There’s an old saying most of us were taught as kids, “Cheaters never win and winners never cheat.”
I guess Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization got that one a bit confused.
No NFL coach or NFL team has been in the middle of more cheating scandals or questionable acts of the rules as Bill Belichick and the Patriots during Belichick’s tenure.
Belicheat as he is known by many of his opponents fan bases has proven again and again that he will push the envelope and beyond to win at all cost.
Let’t start with the “Spygate” scandal in 2007 when the Patriots were caught video taping opponents coaching signals.
The NFL fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 for his role in the incident, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in 2008 .
Many at the time felt that the Patriots and Belichick got off easy.
From the beginning this whole thing seemed like a cover up by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell.
The fact that Goodell had all evidence destroyed on site tells you that Spygate is bigger and more damaging than the Patriots, the NFL or Goodell had ever let on.
Where else do they destroy evidence at a crime scene? The act of destroying evidence would be a disservice to the victims of the crime and a disservice to the alleged perpetrators of the crime.
Now ESPN and Sports Illustrated have revisited Spygate with investigative reports and many new things have come to light.
In the ESPN story, Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart it’s now being reported that the Patriots had been video taping games and teams signals as early as 2000 and video taped at least 40 games not the 8 or so that were first reported. The Patriots are also said to have had a room accessible only to Belichick and a few others, with a library of scouting material containing videotapes of opponents’ signals, with detailed notes matching signals to plays for many teams going back seven seasons. Among them were handwritten diagrams of the defensive signals of the Pittsburgh Steelers, including the notes used in the January 2002 AFC Championship Game won by the Patriots 24-17.
Many Steelers players and coaches felt and still feel that the Patriots also knew their play calls in the 2005 AFC Championship game. That’s 2 Super Bowl appearances that may have been stolen from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hmmm,why would Goodell have evidence destroyed? Why would Goodell down play the advantage the Patriots gained during Spygate ?
He knew that Bill Belichick and the Patriots had gained a distinct unfair advantage by stealing these signals and in some of the biggest NFL games possible,including Super Bowls.
Not long after Spygate broke there were rumors that the Patriots video taped the Rams walk through practices before the Super Bowl in 2002.
Many Rams players have said it was as if the Patriots knew their plays even ones they had never ran all season .
Goodell didn’t want NFL fans to know the truth and knew that it would do irreversible damage to the integrity of the NFL and put in question the outcome of Super Bowls that the Patriots had been involved in .
He had all evidence destroyed and convinced owners to bite the bullet for the good of the game .
So even though most of the owners were still upset by Spygate and did not agree with Goodell’s shoddy handling of it. They agreed to drop it and put on a happy face as a form of damage control.
The ESPN report did not stop at Spygate but also reported the Patriots also gained advantages in other cheating ways…
The ESPN report: “In fact, many former New England coaches and employees insist that the taping of signals wasn’t even the most effective cheating method the Patriots deployed in that [spygate] era. Several of them acknowledge that during pregame warm-ups, a low-level Patriots employee would sneak into the visiting locker room and steal the play sheet, listing the first 20 or so scripted calls for the opposing team’s offense. (The practice became so notorious that some coaches put out fake play sheets for the Patriots to swipe.)”
Well now, let’s fast forward to 2015. The Patriots and Quarterback Tom Brady are in the middle of the Deflategate controversy. The Patriots were found guilty of deflating footballs to gain a competitive advantage against the Colts in a 2015 playoff game by Roger Goodell and the NFL. The Patriots’ organisation was fined and QB Tom Brady was handed a 4 game suspension.
The suspension was later overturned when Brady took the NFL and Goodell to court. The judge claimed that the NFL can’t suspend Brady for knowledge of a deflation scheme because Brady was not placed on proper notice of the possibility of a suspension for such conduct. The NFL has now began its own appeal .
The focus of Deflategate was on QB Tom Brady but I believe the bigger picture is the advantage in the turnover category. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that an under-deflated football is easier to grip, catch, and throw.
The thought of the Patriots deflating footballs did not begin with the Colts Playoff game ,as there were multiple reports that teams had suspected the Patriots deflated footballs during the regular season.
Is it a coincidence that the Patriots are among the least fumbling teams of the past 5 seasons?
Michael Salfino of the Wall Street Journal looked at Patriots players who, since 2010, have logged significant minutes on other teams to compare fumbles rates. His findings:
Michael Salfino:“Additionally, according to Stats, LLC, the six players who have played extensively for the Patriots and other teams in this span all fumbled far less frequently wearing the New England uniform. Including recovered fumbles, Danny Amendola, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Brandon LaFell and LeGarrette Blount have lost the ball eight times in 1,482 touches for the Patriots since 2010, or once every 185.3 times. For their other teams, they fumbled 22 times in 1,701 touches (once every 77.3).”
One fumble every 185.3 touches as Patriots… one fumble every 77.3 touches when playing for other teams. Is this fact just another coincidence?
Is it really believable that a power freak like Bill Belichick had no clue about the deflation of footballs? This coming from a coach that is notoriously hands on in every minute detail of his team.
Tom Brady and Bill Belichick both held press conferences not long after the DeflateGate allegations surfaced both were smug and defiant with their “How dare they attitudes”.
Tom Brady even destroyed his cell phone obstructing the NFL’s investigation.
Do you think that the NFL wants to be wrappped up in a messy court battle with it’s reigning Super Bowl Champions?The answer is no, its bad for business. However, the Patriots and Tom Brady gave them no other choice.
The NFL owners turned their cheeks once during Spygate and are not about to let this just slide by again.The fact that commissioner Roger Goodell fumbled the handling of Spygate and Deflategate and has made the NFL look like the Patriot’s court jesters just makes matters worse.
Sports Illustrated recently did an investigative report Suspicions of Bill Belichick’s Patriots regime persist among opponents. In this report they cover just how much Belichick and the Patriots are not trusted by the other NFL teams. The following is from SI’S report..
SI: “At various times over the last decade, at least 19 NFL franchises took precautions against the Patriots that they didn’t take against any other opponent, people who worked for those teams told SI. Those concerns have not waned in the eight years that have passed since the Spygate scandal. The list of safeguards is long and varied. Teams commonly clear out trash cans in their hotel meeting rooms in New England because they believe the Patriots go through them. One longtime head coach said he ran fake plays in his Saturday walkthroughs at Gillette Stadium because he thought the Patriots might be spying on his team. Another team has taken things further: It fled Gillette and found a different place to practice, and on game day it piled trunks of equipment against the double doors in the back of the visitors’ locker room so nobody could get in. That same team kicked the visiting locker room manager out of the office he occupies near the clubhouse.”
It’s not uncommon to hear Patriot opponents complain of trouble with their headset communication at Gillette Stadium. There are even reports that the Patriots tell employees to do just about anything to make their opponents visits there as uncomfortable as possible.
Over the years some have called Bill Belichick a coaching genius and an all-time great of his era.
It’s clear to me Bill Belichick is far from this genius facade that he has hidden behind.
A genius would not have to bend and break the rules at every turn. A great coach need not feed his insecurities by cheating or finding grey areas in the rule book.
Bill Belichick is the poorest example of what a great coach is supposed to be. He is a stain on the NFL shield . He has shown that he is an habitual cheater whether he need to or not.
If the shoe fits wear it … Bill Belicheat the name fits you well, Bill.
The following links will take you to the ESPN and Sports Illustrated Spygate investigative reports.Read them and let us know what you think….
“I would prefer even to fail with honor than win by cheating.”~Sophocles