Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Feb 2008

PLEASE USE: Irrational Spygate Argument Thread

Well, we thought Spygate was dead and gone, but apparently not. So here is how we are going to work this. All discussion of Spygate, Patriots cheating, or cheating by any other team goes in this thread. It does not matter if you think the Patriots are evil, or if you think the Patriots are getting a raw deal. As we learned long ago with Brady-Manning debates, this is the only way to keep the rest of the website sane. We're suspending the rules here. Go ahead, attack each other all you want. Feel free to mention politics. (Thanks to the Senator from the great state of Pennsylvania, you pretty much don't have a choice.) Any discussion of this issue in any other discussion thread will be deleted.

The goal here is not censorship. The goal here is to make sure the discussion threads remain a good user experience.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 02 Feb 2008

951 comments, Last at 19 Nov 2008, 6:47pm by Andy Sedgwick

Comments

1
by tanner \'08 (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:18pm

Hi, irrational Pats fan here who thought the original, in-game taping was far more speeding ticket than felony; it didn't really bother me. But taping a walkthrough before the SB, wtf? I don't even know if it's explicitly against the rules, but it's beneath sleazy and you're messing w/ people's livelihoods.

Also if the if Pats lied to the league, or withheld info the league requested, Belichick should suspended and fired. Can't believe I have to write this.

2
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:20pm

Well it seems that the Pats video taping activities were more extensive than previously thought, which further calls into question the validity of their first three wins.

We will probably never fully know the extent of the taping but I am suprised that it has taken this long for any lawmaker to become interested in what could amount to fraud that could have cost several people very large sums of money in lost employment and other revenues.

There, no foaming at the mouth. . .a little dribbling but no foam.

3
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:21pm

There's also the ESPN story involving the guy who used to film for them.

Along with the big write up about "Belichick's Belichick".

Either there's more than meets the eye or people are trying to tear down one of the most successful runs in NFL history, and grasping at every straw imaginable.

I'm not a Pats fan, but it's despicable that all this comes out the day(s) before the Super Bowl in which they are trying for something never achieved.

4
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:25pm

If the Pats really did what the article said, then Kraft should fire Belichick without hesitation once the allegations are proven.

The sideline taping stuff is much ado about nothing (note Goodell's comment about one of the taped coaches waving to the camera), as Goodell's comments boil down to: "the Pats were punished because breaking the rules is against the rules, not because the taping had any meaningful effects on gameplay or outcomes". And note the recent comments by Terry Bradshaw, Jimmy Johnson, and Howie Long.

As for Specter, OpenSecrets.org reveals that the top contributor to his campaign is Comcast. Which just happens to be at war with the NFL over NFL Network. As the Church Lady used to say, "How conveeeeenient!"

All that said, taping a team's final pre-SB walkthrough is a completely different matter and is totally beyond the pale and should carry severe consequences.

5
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:28pm

I think the timing of this news breaking is very suspicious, and I'm not inclined to believe it as of yet.

If it's true, though, there will be hell to pay.

6
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:30pm

Re: #4

I agree on both counts. If this source knew about it all these years, why wait until now to come out of the closet? Why not bring it up back in September? It is suspicious.

7
by navin (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:30pm

Wow. Just think if this happened during each Super Bowl. Is knowing the other team's plays worth 3 points a game?

8
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:34pm

Re: #6

Errr, I mean Re: #5, not Re: #4.

9
by Brad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:38pm

I'm surprised this story has stayed as quiet as it has since breaking in September. The way the investigation ended so abrubtly, with no explanation and the destruction of the tapes should have caused an uproar among the media types. Why didn't they make a bigger deal of it at the time?

Still the big issue at hand is whether or not the cheating was more than just the Jets game, how far did it go, and how did it impact the game? All I can say is this, how improbable is it for a sixth round draft pick to come in and be able to read defenses the way Brady has? Why is it that the Pats can blow away teams in the AFC that they play 1-2 times ayear, but have so much difficulty with supposedly outclassed NFC teams that they don't have as much footage...I mean experience with. How did a coach that posted a miserable record with the Browns, and had a miserable first year with the Pats turn it around immediately and become a "genius"?

10
by billsfan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:41pm

9:
...and just imagine what Belichick could have done with Peyton Manning at QB!

11
by Jimi (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:43pm

What convenient timing for this to get back on the radar!

Then again, like Mike Florio said, maybe having the game that pretty much gave birth to the Patriot dynasty will motivate the players yet again to show that they win with the talent on the field, not the talent behind the cameras.

12
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 3:48pm

I'll also point out that Goodell's "well, since I destroyed them, if they're seen again they must've come from the Pats, so that's one of the main reasons I destroyed them" doesn't come close to passing the laugh test. Destroying them because of leaks (notice how fast the first one got leaked from NFL HQ) at least has some shreds of logic. But the other argument is just silly, on both sides of the coin (for one thing, if a team other than the Patriots, or a former employee who had already left had copies, then copies showing up post-Goodell-destruction doesn't mean the tapes came from the Pats.)

13
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:02pm

10: LOL, why not? The thread is going to go to hell anyway. I might as well say that if Manning were on the Patriots, he'd be going on one for the thumb right now.

14
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:04pm

5: Yeah, I agree. What I find most suspicious is that the guy wasn't asked to identify himself - wasn't that SB supposedly so fortified with security that it was almost suffocating (in the wake of September 11)?

9: Until this year, the Pats didn't blow much of anyone away. The team they have the biggest trouble with? Denver. Who they've played multiple times over the last seven years.

And BB had the genius label with the Giants. Keep in mind that the employee in Hawaii who allegedly has information worked with the team from 1996 through 02 or 03 (his wedding announcement claimed that he stopped working for the Pats in January 02, before the SB) -mostly during Parcells' tenure...

15
by black (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:08pm

I'm to rational to comment at this point. I will return later after digesting my Memphis Grizzlies trading away Pau Gasol for a bag of rocks.

16
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:11pm

Sorry, but there is no way to justify Specter's actions here, or the notion of Congress investigating in general any alleged taping by the Patriots, and I say this as someone who thought Goodell should have stripped the Patriots of an entire year's draft picks for what they were caught doing in the Jets game.

At least in the steroids hearings, Congress can rightfully say that it is investigating behavior which Congress has deemed criminal. No, there is no element of criminal fraud, or other criminal behavior, if Bill Belichik had the Rams' walkthrough taped. What is Congress going to do next, hold hearings about offensive linemen getting away with holding?

Specter is simply absurd, and it is indicative of how abusive Congress has become that the people who might be asked to testify won't tell Specter and Co. to go perform an anatomically impossible act.

17
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:25pm

9: "Why is it that the Pats can blow away teams in the AFC that they play 1-2 times ayear, but have so much difficulty with supposedly outclassed NFC teams that they don’t have as much footage…"

Um. The Pats lost to Miami and the Jets last year. They lost multiple games in a row to the Colts before this year. They have a hard time with Denver.

Meanwhile, I can't remember the last time they lost to an NFC team. Maybe the Panthers a couple of years ago?

18
by Fan in Exile (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:25pm

re #16 That would be fantastic because then we could pile on to the patriots for having such a dirty defense the other o-lines have to hold.

19
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:29pm

What I find most suspicious is that the guy wasn’t asked to identify himself - wasn’t that SB supposedly so fortified with security that it was almost suffocating (in the wake of September 11)?

Considering that he is a white male, this doesn't really surprise me too much. It sounds like he came on with the Patriots and just stuck around... insecurity by obscurity. If you don't make yourself suspicious looking no one is going to notice.

I thought the reason this guy wasn't talking about anything that went on is that he felt the Patriots or the NFL would sue the pants off of him. Given the way the public has reacted to the whole HGH scandal, and the predisposition of most football fans to already suspect something going on with the Patriots, I don't think this will help itself.

I think the fact that the media didn't really try to track this guy down until recently says more about the quality of the media. Do you really believe that would finger out everyone who ever worked for Belichik at the Patriots and hound them about taping? Most of the media benefits from the NFL, so there is a benefit from not digging too hard into some hard things.

In that regards I'd like to say thanks to MDS regarding his line of questioning about HGH to Belichick and Goodell. There were illumination answers from the coach and commish.

20
by mathphysto (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:35pm

Assuming the report is true, and that this is worth caring about...

1. Was it actually against the rules? Or was it an 'unwritten rule'?

2. Are the Pats being singled out because of their winning? I'm sure there is a selective bias in the investigative journalists' approach. If so, and if people want to make a big deal about it, then you need investigations for all teams before you start deciding on a punishment for Belichick et al.

That being said, am I the only one willing to file this under the heading of 'gamesmanship'? I'm a Lions fan, so maybe it's just because I don't have any hope of winning (ever), but this just seems like the typical 'fifth-column' type of activities that have been in the league for many decades.

I honestly don't care what goes on behind the scenes in the NFL. This isn't politics or business or something that really matters - it's just entertainment.

I have as much interest in the behind-the-scenes of football as I do in the behind-the-scenes of a sitcom. Which is to say, none.

Just give me the game, with some winners and some losers (like my hapless Lions,) and let the show go on. Bring on SB XLII!

21
by Jon (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:36pm

As a Giant fan, I'm not thrilled to see this pop up either. As if people could get any more irrational about the game, or read more into every call.

22
by KevinWho (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:36pm

A hearty "thanks!" to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for screwing up professional football.

I hope the taping was worth the trouble.

23
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:40pm

16: The equivalency Specter drew in the Times article between Spygate tape destruction and destruction of CIA tapes is completely ridiculous. That comment shows that he doesn't understand (or seeks to downplay the distinction) between Spygate and a government agency destroying tapes purportedly depicting torture that may not only be illegal, but in violation of international law. If he can't figure out why they're different, he shouldn't be a U.S. Senator.

I have been involved in civil litigation where records where destroyed by other parties, likely in violation of a number of state and federal statutes. Quick, Arlen, where's your subpoena?

24
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:43pm

I was one of a few people who wrote a few months ago that the failure to disclose pretty much anything about what the Pats had done and what they got punished for was a mistake. The punishment was the biggest the NFL has ever handed out, and the crime must also therefore have been the worst offence. Yet all we ever heard was basically a bunch of platitudes from Goodell.

There were also huge conflicts of interest that influenced whether disclosure could happen. It is Goodell's job to protect the business interest of the NFL, if he had evidence that compromised the integrity of the league in the eyes of its fans it would be his job to make sure that we never got wind of it. This latest set of 'revelations' poses a different problem to the previous tapegate conundrum. I think most people can easily see how the Pats might have been able to capitalise on this transgression to enable them to win a game that they otherwise would have lost. That is a whole scale of madness worse than a few signals. If I understand the anti-trust exemption correctly then Goodell (or anyone who works for the NFL, or any media entity which profits from it) isn't an appropriate figure to lead any investigation into this issue.

If true where does this stop? Millions of people will have gambled on the game, have they been cheated? Coaches, players and front office staff have been fired. The Pats have built a dynasty and huge commercial success off the back of that first win, probably at the expense of other teams in the league, of course with revenue sharing it isn't in the interest of anyone in the league to see any more mud appear about this. Specter is right to question whether the sweeping of these problems under the rug violates the spirit of the league's antitrust exemption.

25
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:50pm

Although in principle I agree with Will, I don't have a big problem with Spector doing what he's doing. I think there are a fair amount of NFL fans who think the NFL is covering up some of the facts of spy gate. There's also a fair amount of people who think that Congress does more to screw up the country than fix things.

26
by Brad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:53pm

Re:#24 That was one of the most insightful and intelligent posts regarding the contravery that I've read.

27
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 4:59pm

24: I think we want to be clear here. Unlike MLB, which has a broad antitrust exemption, as I understand it the NFL's antitrust exemption applies specifically to their ability to negotiate one broadcasting arrangement (rather than market-by-market). Al Davis was permitted to sue the NFL for violation of antitrust laws, for instance.

This is the third time in the last two years that Specter has threatened to lift that exemption. The first time was in 2006 (see link) over Sunday Ticket issues. The second time was in 2007 over the NFL Network not being sufficiently available.

I'd like to hear an explanation as to what Spygate has to do with negotiating broadcast agreements. I suspect it was a way to kill two birds with one stone: try to get the exemption lifted for Comcast, while helping add credibility to the Eagles' claim to an SB title.

28
by Ben (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:05pm

Everyone is missing spectre's motivation. He is an Eagles season ticket holder and huge fan. I can't wait for congress to award us our Super Bowl Trophy. kinda takes the fun out of it though. Sheldon Brown has long contended how odd it was that the Pats knew EVERY single blitz in the 2nd half.

29
by theory (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:07pm

#4,5,6 - I'm sure Specter has his own shady motivation for bringing this up now, but it's also not hard to imagine why the NFL would want to cover up something like, uh, cheating in the Super Bowl. Now that it's come out, 19-0 will be football's version of 756.

What's the appropriate punishment for something like this? The hater in me wants the NFL to do to the Pats what the NCAA did to SMU, like say, no draft picks for 2 years and banning Belicheat from the game. What'd be more realistic?

30
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:09pm

#27

I wasn't too sure about the anti-trust issue, we don't have anti-trust in the UK. I still stand by my argument about the massive conflict of interest in revealing basically anything which would cast doubt on the propriety of the results of past Superbowls.

31
by Brad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:12pm

#28- They can't just hand the Iggles the trophy, they must assume the Pats cheated against the Steelers in the AFCG. The only fair way to decide it would be to reassemble the Steelers and Eagles teams from that year and have them play. I hope you enjoy having TO back for that game!

32
by Vern (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:14pm

Re: 24

Someone has to explain to me how you get from having information about your opponent into there being any question about the result of a game.

Are people really that naieve about what each team knows about the other's play calls, game plan, and so on?

What makes you win is how you defend what you KNOW is coming, not being tricked or confused about what happened.

In fact, "blown plays" or "trick plays" are even called out just because they are so rare.

I don't get it.

33
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:24pm

Specter's motivation is about doing something for Pennsylvanians that carries with it little or no electoral risk. In other words, it's about him. This is the kind of crap that looks great back home even if nothing happens and if he exposes the Patriots, he's going to look even better. Remember, he nearly lost in a primary in his last election. It is grandstanding at its best or worst.

That being said, we've learned a hell of a lot more in the past 48 hours about this situation than we have in the past 4 months since Specter brought it up.

If the story in the Herald is true (in my opinion, a pretty big if at this point), that takes a hell of a lot of chutzpah. Keeping a guy back with video equipment for the Rams practice and then having him blend in with media members for the ride home.

To 20, you can't videotape another team's practice.

34
by Brad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:30pm

#32,

1) There's a world of difference between defending against what you know is going to happen, and attacking the area of the field that is going to be weakest based on the coverage called.

2) It's also extremely different thinking "this defense likes to rush five in this situation with one man over top protecting their weak corner" vs knowing "they're blitzing their ROLB while runiing a two ddep zone" Thinking and knowing are two completely different things and greatly improve the offenses chances.

#3) Most games swing on 3-4 plays.

35
by RickD (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:32pm

I don’t even know if it’s explicitly against the rules, but it’s beneath sleazy and you’re messing w/ people’s livelihoods.

Well that's certainly a strong argument!

You don't even know if it's against the rules, but it somehow strikes you as "beneath sleazy"?

People do know that, by the time the Super Bowl has come around, that all the teams have a season's worth of videotape on the other team that they can watch, right? I'm just not seeing the "moral outrage" here if the behavior in question is not against the rules. And what extra information could be obtained from a "walk-through" would not appear to be much.

I do hope, though, that if something develops from this, Mangini's name will get dragged through the mud, too. 'Cause let's be honest here: unless rules have been broken, this is just mudslinging, and it smells like it's being done by somebody who has chosen his moment to maximize his personal visibility. If this were some kind of conscience-driven former employee, he could have come forward four months ago. He would have had a bit more credibility if he had taken that path.

36
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:33pm

Oh, good grief, whether the Patriots taped some practices has exactly nothing to do with the NFL's antitrust status, just like how the NFL chooses to enforce, or not enforce, contact with a receiver five yards downfield has nothing to do with the NFL's antitrust status. In fact, the taping may not even rise to that level, given it is less than clear if any rules were violated. Specter is a perfect and complete ass.

Also, if anybody here thinks there is something new about this, they are completely ignorant. George Halas thought competitors were secretly filming the Bears practices fifty years ago. George Allen was convinced it happened to his Rams' teams. Golly gee, Everett Dirksen and Hubert Humphrey musta' been a couple of pikers; instead of investigating systematic civil rights violations, or organized crime, they coulda' been making sure NFL teams weren't having their practices filmed by guys with 8mm cameras!

37
by Ryan Harris (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:41pm

Having a US senator waste time on this is just unbelievable.

Im from Canada, and all I ever hear and read about the US is how its in recession and how much worse it could get. The only reason I mention I am from Canada is that this really doesnt even effect me, and it STILL ticks me off.

On top of this America is fighting a war that costs $200 million/day and is on the verge of WWIII with Iran.

Now an elected public service official who probably clears well north of 100k in Salary DIRECTLY from tax payers is persuing the NFL?

WOW, I am completely outraged over this. Um Mr Senator, GET BACK TO WORK YOU FAT PRICK, dont waste another second of your time on this and how about solving the problems that really matter.

Now onto the video. I dont buy it, for 3 reasons.

1. They allegedly taped the Rams walk through the day before the SB. This was also after the Pats had their final walk through. It just doesnt add up. Lets say that by the time this guy taped the practice and made it back to the hotel it was 3pm. How much time could the Pats coaches have to change their preparations and relay it to their players? A couple hours at the most? Yes it could have helped, but unquestionably the Pats were already prepared to play the Rams. Belichick is always saying that he wants his players playing, and not thinking. So you really think he would have added a whole bunch of new wrinkles the night before their biggest game when he has meticulously trained them for the previous 2 weeks?

2. Any person with a PVR could have had 3 years worth of tape on the Rams. 99, 2000 and 2001. I mean honestly there is only so many plays and formatitions. At some point it is about the players.

3. The NFL is a rather tight night brotherhood. Free agent players and coaches change teams every
year and most guys know each other from previous years in college and HS. Do you mean to tell me that this would not have gotten out in the prior 6 years? No way, somebody would have let it slip by now.

38
by Joseph (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:53pm

Several points: (disclosure--I'm a Saints fan--I have no dog in this fight)
1. IF (big IF) the story of taping the Rams is true, every coach/employee (NOT player) involved deserves a lifetime ban. Period. IMO, the players involved may not have known because it may have been presented as simply Xs & Os on a board, or with video of previous games when the Rams ran those plays practiced in the walkthrough.
2. Could Goodell give the video guy in Hawaii some kind of endemnity? (i.e., the NFL nor the Pats would come after him--only if he disclosed what he knows to the NFL/commish and ONLY them)
3. Timing is definitely suspicious--why did it take so long to find this ex-Pats employee?
4. I'm not taking time to find the link, but I remember TMQ stating something like this early in the season: "The NFL has to make sure it keeps a great product on the field. There is nothing guaranteeing them #1 sports league status. They can fall, just like the NBA & MLB once did." Basically stating that if there is REAL evidence of cheating, and ESP. IF that cheating affected SB's, the NFL will lose a lot of casual fans. (BTW, a 1% loss of revenues =$70 million--that's a lot of cash)

39
by Will (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:54pm

I love that any discussion of Spygate is automatically "irrational".

Wonderfully biased framing of the issue.

40
by fromanchu (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:56pm

37:
i'd much rather a senator waste his time. there are so many more destructive ways for senators to use their time

41
by Anonymous Source (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 5:56pm

Pssst. Karl Cuba is actually Fidel Castro posting under an alias. I know this, because I'm his personal friend.

And now that an anonymous source has alleged this, it must be true.

42
by MJK (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:00pm

Hypothetical question--suppose it came to light that some assistant was digging through the opposing coach's garbage the night before the Superbowl and found a crumpled up copy of some plays the team planned on executing. Suppose the garbage digger's team went on to win the SB. Four years later, it comes to light that this had occurred.

Would people be as outraged? Just curious...

43
by Rhys (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:03pm

SPECTRE is quite obviously in Comcast's pocket. I am not at all surprised that our government has degenerated to the point where Senators are pawns in a war between the NFL and the cable companies.

44
by MJK (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:05pm

Incidentally, the linked article about the Rams taping goes to a Boston Herald article. Does anyone know if it was the Herald that broke the story, or are they just re-reporting it?

The reason why I ask is that, for those of you not familiar with Boston newspapers, the Herald is maybe half a step above the National Enquirer as far as their believability, bias, and veracity...

45
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:05pm

Damn, I sure wouldn't want to be the Giants tomorrow...

Seriously, Tomase's piece is just about at the level of Dr.Z's post-tapegate piece collecting spurious rumors and third-hand hearsay. "A source close to the team during the 2001 season" told Tomase that "a member of the team’s video staff stayed behind" and taped the Rams. But note: "it’s not known what the cameraman did with the tape" or "if he made the recording on his own initiative or if he was instructed to make the recording by someone with the Patriots or anyone else."

So, the "source" could be anyone of the many hundreds of people who just hang around the team, not necessarily an employee, and he/she clearly is not the video-staff member, or he'd know at least some of the other details (what he did with the tape, who ordered it made, etc). Yet, this at least once-removed source knows for a fact that the cameraman was not asked for identification while filming in a highly secure location in the wake of 9/11 (remember how high the security was, fearing bombings etc?), which is probably the least credible of all the claims.

Basically, a collection of unfalsifiable statements from an unidentifiable source who doesn't even explain how he/she acquired the information. All coming out the day before the SB, when it should have come out 3 months ago. Uh, OK.

In the meantime, the conspiracy theorists and Pats haters, after months of grumbling and hinting at shady cover-ups of massive cheating, refuse to accept the only now officially known facts: the commissioner's own words that the tapes and notes were few and of minimal competitive significance. Jeez, folks.

46
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:06pm

Ya' gotta point there, formanchu. If there is any carbon-based matter in the universe more useless than a United States Senator, I've yet to encounter it. Criminy, if we agreed to pay these jackasses 10 million annually, do ya' think we get them to take 51 weeks of vacation a year? What is really frightening is that we have about at least a 75% chance that someone from the World's Most Fatuous Deliberative Body is going to be our next President, and to head off an argument, no, I don't mean that as an endorsement of the former Governor Of Mass. with the fabulous hair.

47
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:10pm

By the way, I love the "Spectre" typo. Very appropriate for "Spygate" (though the "gate" was not about "spying" at all). Perhaps Tomase's source was Ernst Stavro Blofeld himself.

48
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:12pm

My God.

Fellow Giants fans-- give it a rest. It is not relevant. The league will handle it, or won't. Not one bit of whining is going to help us tomorrow, or change the result of the game if the Giants don't play well.

It just makes us look bad.

49
by dbt (Bears fan) (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:21pm

I love how people can hold the "there's no way they cheated" and "an eagles fan senator is really only doing this to help comcast I can tell because of campaign contributions" in their head at the same time.

50
by BDC (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:34pm

42: "Hypothetical question–suppose it came to light that some assistant was digging through the opposing coach’s garbage the night before the Superbowl and found a crumpled up copy of some plays the team planned on executing. Suppose the garbage digger’s team went on to win the SB. Four years later, it comes to light that this had occurred.

Would people be as outraged? Just curious…"

Depends. Is that against the rules?

45: "...refuse to accept the only now officially known facts: the commissioner’s own words that the tapes and notes were few and of minimal competitive significance. Jeez, folks."

Yea but come on, what is the guy going to say, that past SBs were compromised? Maybe they were and maybe they weren't, but the comish assuring us that this didn't happen isn't exactly evidence, considering he has a huge vested interested in us believing nothing happened.

Look, I don't care all that much what happened. My team wasn't in any of those games. And in any case, my team is so bad, the Pats could give US tapes of THEM and we would still lose. Never the less, it does seem somewhat suspicious.

If there was nothing on those tapes that would arouse suspicion, why destroy them? I mean, you don't hide a body you didn't kill.

51
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:38pm

dbt, Comcast's support for Specter is as likely an accurate explanation as there is for Specter's behavior, besides the fact that Specter is an example of grotesquely self-important swine, who is so psychologically damaged from his years in the Senate, that he is by now unable to differentiate between matters of import appropriate for consideration by the agents of state power, and the videotaping of an effing football practice prior to 3 hours of televised entertainment.

52
by Common Sense (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:40pm

"I love that any discussion of Spygate is automatically “irrational”.

Wonderfully biased framing of the issue."

THIS

Will...you must be new here.

53
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:42pm

Will Allen,

As someone who had Arlen as his Senator for many years, let me opine.

"Comcast’s support for Specter is as likely an accurate explanation as there is for Specter’s behavior,"

It is an unlikely explanation for Specter's behavior.

"besides the fact that Specter is an example of grotesquely self-important swine,"

Now you are getting closer.

"who is so psychologically damaged from his years in the Senate,"

Getting colder. The Senate did not make him this way. Arlen "Magic Bullet, Scottish Law" Specter has *always* been this way.

"that he is by now unable to differentiate between matters of import appropriate for consideration by the agents of state power, and the videotaping of an effing football practice prior to 3 hours of televised entertainment."

He never was able to so differentiate.

What makes Arlen tick, and has always made him tick, is the unquenchable urge to put himself in the middle of anything and everything. He wants, and needs, to be the center of attention.

54
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:49pm

Gerry, I'm just trying to be charitable to swine this afternoon, having consumed a lot of bacon at breakfast this morning.

55
by register_allocation (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:49pm

#17 -- here all the Patriot losses to NFC teams, going back to the 2000 season:

2005 Week 2: NE 17, CAR 27
2003 Week 4: NE 17, WAS 20
2002 Week 6: GB 28, NE 10
2001 Week 10: STL 24, NE 17
2000 Week 15: NE 17, CHI 24
2000 Week 13: NE 9, DET 34
2000 Week 3: MIN 21, NE 13
2000 Week 1: TB 21, NE 16

Since 2000 (when the Patriots were 5-11), they just haven't lost much to NFC teams.

56
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:49pm

#51, Will

It may well be that Specter is only acting due to Comcast, it is a reasonable hypothesis.

Is it not also a reasonable hypothesis that Goodell wouldn't choose to disclose evidence that questions the validity of victories in previous Superbowls? As the CEO of the NFL he is bound by law not to damage its commercial interests.

57
by miggy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:55pm

Re: 39
I agree. If Michael Vick and dogfighting didn't require its own 'irrational' thread, then this shouldn't either. There are some great, RATIONAL posts here (Jimmy's I really like). I think this story's handling here might be a nail in the coffin of me pimping this site anymore as something other than everywhere else. Sure, the analysis is intelligent and researched, not littered with cliches, and the user discussion is typically frank and at worst interesting and thoughtful, but if huge STORIES (not thread-hijackers like Brady v. Manning) warrant immediate "irrational" threads, I think that's saying something to me about the way the user feedback contributes to this site. I'm disappointed to say the least. If there are going to be "irrational" threads, and tons of rules, maybe this should just become a non-comment site like Baseball Prospectus, because feedback surely isn't respected.

58
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 6:59pm

Jimmy, I don't care what possible motivations Goodell has. If I am disatisfied, I can watch a movie tomorrow, instead of a football game. What irritates me a great deal is bloviating, pompous, egomaniacal, power-hungry jerk, using his access to the levers of the state, to force citizens that he has power over to dance to his tune, all over the alleged videotaping of some football coaches on the sideline, or a football practice.

59
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:04pm

To be fair to the outsiders the naming of the thread as 'irrational' is I think intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. I have no idea what any of the FO writers think about this topic as none of them have written anything about it. It is the intention that this topic should only be discussed on this thread and is banned from other threads to avoid ruining them. Any such thread gets the irrational sobriquet, I wouldn't take it too seriously.

60
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:05pm

58: And to go a step further - if Specter's concerned about entertainment and its impact on the economy, what about the writer's strike? (Over which Congress clearly has jurisdiction to intervene if they so choose, as a matter of labor relations.) It's costing the L.A. economy hundreds of millions - if not billions - of dollars, with thousands of people out of work.

I'm not saying that Congress necessarily should intervene, but willingness to speak about Spygate, while ignoring the economic effects of the writer's strike (which has few tangible economic effects in comparison), certainly casts his credibility into question.

61
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:06pm

miggy, maybe you should just leave if you don't like something, instead of being so presumptuous as to tell people, people who have invested real money and labor, how they should they operate what they have invested their labor and money in.

Look, maybe you should just ask for the money back on what you paid to visit this site.

62
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:11pm

From the pool report at the time (courtesy the NY Times archives):

Halfway through practice, Patriots’ linebackers coach Pepper Johnson noticed something in a third-floor window of a house next to the field.

Club and league officials said a telescope was clearly visible in the window, according to a pool report, and that 15 minutes later, a person appeared at the window, and then vanished.

Officials scanned the window with binoculars, but the person never returned.

63
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:15pm

I don't believe either side, and I am stunned by the blinders of those who do agree completely with one side or the other.

One tidbit that convinces me that NE did not come clean is the statement by the Commmish that NE gave him all their tapes, and that the tapes totaled 6 games. Are you kidding me? If that's true, only back to mid-2006, then how did Mangini know? The assumption was that he was in on the process, and thus knew what to look for.

On the other hand, I am not sure if any of this matters in winning games. I am sure I would prefer MY team to have the extra knowledge, but I am not sure what exactly was done with any possible tapes. However, I absolutely think Brady and other players would have no idea if illegal tapes were being used. If I were doing something semi-illegal as the coach, I'd keep that knowledge as tight to my inner circle as possible, and just have my players think we coaches had done a great job preparing them via normal means.

Irrational thread? Yeah, it's a clear statement by FO leadership that they have already decided this whole thing is bunk, but so be it .. it's their website.

(And now, as a Colt fan, I want to reiterate one more time a defense of Dungy's statements after the inital spygate story broke, the statements that so many have accused of him of being hypocritical from. He said, "Really, a sad day for the NFL" when NE was fined. And, he's wrong? Unfortunately, that sad day is continuing.

The only one to blame is Godell. He had the opportunity to clear this all up, and he didn't. I can't feel very confident of his leadership in the future.

64
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:29pm

Irrational thread? Yeah, it’s a clear statement by FO leadership that they have already decided this whole thing is bunk,

Or that they expect that virtually all of the posts on the topic will be irrational, regardless of whether or not the underlying topic is true.

65
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:44pm

One tidbit that convinces me that NE did not come clean is the statement by the Commmish that NE gave him all their tapes, and that the tapes totaled 6 games. Are you kidding me? If that’s true, only back to mid-2006, then how did Mangini know? The assumption was that he was in on the process, and thus knew what to look for.
As I understand it, the tapes were recent, but the notes went back a while. I imagine that once the signals were analyzed and decoded, they were put in note format so that they would be manageable at game time, as needed. At that point, the older tapes may have been deleted/discarded.

66
by Herm? (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 7:56pm

From the ESPN story, Mike Fish, (IMO is a fantastic journalist), I actually emailed him after the story last night: Is Matt Walsh a credible source?
His response (aready!) was that it is up to the NFL and Senator Specter's commission to question him and decide.

He also mentioned the timing was coincidental, had nothing to do with the SB being in 2 days.

Walsh basically said nothing, and ESPN reported how he said nothing. He basically said "I know things" but didn't say anything he knew.
Didn't say why he got fired by the Pats, didn't say why he lied about playing golf at Springfield.

Then Tomase from the Herald wrote a story and didn't name a source and didn't offer proof.

Until anyone can prove it was illegal, prove what advantage was gained, and prove that it affected the outcome of any game, this is a dead-end issue.

67
by admin :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:09pm

Just to make it clear, "irrational" refers not to anyone's specific viewpoint on the scandal, pro or con. It refers to the need to ruin every discussion thread on the website, no matter what that discussion thread is about, by changing the subject to Spygate and unleashing a flame war. We had this problem in September, and we've had it again this week. This is not a problem we had with the Vick story, although there was an internal decision at one point to stop linking new Vick stories because we were so tired of the arguments.

68
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:10pm

slo-mo-joe:

I understand your potential scenerio, but why would a team get rid of tapes after less than one year? Is there a shortage of storage room at Foxboro? It just doesn't seem normal. (Of course, nothing in this story seems normal, even the innocent of details.)

69
by Herm? (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:12pm

if you go to the Superbowl thread, Aaron actually hints as to why he considers it an irrational THREAD (NOT an irrational ISSUE)

And I commend the majority here for keeping it rational so far. Posts from different points of view with well argued statements and no personal attacks.

THIS

is what FO is to me

70
by Herm? (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:13pm

oops, I'm a bit slow today

71
by Purds (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:18pm

PatsFan: "Or that they expect that virtually all of the posts on the topic will be irrational, regardless of whether or not the underlying topic is true."

Doesn't say much for the readership they've cultivated, does it, if they feel they must segregate a debate because they think no one can have a reasonable debate about that topic?

72
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 8:48pm

71: I don't think it has anything to do with being unable to have a reasonable debate; this topic is just so volatile that it can take (and has taken) over every thread.

Rather than subject the readers who want to read about the Super Bowl or the Hall of Fame or the Audibles to pages of Spygate posts, I think it makes more sense to concentrate those arguments in one place. Particularly where this argument will likely be an ongoing one for years.

73
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:06pm

Having watched SB 39 and died a thousand deaths while watching the Eagles fritter away their time at the end of the game, I can't say one way or the other if the Patriots cheated during that game. The Eagles certainly didn't help themselves, though, so I don't think you can lay that loss completely at the feet of any cheating that might have gone on.

If it turns out that the Pats cheated by filming practices or in other ways during any of their SB wins, I think they should be stripped of those titles and Belichick should be fired.

74
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:08pm

NFL responds:
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello released the following statement today about whether the Patriots filmed the Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI.

“We were aware of the rumor months ago and looked into it,” Aiello said. “There was no evidence of it on the tapes or in the notes produced by the Patriots, and the Patriots told us it was not true.”

[which I admit is a lame answer -- why would you expect it to be in the tapes or notes produced by the patriots??]

Patriots respond:
The Patriots just released a statement of their own about the Rams’ walkthrough.

“The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 is absolutely false,” said the statement. “Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue.”

75
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:11pm

Re: 74
Oh well, then, that's the end of it!
/end sarcasm/

76
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:22pm

73:
Having watched SB 39 and died a thousand deaths while watching the Eagles fritter away their time at the end of the game, I can’t say one way or the other if the Patriots cheated during that game.
Great, we're even: I can't say whether the Eagles cheated or not in that game either. Thinking of it, I can't say whether any of the other Pats' opponents cheated either, but I have my suspicions. I think I'll write my senator.

71:
I understand your potential scenerio, but why would a team get rid of tapes after less than one year?
Because they were potentially - how shall I put it? - compromising? Best get whatever information you can from any such tapes, and then get rid of the them. (Or do you expect BB to have a VCR tape by his TV with a label saying: "SB XXXVI - Rams' walk-through"?)
Then, the Pats get busted, the Commish tells them to turn over any existing tapes and all material derived from signal-taping, and the Pats do. Just like, you know, everyone who actually knows anything says they did?

Why is it so hard for people to believe the available evidence, while everyone falls over for a few vague, ominous hints from an obscure character whose background and trustworthiness no one knows anything about? Totally beats me.

77
by Napoleon XIV (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 9:45pm

Belichick planted the rumor to fire up the troops for tomorrow. Watch out Giants! (Remember what happened to the Chargers in Week 2)

78
by peter (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:03pm

#76, what available evidence?

of the various things that have been said, the bit about the eagles seems the most unlikely. I think the complaint was "how could they know what we were going to do?" and the answer was "because you never did anything differently."

I think if there is going to be an investigation into this sort of activity, it should not be limited to looking solely at the patriots. jimmy johnson has already admitted to similar actions while coaching for the cowboys, so if people are going to start suggesting that the patriots be stripped of the the championships, some serious looking at *every* previous game and team should be done. (including the stories of sending hookers to rooms of opposing players the night before the game, setting up loud parties nearby the opposing team hotels, and all the other fun gamesmanship...)

as #62 pointed out, there were reports of spying the other way as well. given the stakes of the game and everything that goes around it, I'm always surprised that these sort of shenanigans are not just seen as the gamesmanship involved.

as far as specter being involved, the government had an interest in the baseball/steroid problem, because those were controlled substances. congress really has no business in an internal dispute like this. he's an eagles fan who figures this is a pointless way to grandstand without real consequences on his reputation and office. (unlike, say, just about anything else he's done in the last 40 years.)

79
by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:11pm

#15 black. You support the Grizz? My condolonces, that was a freaking terrible trade. If Andrew Bynum comes back healthy, you might have just given the Lakers the title. I wonder if Kobe Bryant will back off his trade demand now.

80
by Duff Soviet Union (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:13pm

I must say, this thread has been much more civilised and reasonable than I expected. Where are the frothing at the mouth diatribes from Morganja and OMO?

81
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:20pm

Before this broke, there were a lot of rumors about how the Pats always seemed to know when a blitz was coming against the eagles. Knowing tendencies can only take you so far, but when Brady was calling a screen EVERY time a blitz was dialled up raises some questions.
I do understand that this site is mostly pro Pats and do not expect a lot of objectivity from the majority of the posters and/or the writers.
It's a lot easier to believe that there is a conspiracy that involves Sen. Spector, Boston newspapers, previous Pats employees and the NFL to stain the legacy of the Pats.
I was reading everywhere on this site that the difference between the 2001 and the 2008 superbowls is BB was the coach of the underdogs back then and is the coach of the favorites now. The point being that BB is capable of an upset but cannot be upset. That argument rings a little hollow all of a sudden.

82
by Rex Grossman: Eyebrows of DOOM!! (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:33pm

slo-mo-joe--what evidence are you referring to? If you mean Goodell's statement about the tapes not offering a significant advantage, I don't think that counts as evidence. It's merely an assertion by a non-objective individual. As many others have pointed out, Goodell is in charge of the NFL's commercial interests, and admitting to something like this would be disastrous.

I don't know what's motivating Specter, and I couldn't care less. He, not spygate, is the non-issue.

To me, it all comes down to two main questions: did the Patriots cheat, and if so, what was the extent of that cheating? The answer to the first question is obviously yes--they got docked a first-round draft pick because of an actual conspiracy, not "conspiracy theories". The second question is just now taking center stage.

Having the Patriots compared to, say, Barry Bonds is Roger Goodell's worst nightmare. The Patriots are a marketing dream come true--winning the SB right after 9/11, and (once upon a time) being full of no-name, blue-collar-type players that mirror the very demographic that the League and its advertisers hope to attract. And as of this evening, they're undefeated, heading into the SB. If I were in Goodell's place, I wouldn't want to shatter such a picture-perfect narrative.

It doesn't even have to be the standard cover-up that you commonly see with powerful corporations. Maybe Goodell just didn't want to dig too deep into these accusations, or maybe he was lied to.

I'd like to see an actually-independent investigation into this. I'd be fine with having Congress hold a hearing or two on it, and I'd be fine with a consensus-chosen outsider looking into it.

I want the truth on this, and the NFL can decide where to go from there. Maybe Will Allen is right, and this has always gone on--does that mean it always has to?

83
by John Morgan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:34pm

Dear Boston Globe,

a mummies going attack the whitehouse.

Yours,
Timmy

Boston Globe: Source: Assassination Plotted by Middle Eastern Extremist

. . .

This is pure foolishness. There was a time when you'd use a single source to investigate a story. To start the investigation of a story. A paper would never, ever run a report from a single source. One person can say anything. Anything.

84
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 10:37pm

81: It doesn't have to be a conspiracy. It's not like Sen. Specter knows anything more than we do - he's basically a fan who wants more information. Which is fine, but not the purview of Congress, in my opinion (especially for a Republican - so much for limited federal government).

And ironically, the conspiracy theorists are on the other side of the debate - saying, essentially, that the NFL is conspiring to hide the truth.

So, we're left with a Boston tabloid and a fired ex-employee. Is it that implausible that their vague allegations raise some skepticism? (Didn't there used to be some unwritten rule that you needed three or more sources before running a story?)

And about those rumors - look at Will Allen's post at 36. Rumors of spying have been going on since - well, forever.

85
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:24pm

I just wanted to post a few thoughts from the linked thread that come from a differnt angle than anything already here.

The first comes from a student coach that was on Brady's Michigan teams.

A walkthrough would give absolutely ZERO competitive advantage. If you've ever been to a walkthrough, it is just the basics. Done as a routine just to keep everyone on the same page. You learn more from film than a walkthrough. There is no strategy there. There is nothing but basic looks and formations. Maybe an assignment or two. I watched Ohio State's walkthrough in our stadium in 1999. It's not unusual, especially in a bowl game or the Super Bowl.

Much ado about nothing. I laughed at the PFT statement that it is a big deal. Hardly.

For what it is worth, this person has a history of unbiased, educated responses. I take his word over just about anyone else on the internet, be it message board posters, bloggers or even people supposedly "in the know".

The next is from someone that I have no experience with, but he seems to know Matt Walsh.

I know people who worked for the Pats back when Walsh was employed. For all of you clinging to hope that this will bring down the Pats......I ask you for a little time until all of the facts come out. Then, please by all means, pass judgment at that time. You will see what a hoax this is!!

Matt Walsh had multiple issues as an employee of the Patriots. When he finally crossed the line, he was fired. The Patriots chose not to press legal charges at the time. I think they were overly generous, but I guess they wanted the kid to have a second chance. This guy was a real beauty....always looking for the spotlight. He used to brag that he was going to be "somebody famous" all of the time. I guess he finally figured out a way to get his 15 minutes.

Way to go...Matt....you got your 15 minutes,,,,now let see how good the media is at investigating your past. I sure hope for your sake, they don't investigate what happened at Springfield (or are you trying to forget about that).

Is that why you want ESPN to cover your legal damages?

Has that issue resurfaced or are you just getting lonely out on the island?

If you only knew what I know, you'd realize that this guy has "zeo" credibility!!

RI Sox Fan | 02/02/08, 02:11 PM

Just thought I would add somethin that wasn't here before.

86
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:26pm

Oops. I forgot the link. Oh well, I might as well add another take from the same person who I quoted above:

What baffles me is that a lot of these guys played the game. If you play the game and have been around the game, you know what is important and what isn't. I was working for the Vikings in 2005 when they came into Ford Field for a game. I walked out of the lockerroom with them, onto the field on Saturday for a quick walkthrough, and most of the Lions' staff was standing in the tunnel watching, and Tom Rathman was running the stadium steps.

Absolute JOKE if anyone thinks there could be an advantage from watching a walkthrough, especially the day before a game, and especially one coached by Martz who shifted out of the initial looks anyways. The day before the Super Bowl the team knows their game plan and the coaching strategy hinges on maintaining focus.

87
by peter (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:31pm

patriotsgirl, if you go by "All the president's men" the washington post used to require two sources. but these days, as soon as someone says anything, it's reported around the world, ("we report! you decide!") whether factual or not, the news is no longer what was said, but that someone said it. and after it is said, no one ever seems to ask for verification, or even a second source. accountability is a long forgotten tenet of journalism...

btw, John Morgan, this was reported in the Herald, not the Globe... not that the globe is much better in many ways, but accuracy matters to me...

88
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:40pm

I have only one comment of my own.

I'm surprised at how few people are discussing the timing of this. So, with all the digging that the entire universe was doing after spygate burst onto the scene absolutely no one found this source then?

Did they have the source in their back pocket for a little while waiting for the best time to unleash it? Was it the source that waited until the most opportune time to come forth?

Something smells terribly contrived about this whole thing.

89
by Jim Ryalto (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:47pm

Wait, so the Pats run a bunch of screens against the most blitz-happy team in the league (eagles) and we're supposed to be suspicious of this? Like, who knew the eagles would blitz a lot? They must have had spies! No one could have guessed the eagles would be blitzing heavily. Christ. I'm a niners fan and all this sounds like huge sour grapes.

90
by John Morgan (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:47pm

Thanks peter, I appreciate the correction. That fact makes me happy, actually, as I've always held the Globe in higher esteem. I guess I should fact check my satire.

91
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:52pm

#76 and 82:
I guess you don't believe the Warren Commission conclusions either, since you didn't have direct access to all the evidence, right?

Do you really think there were more tapes than those Goodell publicly said there were? Or that the notes the Pats turned in revealed much more extensive "cheating", and Goodell looked at them all alone in his office, freaked out and covered the whole thing up all by himself? Or do you think that it is a real conspiracy and all the top suits in the NFL NYC office are part of it, all counting on all the others to keep mum? Please do tell.

92
by peter (not verified) :: Sat, 02/02/2008 - 11:56pm

John, no prob... the Globe has Charlie Savage, one big point in their favor...

Oswlek, I'm very much questioning the timing of this. but the answer is what a perfect time for some publicity. for specter and walsh. as jim ryalto said after you, "Sour Grapes"

93
by mike (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:06am

88:
I am more surprised about how quickly the media forgot about spygate in lieu of "the perfect season" story. Greg Easterbrook is the only one that I have noticed continuing to ask questions since the rest of the media chose to ignore it.

94
by peter (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:12am

slo-mo-joe, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the warren commision report that have nothing to do with direct access to the original evidence. even keeping arlen specter's role in that document to the side.

as far as goodel's actions, I think that he listened to the explanation that belichick had, challenged him on the interpretation on a "spirit of the law" vs. a "letter of the law" basis, and then levied a fine that was intended to have the same effect as the death penalty, to act as a deterrent against future infractions by anyone else.

I don't think anyone in the NFL front office is stupid enough to believe that only the patriots were doing this, and realized what a horror show it would be if they launched a full investigation of the entire league. arlen specter is an idiot who wouldn't notice that level of subtlety if it kicked him in the knees. I think everyone was beginning to 'let it go' and this was relaunched by a questionable golf pro and an overreaching senator. if anything, I think goodell must be furious about this coming up now, just as it was appearing to settle, or at least be overshadowed.

One thing that I think is kind of funny in all of this is the realization that due to this speculation and the magnifying glass that they have been under, there is no way that the patriots could have done anything like that this year. as a result, this season cannot be tarnished. in someways it's really neat.

95
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:17am

TMQ chimes in.

96
by Tom D (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:23am

Re 82:

"Having the Patriots compared to, say, Barry Bonds is Roger Goodell’s worst nightmare."

It might be, but I doubt it would do much damage. For one, Bonds games were played on national TV regardless, and for two, we've had team known for cheating a win a Superbowl and they became one of the most popular teams in the league, the Oakland Raiders.

97
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:25am

re: #76: "71:
I understand your potential scenerio, but why would a team get rid of tapes after less than one year?
Because they were potentially - how shall I put it? - compromising? Best get whatever information you can from any such tapes, and then get rid of the them. (Or do you expect BB to have a VCR tape by his TV with a label saying: “SB XXXVI - Rams’ walk-through”?)"

Well, the original argument made by a huge number of NE fans about the videos was that they were no big deal, that everyone did it, that BB probably thought it was okay -- you know, a misinterpretation of the rule. So, if that argument is true, that he really thought the taping was okay, then why consider the tapes, in your words, "potentially - how shall I put it? - compromising? "

I am just trying to keep the pro-NE argument straight:

1) Tapes were no big deal -- everyone does it. BB says he misinterpreted the rule.
2) Mangini's a rotten SOB for turning in BB for doing what NE did when Manginii was there in 2005 and before.
3) We gave the NFL all the tapes.
4) The NFL destroyed the evidence for the good of us all.
5) Actually, there really were only 6 games of tape destroyed, so taping wasn't really something we had been doing when Mangini was here, or if it were, then we just wanted to destroy all the other tapes because they might be "compromising".

But, how can they be compromising if BB really thought everyone did it, or that he was doing it legally?

To me, it means almost nothing in terms of previous wins, SB or otherwise. We'll never know how they were or were not used, and so we'll never know if they helped anyone or not. I prefer to think they did not help, but that's just me.

The episode, to me, just speaks loudly of BB's arrogance, and Goddell's incompetence at cleaning up a mess. NE fans wonder why other fans are not appreciative enough of their dynasty? Kind of tough with this thing swirling around, and Goddell has been no help to clear NE's name.

98
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:29am

Would it be so difficult for Goodell to keep the tapes safe? Call a company that sells really good safes and then get one installed in your office or home. Tell the world that you there is nothing on them and that to prove it you will release them in two years when the data contained won't be relevant anymore. How hard would that be?

Or put them in a safe deposit box of a really good bank, heists of those places don't happen as often as hollywood crime caper films would have you beleive.

No decent reason to destroy them. Stupid move.

99
by rch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:44am

I have a hard time believing that anything gleaned from a walk through would be of much value. I played football in the Ivy League 20 years ago. Even at out level the coaches were very cognizant of potential spying. We would typically stop practice when a helicopter flew over and our head coach was constantly peering into the distance to make sure that no one was watching us. We never played at a neutral site but on the road walk throughs never revealed anything that wouldn't be obvious from rudimentary film study. The only benefit I could imagine from viewing a walk through would be to evaluate the health of a key player.

100
by BXRICK (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:48am

Here's my take:
The Patriots weren't stealing signals per-se. Teams change those every game anway. They were stealing defenses.

When studying tape of your team on offense (the other team's defene), it would be useful to know the called defense for every play. Since a given called defense will look different depending on how the offense deploys, knowing what the opposing coaches called (before they see your offensive look) would allow you to better know what to expect in future games.
In other words, it would let you diagram their defensive strategy more easily than the game film (or in combination with the game film) since you'd havethe defensive play call and the actual deployment of defensive players and you could then build their defensive play "tree".

101
by Frick (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:56am

I wonder if this is one of the reasons that the Pats are so in to compartmentalization.

Does anyone know when or how teams practice their audibles? It seems like a pretty huge advantage if an opposing team had video tape of their opponents practicing their audibles or going through the naming conventions.

It will be curious to see if people do appear before Congress. As we are seeing with the MLB steroids issue, they one thing you don't want to do is lie. Getting caught in a lie leads to perjury charges, that carry jail time.

102
by Shannon (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:01am

In regards to the "Walkthrough" recordings, here's Easterbrook :

"Also Saturday, Mike Fish reported on ESPN that St. Louis' walk-through was devoted to red-zone plays -- all new plays and new formations the Rams had not shown during the season. Going into that Super Bowl, the Rams' "Greatest Show on Turf" was the league's highest-scoring team. In that game, St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. When the Rams reached the red zone, they bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming. If the Patriots secretly taped the Rams' walk-through, then stopped the red-zone plays the Rams showed in that walk-through, then won that Super Bowl by three points, then logic says New England materially benefited from cheating in the Super Bowl. If true, this would be the worst sports scandal since the Black Sox."

If that's true, obviously it's a different angle than what's been considered here so far.

103
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:04am

84: You may not believe it's a conspiracy but it is the majority opinion of what I was reading.
The problem is this story has legs, now the hounds are on the trail and many more shoes may drop.
From where I sit, the stench is just too strong and this will not die down unless a head rolls, the question is whose head.

104
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:10am

94:
slo-mo-joe, there are plenty of reasons to doubt the warren commision report that have nothing to do with direct access to the original evidence.
That may be, but it doesn't change the point that, short of making all kind of evidence for alleged malfeasance available to anyone regardless of potential consequences of disclosure, we as a society normally delegate people in certain positions of authority to examine such evidence, draw their conclusions, and make decisions that we trust are for the best, and we accept those conclusions based entirely on trust. All the time, from school principals to District Attorneys to Independent Counsels.

Anyone can speculate on potential conflicts of interests as much as they want, but ultimately it is far more often in the interest of these people to ascertain and reveal the truth, then to hide it. Goodell's career and NFL credibility would be far more damaged by any evidence of cover-up, in fact by any credible allegation thereof by any of the probably dozens of people in the Pats and NFL organizations that had a chance to be informed about the evidence, than by him stripping the Pats of a couple of past SB's and levying a punishment against them that relegates them to the Arena League for the foreseeable future.

For instance, just a couple years ago, the Italian Serie A soccer league, which has a business volume comparable to, if not larger, than the NFL, stripped Juventus, the most popular team in the country, of past championships and relegated it and other teams guilty of various instances of cheating to the second division. The league and all teams involved survived, Italy won a World Cup and Juventus is back in Serie A.

As for the idea that the Pats showed Goodell secret evidence indicating that taping of signals was widespread in the league, that now seems far-fetched too to me. All Goodell had to do was to say: we have credible evidence that the same rule-breaking the Pats are guilty of is common, so we are going to levy a significant but not crippling penalty on the Pats, but will come down as hard as the Mighty Hammer of Thor on the next team that is caught doing the same. No one would have blinked, certainly not any team with skeletons in their closet.

Altogether, I see nothing particularly suspicious in anything that has happened since the Jets game, and the most reasonable explanation is that things are precisely as everyone involved says they are. All other scenarios are far more far-fetched.

97:
Well, the original argument made by a huge number of NE fans about the videos was that they were no big deal, that everyone did it, that BB probably thought it was okay — you know, a misinterpretation of the rule. So, if that argument is true, that he really thought the taping was okay, then why consider the tapes, in your words, “potentially - how shall I put it? - compromising?"
I very much doubt BB believed that taping from the sidelines was perfectly fine, though I find it quite plausible that he may have thought it wouldn't be that big of a deal if he got caught, if it happened. So he taped openly, got rid of the tapes when he didn't need them anymore, but kept around recent tapes before they were fully analyzed and all the past notes. Again, it's quite consistent with all known facts and statements by both the Pats and the NFL .

98:
Would it be so difficult for Goodell to keep the tapes safe?
Well, CIA officials seriously argued whether they could keep tapes safe in friggin' Langley, so I wouldn't take anything for granted.

105
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:17am

Walk-throughs are different at all levels and at all teams within levels. I've seen intense high school walk-throughs and then slap-and-tickle sessions. I've worked with colleges that are very base and I've worked with those that go over their top 20 or 25 plays with a scout offense or defense and treat it like a mini-game without the contact. It really does depend on the school.

I would guess the pros are quite basic, particularly at this point in the season, but if that were the case why tape it?

Why are Pats fans worried about the timing of the issue? Do you think this helps the Giants or hurts them? Does anybody believe the Giants are thinking, "Wow, because they may have cheated 7 years ago, they're going to come out flat tomorrow?" It may be "fishy" but it doesn't hurt the Patriots.

106
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:28am

Do you want to know how far off the deep end Easterbrook is? Here's the quote from his article again:

“Also Saturday, Mike Fish reported on ESPN that St. Louis’ walk-through was devoted to red-zone plays — all new plays and new formations the Rams had not shown during the season. Going into that Super Bowl, the Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” was the league’s highest-scoring team. In that game, St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. When the Rams reached the red zone, they bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming. If the Patriots secretly taped the Rams’ walk-through, then stopped the red-zone plays the Rams showed in that walk-through, then won that Super Bowl by three points, then logic says New England materially benefited from cheating in the Super Bowl. If true, this would be the worst sports scandal since the Black Sox.”

And this is what Fishs actually says in the ESPN article:
"Warner says he remembers little from the walk-through, other than that the offense ran some of its red zone plays.

Even if that practice had been taped and was available to the Patriots, the advantage might not have been significant, as the Rams weren't in position to use their red zone offense until the fourth quarter."

Apparently, GE just made stuff up, misattributing it to Fish, about the Rams' practice being "devoted" to red zone offense and about the "new plays and new formations", and misleadingly makes it look as if the fact that the Rams were held to a field goal in the first half was due to problems with their red-zone offense, when according to Fish the Rams didn't even reach the red zone until the 4th. Jeebus, what a hack.

107
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:32am

I think if evidence surfaces that the Pats taped the SB, no amount of equivocating over what a walk-through is will help their cause. They'll be forever tarnished.

But what bothers me is that both the ESPN article and the Herald tell us nothing. The Herald article is a journalism joke, and in the ESPN article Walsh backtracks all over the place. He's quoted in tomorrow's NY Times stating that he never told anyone he had a tape.

Final point: if he had this unbelievable evidence for the last 7 years, why didn't he retain the services of an attorney to help him with his media negotiations? I'm sure he could have found someone to take the case gratis until he made his big score with ESPN, or whomever else was willing to buy the story.

108
by peter (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:43am

slo-mo-joe, good points all, but to clarify, you say:

As for the idea that the Pats showed Goodell secret evidence indicating that taping of signals was widespread in the league, that now seems far-fetched too to me. All Goodell had to do was to say: we have credible evidence that the same rule-breaking the Pats are guilty of is common, so we are going to levy a significant but not crippling penalty on the Pats, but will come down as hard as the Mighty Hammer of Thor on the next team that is caught doing the same. No one would have blinked, certainly not any team with skeletons in their closet.

isn't this precisely what he did? though he was not initially explicit in stating that the problem was widespread, I thought that was the implicit statement in the size of the fine and the penalty. Now, at his news conference he did state that he had set the penalty high to make sure that 'all' teams were heeding the warning.

As far as Serie A in Italy, the league there is structured with the idea that teams can go up and down from A to B to C depending on their quality every year. a team moving up or down is a regular occurence, when I lived there Lazio had just been demoted, and was reinstated later on. I believe that it is every year, a number of teams from the bottom of Serie A are demoted to Serie B, and likewise from Serie B to C. and the best teams in the lower league move up. It's actually a wonderful system for maintaining parity in the various levels, as you can not consistently suck, without being replaced. such a system might work in Hockey here, but the league levels in baseball are too huge, and football doesn't really have a minor league.

however the easterbrook comparison to the black sox is completely silly. to compare the act of deliberately losing for money, to the act of doing everything possible to win, a much less sure thing, is a stretch at best. not as egregious as specter's conflating of the cia tape destruction and goodell's, but bad enough to warrant comment.

109
by patsfandan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:52am

It all makes sense now. The Colts have been stealing signals since the 2006 playoffs. That explains their sudden turnaround on defense. That's why Bob Sanders always knows where the running backs are going, so he is in position to make tackles.

Couldn't be that they MADE ADJUSTMENTS and got a key player back from injury.

As for the Eagles, I'm sure the Giants must have been stealing their signals earlier this year in order to get 12 sacks in one game. Couldn't be that the Giants DLine was just better.

Oh, and explain again how taping signals caused the Eagles to go to a slow-down offense down by two scores in SB 39. If you blitz 5 times in a row, of course the offense is going to run screen plays and quick slants.

110
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:52am

Don't believe one word that Easterbrook says about this or anything else. The Rams never got into the "red zone" until about 9:00 were left in the 4th quarter, and even then they scored! So much for cheating dis-advantaging the Rams in the Super Bowl. And if you're sore about a lost bet due to the Pats cheating, call the Las Vegas convention bureau. I'm sure they'll comp you a room and a couple of $10 buffet-line meals the next time you stop by to throw your money over your shoulder.

111
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:52am

How rich.

1/2 of the posters are complaining that the story contains low standards of journalistic sources...

Then Oswelk posts complete internet rubbish...of course pro-Pats...and no one bats an eyelash.

As usual, TMQ is the only MSM member sticking to the issues and pushing for common sense clarity and his XPs are no where to be found.

Probably not enough website space with all the Bill Simmons links all over the place.

112
by roguerouge (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:54am

So, to sum up, from the pro-Pats perspective:

1. The walk-through was after the Pats last practice, making significant adjustments difficult.

2. The Rams varied what they did a lot anyway from their initial offensive look.

3. The idea that a random, unidentified taper could wander around the post-9/11 Super Bowl strikes many as suspect.

4. The utility of these tapes is difficult to ascertain, especially in comparison to a season's worth of game tape.

5. There is a single, tenuously connected source cited by a tabloid that just lost a major libel case. That source has already been shown to have credibility issues.

6. Gamesmanship, ranging from stealing signs to tempting players, is a part of sports.

The anti-pats position:

1. They've been punished before for exactly this kind of behavior, which makes the accusation plausible. Attacking the messenger just distracts from the merits of the message.

2. It was a potential advantage at the least, and a significant advantage at the most.

3. Being likened to the Oakland Raiders is never a good thing when it comes to good sportsmanship.

4. It was illegal by the spirit and the letter of the rules, independent of the advantage gained.

I think relying on the Scottish tradition of "verdict: unproven" works well here. Whether it happened, the game significance of it if it did happen, and the question of how wide the practice was remains to be proven.

113
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:56am

"Jeebus, what a hack."

And for the noobs..."what a hack" in Pats-speak means..."how dare he present a differing opinion from the Pats ballwashing commentary usually found on this site.

I think you should change your posting name to SaranWrap slo-moe...your agenda is so transparent it fits.

114
by Truman (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:10am

The fact that this is the first find on the rss feed shows where Schatz priorities lie.
Only topics about the Pats get kiddy glove treatment, while he ignores his own website and stats when discussing Brady/Manning; why does this site even pretend to be objective?

115
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:17am

Since Specter has opened the pandora's box, many limelight seeking politicians with the elections around the corner will pile on.
Eventhough I may strongly disagree with the alledged tactics, I am of the strong opinion that this issue should be resolved within the NFL and the politicians should stay out.
They have much bigger issues to tackle than this.

116
by peter (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:27am

111:
we didn't want to go off topic, and owslek is making a comment on a blog, rather than front page (or for that matter page 2) news in national outlets.

btw, TMQ is a marvel of 20/20 hindsight, but outside of a fairly narrow set of rails, just about anything he says needs to be taken with heavy reservations. easterbrook isn't the only one asking questions, but he is the one irresponsibly creating rumor based on speculation. his entire "special to page 2" report this afternoon was constructed of speculation and hearsay. (which for once, he even stated,) easterbrook is not an investigative reporter, he is an opinion writer. outside of the game of football, almost any opinion I have seen of his in print can be politely referred to as questionable. search scienceblogs.com for references to his name for a good laugh...

easterbrook is also phenomenally bad at delivering a joke in print. witness his "good v. evil" column regarding the colts pats game, and his subsequent apology two weeks later when he came to realize (and seemingly be annoyed) that no one had gotten that he was (allegedly) joking. (and really, I don't believe that for a moment...) (note to editor, didn't mean to bring up that rivalry, but I thought it okay in the context)
so yes, as reportage, owslek's comment regarding the quote about walsh's past may have been lacking in "journalistic integrity" but up til now, there was only one person who seemed to think that it merited comment... (sorry owslek ;-) )

117
by Jake (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:08am

Its complete nonsense. A guy who may or may not have even been with the team at the time (Walsh's wedding announcement from 04 says he left the Patriots in Jan 02, before SB XXXVI) transparently using the "unnamed sources" (the ProJo is openly naming him the source) facade is making an unsubstantiated claim about practicing a walk through that generally occurs while the other team is in the building (often on the same field) and dozens of media members watch. This walk through is so not secret that the link in my name has video to two kids filming the Bears walk through last year.
Meanwhile, the Patriots and NFL officials confirm that someone was spying on a midweek SB practice (whether it was the Rams or someone else they don't know) and it was reported at the time (2002). Somehow, actual confirmed by the NFL incidents are less important than unsubstantiated allegations whose source has repeatedly lied to both ESPN and his employer (his bio on the website has several 'inaccuracies') and was apparently fired from the Patriots in lieu of criminal charges.
And thats before you even examine whether this would be against the rules in the first place.

118
by Mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:18am

Helpful hint to Pats fans:

Stick to discrediting the source. You look really dumb trying to argue that a member of your staff illegally videotaping the opposing team's practice is ok.

119
by Mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:25am

Has anybody noticed that the NFL completely contradicted themselves in the Boston Herald article and their statement today?

Yesterday:

“I’m not aware of that,” Goodell said.

“We have no information on that,” seconded NFL spokesman Greg Aiello.

Today:

“We were aware of the rumor months ago and looked into it,” Aiello said. “There was no evidence of it on the tapes or in the notes produced by the Patriots, and the Patriots told us it was not true.”

Takes a lot of spin to reconcile those statements. The NFL has no credibility.

120
by TheEvilBillGates (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:44am

This website is SO god-damn pro-patriots.

"Oh no's, they're going to saw 'WE' cheated!!! Lets make a throwaway thread for them to post on so we don't feel bad about ourselves."

I hope to god the Pats lose, and we can remember them as the greatest choke-artists of our time.

121
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:49am

If the Pats win does that mean there will be "AN IRRATIONAL GREATEST TEAM EVER THREAD" so that everything regarding that and going undefeated will be under 1 page or is this heading distinct to anti Pats news

122
by hwc (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:11am

Before this broke, there were a lot of rumors about how the Pats always seemed to know when a blitz was coming against the eagles..

Well, I certainly hope the Patriots know. Everyone in the NFL knows the Eagles blitz on every passing down. Sheesh, Homer Simpson would know a blitz is coming from Jim Johnson and the Eagles on a passing down!

123
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:29am

How is it that we're talking about this before the superbowl?

God I hate what the Patriots have done to the NFL

124
by Nicky P (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:37am

Thomas Payne,

"Your agenda is so transparent..."

Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.

125
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:54am

“We were aware of the rumor months ago and looked into it,” Aiello said. “There was no evidence of it on the tapes or in the notes produced by the Patriots, and the Patriots told us it was not true.”

So they looked into it by looking at the tapes provided by the patriots and then asking the patriots? That's not an investigation.
Who on the Patriots did they talk to? Who wrote the notes? who took the videos? Did they talk to them?
Many more questions than answers.

126
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:26am

113:

No, he's a hack because he created out of thin air the idea that the Rams used their walkthrough to work on "all new plays and new formations the Rams had not shown during the season." He's also a hack for revising the story of the game itself: "St. Louis was held to a field goal in the first half. When the Rams reached the red zone, they bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming."

The first of these quotes has no source. The second blatantly contradicts the actual facts of what happened. So why should anyone trust Easterbrook when the fact is that he's making stuff up?

127
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 8:51am

Right. GE is a hack because, from all the available evidence, he fabricated a whole bunch of details in his story to inflate its significance and fit his agenda.

Talk about "cheating": as far as journalism ethics goes (and I would imagine that this applies to sports journalists as well), this is a major violation. But hey, if GE does it to attack the Pats, who really cares about ethics, right?

128
by vanya (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:16am

Anyone who agrees with TMQ on this is either an attention-seeking git, or just an utter moron. Sorry, there really are no polite words for people who want to make a big deal about this. Even taping a pre-SB walkthrough - coaches have been spying on other teams from the beginning of time. Grow up, or go watch cricket and let the rest of us enjoy our semi-corrupt sports without you pompous asses braying about concepts like "sportsmanship" and "honor" that you don't understand.

129
by vanya (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:24am

#118 -"You look really dumb trying to argue that a member of your staff illegally videotaping the opposing team’s practice is ok."

No, you look foolish for trying to create a mountain out of a molehill. ESPN and other sports journalists are desperate to create a story here. It's sad that so many fans want to go along with this crap, just as it is sad that so many fans jumped on the bash Barry Bonds bandwagon for that matter. The selective outrage about certain kinds of offenses is what is really sending mixed messages to kids - do anything to win and get an edge. Oh, except take certain types of supplements (other types of supplements are just fine though), or tape signs or practices (but if you steal the signs without videotape or send a scout to spy on a practice, no problem.) This kind of thing has always been part of the game - I suppose you want to claim there's a moral difference between taping someone else's closed practice and simply sending someone to spy on it?

130
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:35am

slo-mo-jo, compare:

"Also Saturday, Mike Fish reported on ESPN"

"And this is what Fishs actually says in the ESPN article"

Did Easterbrook say that Fish reported that on ESPN.com? Or that Fish reported it in an article?

Do you have a transcript of what Fish said when they spoke with him on the phone for Sportscenter? Him speaking was on SC all morning. You might not be wanting to jump on Easterbrook here for making stuff up.

131
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:44am

"#129: No, you look foolish for trying to create a mountain out of a molehill."

Disagree. While I think nothing has been proven and as such this is much to-do about nothing, if they did what is alleged, then it isn't a molehill. Then it would be a mountain.

But people seem to be jumping to the conclusion that the allegation must be true because the Pats got caught taping the sidelines during a meaningless regular season game versus an overmatched opponent. It might be very reasonable to assume that the Pats taping program was bigger than that one game. However, jumping to 'it went back years and expanded beyond taping in-game to taping opponents' private practices' is pretty far and I haven't seen evidence to back this.

But if it is true, mountain, not molehill.

132
by jimm (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:47am

As with the steroid investigation in baseball one would presume the government had better things to do than try to figure out if the Patriot's cheating went beyond the Jets incident.

However, I think it is wrong to assume that Baseball or Football are insignificant in American life. NFL football greatly effects the psychology of a great many people in the United States. I would argue that it is the predominant religion in the country.

As such, I think this is not a trivial issue. It puts into question the integrity of America's best team.

"We're number 1!" is at the core of the American psychology. Sometimes winners turn out to be cheats. It is a very hard pill to swallow when that turns out to be the case.

133
by jimm (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 10:51am

I really enjoy this site. I think the writers here do excellent and interesting work. But I find some of the writers are at times condescending.

I will likely be attacked now by many who frequent this site. But I think labeling this "thread" as irrational is condescending.

134
by Doug (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:09am

Didn't we put Spygate to bed months ago? I honestly don't see how any of this new "information" makes any difference...

Specter is an embarrassing joke. This has NOTHING to do with Congres...Anti-Trust exemption has no bearing on this. This is so insignifcant. Get to the game already!!

135
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:13am

Re 130:
see link under my name. Fish was even more vague/circumspect during his SC appearance than he was in print.

Regardless, my point has always been the same, since the initial story broke out after the Jets game: instances of cheating should be investigated and punished severely by the league.

However, over the recent years the Pats have unquestionably accumulated an unprecedented level of vitriolic resentment in the press and the league, in part because of their success vis-a-vis their perceived ability (the tuck-rule/sheer luck/WR stuffing/3 3-point SB victories angle), and in part because of the secretive ways and often arrogant demeanor of BB and others.

The foaming-at-the-mouth haters at web sites are just the most obvious manifestation of this, but there are many in the sports media that can hardly contain themselves when the Patriots are concerned. The standards of journalism that have surrounded the "tapegate" story from the beginning have been abysmal: rumors from unnamed sources, unsubstantiated hearsay and plain gossip have been reported and amplified as if they were fact, so that people still don't know what is true and what is not. (See for instance the common belief many still have that the Pats were punished for "spying" and "stealing other teams' coaching signals", when this is perfectly allowed under league rules.) This latter instance seems to be just par for the course, and the fact that the story broke right before the SB just plain stinks. Imagine the Pats play an uncharacteristically unfocused game today, and lose by 3, and then it is learned that all these allegations are false. Will any of the moralists in the media question the "integrity of the game" in that case?

136
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:16am

132:
I don't want to get into politics, and keeping it strictly bipartisan, but it seems to me that there has been historically enough evidence of seriously unethical behavior at the highest levels of this country's governance to make evidence of cheating in the NFL rather insignificant with respect to the moral outlook of the nation.

137
by goathead (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:17am

I think Wetzels article on yahoo sports sums my feelings up pretty well on the whole matter.

No reason to believe THIS season is tainted, since the pats got caught in game 1 - but that they are lucky to have gotten caught then rather than in mid season. We don't have all the facts, but there isn't any reason to believe that the previous Pats SB wins weren't tainted.

There is no question that the league has handled this poorly, unless the evidence against the pats would bring some of their championships into question. Both the leagues's and the pats statements border on ridiculous.

And that's really about it, isn't it?

138
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:21am

Sorry, correct link to Fish's phone interview below.

139
by jimm (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:21am

136 - Slo-mo-joe - no doubt, but I would argue that the integrity of the NFL has as much or more effect on the psyche of many Americans - particularly young boys/men.

140
by jimm (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:22am

as the famous line attributed to Shoeless Joe Jackson

Young boy - "Say it ain't so Joe"

Jackson "Fraid so"

141
by Keas (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:29am

Until all this crap started, I really thought we were in a golden age of Superbowls. I started watching the NFL in 1982 and watched one blowout after another (with a couple good games scattered here and there). The Superbore. Year after year after year.

And then everthing changed. Denver upset Green Bay in a nail-biter. The SL/TEN game ended, incredibly, with the ball carrier tackled on the one-yard line when a td would have tied the game.

But now, giving this decade's games some serious reflection, I'm wondering if that TEN/SL game was the last great Superbowl.

The MVP of the 2000 Superbowl may have, literally, gotten away with murder.

There are now questions surrounding the 2001 Superbowl --- a fantastic upset and gripping contest -- as possibly tainted by cheating. And if that's true, then the other Patriots Superbowls are also tainted. Otherwise, the Pats Superbowls were great games, each worth watching right down to the final play.

the 2002 Superbowl was a blowout, with the unfortunate circumstance of the head coach of the winning team having been the head coach of the losing team the year before.

2005 was, to quote Football Outsiders, 'the worst officiated championship game in the history of professional sports'. Even if this really is the 'golden age of Superbowls' and the Patriots are fully exonerated of any wrongdoing, Superbowl XL was a travesty amidst these other great contests.

2006. A pretty good game.

2007. Well, I guess we'll have to see...

142
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:43am

vanya

Grow up, or go watch cricket

You clearly have no idea how much cheating or accusations of cheating goes on in cricket. There is one huge similarity in how it gets dealt with though - money talks and everyone listens.

143
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 11:59am

Folks, this matter has as much social signifigance as what dresses are worn to the Oscars show. In case it escaped anyone, it's an effin' football game. Read very slowly. There is no criminal conduct. It. Does. Not. Matter.

If you really do think this matters, you are as deranged as Gregg Easterbrook and Arlen Specter. Sure, if football is you main form of entertainment, holler all you want, but don't be so batshit crazy as to think this is something that someone with Specter's immense coercive powers, by way of his access to the state's monopoly on legal violence, should be involved in.

This is an embarassment to the United States Senate, assuming that institution is still capable of embarassment, and Gregg Easterbrook is a loon, pure and simple.

144
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:09pm

slo-mo-joe:

Take off the blinders for a moment and turn your hatred to the real one to blame here, Rodger Goodell.

1) He's the one (or the NFL in general) that didn't respond to Spectre's letter at least two months ago.

2)He's the one who ran a joke of an investigation, making sure that even if NE had done nothing wrong, the outcome of his investigation would be challenged because of his ridiculous tactics (who in their right mind thinks that a good investigative strategy is to ask the suspect, "Did you do it?" and when they say, "No!" you stop there and accept the results?).

3) He's the one who destroyed evidence with no conceivable reason that passes the "stink" test, and destroyed it so soon that no independent entity could verify its innocence.

4) He's the one who contradicted himself in the past week, saying at first he had never heard of allegations about the 2001 Super Bowl, then later saying he just misunderstood the question and that, yes, the NFL had looked into all this.

Goodell is the monster here, not the media chasing a story, or the anti-Pats fans who have no argument because everything they say must be the product of jealousy of NE's winning this decade.

Could the media be more responsible? Sure. I would argue they should have pressed these questions way back in September, and by now we'd only be thinking of Brady's ankle and Plax's knee.

Could the anti-Pats fans be jumping too enthusiastically on this story? Sure. It's easy getting to the top of the mountain, compared to trying to stay there. Go read Shakespeare's Richard III if you want an example of that.

But, step back and look at the one common denominator here: Goodell's over-reactions to the crisis, both by taking a draft pick away if this was no big deal, and his sweeping it under the carpet if it was a big deal. He can't have it both ways, and he's just now realizing that.

145
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:11pm

You're right, Will Allen. It's just a football game, and the billions spent on advertising today is just money.

146
by Lyford (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:16pm

"You might not be wanting to jump on Easterbrook here for making stuff up."

Can we jump on him for not knowing what the hell he's talking about? The Rams never once "bogged down in the red zone" in that Super Bowl. They crossed New England's 32 twice, and score touchdowns both times.

147
by Jake (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:17pm

Easterbrook should lose his job over this. The man has no qualifications to write about the NFL in the first place except for his political connections (the same ones that lead him to write about how global warming isn't real) and the fact that he was rehired after his antisemitic column is a joke. He's transparently got an agenda. The ombudsman criticized him previously about this matter. The fact that he's outright lying in his columns should be enough to show him the door.

148
by Lyford (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:22pm

"the real one to blame here, Rodger Goodell...He’s the one who ran a joke of an investigation, making sure that even if NE had done nothing wrong, the outcome of his investigation would be challenged because of his ridiculous tactics ..."

You could also argue that the penalty he handed down contributed mightily to the perception that something seriously nefarious took place. It was out of proportion to the alleged crime, and made it look like a serious offense as opposed to a speeding ticket, which is what many of us though about it.

For those who want Belichick exiled or executed, is what the Patriots allegedly did any worse than what the sainted George Halas did with his scouting tapes?

149
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:43pm

"The foaming-at-the-mouth haters"

-slo-mo-joe

Objectivity at its finest.

150
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:47pm

Thomas, #111

I find it humorous that you attack my post for being "pro-Pats", as if that is clearly the wrong side of the issue. Of course, your certainly have proven yourself to be the bastion of objectivity in your contributions to this site.

As for the credibility of my earlier posts, the member in that link who guys by the handle "Michigan Dave" was a student coach on Michigan for 4 years and has also worked for the Vikings. He knows dozens of NFL players personally. He has more credibility than the media member who broke this story, and frankly, just about any other as well. Your disagreement stems from the fact that you weren't aware of any of this and, primarily, that his viewpoint happens to disagree with yours.

As for the other post, I admitted up front that I had no background with the author. However, it is 100% relevent because that person is just a reliable right now as the "source" of this story. Again, you disagree because you want to believe the story.

Lastly, "internet rubbish" thy name is TMQ.

151
by Frick (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:55pm

If Spygate had never happened and a report came out now that the Colts had videotaped the Bears walk-through before the SuperBowl, how many people would say it wasn't a big deal? Do you think it would be the same Pats apologists who are saying the Pats taping the Rams wasn't a big deal?

Until we know more, this is an irrational thread.

Since Goddell has destroyed the old tapes, how exactly is he going to tell if a new tape surfaces?

152
by Gman (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:57pm

What gets me here is the presumption of guilt before any proof of it surfaces. It's too easy to assume that "oh just because they did A, then B must be true. The accuser is a disgruntled former employee, who has lied (fact) on his professional resume, who is asking for cash....Sounds really reliable to me....and yet the league anf the Pats deny the allegations and that claim is blown off. Clearly people want to believe this so much that they won't let evidence or fact get in the way. If guilty I say hang em out to dry...but if not....who's going to retract all the damage....most of it is just the typical haters and jealousy

153
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 12:59pm

I normally stay out of these political threads. In fact, I avoided this site from the end of the Draft to the start of training camp, simply because I had no real interest in the Pacman/Vick circus that dominated NFL news during the offseason.

However, at least that mess concerned things that were actually illegal. This mess, on the other hand, is a totally different matter.

I completely agree with Will Allen, patriotsgirl, and everyone else who believes that this is nothing more than transparent political posturing by Specter.

Frankly, anyone who buys into Specter's rhetoric about "the integrity of the game, blah blah blah" is laughably naive.

154
by Doug (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:04pm

Good god, did anybody see Specter this morning on Outside the Lines? I know nothing about the guy but he just seemed so smug and happy to be in the spotlight, talking about how important this is...How he will doggedly pursue this until every question is answered. Pathetic.

Totally agree w/Will Allen--this is football for god's sake.

155
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:08pm

149: Objectivity at its finest.
TP, you are welcome to point out any issue on which I have been factually inaccurate. I don't think the existence of "foaming at the mouth" Pats haters on the web is even remotely arguable. Heck, I have seen people on this very site - one of the most thoughtful and restrained football sites on the internet - advocating the purposeful infliction of career-ending injuries to Brady as appropriate administration of on-the-field justice for the Pats' braking of taping rules.

All I have done is to point out that GE's article, which you defended as "sticking to the issues and pushing for common sense clarity", is riddled with factual references that based on currently available information are plainly false, and possibly completely invented. If you have any evidence to the contrary, just present it, otherwise your comments about "objectivity" fall kind of flat.

156
by rch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:15pm

This incident reveals more about the workings of the US Senate than it does about the NFL. The senior senator from Comcast was on Mike & Mike this morning and demonstrated less gravitas than the guy who sold me my paper this morning. I think that we've all had it with politicians reaching into sports in order to raise their public profiles.

157
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:15pm

Professional sports in America is a multi-billion dollar interest that operates with a federally mandated exemption from anti-trust laws. If allegations of cheating are not handled in a manner that meets public standards than Congress has every right to inquire into the matter. Goodell's investigation was a joke. Why were there only 6 tapes? Because tape is transferred and stored digitally. Nobody keeps anything on tape. Players are given laptops, not VCRs. Until I see that the NFL has confiscated and analyzed computers from the Patriots I will always suspect that they still have all of the information they acquired through breaking the rules. And if it is proven that they did film the walkthrough of the Rams prior to their Superbowl then this franchise will have to be punished extensively. If the NFL cannot insure the integrity of their contests, than they are just a step above pro wrestling.

158
by Mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:21pm

#129

Yep, illegally taping a team's walkthrough is a molehill.

That's completely absurd.

Please go back to discrediting the source, that's probably a valid complaint.

159
by Mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:24pm

#144

This is completely spot-on, well done Purds.

Goddell has handled this terribly.

160
by Luc (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:34pm

Sorry irrational pats haters...Your bias is showing again...So sorry your teams suck and you have to take out your frustration on the pats--another futile attempt to take down the champs. Losers!

161
by vanya (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 1:45pm

#131 - "But if it is true,[that the Pats taped a walk-through] mountain, not molehill."

Well, if it gets you so riled up, explain why. Maybe I'm slow, but I agree with the guys over at Deadspin - it just doesn't seem like that big a deal. First of all, the impact on the actual game would have been minimal, second of all, it's hardly unprecedented - coaches have been spying on opponents practices probably since the 1890s, and thirdly, show me where in the NFL rules 2001 version it is specifically forbidden. If the allegation is true I will certainly have lost some respect for Belichick - I would view him clearly as an Al Davis, Mike Shanahan, Bill Parcells do anything to win type. Not worthy of being in the same pantheon as Lombardi or Gibbs when we talk about "great coaches". But to call a taping incident the equivalent of the Black Sox scandal is a sign that you really have no sense of proportion.

162
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:05pm

#157:

The anti-trust exemption is not a justification for the Federal Government attempting to micromanage the NFL.

What's next? Are teams going to be required to have all their players examined by government doctors each week, in order to validate the veracity of the injury report?

Give me a break.

163
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:06pm

Did anyone see Video of Steve Young where he was talking about how 2 prominent coaches were talking and 1 was saying how he was sorry for not telling the other that the Pats steal signals and everything and the other responded by saying he knew something had to be up since no team can just guess right on every single play

It must make playing QB quite easy when you know the defenses coverages every play

164
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:12pm

Here is the link for what Young said that I referenced.

165
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:19pm

Purds, if people become disatisfied with the NFL, they are free to advertise on Oprah. Get a grip. It is just a football game.

No, Daniel, unless Congress becomes stupid enough to start legislating fair practices in competitive sporting events (I can see the judiciary commitee now, looking into superstar treatment in the NBA!), Congress has no business spending any of it's resources on this. Like I stated above, people like Everett Dirksen and Hubert Humphrey didn't investigate when George Allen thought his practices were being taped in the '60s and 70s, because those two Senators, unlike Arlen Specter, were not titanically self important swine who abused the immense powers of their office. Anybody in Pennsylvania who has voted for this jackass has reason for shame today.

166
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:23pm

Oswlek:

I am certainly not taking Matt Walsh as a credible source, but you're too close to the issue as a Pats fan to see your own bias. You're trumpeting a "student coach on Michigan for 4 years [who] has also worked for the Vikings [and] knows dozens of NFL players personally" as being "more credibil[e] than the media. "

You earlier included that the guy "was on Brady’s Michigan teams." Don't you think that source would have a bias toward making Brady look good?

Again, I don't agree with the overall assertion, that Walsh may be an attention-seeking fool, but you can't troop out a former coach of Brady's at Michigan as an unbaised source to prove your point while simultaneously attacking the Herald's supposed source.

167
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:27pm

Re: 162
Yes it is. They micromanage a lot of businesses by using their authority. Look into the Sirius/XM merger. Thats the price of doing business in the United States. If the NFL doesn't want the government poking into its business it could move the league elsewhere. I'm not saying that what the Patriots allegedly did was that bad, or constituted a crime. But the NFL missed the mark if it thought that the fines levied would be enough to satisfy the fans outside of the New England market who felt their teams were somehow cheated. Now, fair or not, when/if proof of more 'minor' wrongdoings surfaces the league will have to overcompensate. Is Goodell willing to risk the anti-trust exemption to protect one franchise? Probably not. I figure that at some point during the offseason the NFL will ask for, and the Patriots will surrender, a computer or two, and the NFL will impose additional punishment. Something along the line of a multi-million dollar fine and a multi-game suspension for Belicheck. This isn't going to go away. If the NFL doesn't treat this seriously then they will find their official sitting in front of a congressional panel trying to avoid a perjury charge. I wonder if Belicheck sees those stupid phone commercials featuring Mangini and thinks 'I should have been a bit nicer to that guy?'

168
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:28pm

Will:

"Purds... Get a grip. It is just a football game."

Right, and that's why you're posting on the internet about it, because it's just a game. Yup, and the internet is just a bunch of electrons, and a presidential election is just a popularity contest.

You're overall point may be valid, but downplaying the impact of the Super Bowl on the US in general is silly. Makes your other arguments sound petty by association. Don't do it -- you have too many good arguments to make to sully your voice with chasing this.

169
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:36pm

Purds,

No bias can exist when one is just explaining how little value seeing the opposing teams walthrough provides. You have a person who was on both sides, once as the viewer at Michigan and once as the viewee at Minny, and he feels it offered no value to either side. Whether he coached with Brady is irrelevent, but his experience in this matter is.

Jason,

Setve Young is a complete fool if he believes that to be true. Long before spygate came out, we all heard dozens of stories of prior teams/coaches stealing signs, stealing playbooks, reading lips, etc. Every coach goes into every game thinking the opposing team is trying to steal signals. It is just the way it is.

170
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:38pm

I agree that Goodell looks bad in all of this, and I wonder: If it's so incredibly important that no one see the final walkthrough, where was security for that final Rams practice? Isn't the NFL itself responsible for providing a secure place for its Super Bowl teams to practice? That wasn't Goodell's responsibility at the time, but surely the NFL must be to blame for allowing a random person to videotape a team's practice, if that's indeed what happened.

And yes, Gregg Easterbrook is deranged.

171
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:38pm

Re: #167

Be careful of what you ask for -- it could be whatever franchise that you're a fan of that is asked to turn over computers, too. Because if it gets to the point where Congress fires up some investigation, it's not going to be only the Patriots who are looked at.

172
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:38pm

I like how many Pats fans now are mad at Spectre for making sure Spygate isn't just covered up like it had been for the last 4 months. Maybe instead of being mad at those who expose wrongdoing you should be mad at those who actually commit the rules infractions.

(this will never happen since the Pats homers see it all as a conspiracy)

173
by Lyford (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:39pm

"Did anyone see Video of Steve Young where he was talking about how 2 prominent coaches were talking and 1 was saying how he was sorry for not telling the other that the Pats steal signals and everything and the other responded by saying he knew something had to be up since no team can just guess right on every single play"

I've heard it now. It sounded like kindergarten whining. Really, tell me the truth - is it remotely credible that there's a "prominent coach" in the NFL who doesn't a) try to steal the opponent's signals and b) think that they're trying to steal his? I'd have to have heard that conversation with my own ears, and I still probably wouldn't believe it.

174
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:40pm

Every coach goes into every game thinking the opposing team is trying to steal signals. It is just the way it is.

As is blatantly evidenced by the offensive playcaller on the sidelines holding the call sheet in front of his face so his lips can't be read.

175
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:42pm

"Every coach goes into every game thinking the opposing team is trying to steal signals"

Here is the ONE KEY DIFFERENCE that you left out:

-With the PATRIOTS this is True

-With their other opponents it is just their imagination

176
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:43pm

"Setve Young is a complete fool if he believes that to be true."

I expecting nothing more from you when discussing HOF QB who has forgotten more about football, then you have ever been exposed to.

Pats Fans and Neo Cons...these days...I see no different. Deny, discredit and personal attacks.

How sad.

177
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:43pm

Jason,

What cover up? We all saw the video and what was on it. Goodell has stated for the record that all the other videos had the same thing on it.

I suppose that you could believe that NE might have more stuff, but that isn't really a "cover-up" because it only involves a guilty party protecting their illegality.

And if you believe that Specter really cares about the integrity of anything, I don't know what to say.

178
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:43pm

"As is blatantly evidenced by the offensive playcaller on the sidelines holding the call sheet in front of his face so his lips can’t be read."

What else do you expect them to do knowing Belichick and his cameras are around any corner or watching everything on tv

179
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:44pm

#119 and #157 :
Thank you both for clarity and reason.
#143 : Sports is reflective of society as a whole. For a long time the only thing that matters in this society is getting the edge over the competition--it hasn't mattered how that was to be accomplished, only that it was achieved and that you didn't get caught at using any tactic that is illegal or that is thought to be "immoral". While the whistleblowers and investigators will, no doubt, have some additional motivations besides what they would say is their motive--it is, nonetheless, long overdue to start sending a new message to the children that are our future--and that new message is that cheating is, IN FACT, a CRIME against our fellows, against the sport itself, and against our better selves--and that it is going to be weeded out and stopped--and most importantly, that people who have been corrupted into this philosophy of CRIME will no longer be allowed to
prosper to the tune of multi-millions of dollars for players and coaches--and billions for owners. For those of you who have thought that Robert Kraft was unaware of Bellichik's tactics--think again. For those of you who think George Bush was unaware of the roid heads on his baseball team--think again. For those of you who think Goodell or Selig have any motivation other than what the owners program them with--think again. For those of you who think the U.S. Congress should not treat this as a top priority domestic issue--think again. After everything you've seen in this decade can you really delude yourselves into believing these people are going to regulate themselves ?? The conservative call to "get government off our back" sounds good in a speech--in the real world human nature "is what it is" as Bill Parcells says. As long as all of you guys would live you will never see big business of any kind, much less pro sports, regulate themselves in any way other than what they're forced into. All the best to all of you on this thread...

180
by Thomas Payne (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:44pm

Oh good...

The b, b, but...everyone does it POV comes out.

That's always an evolved discussion.

It didn't work for you with your parents when you were 6...it won't work here either.

181
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:46pm

Re: #173

Especially since plenty of past coaches were quite candid that they used people with binoculars to steal signs and signals. Why? Because there's no rule against stealing signs and signals. A simple fact that Steve Young, "Jason", and "Thomas Payne" are either ignorant of or intentionally ignore.

182
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:46pm

Mr. Payne,

you do realize that his own team was found guilty of avoiding the cap, right? IIRC, Young's was one of the specific contracts to do so, so he isn't one to talk.

And you can play the game - even at a high level - and still be a fool at the same time.

Yes or no, did you truly believe that not one team in the league stole signs prior to hearling about spygate?

183
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:47pm

"I suppose that you could believe that NE might have more stuff, but that isn’t really a “cover-up” because it only involves a guilty party protecting their illegality."

NE is obviously covering up how far back their cheating goes and Goddell is like covering up for NE to avoid plaguing a year with scandal

184
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:47pm

171: Exactly my point! Which is why I believe that Goodell will go to Kraft and explain to him that he needs to understand the big picture, and 'take one for the team.' Goodell may have misjudged the fan reaction and handled this poorly, but he isn't a dumb person. I found it interesting that while on the Mike and Mike radio show he made it very clear that he still reserved the right to re-open this matter and levy more punishment if he deemed it necessary. By hitting the Patriots harder, he would alleviate much of the pressure from Congress and send a clear message to any of the other 31 franchises that they are on notice when it comes to this kind of behavior. It is really too bad, but remember that this is a direct result of the manner in which Bill Belicheck chose to handle a former employee.

185
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:47pm

#167:
"If the NFL doesn’t want the government poking into its business it could move the league elsewhere."

This is a ridiculous and circular argument that presupposes the legitimacy of the government's actions. It's equivalent to saying that your neighbor can charge you $10,000/month in rent (on the house that YOU own), and if you don't like it, you can just move somewhere else.

It's an absolute non sequitur. I might just as well say, "If you don't like the way the NFL runs its business, maybe you should find another sport to watch." Oh, wait. That actually makes sense. Oh well, I guess it's not the same.

186
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:51pm

I love the sad Pat logic of "yes we cheated but others in the past have cheated too so we are ok"

-1st you can't compare yourself to others unless they were also fined $750,000 + 1 1st Round Pick

-2nd just cuz others got away with it doesn't mean you should be able to

187
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:53pm

I found it interesting that while on the Mike and Mike radio show he made it very clear that he still reserved the right to re-open this matter and levy more punishment if he deemed it necessary.

Why do you find that interesting? It's not anything new. He said exactly that all the way back at the beginning of September.

188
by admin :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:53pm

Just a quick note regarding the question of whether limiting all discussion of Spygate to a single thread is "pro-Patriots."

Yesterday, before making a decision as to what to do about Spygate II, I e-mailed the FO staff list with a few suggestions and asked people what they thought. The first three people to respond to this e-mail, in order, were Stuart Fraser (Steelers fan), Ned Macey (Colts fan), and Sean McCormick (Jets fan). All three expressed the opinion that a single thread for Spygate talk was the way to go. All three also agreed it should be an XP that anyone could contribute to, not a thread on the discussion board which requires registration.

We do not want this discussion to take over when we start talking about the off-season plans of the Carolina Panthers next week. Football Outsiders is pro- only one thing: intelligent discussion of football.

P.S. Please try not to past URL links in your posts which are wider than the window that we use for discussion, as it messes up the look of the page. That's why we offer a space to add a URL when you post, linked to your name. Thanks.

189
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:54pm

Oswlek: "Whether he coached with Brady is irrelevent"

If you can't see bias in that statement, well, the blinders are on too tight. Why are only the sources of anti-Patriot remarks being questioned, but a pro-Pats source gets a free pass by you? If you don't think a guy who once worked in his 20's with NE's star QB is potentially biased, you have no objectivity. None.

Really, if the Colts were found guilty of piping in music to the dome, but a former Tennessee G.A. who was there with Peyton said piped in music wouldn't matter, would you believe in the credibility of that former coach?

190
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:54pm

2nd just cuz others got away with it doesn’t mean you should be able to

True, but what it does show is that people like you don't actually care about cheating or "the integrity of the game", because you look the other way when alleged cheating is done by anyone other than the Patriots.

191
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:55pm

#179:

What are you wasting time on a football message board for? Take to the streets! The revolution will be televised! On Comcast! Fight the Power!

192
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:55pm

I pray the same will be done if the Pats win so that all the fans patting themselves on the back for 19-0 will be centered in 1 thread

193
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:56pm

185: But that is why many companies have moved their operations offshore or overseas. They want access to the money that Americans are willing to spend, but they don't want to deal with government oversight. While the suggestion may seem ridiculous that the NFL should move elsewhere, they still must deal with the the US Congress if it wants to do business in this country. Right or wrong, that's reality. Goodell's grandfather (or father) was a US Senator, so I think he has a pretty good idea as to what lengths Congress will go to when it comes to oversight of business.

194
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:57pm

181: So Goodell is going to go to Kraft now and say "hey, people are bitching again so I'm going to punish you harder." Doubt it. I think Goodell screwed up by destroying the tapes, but that was his screw up, not the Patriots.

Unless other evidence surfaces, he can't go back and levy another punishment.

195
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 2:59pm

"True, but what it does show is that people like you don’t actually care about cheating or “the integrity of the game”, because you look the other way when alleged cheating is done by anyone other than the Patriots."

Not true. The Pats took it to ANOTHER LEVEL with Video taping. In the past with binoculars you might pick up a few things but not nearly as much as when something is on tape and you can spend Hours upon Hours watching the same thing looking for patterns.

196
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:00pm

No one questions the separate thread. I question the term "irrational."

Irrational means that a judgement on value has already been made. It's anti-NE, so it's "irrational"?

197
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:03pm

Not true. The Pats took it to ANOTHER LEVEL with Video taping.

Um. No. Other teams videotape as well, but from the stands where it's legal. The Pats were taping on the sidelines which is against NFL regulations.

198
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:06pm

"Um. No. Other teams videotape as well, but from the stands where it’s legal. "

Feel free to present the proof that you obviously have since I am sure you wouldn't just make assumptions

199
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:06pm

Purds--

I might be wrong, but I am guessing the 'irrational' is merely a nod to tradition. The 'irrational' Manning-Brady threads, etc.

I can see why some might attribute it to Pats bias, but I am guessing it is a lot less nefarious than that.

200
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:08pm

Purds, the fact that you equate posting on the internet with a United States Senator wielding the immense power of the state, to coerce individuals (and make no mistake, nobody refuses a "request" from a U.S. Senator for an interview) to do the Senator's bidding, demonstrates that you need to get a grip. Yes, Senators sometimes rightfully engage in such behavior, like, say, for instance, to compel testimony from people accused of engaging in organized crime which crosses state lines, or to discuss the possible monopolistic practices within an industry. Sorry, unless you are simply nuts, or an overweening prick like Arelen Specter, whether a football team had a practice or it's coach's signals taped carries with it no legal implications that should cause a U.S. Senator to wield his immense powers.

No, Daniel, the fact that the Congress of the United States can rightfully regulate mergers between companies when there are monopolistic aspects to the merger does not make it right for the Congress of the United States to intervene in the competitive rules of a sports league. I suppose you think, if the wonderful Senator form PA becomes concerened, that he should "request" an interview with David Stern about the lack of traveling calls on NBS superstars?

This is lunacy, and the fact that a substantial number of people don't recognize it as such indicates that many folks have lost all understanding of what the role of the state should be in a civilized society.

Finally, Purds, please don't misrepresent my views. I made no statement regarding any impact on the Super Bowl by any alleged behavior. I merely was commenting on how awful it is for a United States Senator to involve himself in this. I advocated that the Patriots lose an entire year's draft picks for the misdeeds that were discovered at the beginning of the season, and I'd have no problem with them being stripped of a couple of year's worth of draft picks, or more, if evidence of worse misdeeds were proven. That has nothing to do with Arlen Specter's execrable behavior, however.

201
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:08pm

#193:
"Goodell’s grandfather (or father) was a US Senator, so I think he has a pretty good idea as to what lengths Congress will go to when it comes to oversight of business."

Well, that certainly explains his previously demonstrated penchant for narcissistic grandstanding. It's obviously inherited.

It also makes me think that he's not very concerned with Specter's threats, since it took him a couple of months to even return Specter's calls. Being the son of a politician, he knows rhetorical posturing when he sees it.

202
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:10pm

Will, fundamentally the role of Government is to follow the wishes of the Public. Right now the public demands further investigation into the Pats Cheating so now that is happening

203
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:13pm

Feel free to present the proof that you obviously have since I am sure you wouldn’t just make assumptions

No assumptions here. Just facts.

"The Jets were caught videotaping at Gillette Stadium last season and the Patriots had that New York employee removed from the area, according to published reports Wednesday. Jets coach Eric Mangini said his team received permission to film behind both end zones during the playoff game in January...."

"We taped the game, is what we taped, and we taped end-zone copy of the game, and we tape a double end zone, which is standard operating procedure for us," Mangini said Wednesday..."

204
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:15pm

Rick A., no, every immoral act is not "a crime", nor should it be, unless you have some grotesqe desire to be ruled by a totalitarian state.

Good grief, do really have a desire to criminalize all immoral behavior? What on earth are you thinking?

205
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:17pm

Unfortunately all this talk is going to tarnish the Patriots dynasty. Which is sad because one has to wonder how much it takes away from what the players have done.

Since they were already caught cheating in 2007 (and almost caught but probably cheating in 2006), and if Mangini knew about it then it had to be going on in 2005 at least. It doesn't make it irrational to believe that cheating was acceptable to the higher level coaching staff of the Patriots (no matter what type of advantage was gained).

Given the above paragraph, Would it surprise anyone if the Pats were tapping into the coach-QB communications system? Has their home record been much better than their overall record through this run? Maybe all of the irregularities in the communications system have been due to the Pats staff listening in on opponents play calls. Of course this is a baseless charge, but there are now questions as to the scope of cheating. I only want to say that this paragraph is a hypothetical.

206
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:18pm

"We taped the game, is what we taped, and we taped end-zone copy of the game, and we tape a double end zone, which is standard operating procedure for us,” Mangini said Wednesday…”"

Terri there is a HUGE DIFFERENCE

-JETS-Tape the Game

-PATS- Tape the Play Calls

207
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:22pm

Well, golly gee, Jason, it was once the will of the public to strip people of Japanese ancestry of their possessions and lock them up in camps.

To state that the role of the government is to merely follow the will of the public is to refute the principals which imperfectly informed the founding of this republic. No, just because the public clamors for something does not rightfully make it within the scope of state power.

208
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:22pm

Re: #206

How do you know what's on those tapes?

209
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:25pm

I only want to say that this paragraph is a hypothetical.

That's about as believable a statement as Easterbrook's statement that the Rams bogged down in the red zone in the first half of SB36.

210
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:31pm

Purds,

So no one who has ever had an association with Brady, Belichick or any other prominant NE player or coach can have an opinion about about the benefit of viewing a pre-game walkthrough?

Again, [u]as a member of the Minnesota Vikings[/u] one of his own walkthroughs was viewed and he did not care.

There are no blinders because they don't exist for that person when it comes to this issue.

For me, sure I'm going to try and view my team in as positive as light as possible, but for him it is nothing but a professional opinion.

211
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:34pm

Jason,

How do you know what's on the Jets tapes? The Patriots got caught taping defensive signals because the camera was on the sidelines where it wasn't supposed to be. Had it been in the stands, where it's legal to be, no one would have had the authority to confiscate it.

The Jets or any other team may or may not tape defensive signals, but if they do it by videotaping in a legal section of the stadium, no one is going to find out.

212
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:36pm

LOL I love when people try to defend what NE does by trying to make it seem like others do to. Until someone else gets busted with the same offense this defense of your is meaningless

213
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:38pm

"Well, golly gee, Jason, it was once the will of the public to strip people of Japanese ancestry of their possessions and lock them up in camps."

If that was the will of the people then the governement should have followed. The government's job is to do the bidding of their electorate.

214
by roguerouge (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:41pm

re: Daniel's 167 post

The federal government regulates the radio waves, as access to them is something that we as a people license to radio station owners and networks for a very minimal price. The XM/Sirius merger, while not terrestrial radio, is an extension on that mandate. Where the XM/Sirius merger comes into serious issues is whether it sets up a monopoly in satellite radio, which, under capitalist theory inevitably ends up harming the consumer in the long run.

In short, it's hardly in the same class as Specter's fishing expedition.

215
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:41pm

Re: #213

Sieg heil!

216
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:45pm

213: Good lord, I don't know what to say to that...tyranny of the majority is nice, I guess, if you're in the majority.

The irony, of course, is that Jason assumes he's in the majority. In a highly unscientific poll (that's still more reflective of public perception than "what Jason thinks"), 74% of respondents on espn.com (with majorities in all 50 states) said that they didn't think Congress should be involved in Spygate.

And 157, I repeat: there is no anti-trust exemption in football, beyond a broadcast exemption. If someone wants to tell me what this has to do with negotiating broadcast rights, I'd be interested.

217
by Terri (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:46pm

LOL I love when people try to defend what NE does by trying to make it seem like others do to.

Others have admitted to doing it. Read Jimmy Johnson's quotes, among others.

218
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:48pm

Jason, with all due respect, it is not an overstatement to say that your philosophy is pefectly consistent with tyranny. Your views are thuggish in the extreme.

219
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:51pm

Hey, whattaya say we get a majority together to strip Jason of everything he owns, and keep him chained to a post, except when we force him to cut our lawns?

220
by not perplexed (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 3:53pm

I missed the part where the public was clamoring for a federal investigation of the Patriots.

The same public that clamored for an 80 million dollar investigation of a decade old failed real estate deal during the 90s, right?

221
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:00pm

214: My point isn't that they are the same, but that Congress has always used everything at its disposal to get what it wants. Terrestrial radio using its lobbying power to block the merger of Sirius and XM is not that much different than Comcast using its lobbying power to get Specter to force the NFL's hand. If specter is just a grandstanding idiot, then nothing will come of this because his fellow congressmen won't support it. But because he is a Senator, and he has an influential post on the panel that reviews the NFLs anti-trust exemption he has enough leverage to get Goodell to at least talk to him and hear his concerns.

222
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:00pm

"Jason, with all due respect, it is not an overstatement to say that your philosophy is pefectly consistent with tyranny."

Will you really need to study some.

Tyranny-a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler

Ironically that is the exact OPPOSITE of what I was saying since absolute power of 1 person is the opposite of Majority rule

223
by roguerouge (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:01pm

From the nyt:

Adam Timmerman, OL on the Rams in 2001 season:

"I wouldn't be surprised.... We don't do anything earth-shattering. We're pretty watered down in that walk-through. What they would actually learn, I don't know how beneficial that would be. The things they would learn from that film would be marginal."

At most, the Ramsran 30 plays, he said.

"We don't do signals in the walk-through. They just send the play in. It'd be very limited. If it was me and you gave me the film from the walk-through, would I think it really had an advantage going into the game? Probably not."

Timmerman was more upset about holding receivers during that game, but he did say that if true he would be angry that a level playing field was not retained.

"It's not like they're going to give us a Super Bowl ring."

224
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:04pm

Will: Thanks for calling me names on the internet. If it makes you feel like a man, well, I'll let you be happy with that. You must have a hell of a life if you lose control so easily.

Oswlek: The coach may be objective, but can't you find someone NOT directly connected to Brady/BB to refute this? Or, can't you see how someone who doubts your opinion would question the source (ie: do the exact same thing that so many here have done in regards to Matt Walsh)?

225
by Bill Barnwell :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:04pm

Hi all,

Just FYI - we characterize a thread as "irrational" when people feel the need to pepper all or a significant part of our threads that have nothing to do with a topic with discussion of said topic. Brady-Manning was the first one.

226
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:11pm

Purds,

Post #223 does a decent job of refuting that particular tape.

That said, I should probably say that I am not above blinders. If I heard two people talking with equal experience and one said it is no big deal and one was up in arms about it, I would probably choose to side with the former if his argument made sense.

I still think you are selling that person short just because of one piece of data. In the couple years that I have read his posts, he has been incredibly insightful about the inner workings of the game.

227
by MJK (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:12pm

Wow,

I've only made it through about Post 160 or so, but I think Purds has made one of the best points in the thread.

The main problem here is Goddell. I've been skeptical of his abilities as a commissioner for a while now, and becoming moreso.

What I think happened, back in September, is that when the spying thing first broke, Goddell flew off the handle and, before he'd seen any tape evidence, levied the 1st round pick and $750k penalties. This was possibly because Belichick told him to go stuff himself, or just becaue he was mad at Belichick for being an arrogant prick. He was trying to establish himself as "the tough guy, the opposite of Tags", just the way he had with Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, et al.

Then, when he saw the tapes, one of two things happened. Either he realized that he had way overreacted and the tapes themselves were no big deal (which I think most people more or less accept now, IF all they had was what he said they had...Mangini made it clear earlier this season that teams are apparently allowed to, and do, tape sideline signals from end-zone seats). If this was the case, he destroyed them to prevent himself from looking like an idiot for responding to a mosquito bite with a hammer.

Or, the tapes and/or his subsequent investigation revealed much more deep seeded issues, at least with the Pats and possibly with many other teams as well. If this was the case, he destroyed the tapes to prevent opening a huge can of worms that would have severly tarnished the NFL's record. If the Pats were successfully doing anything blatantly illegal and game-tarnishing, don't be so naieve to think that they are the only onese doing it. Other teams spend millions to get whatever edge they can, too.

In any case, Goddell took whatever the situation was and made it worse, first by handing out an incredibly stiff penalty before he knew what the crime was, and then by covering up everything so we don't know if there was a crime.

For the record, I don't really want to know. If the Pats really were cheating to the degree where it destroys the integrity of the game, then I'm quite sure than other teams are as well, in which case, I think I would give up on football for a long time.

228
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:13pm

The first Pats' spygate thread was one of my favorites on this site because of the sheer stupidity we got in the comments, culminating with "a contract employee locked in a box."

And now, here we go again. Pats fans arguing all kinds of stupid things:
1) "Everyone does it." Yeah ok, keep dreaming. That's why every team also lost a first rounder this year.
2) "It's not explicity against the rules." Neither is "you can't have a sniper take out the other team's QB" but guess what it would still be wrong.
3) "Some other coach who once knew Brady said this wouldn't really help." Are you serious?
4) "Pats have unquestionably accumulated an unprecedented level of vitriolic resentment in the press" What planet are you living on? ESPN had an article on "Mr. Perfect" up the other day.
5) "This is all Goodell's fault" Yeah he shares a lot of the blame. But so does the team who started the whole thing by cheating in the first place.
6) "It's just a disgruntled employee who got fired for near criminal reasons!" Oh, goody, attack the messenger. Putting aside the fact that this implies the Pats staff was willing to employ goons, it doesn't do anything to disprove the allegations. I agree that we shouldn't just take everything he says at face value, but when your team has already been caught tape cheating before, you've given up the "benefit of the doubt." Again, that's Belichick's fault, not the rest of us.
7) "Foaming at the mouth pats haters." Your team is accused of cheating, time to go on the attack!! Add it to the pile of why there are so many Pats haters. Because many of their fans are obnoxious.

Last but not least, where I agree:
1) Specter is pandering, but if he gets DirectTicket off the exclusive satelite license, fine by me.
2) Easterbrook is a dumbass.

229
by not perplexed (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:16pm

Question for Jason. Where do you get your info that the public is demanding the federal government get involved?

230
by vanya (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:16pm

I'm still waiting for people like Jason and Thomas Payne to explain why taping is "on another level" and how it is so so much worse than all of the other elements of cheating that have been part of football from the beginning - scouts spying, dirty hits, linemen wearing casts, stealing playbooks, sending prostitutes to tire out the opposition, etc. Why the outrage about this incident in particular? Can all you outraged moral scolds really justify it? Belichick got fined, an appropriate, probably slightly excessive amount. End of story. It really makes no sense. Other than, and this I can understand, the fact that Bob Kraft is a sanctimonious git and it's fun to see him exposed for the hypocrite he is.

231
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:18pm

CD6! that was 1 of the best posts I have ever come across on this site. You #2 made me laugh out loud

232
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:20pm

If the Pats really were cheating to the degree where it destroys the integrity of the game, then I’m quite sure than other teams are as well, in which case, I think I would give up on football for a long time.

:: MJK — 2/3/2008 @ 2:12 pm

MJK's post is a good example of why this is so frustrating to the rest of us. You're completely unwilling to accept the possibility that the Patriots may be the dirtiest team in the league. Either they didn't cheat, or if they did, everyone else does too.

233
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:23pm

Purds, I am in perfect control when I truthfully assert that one has to be nuts to think that the taping of a football practice or a football coach is within the proper scope of a United States Senator's immense powers, just as I am in perfect control when I state that one would have to be nuts to think, for instance, that the attacks on 9/11 were some sort of "inside job". If people are insulted when it is noted that their ideas are, in fact, nuts, then they would be well advised to discard such nutty ideas.

234
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:23pm

vanya:

I am not one of those you asked, but let me ask the obvious rhetorical response: What, in your opinion, would be a type of cheating that is bad enough to be censured? Is it okay to knock out the other team's helmet communications? Okay to tap into those communications? Steal a playbook? Steal the first 15 plays script that some use?

In other words, is there any cheating in your mind that would constitute a misbehavior of real import?

235
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:26pm

Why the outrage about this incident in particular? Can all you outraged moral scolds really justify it?

:: vanya — 2/3/2008 @ 2:16 pm

I've had enough of this comically stupid argument. Is taping the other team's playcalling/practice/god knows what else Belicheat has seen fit to tape against the rules? Absolutely. That's all that matters.

Just because you've seen fit to argue "sure the Pats have cheated but everyone else cheats too" and thus totally ceded the moral high ground doesn't mean you can attack the rest of us for, goshdarnit, expecting the rules to be followed.

236
by Mike C (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:27pm

Jason, you deserve a severe Boston beatdown

237
by Frick (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:28pm

I normally would think that the timing was done mainly for more publicity. Wait until right before the biggest game of the year when writers are dieing for stories and there is no other competition for stories.

What concerns me is the Pat's statement. Does anyone have the exact comment? I recall it being along the lines of "The coaches had no knowledge" Well seeing the hair splitting response Bellicheck used in the first round of Spygate, I see a lot of wiggle room in the statement.

238
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:29pm

228: I don't disagree with some of your post, but as to your point 6 - really? You lose the "benefit of the doubt" for perpetuity when you commit a transgression? Even if the "source" alleging the further transgression is completely unreliable?

So, for example, if Bill Clinton was accused of sleeping with and beating a prostitute because of something that a heroin dealer said anonymously, we should believe it because of the Lewinsky scandal? (Not invoking politics - just trying to provide an analogy.)

I think that this scenario illustrates perfectly why newspapers should require at least two sources before reporting stories. One guy can make anything up - especially under cloak of anonymity, and especially given that the first transgression is public knowledge.

And with respect to point 1 - the investigation that resulted in the first-round pick being taken away was centered on the Pats. It's not like other teams were even looked at, and we have enough hearsay from other coaches like Jimmy Johnson(and even George Halas) to suggest that the practice is more widespread than initially thought.

And I'd have thought you'd think that 7) was a compliment. Isn't "foaming at the mouth Pats hater" one of your goals in life? I thought you wore that title as a badge of pride. :)

239
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:29pm

"Jason, you deserve a severe Boston beatdown"

You can always tell when a side is defeated, all they are left with are insults

240
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:30pm

Re: #234

Your "response" is a non sequitur, and that's being charitable.

Quite contrary to what you claim, Vanya did not say any of the things he and you mentioned were not bad enough to be censured. Instead, he asked why all those things, which have happened and have been happening for decades, are so much less bad than Spygate.

If anything, Vanya is saying all those things should be censured, since he (a) mostly agrees with the Spygate censure, and (b) considers Spygate no worse than those things.

It's really curious how you managed to turn what he said 180 degrees. And you lecture others about lack of objectivity.

241
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:30pm

Jason, I suggest you read the Federalist papers in an effort to lift the veil of ignorance which has caused you to be unaware of the concept of majoritarian tyranny.

Sheesh, what do they teach in seventh grade civics classes these days?

242
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:31pm

doesn’t mean you can attack the rest of us for, goshdarnit, expecting the rules to be followed.

Yes we can, when you turn a blind eye when anyone other than the Patriots breaks the rules, since that shows you don't actually care about rulebreaking.

243
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:32pm

237: Here's the quote. I don't see much wiggle room, unless they try to parse out individual employees from "New England Patriots" (which they could, I guess, if that's the defense):

"The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI is absolutely false. Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue," Patriots spokesman Stacey James told the AP.

244
by Jason (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:33pm

"we have enough hearsay from other coaches like Jimmy Johnson(and even George Halas) to suggest that the practice is more widespread than initially thought."

GEORGE HALAS videotaped signals????? You would think that someone in possession of a time machine would do more than using it to teleport into the future to pick up a piece of newly invented technology to spy on his opponents

245
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:34pm

Don't be so obtuse Jason. Even you must have at one time heard about this obscure technology known as "film".

246
by Boots Day (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:34pm

Incidentally, Easterbrook (or one of his editors) has changed his piece. It used to say: "When the Rams reached the red zone, they bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming." It now says: "The Rams kept getting bogged down, as if New England knew what plays were coming."

There's no note anywhere indicating that the piece has been changed.

247
by Mitch (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:34pm

Easterbrook explains the timing of this in his article.

248
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:36pm

244: I apologize for conflating "videotaping signals" with "spying." I don't know where I could have gotten the idea that such actions could be comparable...

249
by Jeremy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:37pm

246: Interesting. Still strange logic -- isn't it possible for a team to get bogged down without the other team knowing what's coming? How do you tell the difference?

250
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:38pm

228: I don’t disagree with some of your post, but as to your point 6 - really? You lose the “benefit of the doubt” for perpetuity when you commit a transgression? Even if the “source” alleging the further transgression is completely unreliable?
I'd say so yes. Now, I'm not saying that they should just be punished assuming the second allegation is true. There needs to be a full investigation and so on. But in the initial PR battle and internet debates, it's tough to just dismiss out of hand.

Again, this is one of the downsides of cheating in the first place.

So, for example, if Bill Clinton was accused of sleeping with and beating a prostitute because of something that a heroin dealer said anonymously, we should believe it because of the Lewinsky scandal?

Hell, I like Bill, but if he were accused of another affair, I can't say I'd be totally shocked. Your scenario of beating a prostitute is a little extreme though. Why would a stud like Bill need a prostitute?

I think that this scenario illustrates perfectly why newspapers should require at least two sources before reporting stories. One guy can make anything up - especially under cloak of anonymity, and especially given that the first transgression is public knowledge.
Generally, I agree. We're handicapped in this case because it's a sports story so sports reporters are sent to cover it, and they generally aren't as good as actual investigative reporters. That's no excuse for why journalistic standards might be down, but it's reality. Like I said above, I'm not advocating taking another first rounder again based on what this one guy said, but its certainly enough to merit another investigation.

And I’d have thought you’d think that 7) was a compliment. Isn’t “foaming at the mouth Pats hater” one of your goals in life? I thought you wore that title as a badge of pride. :)

:: patriotsgirl — 2/3/2008 @ 2:29 pm
Yeah I know. And here I am quoting and responding rationally to another Patriots fan. This isn't going to help my reputation any ;)

251
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:38pm

Yes, Daniel, I agree that Senators quite frequently abuse the powers they have been given, but that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be excoriated when they do so. I also wouldn't be so sure that one cannot form a majority of grandstanding idiot Senators. How the hell do you suppose, for instance, the Prohibition was sent to the states for ratification? A majority of grandstanding idiot Senators is a very common phenomena.

252
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:43pm

Yes we can, when you turn a blind eye when anyone other than the Patriots breaks the rules, since that shows you don’t actually care about rulebreaking.

:: PatsFan — 2/3/2008 @ 2:31 pm

Pffft don't act like we're unfairly picking on the Patriots.

If another team were caught doing this, I'd be just as angry at them.

If it were my team, I'd demand the coach by fired, because the specter of cheating will hang over everything he has done and will do.

253
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:46pm

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reports that, if it turns out that former Patriots employee Matt Walsh has in possession video of the Rams' final walk-through practice from Super Bowl XXXVI, New England head coach Bill Belichick will be suspended for a year.

Can you (And you know who you are) please tell Sal and his source in the Patriot organization that it's ok to tape walkthroughs and everybody is doing it and it does not warrant a 1 year suspension.

254
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:47pm

Re: #252

I'm going to use patented cd6! "logic" to analyze that post.

cd6! is a proven (and even admitted!) Patriots hater. Therefore, he has forfeited the benefit of the doubt on anything he says about the Patriots. Thus, when he says he wouldn't unfairly pick on only the Patriots, "I can't say I'd be totally shocked" if he was lying through his teeth.

255
by Jordy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:52pm

61 - Lighten up, Francis. You don't have to agree when someone expresses an opinion, but the "Love it or leave it" retort is childish.

Miggy obviously likes the site and was expressing some of the same disappointment I feel about the direction the site and its credibilty have been going. I'm sure there are others like me who do leave the site at times because they're not enjoying their user experience, such as when I've had my fill of all the sleazy ads constantly blaring at me.

256
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 4:56pm

#

Re: #252

I’m going to use patented cd6! “logic” to analyze that post.

cd6! is a proven (and even admitted!) Patriots hater. Therefore, he has forfeited the benefit of the doubt on anything he says about the Patriots. Thus, when he says he wouldn’t unfairly pick on only the Patriots, “I can’t say I’d be totally shocked” if he was lying through his teeth.

:: PatsFan — 2/3/2008 @ 2:47 pm
Close, but in the end you're just resorting to the same time-worn "attack the messenger" BS pats fans have been attemping to use this whole time.

What you meant to say is more like:
CD6 is a sexy, peerless intellectual giant. Every post he makes on FO is filled with a level of genius my puny brain is unable to fully comprehend. His sharp analytical skills are matched only by his hilarious, razor sharp wit.

His comments have never been wrong, never been successfully argued against, and sometimes include images of Darth Vader. If he takes a side, then it's clearly the right side.

I should apologize for wasting his time, and then thank him for setting me straight. Praise be to CD6.

Don't you get how this works by now? Maybe you need to be taking notes or something.

257
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:01pm

#222:
"Tyranny-a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler"

Where did you get that definition? Did you just pull it out of your ass?

Here's a definition from an actual dictionary (source linked in my name):

1. cruel use of power: cruelty and injustice in the exercise of power or authority over others

2. oppressive government: oppressive government by one or more people who exercise absolute power cruelly and unjustly

3. state ruled by tyrant: a country or state under the power of an oppressive ruler

4. cruel act: a cruel or oppressive act, especially one committed by a person wielding great power

Pay particular attention to #2: "one or more people".

But you don't have to believe me. Google "tyranny of the majority" and see what James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and others had to say about it. Or read "Democracy in America", where Alexis de Tocqueville describes majoritarian tyranny as the biggest threat to freedom in America.

Your version of "democracy" sounds a lot like 2 wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

258
by Daniel (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:04pm

I doubt that this Walsh guy has a copy of any tape he may have made of the Rams' walkthrough. The question is, if his admitting that he performed the deed at the request of either Belicheck or Adams will be enough to warrant a suspension? If this comes down to a matter of Walsh said 'this' and Belicheck says 'that' then nothing will ever come of it. If he does have a tape, then one year isn't enough. The commissioner gave them ample opportunity to come clean. They could have copped to everything and probably faced the same penalty. If they lied to the league offices and conspired in any way to prevent this information becoming public then members of the organization should face indefinite bans. It's never the 'crime,' but the coverup that gets you in the most trouble.

259
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:06pm

Jordy, what strikes me as childish is to be so presumptuous as to tell someone what they "should" do, when they are the ones who have invested significant time and money into something that they are giving to you free of charge. When someone spends resources to give something to me for free, and I find it lacking, I either keep my mouth shut, or I try to have enough class to couch my suggestions with some tact, instead of telling them waht they "should" do.

260
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:13pm

195:
Not true. The Pats took it to ANOTHER LEVEL with Video taping. In the past with binoculars you might pick up a few things but not nearly as much as when something is on tape and you can spend Hours upon Hours watching the same thing looking for patterns.

"Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game," says Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. "With any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter."
From "The silent treatment" By Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated January 9, 2002

261
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:15pm

#255:

Sleazy ads on the internet?

I'm shocked! Absolutely shocked.

262
by fromanchu (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:17pm

re 257: his definition is from aristotle. it doesn't really reflect the modern meaning of the word.

263
by cd6! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:18pm

I killed somebody, but somebody else killed somebody too, so don't punish me!

To be fair, there seem to be a lot less "The chargers are classless" posts than last time, so I will applaud Pats fans for that.

264
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:24pm

263: comparing this to murder is a little too much. the same logic applies to speeding.
"You can't give me a ticket officer, everybody is doing it. There are some people who were going ever faster than I.
Life is so unfair, why am I the only to get caught, twice."

265
by admin :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:29pm

Actually, to answer a comment which has nothing to do with the Patriots... I've been in touch with the advertising company that does the side banners multiple times in order to try to clear out those NSFW ads. Unfortunately, the only way to block everything before it appears would be to set things so I needed to approve all ads before they appear. I tried that, and after I spent an hour approving or rejecting ads, and still was only 10% finished, I decided that my time was better spent analyzing football games. I may need to look into other advertising companies in the off-season. Believe me, I am aware of the problem and trying to fix it.

We hear your complaints and we're always trying to create the best reader experience possible. In fact, the recent crackdown on flame wars and emphasis on discussion rules is the direct result of e-mail complaints from readers about the decline of the discussion threads.

266
by MarkB (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:39pm

Scott Pioli removed one of Bill Polian's kidneys during their game this year - the bastard!

267
by Michael Sky (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:51pm

My guess as to why there were only six tapes from 2006 in the Pats possession is that, with changing personnel and coaches, why would anyone bother keeping years old tapes? Probably just held onto the ones for the teams they would be seeing again in 2007: Miami, Jets, Bills, Bengals, Indy and Chargers.

Even still, since we're talking about taped signals (not game tapes) any team that hasn't changed their signals from year to year is pretty stupid. As the above Shanahan quote makes clear: maybe everybody doesn't do it, but most of the winners do.

Finally, none of this has anything to do with the stuff that really makes BB a great coach: in-game adjustments, smart use of time outs, smart use of the clock, inspired tactics (like taking the safety in denver) -- stuff that other coaches screw up all the time. Pats cheating didn't cause Philly to play slow when they should have sped up, or cause Martz to sit on Faulk, or cause the Charger guy to try running with the interception.

268
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:58pm

267 - "Pats cheating didn’t cause Philly to play slow when they should have sped up, or cause Martz to sit on Faulk, or cause the Charger guy to try running with the interception."

Yes it did. They don't just spy on their opponents. They have someone on staff whose sole job is to sneak onto opponents' sidelines and slip Stupid Juice into their Gatorade.

269
by BXRICK (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 5:59pm

Some thoughts:

I see a lot of morality arguments here. While at one time, "sport" was about morality, it's not now - it's a business, or at least the NFL is. It therefore is a rules/enforcement issue.
It's not a question of whether spying, taping, filming, or whatever is immoral, or unfair. It's a question of what was against the rules when it was done. So, yes, other teams may tape from the stands, and they likely tape signals. But, apparently, they either haven't been caught, or it's not specifically prohibited.

I think the reason Pats fans keep bringing up the "everyone does it" argument is the same reason most of us moral giants use it when we get pulled over for speeding - "Why did you pull me over when all the cars around me were also going too fast?". That's not the point - speeding is illegal and marginally enforced, yet we use the argument.
And yet, we continue to speed because we know the chances of getting caught are slim, and the penalty isn't that big. We are taking advantage of the system. I think BB, and any other team doing such things, are doing the same thing.

I do think the reason the "everyone does it" argument is made is that it seems to me that when Goodell "investigated" in September, he found that a lot of teams DID do it (or similar things), at least anecdotally, or he even knew they did already.

It would then seem that Goodell decided (perhaps incorrectly in hindsight) that sweeping it under the rug was the best course, so he levied the big penalty, and hoped it would go away. The alternative was admitting that there was a lot of nefarious action going on around the league, which would turn into a league-wide scandal. He had solid, rather than anecdotal, proof against the Patriots, so he used it.

BB has a reputation as s smart guy, willing to do anything to win. But the idea that he's the only one who has ever done anything to push the rules seems like it's giving him too much credit. Unless he's so smart as to tank a few seasons in the 2000s rather than win the SB every year with his huge advantage so we wouldn't catch on. I can't give him that much credit.

Big-money sports is all about pushing the rules envelope all the time, whether it's a cornerback trying to disguise pass interferance, or a GM trying to get a contract through the league offices, or a lineman holding a pass rusher in a way that can't be detected (these days, actually, you can detect it, they don't call it, so the lineman do it, illustrating the point further).

Scorecard:
- Do I think the Patriots broke the rules over the years. Yes.
- Do I think they are the only team to have done so? No.
- Do I think that makes it morally acceptable? No.
- Do I think that the Patriots probably pushed the envelope more than many other teams? Yes. That's why they're good - they played the game better than anyone else.

270
by Logic. Try It. (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:01pm

"Finally, none of this has anything to do with the stuff that really makes BB a great coach: in-game adjustments"

Good point. Because knowing another team's tendencies via illegal film of their plays and signals or red zone walkthroughs wouldn't give you any advantage when making in-game adjustments.

Seriously...can you just type "Pats Fan here...irrational rationalizing bullshit to follow" and save us the time of reading this jibberish?

271
by Jordy (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:10pm

Thank you, Mr. Schatz. I am grateful for your comment.

272
by Michael Sky (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:14pm

270 - sigh. There is nothing illegal about taping another team's plays, or taping their signals. It is only illegal if you tape their signals from the field. This is what the pats did and they were caught and paid a price.

However, the NFL made clear that there was no in-game advantage from anything that they did. Moreover, actual logic would dictate that little in-game advantage could be garnered from any of this.

Think it through folks: I'm Ernie up in the booth. I see the the signals for the play coming up - in 35 seconds. I quickly look at that illegal tape, I figure out what they're going to do, I call it down to BB, and he gets it out to someone on the field and everyone adjusts.

Right.

273
by Gerry (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:20pm

"Can we jump on him for not knowing what the hell he’s talking about?"

Absolutely. Wasn't defending him on that front.

274
by Aatrouss (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:31pm

"Think it through folks: I’m Ernie up in the booth. I see the the signals for the play coming up - in 35 seconds. I quickly look at that illegal tape, I figure out what they’re going to do, I call it down to BB, and he gets it out to someone on the field and everyone adjusts. "

Every coach in the NFL is dumb according to this logic. Why would they be trying to intercept signals, legally or illegally if it was materially impossible to take advantage of?

Now we have crossed into the twilight zone.

Indeed, think it through folks before you post.

275
by MC2 (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:38pm

#269:
I agree with a lot of what you're saying. However, I have to disagree with your speeding analogy. I think the reason most people are willing to disregard speed limit laws is because they consider them to be stupid laws, not just because they're unlikely to be caught.

I'm old enough to remember when there were many stores that didn't have security cameras. It was very easy to shoplift in these stores. I know, because I did it a couple of times. Why? Peer pressure. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway, to try to look cool. I was a stupid teenager who wanted to impress some other stupid teenagers.

But that's not the point. The point is that most people (with the notable exceptions of criminals and stupid teenagers) didn't do it, even though they almost certainly could have gotten away with it. Why? Because most people believe that stealing is inherently wrong.

Most people, however, don't believe that speeding is inherently wrong. If I didn't think that I was capable of driving 80 mph in a 70 mph zone without posing a significant danger to the other cars on the road, I wouldn't do it. I think most people feel the same way.

The same kind of logic applies to Spygate. It's not just that "everybody does it", it's that "doing it" doesn't really seem to provide a significant benefit, at least if you're just talking about taping a vanilla walkthrough.

Don't get me wrong. I understand that when you join the league, you agree to play by the league's rules, and I think that if the Patriots broke the rules, then they should be punished. Having said that, all this talk about lifetime bans and totally tainting all of their accomplishments, etc. seems excessive, to put it mildly.

276
by AlexSmithJoe (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:41pm

I had a lot of devil's advocate questions, but I'll just mention the one no one else has picked up on: Could this Matt Walsh just be surfacing now as a publicity stunt? He worked for the Patriots, but the dates of his employment with them are inconsistent. He won't talk unless someone promises to cover his legal fees, but wouldn't that just give him a license to lie if he were inclined to? Can you imagine the book deal this guy could get if he wanted to go that route?

270#
Perhaps you should try logic yourself as your attack completed missed his point. The point is that there are situations in the game: where on the field you should go for it on 4th down, (in the Denver game) when to take a safety rather than risk having a punt blocked (as an aside, how in heck is taping the other team's signals supposed to tell him to just take the safety?), how to handle clock management/timeouts, when to use a no-huddle, that are essentially independent of who your opponent is and what they are going to do that BB handles better than any other coach in the league. I'll say that again, his decision making in these situations can be done without any film study; it's simply a matter of understanding and maximizing the probabilities of risk/reward with only a tiny bit of variance determined by the current opponent/playing conditions (and I'm thinking more of the weather factor than the opponent). He does this as well or better than any of his peers and that has more to do with his success in New England than any shady activities that he may have attempted. If you can't wrap your mind around the idea that this quality of his preparation is an extension of his within-the-rules gameplanning skills than I feel sorry for you.

I am most certainly NOT a Patriots fan, but I have a lot of respect for Belichick's game management skills in this regard and will have no ill will towards them if they can seal the deal tonight.

277
by Michael Sky (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 6:51pm

274 - "Every coach in the NFL is dumb according to this logic. Why would they be trying to intercept signals, legally or illegally if it was materially impossible to take advantage of?"

No, what would work is for the guy with the binoculars, as Shanahan tells it, to look at the signals and immediately call it down to the coach. What has seemed crazy to me from the start of this is that they would be using video in-game. Between games they spend hours and hours scrutinizing tapes, rewinding and rewatching. But during the game, I see no advantage to tapes and the NFL agreed.

278
by Rick A. (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:01pm

Will Allen :
I put the word immoral in quotation marks in my post--to indicate that it is a relative term. "Immorality" is in the view of the beholder and of course I do not think that what this person or that group think of as "immoral" should be a crime. What I said in that post was that the prevailing view of the big powers in this society seems to be that an edge must be gained through WHATEVER MEANS NECESSARY--but just don't get caught at doing something illegal or something that lots of people might think is "immoral". The Pats got caught as surely as Dick Nixon or Bill Clinton. Having said that I do not think "immorality" should be a "crime", however, I personally think that engaging in the kind of cheating that is going on now in all the sports and God knows how many corporate circles is and should be treated as CRIME. As such any U.S. Congressman is not only within his legitimate sphere of concern in looking into it but would not be doing what their elected imperative is if they didn't. I don't appreciate types such as you proclaiming that anyone who doesn't hold your particular view is a "lunatic"--and since "lunatic" is also a relative term that is in the view of the beholder I will point out that it is my view and millions of other like-minded individuals that people like you who believe these big-money interests will regulate themselves--are the "lunatics" here.

279
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:17pm

Some thoughts:

1. Jason - there's no other way to put it: you're a moron. And, no, this is not an ad hom attack. This is not a substitute for an argument. Your statements in 213 & 222 speak for themselves.

I had no idea that the Bill of Rights, which are explicit restrictions on what Congress - ELECTED BY THE PEOPLE - and the other branches of government, can do, came with an unwritten but understood disclaimer "Unless the electorate really wants you to".

People like you confirm what I rediscover every day: that there are some who would do harm to 'undesirables' simply because 'authorities' labeled them as such and told them to do said harm. Google "Stanley Milgram" to find out more.

2. Conversely, Will Allen, your posts are a breath of fresh air. They also confirm what I rediscover daily - that there are some people who get it.

While I think Arlen Specter is a fitting example of a typical politician with a God-complex, it doesn't follow that the Patriots actions (if true) are no big deal.

3. If there's no competitive advantage to be gained from videotaping on the sidelines and videotaping a walkthrough, why would anyone do it? The only other viable explanation I can think of is that the Patriots are horrendously wasteful - giving some of their employees busywork just to keep them occupied so they can justify paying them.

4."Everyone does it" is a logical fallacy known as "appeal to common practice".

Click on the link in my name for specifics.

280
by Rex Grossman: Eyebrows of DOOM!! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:17pm

Specter and Easterbrook are irrelevant, whether or not cheating is illegal is irrelevant, and this majority rule debate is irrelevant.

What *is* relevant is the extent of the Patriots' previously-confirmed cheating, and what Goodell knew and when he knew it.

I'll be the first to admit, this former Pats employee looks shady--but the same would be true of anyone involved in a situation like this. The mere fact that you're participating in it means that you're willing to do something unethical. You aren't going to find any choirboy witnesses who just happen to know all the details. That said, "resume-tampering" and "cheating in a league mixed up with billions of dollars" aren't on the same level, for me. And if we're bringing credibility into things, maybe we should discuss the Hooded One's extramartial adventure?

Regardless of the type of witnesses you're stuck with for something like this, I think that more verification is needed, whether it's additional witnesses or physical evidence. If there's one thing the media is good at, it's finding scandals, and if there's more to be found here, I'm sure they'll unearth it.

I don't think that "If you think this is true, you're crazy!" and "Everyone does it!" go together very well, though. Bit too much cognitive dissonance is required.

I realize that the NFL is always going to be corrupt, to an extent, as is college football, but there has to be a line somewhere. I draw it at extensive electronic espionage. Others may be okay with this, as "it's just football" (which doesn't really make sense to me, but if that's how they feel, then that's how they feel).

I'll go out on a limb to defend the Patriots from one thing, though--they aren't the Black Sox. Losing on purpose is worse than cheating to win, IMHO.

281
by Rex Grossman: Eyebrows of DOOM!! (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:24pm

Oh, and as for Goodell--the NFL has already destroyed evidence and released contradictory statements on the matter, and that's just the last two days. God only knows what they'll do next...

282
by Frick (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:31pm

Re: 243 Patriotsgirl

Thank you, the quote that I saw mentioned only the coaches.

283
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 7:39pm

#4: I just went to Opensecrets.org, and your statement is false.

At least have the decency and intellectual honesty to argue with facts (see link).

That said, I agree with the non-conspiratorial parts of your post.

284
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 8:04pm

Re: #283

Sorry. Comcast was "merely" the second largest contributor to Specter.

285
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 8:05pm

So I stand by everything I said about what Specter is up to.

286
by Purds (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 8:08pm

re: #240 by PatsFan:

Guilty as charged. I was trying to read all of the posts quickly, and I scanned vanya's post. I thought he/she was inferring that the taping was no big deal because taping doesn't really give enough of an advantage. On second read, due to your calling me on it, it appears vanya meant the taping was no big deal because others have done worst in the past. Can't argue there. Folks sure have.

My argument on this rereading of the post would be this: at what point, given the spotty history of the league, do we say anything is wrong to do? Because folks (dare I call these older guys "heroes"?) have done worse, and not been fined, does that make all future rule breaks okay? I mean, I see that others have done worse, but then can the NFL never rightly clean up the league to its new standards? Can defensive players grab QB's, pick them off the ground, and pile drive them on their heads like they did in the "good old days" and not face any scrutiny? Sure, pile-driving is against the rules, but our heroes of the past did it.

Again, I think most of the passion here is really misaimed. Goodell screwed the Pats (especially if everyone is taping signals--a first round pick for doing what everyone is doing?), screwed the fans (by not holding a real investigation--Mr. Suspect, did you give me all the evidence? You did? Okay, you can go now!), and himself (by thinking questions would never be raised again just because he said NE told him all was okay).

287
by John A. Henry (not verified) :: Sun, 02/03/2008 - 9:32pm

Just because they record it and watch "film" it doesn't mean they are cheating!

288
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 12:05am

You know what I heard? The reason the story leaked about taping the Rams walkthrough was because the Giants knew they were going to try it for Super Bowl 42.

289
by fromanchu (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 12:05am

what a sore loser.
like randy, like bill

290
by cd6! (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 12:21am

Ooops somebody forgot to record the Giants' practice.

And the Pats lose when it matters.

cd6 rejoices.

291
by Mitch (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 12:28am

Suck it you cheating cocksuckers!

Bill Bellicheat, a douche til the end.

292
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 1:11am

This may all be irrational but the first thought that came in my head when the 4 and 20 throw from Brady hit the turf

"Ding Dong the Witch is, the Wicked Witch is dead"

Beyond my personal joy at the loss - what a fantastic, compelling game.

293
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 1:53am

Aanybody else notice that #192 wins the thread and is unintentionally funny?

"This just in: Sales of Ben Gay plummet in New England as the Festival of Back Patting slated for Monday the 4th is cancelled. Film at eleven. And in related news, drinks on the house for Giants fans at all Shula's Steak Houses."

294
by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 2:05am

I'm expecting someone to accuse the Giants of cheating in the Super Bowl any day now, since that's obviously the only way they could possibly have beaten the Greatest Sports Team Ever, right?

ROTFLMAO!!!

295
by Kyle S (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 3:02am

Can we have an irrational Peyton vs. Eli thread now?

296
by matt millen\'s brain (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 3:35am

I'd like to pile on and add to those posters who are bashing Jason's statement about majority rule, just because it's so absurd and frightening it should be understood that it is anathema to most thinking people. If pure majority rule was in effect, we'd probably still have slavery, or at least Jim Crow in some places.

Fear of the tyranny of the majority is one of, if not the, most important things about the form of government our founding fathers established 200 years ago.

297
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 3:46am

Rick A., if you don't think all immorality should be criminalized, then don't put forth the lunatic analogy between breaking laws in an attempt to win an election, as Nixon did, and taping an effin' football practice or a football coach.

I don't appreciate lunatics who encourage self-aggrandizing, power hungry, egomaniacal politicians, who wield the awesome power of the state, to stick their noses into every activity under the sun that they may find immoral or distasteful. Here's a clue. If the behavior of various people in the NFL is something you find terribly bothersome, take up knitting or fly fishing. Read an effin' book every Sunday. Please, oh, please, refrain from encouraging your favorite jerk of a politician from getting up on his soapbox, because there is one thing that can be counted on. The more these swine are encouraged to weigh in with their tiny little minds, the more they will not only weigh in, but also actually use their access to state power to push people around, no matter if we just want to knit, fly fish, read a book, or watch a football game.

298
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 7:53am

So, how long will the greatest team of all time stay together before implosion ?
I say 1 month.
Moss will go away, old-timers will retire, BB will be forced out and the king will be naked !

299
by Matt (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 11:49am

I just read Esterbrook's special piece on the scandal, and I think he makes some excellent points.

1. Why the attacks on Specter? I admit that his motivations are sketchy, but so what? If my girlfriend uncovers criminal behavior that I engaged in "just to spite me", isn't it still a good thing that I get punished for what I did wrong?

Even Pats fans have to admit that this all looks fishy. If the recovered tapes gave the Pats "no real advantage", then why were they punished so harshly? And why didn't the NFL reveal that the tapes weren't that big of a deal back when the story first broke? Why cover it up if there was nothing major on the tapes?

We don't know the whole story, but to maintain the integrity of the game, a full investigation needs to be done by someone who isn't the NFL.

300
by JMK (not verified) :: Mon, 02/04/2008 - 12:15pm

Man, it's much harder for new england to win without cheating, huh?