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New Claim of Taping Emerges Against Patriots

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  • New Claim of Taping Emerges Against Patriots

    link to NYT story

    INDIANAPOLIS — The Patriots’ pattern of illicitly videotaping the signals of opposing N.F.L. coaches began in Coach Bill Belichick’s first preseason with the team in 2000, a former Patriots player said. The information was put to use in that year’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Belichick’s debut as New England’s coach.

    The secret taping of signals, which is against league rules, continued at least through three championship seasons to the 2007 season opener against the Jets, when the Patriots were caught and subsequently sanctioned by the league.

    As coaches and executives gathered here Thursday for the N.F.L. scouting combine, many saying they were satisfied with the league’s investigation and ready to move on, new details were emerging about the history of the Patriots’ videotaping.

    According to several executives in the league, the season opener against the Jets was not the first time the Patriots had been spotted taping another team’s defensive coaches at Giants Stadium. In the final preseason game of 2006, the Patriots were caught taping a Giants defensive assistant giving signals, the executives said.

    The incident prompted a letter addressed to all teams seven days later from the N.F.L. vice president Ray Anderson that detailed the league’s interpretation of the rules. That letter was cited by Commissioner Roger Goodell when he punished the Patriots.

    Belichick has said that he misinterpreted the league’s bylaws, telling Goodell that he thought it was permissible to use electronic equipment as long as the information was not used in the same game. That explanation has been greeted with disbelief by some peers and league officials.

    In a news conference last week, Goodell said Belichick’s explanation led to the assumption that he had been videotaping opponents’ signals “as long as he has been head coach.”

    The league’s nine-member competition committee spent three days this week discussing various rules changes that it might recommend for next season. After a 90-minute briefing on the Patriots’ videotaping activities Thursday by Goodell and three league vice presidents, the committee said taping rules would not be changed in the aftermath of the controversy.

    “The rules are very, very clear,” said Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher, a committee member. “There is no need to be more specific or clarify any rules whatsoever.”

    Questions linger about how much of an advantage the Patriots may have had if they intercepted defensive signals. Under Belichick, the Patriots have often run a no-huddle offense, which forces opponents to quickly call a defensive play. N.F.L. rules allow quarterbacks to hear instructions from coaches — through a headset and into a speaker in the quarterback’s helmet — until there are 15 seconds left on a play clock. When the defensive play call is deciphered, the Patriots could call a play to counteract. The Patriots lost the 2000 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, when videotape of signals was used in preparation, according to the former Patriots player, who was among several former players interviewed by the N.F.L but said he did not want to speak publicly because the investigation is continuing.

    The Patriots appear to have continued the practice of taping opposing signals for seven years. Last September, Goodell fined Belichick $500,000, fined the Patriots $250,000 and took away one of team’s first-round draft choices in 2008. After the sanctions were announced, the Patriots submitted six tapes, from games in 2006 and 2007, and some notes that dated to 2002, Goodell said. The tapes and notes were destroyed days after being handed to the league, because Goodell considered the matter closed.

    But questions remain about how wide and deep the Patriots’ taping habits extended. Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican who met with Goodell last week, is among those still questioning why the league was so quick to sanction the Patriots and destroy the evidence.

    Goodell met with the competition committee Thursday to discuss his handling of the spying case. Committee members seemed satisfied and eager to turn the page.

    “We were all satisfied, every one of us,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president. “All of us have our different opinions about the Patriots, but we were all satisfied that this thing was investigated properly and that they came to the proper conclusion.”

    Bill Polian, the president of the Indianapolis Colts, said: “It’s behind us. It’s time to move forward.”

    But emerging details continue to pull the league back in time. On Feb. 2, The Boston Herald reported that the Patriots might have taped a St. Louis Rams walkthrough practice the day before the teams played in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots won, 20-17, on a last-second field goal. Belichick, speaking to The Boston Globe, recently denied that the practice was taped.

    In the hallway at the convention center here, Mike Martz wanted to talk about his new job as San Francisco’s offensive coordinator. Instead, reporters peppered him with questions about the Patriots. Martz was the coach of the Rams when the teams met in the Super Bowl six years ago.

    He took exception to the theory that the Patriots could not have gleaned much information from taping the walkthrough. He said indeed they could, but added that was not the point.

    “For somebody to say that, it’s kind of disgusting,” Martz said. “The whole point is if they really cheated. To say he took some steroids and it did help or it didn’t help, that’s never the point. The point is, to all these high school coaches and high school kids and college kids, that if they did cheat, that’s the point.”

    Martz said he assumed the walkthrough report was false. A similar sentiment was voiced by Chicago Bears Coach Lovie Smith, the Rams’ defensive coordinator that season.

    “It’s just hard for me to fathom anyone would do anything like that,” Smith said. “I’m sure, if there’s something to it, No. 1, it will come out later. Time has a way of taking care of all things.”

    Martz was asked if he wanted the N.F.L. to continue investigating the walkthrough. “Of course,” he said. “I was involved in that. I was responsible for a lot of people in that game.”

    Executives dismissed any lingering notions that the Patriots’ taping opponents was a common practice around the league.

    “I don’t want the outside perception to be, ‘Boy, there are all these teams and they’re all doing all these things,’ ” said Rich McKay, the Falcons’ president and a member of the competition committee. “Because it’s not true.”

    Belichick was not seen in the hallways of the convention center Thursday. Representatives of 21 teams are scheduled to meet with reporters for news conferences from Thursday to Sunday. Belichick and the Patriots are not among them.

    Wow...this thing just wont go away. I wonder whats going to happen next?
    Adopted by: Peanut

    "You find ways to win and certainly you can find ways to's not just dumb luck."
    -Sean Payton

  • #2
    This continues to intrigue me. I'm not sure who to be mad at now, Belicheat and Patri*ts or Roger “Look The Other Way” Goodell? Yes, the Patriots seem to have doing A LOT of video taping, but it was Goodell who slapped them on the wrist after the Spygate thing came to the forefront after the Jets game. If Goodell knew some of the other stuff but chose to look the other way because the Patri*ts are such a “model organization,” then more of the blame should fall on his shoulders.

    Another point I’d like to make is that the player who is making these additional allegation may be someone who has had run-ins with Belicheat. This is just speculation, but Ted Johnson was entering his 6th season with the Patri*ts when Belicheat took over as the head coach. As noted in this story "Johnson began to deteriorate in 2002 with a concussion during an exhibition game against the New York Giants. He sustained another concussion four days later after Belicheat prodded him to participate in a full-contact practice, even though he was supposed to be avoiding hits, Johnson said."
    I know this is all speculation, but wouldn’t be ironic that it be Ted Johnson to blow the lid right off this story. Remember this was one of Roger Goodell’s first things he had to address when he took over as the commish. And to quote the story again:
    NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, at his state of the league news conference Friday, did not get into specifics of the case, saying he only became aware of the situation Thursday. He said, however, a player’s health should take precedence over football issues.
    The Patriots did not allow Jim Whalen, still their head trainer, to comment for this story, according to the Globe.
    Doesn’t that sound eerily familiar? Matt Walsh wasn’t able to come forward because he had signed a confidentiality agreement before “leaving” the Patriots. And Goodell played the “this is news to me” card. Boy, Belicheat or Robert Kraft must have something on Goodell.


    • #3
      The part that really suprised me was the first paragraph of this story...that the taping started back in 2000?!?!
      In the court of public opinion, this only makes the Patriot organization look worse.
      Of course, B.B. had 6 tapes that Gooddel know that had to be more than 1 games worth of info?

      On the confidentiality agreement...I wonder if Goodel would give immunity to Matt Walsh in return for his testimony?

      Goodell is stuck now. He either sweeps this under the rug, or confronts all of this mess head on and takes the hit for having (if it is true) a cheating team in the NFL.

      Either way, the inital hit to the reputation of the Patriots and the NFL takes a hit.

      I hope he confronts this and settles it once and for all...otherwise the specuation and rumors will erode the bases of NFL watchers....and I dont want to see that happen.

      On a similar note, Martz made a good point in this piece about this kind of thing affecting high school and college players, and the message this sends them.
      Adopted by: Peanut

      "You find ways to win and certainly you can find ways to's not just dumb luck."
      -Sean Payton


      • #4
        I think Goodell is almost just as guilty and worthy of blame as the Patri*t organization.

        He could have brought this entire issue out into the light and had everything brought forth, all the evidence, given players and employees (both current and former) immunity so that they would tell the honest truth about what had been going on and if they didn't feel comfortable with the organization, they could safely be moved to another, or at least not have to worry about losing their careers/benefits for family purposes.

        Goodell needs to fess up, and swallow some pride here and just take the hit. If he doesn't want the U.S. Congress doing his sniffing around for him, he better get his act together before he loses control of the situation...because if he does, he will have to face the possibility of going down with the Patri*ts.

        Also, if he does swallow pride and cooperate, and force teams to cooperate and bring forth any evidence they may have, then this will either prove that the Patri*ts have indeed been cheating for the last 8 years....or, he will look like the good guy IF it comes to light that there can be no evidence that the organization has been taping opponents for so long.

        If Goodell does everything in his power (which is ridiculous power, mind you) then he can exonerate the entire league, and himself by proving the innocence of the Patri*ts (at least other than the Jets ordeal)....but if he does find convicting evidence, then he can deal with it, and those who want proper justice served will be satisfied.

        I mean, we would be naive to think that some sort of scandal or news or allegations wouldn't surface if any other team were threatening to go undefeated....there would undoubtedly be something to surface, whether true or not....

        But Goodell's job is to decipher just that, whether or not these allegations are true, and so far he's failing miserably.
        Last edited by RealBronco; 02-22-2008, 01:24 PM. Reason: had more to say.



        • #5
          Ted Johnson is on ESPN right now talking about Spy Gate. He's saying how he got a list of the opponents audibles shortly before the game.

          Here's the quote:

          "Every now and then I'd get a sheet, one hour before the game, with a list of audibles for our opponent," Johnson said in November 2005. "I don't know how, but they just showed up."


          • #6
            If this is true and there is significant evidence to back it up, the Patriots should be stripped of any super bowl wins in offending seasons, especially the one against the rams, Billy should be banned from coaching any form of football for a specific time period, and the Patroits should face heavy fines and sanctions.
            "On a given day, a given circumstance, you think you have a limit. And you then go for this limit and you touch this limit, and you think, 'Okay, this is the limit'. And so you touch this limit, something happens and you suddenly can go a little bit further. With your mind power, your determination, your instinct, and the experience as well, you can fly very high."
            Ayrton Senna..


            • #7
              Originally posted by BroncFanIN View Post
              Wow...this thing just wont go away. I wonder whats going to happen next?
              Didn't you know???? Recent evidence points to Belicheat being on a grassy knoll in Dallas, back in '63

              Damn, no internet for a month, and I'm missing the Pansies being dug deeper, and deeper into a hole!!!!!!
              The Whiskyteers ~ One for all, and all for MORE!!!!

              Broncomania Best Foreign Poster
              BFC.........D Will #27.............D Nash #29
              You'll Never Walk Alone

              Spiffing sig, MasterShake :cheers:

              You know, in certain older civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords ~ The Operative, Serenity

              Maybe Slowick should pay attention


              • #8
                Sure makes it easy on a QB (that has been deemed "the smartest QB" ) when you have a voice in your ear literally knowing the defense called against you. Sure makes those 'pre-snap' reads simple.


                • #9
                  NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello states the NY times story is untrue.

                  Figures, just about everything written about Spygate is a load of crap in which the mediots hope the foolish masses will believe it.

                  Here's the truth

                  The story the NFL wants to see shrivel up and die but continues to cling to life took another turn yesterday when the league refuted a New York Times report that the Patriots were caught illegally …

                  I'm sure PFT will be mentioning this Post story shortly.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mr. Roper View Post
                    NFL Spokesman Greg Aiello states the NY times story is untrue.

                    Figures, just about everything written about Spygate is a load of crap in which the mediots hope the foolish masses will believe it.

                    Here's the truth

                    The story the NFL wants to see shrivel up and die but continues to cling to life took another turn yesterday when the league refuted a New York Times report that the Patriots were caught illegally …

                    I'm sure PFT will be mentioning this Post story shortly.
                    Good find.

                    From the sounds of this article, they are getting closer to talks with Matt Walsh, who allegedly has evidence of taping.

                    When that happens, we'll see what he says and what he has....but from what folks are saying...they just want this to go away.
                    Perhaps this last piece needs to be presented before it can.
                    Adopted by: Peanut

                    "You find ways to win and certainly you can find ways to's not just dumb luck."
                    -Sean Payton


                    • #11
                      The more this Spygate thing goes on the least I am surprised by it. Harsher action needs to be taken against the Patriots, perhaps even Billichick losing his job and being banned from coaching in the NFL ever again. Goodell has not handled this situation properly. I do seriously doubt the abilities of Goodell being the NFL Commissioner after this debacle. If stripping the Patriots of their Super Bowl wins is not possible then an asterisk should be put next to those years.