on television at some point. If so, wouldn't it be possible to go back through Patriots game tapes and establish how often this guy is filming?

205
by TED F!@#ING GINN!? (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:04am

Re: 53, 199

Dammit. That's what I get for not reading the previous posts.
Sorry JFP.

206
by TheEvilBillGates (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:09am

*

Three tainted Superbowls. The ball always seemed to bounce the Patriots way, and now we know why.

* x3

207
by Whiskey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:21am

202:

Quick question: if, instead of standing on the sidelines, the Pats cameraman had a club seat and a zoom lens…would that be legal? How much advantage is conferred by having the camera on the field as opposed to someplace further away but with the same sightline?

Or hiring a Vegas card-counter or a savant with an incredible memory to just watch the signals.

208
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:21am

Sorry if this has been discussed already (so... many... posts...), but... What happened to the coach who actually carried the camera?

209
by seekzap (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:31am

192 - just out of curiousity, how did the patriots 'cheat'?

Not to accuse you directly, or perhaps solely, but I think people are throwing around the word 'cheat' here, without any real understanding of what the patriots have been caught doing.

210
by Joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:31am

Why haven't we heard anything about the radio transmission intercepts? Why has just the video-taping been discussed?

211
by vanya (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:41am

What an embarassing thread - the Patriots get caught violating a minor rule that has existed for one year and people are going crazy. Some people just love getting on their moral high horse. The level of argument from people like BroncoJeff is approaching Fox Sports board levels. Everyone should calm down and go read King Kaufman's sensible take over at Salon - and he's not a Pats fan.

212
by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:41am

"We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress.

Part of my job as head coach is to ensure that our football operations are conducted in compliance of the league rules and all accepted interpretations of them. My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect."

The Chief Rationalizer has spoken.

"my interpretation of a rule..."

Jesus F-ing Christ...what part of the word "NO" was misinterpreted?

The "N"? The "O"?

And Rich...why don't you give us all a break with the lecturing Will about his "better than anyone else" BS, when your know-it-all schtick has polluted this board for YEARS.

The only difference in your mind between "dogmatic law" and opinion, are the things you have not yet spoken about.

213
by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:43am

There was a rule. They broke it.

"My interpretation of a rule in the Constitution and Bylaws was incorrect."

Even the Great Rationalizer admitted it. Well, kinda of.

That's cheating.

Please stop.

214
by dienasty (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:45am

Re: 180, 179
Bronco Jeff, I actually thought I made a pretty logical argument devoid of emotion. (except the last point but Im a fan wut can I say.) Anyways why dont you try to refute what i said instead of just falling back on your whole I dislike PATS and their fans line. WEAK.

215
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:46am

One other question -- why didn't some disgruntled player (D. Bledsoe especially, L. Milloy, D. Branch, etc.) or former employee blow the whistle long before now?

216
by Bugstr8 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:51am

Throwing in my 2 cents as a non-Patriot fan who admired the team becasue I admire good football (not morally superior football; just winning, well played football)

It seems like most of this thread has broken down into;
a. the cheating wouldn't confer a great advantage
or
b. the cheating affected the outcome of games

I like to think I am a reasonably inteligent person and if given very few resources (one cameraman, one signal analyst and an a/v connection) I think I could sway the outcomes of a number of games.

Quite a few games each season come down to one or two key plays. You wouldn't have to ID every defensive assignment that was sent in in order to affect games, you wouldn't even have to ID any of them. Suppose in the 1st quarter you have narrowed down the signal of "2 laguna beach" to 3 possible outcomes.
1. SS Blitz
2. Mike Blitz
3. Prevent Zone

You can now call a play that would attack the SS area of the field. You have a 33% chance of success on top of any success that you could normally expect from having done proper prep prior to the game. Without your signal analysis your chance of success in play calling would be much closer to the league average. What if you make guesses like this 10 times a game and succeed on 2 or 3 of them?
I am incredibly saddened not because this defintiely happened but because it could have and now I am forced to rethink the entire Patriots Dynasty. How long has this been going on? I don't know, but the truth is I no longer view this team with any regard whatsoever. How many times have we watched Jaworski break down a Patriot's offensive play and show how mismatched the defense was and how correct playcalling and adjustments led to a TD. How much of that was based on prep and how much on having an idea of what the defense had called.

I guess I should change my posting name because the more of the story I read the more I realize I am now a member of the legion called:

Anti-Patriot Joe

217
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:53am

Given Kraft's extreme image consciousness (believe me -- even Pats fans are embarassed by a lot of his schtik), what are the odds that Belichick "retires" from the team at the end of the season?

218
by Bugstr8 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:55am

214 - No players have to know. In fact other than the HC, the cameraman, and a signal analyst; no one has to know. Bill gets the word that we know what they are calling based on a certain signal and he could change the offensive playcall all on his own. Not saying this is how it was, but it could have been.

219
by Joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 10:57am

2 sets of rules:
1 for the (blue-collar) players: suspension without pay

a whole different one for white-collar folks (coaches, owners):
fines, but no suspension

Question: Who lost more money - Rodney or Bill?

220
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:00am

213: dienasty

5)But to everyone on this board PLEASE RELAX. It doesnt tarnish anything. We have that greatest dynasty in the history of the NFL and we have our best team yet who is now fueled by the hate that you all have provided. If they win this week; 16-0.

You don't see the problem I have with that statement as a fan of another franchise? Of course you don't. That's okay, I think my point has been made.

210: Vanya, I know that my posts seemed Fox-style message boards quality. I swear that I'm not usually like that. The Patriots seem to bring out the worst of me. To be honest, I feel like the punishment of the Patriots was pretty fair (I would have suspended BB, but that's about all I would have added honestly).

I just hope that the Patriots have a terrible season this year on the field--as I do every year. If the Broncos knock them out of the playoffs...so much the better.

221
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:02am

Jesse,

"Maybe Belichick is just really good the second time around, or maybe he did a little “film study� and had an idea of what the other team was going to do before they did it. You decide."

This is completely asinine. First off, the "8 times out of 12 they were a little to a lot better" is astounding misuse of statistics. You can just as easily say that "7 of 12 times they were worse to insignificantly better". Both statements are true.

Now, your post also ignores a ton of facts. For instance, the Bills games of 2003 included the Milloy opener when NE played their worst game since Brady took over. By the end of the year, however, the Bills had been exposed and NE was clearly the superior team. Please think a little before laying your ignorance on the rest of us.

Additionally, the Patriots as a team as designed to morph into the type of team that they need to be to beat their opponent. Game film is *obviously* very helpful in doing this and is more abundant later in the season than the beginning.

Get off your high horse. NE got caught and were given a significant, deserved fine. But they were doing nothing that everyone else is also doing. Punish as if they were the only one, but all of you really need to stop with the moralistic bashing.

222
by JPS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:07am

I think that he best way to punish them is give the other team the Vegas line advantage. For instance, if Vegas has Pats against Chargers to win by 3 points, then give Chargers 3 points in that game. Along with that line, the coach should have been suspended (four games) including one of them being Jets and other division opponents. Pats, Yuck! Read Dr. Z's article at (click my name).

223
by dienasty (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:08am

I conceded that point Bronco Jeff. Just an excited fan enjoying a great run, but what about the other points.
I never said that they shouldn't be punished but I also you along with a lot if people on this board are overreacting

224
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:09am

I'm a Pats fan, and while I certainly think the Patriots and Belichick deserved the punishment they received, I'm a little bit baffled by the idea that this potentially taints their Super Bowl years. Here's why:

1) While the only team that has consistently beaten the Pats over the course of their run has been the Broncos (and recently the Colts), this scandal specifically relates to defensive signals. There are multiple teams that have been able to slow down Brady and the offense -- the Dolphins come immediately to mind, for one.

2) The Pats' reputation for being opportunistic is generally referring to the defensive side of the ball -- well-timed sacks, red-zone turnovers, and excellent short-yardage defense. None of those three items are improved by their videotaping of defensive signals.

3) The Pats have lost the second meeting against a team multiple times in the Belichick era -- including last year against the Jets and Colts, the year before against the Broncos, and one of the Super Bowl years against the Dolphins. Yes, they are often better the second time around, but not invincibly so.

225
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:09am

Kibbles #66,

"the league holds coaches to a higher standard than players. And now Belichick gets off without a suspension? Talk about mixed messages"

Explain to me how losing BB for 5 games would have a more impact on the franchise than losing a guy like Maroney or Mankins forever.

Do you really think that BB's absence is going to impact the team more than the absence of one of their better players for at least 5 years?

226
by brian (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:11am

Not to spoil the yell-fest, but I'll ask again because I assume somebody knows: would filming the opponents signals from the stands with a zoom lens be legal? If so, what advantage would be gained by having the cameraman on the bench?

227
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:14am

I like to think I am a reasonably inteligent person and if given very few resources (one cameraman, one signal analyst and an a/v connection) I think I could sway the outcomes of a number of games.

But stealing signals isn't against the rules. If the guy had a paper and pencil and wrote everything down it would have been legal. All teams try and figure out opposing signals. And it probably does affect the outcome of a game, now and then.

I can see why the league would want to limit the use of cameras to prevent a whole "1984" situation, and that's all well and good, but we're not talking a major transgression.

228
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:18am

Purds,

"Oops, my real final statement is that folks who want to say that the loss of a 1st rounder isn’t a big deal because NE has two — that’s silly. Whatever the NE draft stockpile is at the present should have no bearing on the penalty. The penalty should not be tailored to a team — it should be a penalty that would be metted out to ANY team that cheated in this manner."

Absolutely. The reason NE has the extra 1st is because they chose *not* to pick someone last year. Would people be saying that they should have to forfeit their 1st this and be forced to waive that guy right now?

229
by dienasty (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:22am

Re: 225 Brian, You can't film in the open field. I dont remember the specific wording, its somewhere in this mess of postings. But basically you have to be in a room that no club official has access to during the game.
Question: Is this a new rule for this year or starting last year? (A couple of people have posted that)

230
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:28am

Oswlek:

You can't have agreed with me. I am a Colts fan!

231
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:29am

# Not to spoil the yell-fest, but I’ll ask again because I assume somebody knows: would filming the opponents signals from the stands with a zoom lens be legal? If so, what advantage would be gained by having the cameraman on the bench?
I think isn't, but it's essentially impossible to prevent, especially for the home team (which is responsible for security in the stands, including preventing fans from filming).

That's why what Belichick did (having a guy do it in full view from the sideline) suggests that he truly thought he was just stretching the rules based on some inherent ambiguity/lax enforcement, and that he would have a case if caught. Guess he didn't, and got (rightly) punished for it.

Still, all this panty-twisting from fans (and much worse, from other teams' players and coaches) is patently ridiculous.

232
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:30am

222: dienasty

Fine, I'll do my best:

1)You guys have got to be out of your minds. I kno they have been found guilty of cheating. But stealing signs…How much of an advantage is that really? Do you think that defenses are not changing those signals every week (If not w/in the game). I mean if im playin linebacker and reading my keys Im also memorizing the signals. If Im on the sidelines as a coach or player Im doin the same thing. “When he waves like this it means this.� And because of this if im a D coordinator im changin the calls weekly if not every quarter.

Asked and answered several times--it's still cheating no matter what advantage they gained from it. And as several who know way more about football than me have suggested, it could be a significant one.

2)Besides all this I am sure that it is not a much more increased advantage than what Miami D did last year recording our stuff. I wouldnt be suprised if Belicheck did this as a response to that. The whole “Brady is Probable� every week for two years was a response to what a team did at some time to us (I forget who Atlanta? w/ Vick bein probable and not playin). (BTW as a PATS fan this reason which is the most probable is also the one that makes me the maddest bc now I cant go anywhere w/o haters like on this board comin out da woodwork bc Belicheck was tryin to get back at MIA)

Also asked and answered. Miami didn't "record" your signals. They "allegedly" stole them. Regardless of Belicheck's motive, the fact remains that he cheated.

3)They definently have not been doin this for the whole run. There is no way they couldve gotten away w/it. If they have and they got away with it then a whole lot of other teams were doing it too and it was accepted practice even if against the rules therefore nullyfying its advantages.

A. It would seem that they have been doing it for a considerable amount of time, listening to reports from around the NFL.
B. You have no proof to back your allegations up.
C. If everyone was doing it, then the Patriots were dumb enough and arrogant enough to get caught.
D. It's still cheating, regardless of intent or effect.

4)W/o a doubt the punishment fits the crime and i can understand banning Belicheck for a game or two too (but that means he would watch the games on tv and steal signs for the next time they play that team. . . lol)

I agree. Suspending Belicheck would have sent a message to the NFL and fans that there were consistent punishments for both players and coaches. And no, BB could not steal signs from his home TV set...unless NBC suddenly decided to show the defensive signals of the Chargers Sunday night on their cameras.

Your fifth point has been discussed. I feel like I have rationally explained why I disagree with your argument...and that of most Pats fans I've seen posting in this and the other thread.

I'm aware that several Pats fans have been even more rational than I have been throughout this ordeal and I applaud this.

Bottom line: they broke a rule, and were punished accordingly. This makes many fans happy for a myriad of reasons. Patriots fans may have a tough season or two.

233
by zip (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:30am

Damn, this thread was getting out of control around post #150, but rationality seems to be fighting back a bit now. Props to cd6 for saying funny things while everyone else was flaming as fast as they could!

234
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:30am

Purds,

I'm sorry. Do I need to forfeit my first rounder now? How much is my fine and where do I send it?

;)

235
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:32am

Does it matter if this rule was new this year? In other words, is it okay to break new rules, but not old ones?

And, who cares how much one could get from video versus the naked eye; video taping the coaches is prohibited. That's the bottom line.

The one ugly part of this affair NOT discussed is that BB and the Pats voted against having defensive captains with headphones in the helmet. I mean, clearly having a defender with a communications helmet (as the QB has on offense) would solve this issue. Did BB not want this issue solved?

236
by Purds (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:36am

Oswlek:

I just tossed you a softball in your wheelhouse. You GOT to have something to disagree with me there, and once we're back to bickering, all will be right in the universe again.

(Gees...Colts and Pats fans agreeing, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!)

237
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:36am

OMO,

"Jesus F-ing Christ…what part of the word “NO� was misinterpreted?"

Technically, BB has a point. The language could be construed to believe that if the videotaping wasn't used in that game it was OK.

Now, please don't misinterpret what I am saying. I think that NE was in the wrong and I think that they knew it was wrong. I personally can't stand it when people point to the letter of the law when the spirit of it is blatantly obvious.

But BB is not lying. He is just being sneaky.

238
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:39am

A couple comments.

1) I wish people would please stop saying that they violated a rule that has been in place for one year. The rule has been in place for some time (not sure how long, exactly). The one year time frame is coming from a misunderstanding about the memo, which was clarifying the rule and sending further warning to NFL teams.

2) On the punishment. I've seen several people argue about the weird nature of the first rounder if they make the playoffs vs. the 2nd and 3rd rounders if they do not. I'm of the opinion that this has to do with the level of the first round pick. If the Patriots don't make the playoffs (via Wild Card or winning the awful AFC East outright), then it's likely they don't have a great record either. Meaning the first round draft pick would be much higher. I think Goodell probably felt that a high first round draft pick was too harsh (when considering the maximum monetary fines as well), but a lower one would be stern but fair. I also believe that, had the Patriots not had the 49er's pick coming to them, that Goodell wouldn't have docked them a first round pick at all and, instead, would have just made it the 2nd and 3rd rounder. I believe he wanted to send a stern message, but didn't believe it was in the interest of the NFL to absolutely cripple the franchise.

I may be reading this wrong, but that's my opinion on why the draft picks portion of the punishment was laid out as it was.

239
by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:40am

#11 and other Timberwolves references:

I don't see the two situations as comparable. Circumventing the salary cap is major, major stuff. That's what the Timberwolves did. The Patriots videotaped signals. That's also against the rules, but the advantage it gains is debatable, and even without video tape it (gaining an advantage from analyzing signals) is something that could be done.

Add in the inherent differences between the two leagues and the other obvious arguments and it just seems like a terrible comparison, a scarecrow for those intent on bringing as much punishment as possible onto the Patriots (without regard as to whether that punishment has context or justice).

I think the punishments seem harsh but fair.

240
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:43am

People! Think of the children!

I heard from my brother's sister's friends cousin who is a ballboy on the Raiders that Belichick bought the videocamera from a guy he once knew!

And that was in 1985! He must've used it to develop that awesome Giants plan! Put an asterisk next to their championship!

241
by coldbikemessenger (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:44am

Owslek
So now every team is videotaping signals?
You have no proof that is true
None
Zippo
Nada

Now personally I really don't care about the sanctions
The punishment is fine with me
If it had been much less that would have been fine too.
However, until the team decides to explain their actions I think you will find that many people will question them in the future
The cheated
They got caught
They gave a lame explanation about what happened
Why are you surprised by the reactions of others?

242
by LnGrrrR (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:47am

Here's my question... if he's been videotaping for all these years...

Then how did he not get caught?

If he was always secretive and sneaky, why did he make it so ridiculously obvious during the Jets game?

243
by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:48am

I suppose I may have been in the dark as to how relentless Patriot-hate had become during their dynasty. If I was in a fog, this issue and the reaction to it certainly has awoken me. The level if irrationality on the part of the Patriot-haters has been unparalleled. I can not thing of a single analog across sports that presents a decent parallel to this issue-reaction dyad.

I hear people talking about the Patriots championships being tainted and how they've lost all respect for the team. Is it your assumption that other things like this are not going on in the locker rooms and front offices of other teams? How do you feel about team playbooks, which people make an irrationally big deal out of, floating around the league? And ultimately, how can you condemn any of this without being shown that there is any discernible effect?

I can't believe Patriot-hate has gotten this bad. Or, rather, is is Patriot-jealousy. I am not a Patriot fan (haven't been a fan of any team since Al Davis jerked Marcus Allen around) and I live on the left coast. I've always seen the Patriots as a model organization, and while this changes that perception slightly, I find it a huge leap to go from "that's shady" to "this changes everything."

Ultimately, it changes nothing.

244
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:48am

#240,

Videotaping? No.

Stealing signs? None physical, but it seems as if the conjecture is overwhelming enough to think that all other teams do steal signs. Many coaches and players admit it.

Now, feel free to have moral outrage, but it needs to be based on the advantage that videotaping offers over other manners, NOT based on sign stealing over not sign stealing. So far, I have little reason to believe that is all that much - it has to be some or else it wouldn't be done - but certainly not enough to deserve people taling about lifetime bans and forfeiture of entire draft picks.

I would feel the same way even if it was the Jets doing it.

245
by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:54am

If people want to judge Belichek and the Patriots based on the maliciousness of their intent, I can see that, and I have no argument against it. I prefer not to do it, given the nature of the NFL, a nature where gaining advantages is inherent in their competition.

There is still, however, a big leap to be made from trying to gain an advantage and actually gaining that advantage. There is no evidence that they gained anything but punishment and wasted man hours.

There's even a big difference between gleaning the information and being able to analyze it, let alone use it. There are so many steps between video taping and gaining a meaningful competitive advantage that it's not hard to see most of these comments as hyper-reactionary.

246
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:55am

To recap, it's not against the rules to steal signals and from what I can understand from other posters, the practice is widespread and an element of good coaching.

The Pats have been punished for the method they used for stealing signals, a camera rather than pen and paper. I can't see how this is a practice worthy of some of the electric chair plus $1 billion penalties suggested.

As I said in the other thread, most years, players and coaches have left the Pats to go to other teams. It’s logical to assume that those players/coaches would have informed their new organisation of what the Pats were doing. Now either that wasn’t a big deal to the new team because the practice is widespread or they reported it as an infraction to the commisioner. If it’s the latter, why hasn’t this been made more of in the past?

Given the cross pollenation of players and coaches across the league, it must have been common knowledge. Any team that knew and didn't take counter-measures deserved to lose.

As I said yesterday, I still don’t think the crime is particularly heinous given that stealing signals is legal and feel that the massive overreaction to this is because it’s the Pats and a result of widespread jealousy. To repeat my earlier post, I’m not a Pats fan.

There are 15 more games to go. Surely it would make sense to see if there is a significant decline in the Pats performance before claiming their success over the last few years is tainted and a complete fraud.

As for destroying "the integrity of the league"...give me a break. A sense of perspective would be a good idea.

247
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:06pm

The one ugly part of this affair NOT discussed is that BB and the Pats voted against having defensive captains with headphones in the helmet. I mean, clearly having a defender with a communications helmet (as the QB has on offense) would solve this issue. Did BB not want this issue solved?
Is there any actual evidence for this? pft wondered about it, but I have seen no actual confirmation that it occurred.

248
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:06pm

And, who cares how much one could get from video versus the naked eye; video taping the coaches is prohibited. That’s the bottom line.

Of course. And they were punished. It matters when one starts throwing around irresponsible talk about 'tainted' Super Bowls.

249
by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:16pm

135 writes "He mentioned Steelers of the 70s, but whenever anyone hears about that team, they think, “steroids.�"

You know, I think if you asked 1000 football fans to describe the Steeler teams of the 70s in three words, not one would mention steroids.

Unless the Pats now slide into mediocrity, that's what will happen with this too.

There's a certain amount of pressure on Brady and the offense now. If he suddenly becomes a league-average QB it adds a new dimension to this story and the cheaters tag will linger longer. But how likely do you think that is?

Not very, I think.

250
by raidermoishe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:19pm

Here are a few asterisks for the Cheaters, just to get them started:

* * *

251
by Frankie (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:23pm

Come on people. Having it on video tape is a BIG advantage. Here are just a few:

1) The ability to watch the signs in slow-motion.
2) The ability to catelog the signs by down and distance. They can build a library of each team.
3) The ability to watch two play calls, side-by-side. This is a much more effective way to catch the subtle differences between the signs.

There are many more advantages as well. If you dont think so, try watching a game live, without the use of any instant reply. Dont you think you will miss some things the first time arouund? This is the whole point. Building a database an the other teams can be an incredible advantage. Its impossible to measure its effectiveness exactly. However, the willingness of Billy B. to use these methods was apparently enough to justify the risk of getting caught.

252
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:29pm

214 - No players have to know. In fact other than the HC, the cameraman, and a signal analyst; no one has to know.

Players aren't stupid. They can see the cameraman and where the camera is pointing. In any event, former Pats TE Christian Fauria all but said he knew it was being done in an interview yesterday.

253
by Richard (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:32pm

re: 250

That would be a huge advantage in a world where teams never changed their signals, but since we don't live in that world the Patriots would need to turn around their analysis within a very short span of time. It's possible they could do that. Too bad there's no evidence that either a.) they did that, or b.) it worked.

The certainly should be punished, but these apocalyptic scenarios and reactions? Wow.

253
by passerby (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:32pm

For those of you who suggested that the Pats/BB should be stripped of all the Super bowls or have * next to all their wins, let me ask you this: when a man is caught stealing one time, should you strip him of all his possessions because they are all assumed to be stolen good?

255
by OMO (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:36pm

You mean Christian "I haven't played for the Pats since 2005" Fauria.

256
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:37pm

There's an interesting phenomenon that social psychologists have described (at least, it's something I learned about in a graduate level social psychology class). It's called the "Risky Shift". Basically, what it means is that any time you get a group of people together who share a common view and make them discuss it, the entire opinion of the group shifts to a consistent, but even more extreme position, and the longer the discussion lasts, the more extreme the viewpoint becomes. So if you stick a bunch of miled mannered vegetarians in a room together and make them discuss vegetarianism, they may walk out of the room as militant, meat-eater-hating crusaders for animal rights. The theory is that everyone wants to be in agreement with the dominant group, but because everyone has a drive to be unique and feel like they're adding something to the conversation, they all take a position slightly more extreme than their natural tendency, and the phenomenon feeds on itself. If there is a vocal opposing minority, the phenomenon is ever more marked, because the opposing minority provides the majority with a specific target to fuel their "risky shift" (it was apparently so named because it was first noticed while studying risk aversion, but it has since been shown to occur in many other cases).

I think that tends to happen, to an extent, among the media, who makes a profit on "bringing something new to the table", but especially happens on message boards, even here. I recall when this story first surfaced earlier this week, I was amazed at how little play it got and how the majority of people seemd to be downplaying the significance of it, both Pats fans and non-fans alike. "So they had a video camera where they weren't supposed to, and Mangini and Belichick are still sniping at one another. Meh." And somehow, over several days of dicussion and about 1000 posts, that has gone to "The Patriots are amazing chaters who have destroyed the integrity of the game and been worse for its image than PacMan, Vick, and the Bengals all put together, and all their superbowls are tainted--they only win because they steal and cheat--Belichick should be banned for life and they should forfeit their entire draft next year and the game against the Jets!"

It's quite an interesting phenomenon, really. Everyone, step back a second and think about what you thought about this before taking part in the discussion...

257
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:41pm

RE: 254

OMO...

I'll tread lightly here because, quite frankly, you're posts have been over the top and have shown that your ideas aren't coming from a non-biased point of view.

Could you please explain to me why stating Fauria hasn't played for the Patriots since 2005 is pertinent to him stating that he all but knew it was going on?

258
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:46pm

Re: #256

I would assume that O Mighty OMO means that it shows the Pats have been doing the taping for more than the Jets game.

Which is something I thought everyone -- both the haters and the homers -- figured was true.

(errors while posting -- looks like Evil BB has crashed the FO server yet again -- maybe all Pats discussion on FO should be relegated to the message forum server :))

259
by passerby (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:48pm

And for all you self righteous fans out there who have graduated college, let you ask you this: have you ever cheated in some way? Read the clip note instead of the actual text? Ask someone to help you with a paper instead of doing the whole thing by yourself? Making up excuses to delay a test or a deadline?...
Should we call the integrity of your whole degree into question? No, because you worked hard for what you have achieved while looking for a edge here and there.

260
by Erik (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:49pm

Punishments need to have a range. Taking the team's first round pick to me means that this is close to the worst thing a team could do. (Worst would be take away two first round picks).

I do not think this was so bad as a first. I think taking a second and a fourth away is about right. One first day and one second day pick seems to me the way to go.

261
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:51pm

OK, one more long post (or maybe a set of posts), and then I'm done on the issue and will look forward to the Chargers game. I wanted to address three issues: the idea that willfully bending or breaking a rule makes Belichick unique in his maliciousness, an argument as to why I think the punishment is too steep, and the curious assumption of intent that Patriots-haters seem to be making.

(1) Willfully breaking rules for a competitive advantage: Could someone please rationally explain to me how what Belichick did--using a video camera to record opposing coaches signals instead of a pair of eyeballs and a notepad--is different from an offensive line coach teaching his players how to hold so the refs won't notice, or DB's learning how to make contact downfield without getting flagged, or WR's learning how to act like they were interfered with so as to draw an undeserved flag? The rules are very clear--offensive linemen are not allowed to hold pass rushers--and yet every offensive lineman in the league is coached as to how to break the rules in such a way that it won't get noticed, in order to gain a competitive advantage. Similarly, the rules are very clear--you can't use a video recorder to help you decipher opposing signals--and yet Belichick was caught doing just that in order to (allegedly) gain a competitive advantage. I don't see a lot of difference in the maliciousness of the act, and yet one practice is regularly accepted, and the other has demonized Belichick to many. The main difference is that holding has a very well defined penalty associated with it (10 yards), but the league has never defined a penalty for using a video camera on the field, until now. Which brings me to point 2.

But first, two other thoughts on this topic. It seems to me that videotaping signals that are visible to everyone confers a much smaller advantage than, say, having someone sneak over into the opposing team's huddle or sideline and listen to the actual, uncoded calls. Yet if someone was caught doing that in the game, what would be the result? Said person would probably get ejected, and the team would likely be assessed a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. For everyone claiming that this punishment isn't harse enough: how would you feel if the only reprecussions was that the Patriots camera guy was ejected in the Jets game and the Pats had a 15 yard penalty on one of their drives?

The final issue that people have brought up with regard to malicious cheating is ethics. Personally, I have much less of an ethical problem with using a video camera to tape signals than I do with coaching players to attack opposing players' injuries. But if you thinnk that doesn't occur every Sunday, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. I'm not saying I'm ethically OK with breaking the rules to gain a competitive advantage--I think the Pats SHOULD get punished for what they did--just that I don't think it makes them evil people, and I still hold coaches I suspect of ordering their players to attack injuries in higher contempt than I hold Belichick.

262
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 12:56pm

Re: #260

I generally agree. Though I would point out that if anyone believes BB isn't one of the coaches who instructs players to attach opponents' injuries, I have some swampland in Florida I'm looking to gete rid of...

263
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:01pm

Well, Paul, as I said in the other thread marathon, the reason I would have taken away more draft picks is to demonstrate that deliberate violation of written rules concerning prohibited behavior, which were also accompanied by written warnings, was going to be dealt with extraordinarily harshly, especially in regards to technical means designed to gain an on-field advantage.

A good figurative hanging will concentrate a few minds, and before anyone complains about excessive harshness, well, some have said that this is not all that important, because it's only football, which is of course true, but that also means it isn't all that important if a football team loses games because it lost a lot of draft picks. Also, people lose their jobs every day for deliberately engaging in prohibited behavior that they have been warned about. Lil' Billy Belichik is an extraordinarily talented guy, however, so he isn't subject to such sanctions. Such is life in a meritocracy, and I'm all for it, since it benefits everyone in the long run. However, in a society where less talented people lose jobs and careers for deliberately engaging in prohibited behavior, let's not pretend that anything approaching harsh treatment has been meted out, or even that greater sanctions, that left Lil' Billy still employed, would have been harsh by the standards that most people experience. If Lil' Billy has any sense, he's thankful he's still coaching the Patriots.

264
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:02pm

261 I love the idea of Belichik instructing his players to attach opponents' injuries. It would appear his benevolence knows no bounds.

265
by johonny (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:03pm

One thing is certain. This has severely damaged the image of the Patriot organization. You have to wonder who else was/is doing this. My guess is Nick Saban and Jimmy Johnson as they are reported to be the coaches closest to BB. If I was playing Saban this week I might have a few people keeping an eye out for cameras.

266
by Sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:03pm

Suspending BB would have sent a message, but realistically I don't think it would have been that big a deal to the team unless it was a huge suspension of like half a season or something like that. Their staff is good enough they could have gotten by for a couple weeks on their own or found a way to transfer information under the table. (Since following the rules isn't high on BB's list.) It does seem odd the team would get less of a fine than the coach. $250,000 is a drop in the bucket for an NFL team. $500,000 is a bigger deal for a coach, though I'm sure the Pats will effectively end up paying for BB's portion, too.

267
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:03pm

Point 2: Severity of the punishment.

I actually agree with something Will Allen said in the previous thread--the league SHOULD have very clearly spelled out the consequences of being caught again for the Patriots in their memo and reitation of policy and letter. Then there would be no ambiguity about the punishment. If the league says "X will happen to you if you are caught doing Y again", and you do Y, then you deserve to recieve X, whatever X and Y are.

However, that apparently did not happen. Instead, we find out that the Patriots have been doing this for some time, and that the league has been aware of it on at least three prior occasions--during the Green Bay game and TWICE during the Lions game. Some people have argued that past offenses should make the punishment worse, which I would agree with if there was a clearly spelled out series of escalating punishments. For example, I think it's a good idea for an X-game suspension of first time steroid offenders, and a lifetime ban of second time offenders. However, clearly defined escalating punishments were not the case here. The league was aware of at least three prior offenses by the Patriots and took no action against them other than saying "yeah, you probably shouldn't do that again". Then all of a sudden, on the fourth offense (which happens to correspond with Goddell wanting to look tough and send a message), he hits them with a major draft pick hit, and fines. For the record, I think this is a fair and appropriate punishment for the violation, IF IT HAD BEEN SPELLED OUT AS THE PUNISHMENT AHEAD OF TIME. Apparently, it was not (otherwise, why did Goddell have to take so long pondering it).

The league had essentially sent a message to a team that what they were known to be doing wasn't really allowed, but that no action had been taken. This is exactly the same as when a ref fails to call blatant holding or PI repeatedly, or when a given crew establishes a history of not calling certain penalties. Every team presumably takes note of this, and will push the limits on that penalty more when they draw that crew. Basically, by not taking action for the Patriots previous offenses, the league put themselves in a position where they could only fairly impose a steep punishment if they then notified teams of what that steep punishment would be. They did not.

268
by qsi (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:05pm

"As the Commissioner acknowledged, our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week’s game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress."

Interesting choice of words by Belichick there as he does not preclude the possibility of having used the tape after the game to obtain competitive advantage in the rematches. Am I reading too much into this? Would it have been so hard to say "We never obtained any competitive advantage" or something similar?

The "mistake in interpretation" spin is absurd though and only serves to make him look even worse.

269
by Skel (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:05pm

Just a sincere question: Since it is not against league rules to steal signs and it is not against league rules to videotape the opponents sideline (as long as said video equipment is in a walled off room where no team personnel has access to during games per the league memo on this subject). Would it then be safe to conclude that you can record your opponents signals during the game then review that after the game? Is my interpretation correct?

270
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:09pm

MJK, I would answer that the precedent of using prohibited technology in an effort to gain on field advantage is a dangerous one, for it can quickly lead to undermining the very integrity of the sport. Thus, while this specific violation may not do so, the category in which it belongs is a dangerous one, thus deserving very severe sanction.

271
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:12pm

1) The ability to watch the signs in slow-motion.
2) The ability to catelog the signs by down and distance. They can build a library of each team.
3) The ability to watch two play calls, side-by-side. This is a much more effective way to catch the subtle differences between the signs.
IANC (I am no coach), but it would seem to me that signs have to convey very basic information, do it unambiguously, and do it at a distance in rather chaotic circumstances. Thus, I suspect they will be made of rather straightforward, clearly identifiable gestures, performed slowly enough so that the chances of the players missing anything from 20-30 yards away or more are fairly low.

Therefore, I think watching signals in slow-motion will provide little or no additional information, and that relying on "subtle signals" would actually be disastrous for the defense, if the difference is missed by their players.

Cataloging signals by down and distance is already done with the standard and accepted visual/vocal way (guy peering into binoculars and talking into recorder).
I can see the advantage of long-term storage of actual images, because signals at some point will need to be reused in later games, since I doubt there is an infinite vocabulary. How big an advantage this would be over written descriptions I don't know.

Really, the main potential advantage I can see with taping is that you can actually show the signals to your offensive players, and teach them to recognize them. I am sure people will (if they haven't already) ask Brady if he was ever shown footage of signaling coaches from opposing teams. I also know the answer: "Coach Belichick's statement of 9/14 is the final word from the Patriots on this issue. The League has made its ruling, and we have moved on. We are focusing on the next game."

272
by Dr. Tobias Funke (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:16pm

re: 32
I know this is late but you are a moron.

273
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:18pm

That's exactly what it means, qsi. Lil' Billy wasn't doing this because he doesn't like what Comcast offers.

MJK, that is what Goodell's greatest error was. Written warnings are much more effective when they specify a very severe sanction for continued violation. Also, to head off the jailhouse lawyering before the fact, it is also a good idea to inform the warned party that if they are even thinking about approaching the line again, they are required to clear the planned action with the ruling authority ahead of time, because a "I misinterpreted the rule!" defense would be no defense.

274
by Mikey (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:20pm

255 - Excellent post. I absolutely agree that the internet fuels more extreme positions in all types of dialogue. The rise of the internet is really driving polarization and incivility in important areas, and its surprising how rarely that's acknowledged.

Anyway, that's my view, and if you disagree you can go f*ck yourself.

275
by Oldcat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:21pm

With this wrist slap punishment making cheating a part of the game now, I look forward to the FO guys adding a column to the DVOA charts for Espionage.

Every part of the game can be quantified, right?

276
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:22pm

My final point: Assumed Intent

A lot of people seem to assume that the Patriots were doing this for a competitive advantage in the game that was currently being played. While this is certainly possible, and even likely, we don't know it for sure. There's no evidence, at present, of how the Patriots were using the tape, or what their intent was. The supposed network of BlackOps CIA operatives breaking down film in realtime and using illegal radios to convey information covertly has not materialized and is likely a figment of PFT's and patriots-haters imaginations. All the league has right now is a video tape of a Jets coach. No secret communications system. No black ops film analyzation room. And no peeps from coaches or players that have left the Patriots that such things exist (if such things did exist, wouldn't Mangini have mentioned them to the league?)

I can actually think of six different plausible uses these tapes could have been used for, and people only seem to be discussing two of them. I'll throw them out there:

* Gaining a competitive advantage in the current game by breaking the signals down in real time. Note that this is the only use of the tapes that Belichick specifically denies. While he well might be lying, there's enough doubt (at least in my mind) about the practicality of being able to analyze the tape and break it down quickly enough to be useful in the current game to make me skeptical that this is the primary reason why it was being done.

* Gaining an advantage in subsequent matchups. I would think this was the most likely reason for the taping, especially considering Belichick carefully did NOT deny this in his statement, except for one striking inconsistency. The two confirmed cases where the Pats did this before were against Green Bay and Detroit--teams that were not going to be met in the SB, and that the Patriots only play once every four years.

* Scouting Aids. The Patriots aggressively self-scout to continually re-evaluate their own players, and also scout how players from every team they play perform, in case they face those players again or in case they become potential free agents. As Mike Tanier has said on many occasions in TDZ, it is impossible to know exactly how well players on the field actually did what they were supposed to do unless one knows what the offensive and defensive play calls were supposed to be. I would be willing to bet that this is a large reason why Belichick wanted to figure out the defensive signals at every point in the game--it makes scouting the play on the field easier if you know what was called for every play on both sides of the ball, compared to how it actually played out.

* Comprehensive Library. Belichick is obsessive about gaining as much information as possible about the league. Even if he wasn't going to play a specific team again that year, maybe he wants to put together a complete database of defensive coaching tendencies over every year--i.e. defensive coordinators signal a zone blitz when facing 3rd and long in tied games 37% of the time. This is exactly the sort of thing Football Outsiders would do to learn more about the game, and you can see it would be useful in designing a better offensive playbook. In fact, if FO wanted to look at such metrics, wouldn't one way be to send game charters to every game, videotape the D-coordinators with notes about game situation, and then break the data down and compile it into meaningful trends?

* Selling the data - This would be really reprehensible, but it is possible Belichick might sell the data to other teams, in exchange for draft or player movement considerations. I.e. what if he was taping Green Bay's signals intending to "sell" it to the Vikings in exchange for consummating a favorable trade? I doubt this--it would almost certainly have come to light previously--but I just raise it as an example of how we don't KNOW what the intent was, so we shouldn't be judging on intent. Intent could be anything.

* Finally, it could be something completely innocent. 3 Games to Glory does occasionally feature sideline footage, and in the play by play sometimes does tell what the defensive call was. Maybe the 3 Game to Glory staff wanted to get better and more accurate footage of opponents. I'm not actually naieve enough to think this is the case, but I'm just pointing out that it is a possibility. The Duke Lacrosse scandal has taught us a lesson about jumping to conclusions.

So there could have been a variety of different intents behind the videotaping. I'm guessing a combination of 2,3, and 4, personally, but I don't know. Neither do you. So please stop making arguments based on what you think the Patriots might have been intending to do...

277
by Al 45 (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:25pm

Here's a question... it appears that the rule and memo relate to video equipment and not an actual not streaming camera.

Is there anything that says the Patriots can't put a photographer on the sidelines, who has a camera which captures multiple pictures within a short time frame, and then scan those pictures into a computer and run them one after another to gain the effect of motion?

If that's allowed, what's the difference between that and video taping?

278
by Oldcat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:28pm

An appropriate additional punishment would be making Mata Hari Belichick wear Jets sweatshirts for the remainder of the season.

279
by Frankie (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:31pm

The idea that no advantage is gained by filming the signals is laughable. Again, you need to assess the risk and the reward. If there is risk is taping the signals, then the reward would need to be sufficient to take that risk. Considering the ramifications and overall embarrassment factor associated with this event, its only logical to assume Billichick was gaining something relevant from the video tape. The only possible explanation would be that Billichick's arrogance is so high that he never considered the possibility of getting caught, and if he did the league would never punish him. However, considering the league's memo sent to every team covering this exact issue, this scenario seems much less likely. Therefore, Billichick MUST be gaining something from the video tape. I dont see how this can be argued?

280
by Oldcat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:32pm

#275 - Im sure that the Patriots were really worried about their next game with the Green Bay Packers in 4 years time.

Argument Refuted.

281
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:36pm

Will,

In the case where the league wants to discourage a certain action that it has turned a blind eye to in the past (i.e. tacitly endorsing it), but has made the mistake of failing to spell out a specific penalty in its statement that the action will no longer be tolerated, I believe the fair response is to mete out a more moderate punishment to the next offender you catch, and THEN establish a strict, public, set of penalties for any future offenders. I.e. Send the message that you are cracking down, but do not screw over the first person you catch after you have been tacitly encouraging the behavior by failing to take action against it in the past.

What I would have done in this case, if I really wanted to crack down on technology-assisted signal stealing, would be to impose the fines and a 1-2 game suspension of Belichick--i.e. a lightweight, short-term punishment that still stings. I then would have asked every other team if they were doing the same thing, and meted out the same punishment to anyone that came forward, after making it clear that anyone who did not come forward and was caught anyway, or who was caught doing it in the future, would sacrifice draft picks in addition to facing fines and possible coach suspension. I would then launch a full investigation to find out any teams that were still looking to try to get away with this (I'm looking at you, Mangini). That, in my opinion, would be fair.

If you happen to think using a video camera to help decipher signals warrants a stiffer punishment, well, the magnitude of the formalized punishment can obviously be debated. But in this case, I believe that the fact that the league had tacitly indicated that there would be no penalty through their inaction precludes them from fairly imposing too harsh a punishment on any teams that have been doing this up to this point. And I would continue to hold that position even if some of the other teams that were doing it were the Colts, Broncos, or even the Raiders (although, seriously, if the Raiders were stealing defensive signals, maybe teams should actually consider GIVING the Raiders their defensive signals...it might help :-)

282
by Dr. Tobias Funke (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:36pm

This is bordering on a WWF type spectical. I picture BB leading his team out the tunnel to the music of Pomp and Circumstance in a pink cowboy hat and matching fedora.. ooooooh yeah!!

283
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:37pm

#278:
If there is risk is taping the signals, then the reward would need to be sufficient to take that risk.
But if Belichick understood the risk involved in taping the signals, wouldn't he had done it covertly, in several possible ways that offered the team at least plausible deniability?

The fact that he did it so blatantly clearly suggests that BB didn't think it was a great risk, and therefore according to your logic his expected reward may have been equally small.

Just saying.

284
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:39pm

#262 Will, my comment was not aimed at you but at some of the more insane demands made in this thread. From your various posts, I infer that you're not an over-emotional Pats hater.

Having said that, I did think your suggestion of punishment was unusually draconian. I take your point that it appears that the Pats deliberately ignored warnings and should be punished for that. It could be argued that the wilful disobedience is actually the greater offence.

I'm fairly ambivalent about the actual punishment which may suggest it's about right although I'm not convinced that Belichik's fine won't ultimately be met by the Pats.

I still think the idea of docking the team wins is a better penalty. It's immediate and doesn't help one team more than another in the way a suspension would. Obviously, their draft position would be judged on their actual win total, not the adjusted total.

285
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:41pm

Argument not refuted, oldcat. Head coaches and coordinators move around the league, and if one is going to systematically build a data base to gain insight for future games, one would be collecting information all the time, cross referenced by coaches, not just teams.

286
by MHS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:46pm

"“This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field.� "

I don't see how anyone can support this statement. The rule has no rational, and is nothing but a whim. Removing the rule wouldn't make play "unfair" in any way or "dishonest". Longstanding or not, the rule is absurd, and like all ridiculous laws and rules you should feel free to break it with a clear conscience. Of course at the same time, if you get caught pay the piper... just don't feel bad about it.

287
by Frankie (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:46pm

#282, you might be right. In which case Billichick was so incredibly blind to the situation its hard to fathom. Didn't he get the NFL's memo on this issue the week before the game? Could he really be that myopic? Its possible I guess. I just think its more likely that he really, really, really wanted to study the Jets and add to his library of information.

288
by MRH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:48pm

Thanks to #221 for the link to the Dr. Z column.

It seems to me that this moves the Pats organization into a category with the old Raiders - strong organziation, won a few SBs, generally remembered for great, physical, temas that bent the rules, cheated if you preferred. I don't hear John Madden apologizing for that...

As for the punishment, it's in line with what the 49ers, Steelers, and Broncos got for breaking the salary cap rules (see link and scroll down to "Patriot Games" post). IMO opinion, that's about right - both give a team an unfair competitive advantage and should be punished. Should Shanahan, Cowher, and the appropriate 49er coach (Mariucci? Seifert?) be banned for life? I don't think so (disclaimer - Chiefs fan, so banning Shanahan would be okay by me; digression - interesting that Shanahan of the salary-cap evading, chop-block teaching, offensive lineman-jersey greasing, Broncos is the one coach to give Belicheck fits).

From the Dr. Z article:
"What the league ought to do," Raiders owner Al Davis once said about an earlier infraction, "is create its own jailhouse, the Official NFL Prison, out in the Mojave desert somewhere, like Barstow. Then if someone is really guilty of something, they can say, 'OK, two weeks in the joint for you.'"

The US Army has such a place, it's about 40 miles NE of Barstow, called Fort Irwin. I spent four years there, although the didn't call it a jail, it was a "training center".

289
by White Rose Duelist (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:50pm

Sorry to repeat, but does anyone, anyone at all, know what if anything is happening to the person who held the camera?

290
by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:51pm

"The rule has no rational, and is nothing but a whim. Removing the rule wouldn’t make play “unfair� in any way or “dishonest�. Longstanding or not, the rule is absurd, and like all ridiculous laws and rules you should feel free to break it with a clear conscience."

The rule is completely rational, and you are doing nothing but condoning cheating.

The issue is simple. It's like when playing video game football. You can see the other player picking their plays but you purposely don't.

If you are a play watcher, you are an asshole, and don't deserve to play. If I can see your play even once every 10 plays, I will destroy you.

In ALL PRO FOOTBALL 2k8 there is a special skill that allows you to see the other players play something around 5 times a game.

Once you know the play, it's easy to attack it.

For apologists who call this nothing, they are misinformed on the advantage that is knowing when a blitz will come.

Either you are not intelligent enough about the topic to make a determination, or you have internalized that it is ok to cheat, and lie, in which case you are pathological and could use some counseling.

291
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:51pm

Well, we agree MJK, that Goodell's handling of the warning was botched to some degree, which had negative effects. Hopefully, he'll learn from the experience.

Paul, I think the notion of docking wins is an intriguing one, but it has the potential to affect the Pats behavior towards various opponents, especially later in the year. Why risk injury to Brady in week 15, against the Ravens, when Arizona and Kansas City are up next, and you're guaranteed to be assessed at least two losses in the next three weeks anyways?

292
by MHS (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:52pm

"
Anything less than a lifetime ban for Bellicheat is a slap on the wrist. A real deterent is needed to make sure no coach cheats in such a manner.
"

Hey Mark, how about doing something no one else on earth has been able to do, and explain WHY THIS IS CHEATING? Sure it says it in the rule book, but no one can explain the rational. The rule should be broken... by ALL THE TEAMS.

293
by basserpy (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:53pm

And for all of you self righteous fans out there who have graduated college, let me ask you this: have you ever done anything that wasn't actually cheating???? Then how can you blame the Patriots for cheating? Food for thought I would say!

294
by stan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:53pm

Wow.

The level of denial in Pat-land has hit all time highs (or lows depending on perspective).

Coaches all over the NFL have been quoted over the last few days and the overwhelming sentiment is: 1) there would be a clear advantage gained from doing what the Pats did, and 2) the Pats and Belichick have long had a reputation for dirty tricks. Apparently, malfunctions that don't happen at other stadiums seem to happen quite often at NE and in key situations. Just a series of bizarre coincidences (except that the coaches aren't buying).

It goes back at least as far as Charlie Weis admitting that the Pats had opponent's signals back in 2002.

Convoluted efforts to whitewash all this won't fly. Those who have the best understanding of the situation have told us that it is a big deal in terms of both ethics and impact on the game.

One more thing -- one of the standard excuses trotted out by Pats fans and their sportswriters is that this whole thing is just jealousy.

Hmmmmm. Tony Dungy has a ring, the longest streak of making the playoffs of any coach, and as coach of the Colts has the best record in the NFL over the last five years.

His peers in the league don't say about him the things that they are saying about Belichick. It would seem the jealousy charge is just weak smoke from the Pats' defenders.

295
by zip (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:54pm

Will Allen -

You're the one of the commenters I respect most around here, and your incessant use of the phrase "Lil Billy" is annoying the shit out of me.

That's the type of playground-style namecalling that I expect from Rich Conley, not you.

296
by Free Safety Dance (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:57pm

#291

cheat /tʃit/ [cheet]
–verb (used with object)
1. to defraud; swindle: He cheated her out of her inheritance.
2. to deceive; influence by fraud: He cheated us into believing him a hero.
3. to elude; deprive of something expected: He cheated the law by suicide.
–verb (used without object)
4. to practice fraud or deceit: She cheats without regrets.
5. to violate rules or regulations: He cheats at cards.

Sure it's against the rules, but it's not like that counts as cheating!

297
by Paul (London,UK) (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:59pm

290 Will, I'm not sure we're on the same page on the matter of docking wins. The wins would be non-specific. They would still need to try and win all their games. The number of wins to be docked would be subtracted from their overall win total. The other team doesn't get the win.

298
by Nathan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 1:59pm

"Hey Mark, how about doing something no one else on earth has been able to do, and explain WHY THIS IS CHEATING? Sure it says it in the rule book, but no one can explain the rational."

Why is it cheating? Because that's the game. Why is it cheating to not spit on the ball in baseball?

Why is it cheating to not look at a player's playcalling screen in video game football?

Because it changes the game. There is a game you play. It has rules you accept to play the game.

If you don't accept the rules, you don't play.

You are just justifying cheating.

299
by Derek (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:00pm

Hating the Patriots? Totally reasonable. They're the Yankees, now, without spending more than everyone. They've been at the top for a long time, and for all the excuses about hating them because of the manner in which they've been covered in the media... I don't buy it. It doesn't matter how they were covered, America would have turned on them. They might have been allowed to win one more Super Bowl, but once the third one came around and the questions about dynasties started coming up... it was inevitable.

And anyone who's pissed that they're consistently portrayed as an example of how a team "should" be run... well, what team has been consistently better while accomplishing as much in the past 6 years?

Feeling glee about getting to rub this in the fans of all those fans of the Patriots who were so insufferable because of *fill in the blank of your particular reason here*? More than totally reasonable.

Being surprised/pissed off/personally offended that Pats fans dare to defend their team? Are you f'in nuts?

It's good to know that if you're favorite team were caught cheating and everyone and their uncle came out of the woodwork with unfounded speculation that you'd turn on them swiftly and decisively for their evil ways.

Perhaps that's what really gets the proverbial goat of so many other fans... that intense loyalty to a team that doesn't waver on suspicion and conjecture alone.

Would I be completely disgusted if I found out that the Patriots were the league leader in technological espionage for years now and found some conclusive evidence that any of their methods could impact a football game? Absolutely. I'd probably go looking for a new favorite team, or just not have one until they had new owners and a new coach.

But guess what? That's simply not the case here.

What they were caught doing is a more advanced form of what all teams are doing... and no one has questioned this.

All the other accusations are essentially downright silly (the Eagles, for example), or frightfully poor journalism (Dr. Z's article, if about any other topic than sports, would never have been allowed to be published... but in sports journalism, you're not required to find reliable sources... presenting hearsay as fact is a time honored tradition).

And while I don't begrudge any other fan-base from imagining the very worst about what the Pats might have done... I do begrudge them feeling that in order to have their outrage satisfied every Pats fan must surrender to that same perspective. To suffer for all the joy the last handful of years have brought.

At least until something resembling evidence crops up, somewhere.

Until then? Try not to delude yourselves into thinking you'd be handling the situation "better" if it were your team. And perhaps have a little compassion for a shaken fan base that aren't any better or worse than you for supporting the team they love.

300
by MJK (not verified) :: Fri, 09/14/2007 - 2:00pm

Re 278:

Considering the ramifications and overall embarrassment factor associated with this event, its only logical to assume Billichick was gaining something relevant from the video tape. ... Therefore, Billichick MUST be gaining something from the video tape. I dont see how this can be argued?

Except that my very argument above was that, until Week 1 of this year when Mangini made a stink, there WERE no severe ramifications or embarassment factors associated with videotaping defensive coaches, as evidenced by the fact the Pats had been caught doing it twice before (Green Bay and Detroit) and it went practically unnoticed by the press and unpunished by the league. With that precedent, there was no incentive for Belichick NOT to do it provided there was any competitive advantage, no matter how small.

I'm sure if he knew, two weeks ago, that continuing to do it and getting caught would result in negative press, embarrassment, fines, and loss of first day draft pick(s), he would not have done it. This is where the Leagued erred--they SHOULD have told teams that a punishment of this magnitude would be the response for videotaping on the sidelines, since their previous actions had indicated that videotaping on the sidelines would NOT be punihsed.

As you point out, something would have to have a HUGE competitive advantage to justify that kind of risk, and I just don't see videotaping gives that kind of advantage. Which is why the new league policy ought to be effective in stomping it out.

Re 279:
Im sure that the Patriots were really worried about their next game with the Green Bay Packers in 4 years time.

Argument Refuted.

Oldcat, did you even read my post? I know it's long, and you're free to skip it, but if you're going to comment on it, you should actually read it. My very point is that, if the intent was to gain a competitive advantage in subsequents, then taping Green Bay and Detroit DIDN'T make sense BECAUSE they only play once every four years...hence I have to think that there are other possible reasons why they were doing it.