Oh, the great scandals of USA history, let’s look back on them, shall we? There was of course Watergate, Spygate, Deflategate, and…….all the other……gates. Both Spygate & Delfategate revolve around the NFL’s most elite team, but today we are just going to talk about the former.
Let’s think of what comes to mind when we see the name New England Patriots: Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Gronk, Bill Belichick, CHEATING! OK, so that last thing might just depend on how you feel about the team. Personally, I despise them, never like them and never will. It has nothing to do with the fact that my football team hasn’t won a Super Bowl in 27 years & can’t seem to get any of their shit together…. NOTHING I TELL YOU (but I digress)!
On September 10, 2007 New York Jets staff members announced to the media that they believed Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had sent his staff to film the Jets defensive plays from an on-field location. That is a big no, no in the NFL! Mr. Goodell no likey that! Now, I will give Belicheat credit for coming forward two days later to admit his wrong doings and apologize to the organization (bravo Bill). He also sat down and had a nice chat with Roger Goodell about how he “misinterpreted” the leagues filming guidelines, mhmmm….
On September 13, 2007 Bill Belicheatchick was fined $500,000, that’s enough money to buy a decent sized house but to him it’s merely pocket change. That was the largest fine ever given to a coach in the (then) 87-year history of the NFL; as well as the max fine permitted under the organization’s rules. Robert Kraft (this is not the same guy that makes the cheese…. trust me, I checked) and the good ol’ Patriots as a whole were fined $250,000 & lost their first-round pick in the 2008 NFL draft. That was the first time a team had been stripped of their first-round pick since 1971 when it happened to the Miami Dolphins.
On September 16, 2007 Roger Goodell ordered the Patriots to hand over the goods. All notes, tapes, and other materials related to the incident now belonged to Mr. Goodell, he had also threatened the team with further disciplinary action if the Patriots did not comply. In his usual pre-Super Bowl press conference Roger let the world know all the tea. He revealed that New England had six shady tapes in total, all from the late 2006 season & 2007 preseason.
After one of the actual tapes was aired on “FOX NFL Sunday’ former Cowboys head coach (my homie, my boo, my amigo) Jimmy Johnson had this to say; “This is exactly how I was told to do it 18 years ago by a Kansas City Chiefs scout. I tried it, but I didn’t think it helped us.”. He then went on to defend the players but not the coaches with this statement; “Bill Belichick was wrong because he videotaped signals after a memo was sent out to all of the teams saying not to do it. But what irritates me is hearing some reactions from players and coaches. These players don’t know what their coaches are doing. And some of the coaches have selective amnesia because I know for a fact there were various teams doing this. That’s why the memo was sent to everybody. That doesn’t make Belichick right, but a lot of teams are doing this.” That is right Jimmy you tell ’em!
On November 6, 2007 former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula (RIP) released his own statement regarding the incident by saying; “The Spygate thing has diminished what they’ve accomplished. You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments. They’ve got it. …I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds’ home run record. I guess it will be noted that the Patriots were fined and a number-one draft choice was taken away during that year of accomplishment.”.
In 2008 NFL team owners approved the rule that the defensive coach & players have to use the same radio communications as the offensive coach & players (The offense started using this system in 1994).
On February 1, 2008, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Commity , commented on the incident and the NFL’s decision to destroy the video tape evidence in a article published by the ‘New York Times, “I am very concerned about the underlying facts on the taping, the reasons for the judgment on the limited penalties and, most of all, on the inexplicable destruction of the tapes.”During a press conference Goodell said that he would gladly meet with congress and explain his reasoning behind destroying the tapes. On May 14, 2008 that is exactly what he did. You know the Patriots messed up if this issue made it all the way to Washington DC.
Matt Welsh a former Patriots video assistant would later claim that he had some good dirt on the team that he has not yet divulged. He would eventually share the fact that he had tapes from the team dating back to 2000 (he was able to produce those physical tapes when asked).
I present to you, SPYGATE 2.0! Yes, ladies and gentlemen Spygate is back and better than ever. The New England Patriots were caught videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals week 14 game of the 2019 season against the Cleveland Browns. This is their second violation so this time around their punishment was just a tad more severe as the first time. The Patriots will pay $1.1 million in fines, they will lose a 2021 third round draft pick, & Their TV crews will not be allowed to shoot games at all during the 2020 season. Bill Belicheat has not commented on the situation since the NFL started their investigation.
Whether you love them or hate them the New England Patriots have been a team on top of the NFL for a long time. Sure, they are a bunch of shady cheaters but they were also great for other reasons. When you have the likes of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, & Julian Edelman working together on the field you are just destined for success. I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. I’m ashamed of myself for handing out such a compliment to this team.
Well you know what they say the bigger they are the harder they fall and the Patriots are going to fall pretty damn hard. With Brady, Gronk, & their cameras gone there is no way the Pats will be able to hold the top spot. I suppose we will just have to see what Bill Belichick & Cam Newton can do with the team.
‘Spygate 2.0’ – USA Today
‘Patriots-Bengals Video Drama’ – CBS Sports
‘The Patriots Video Incident’ – Sports Illustrated
‘Spygate 2?’ – The Guardian