In 2015 ESPN’s Outside The Lines reported that Spygate was more extensive than what was originally reported. Over 70 direct sources gave in-depth information about the extent to which the New England Patriots organization produced an elaborate scheme to cheat their opponents. Many sports fans who’ve crowned Bill Belichick as the best coach to ever coach professional football and Tom Brady as the best player to play the sport do not know the Patriots’ organization cheated their opponents for the better part of a decade.
Are we supposed to accept the Patriots’ latest explanation after being caught filming their opponents again? A sitting United States Senator, the late Arlen Spector from Pennsylvania, decried the league’s (Roger Goodell) and corporate sponsors’ involvement in covering up much of the Patriots’ extensive cataloged system of gathering film footage on their opponent’s hand signals and pre-game walk-throughs.
Many Patriots’ fans do not care to be bothered with the level of detail presented in the Wells Report that found Tom Brady was responsible for organizing the rest of the NFL quarterbacks to petition the league to main their own footballs so he could cheat his opponents.
According to the Well’s report, before the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium Game Official Walt Anderson had an odd experience. “It was the first time in Anderson’s nineteen years as an NFL official that he could not locate the game balls at the start of a game.”
The text communications between the Patriot equipment managers shed light on how far Brady was willing to go to circumvent the rules:
McNally: Tom sucks…im going make that next ball a fuckin balloon
Jastremski: Talked to him last night. He actually brought you up and said you must have a lot of stress trying to get them done…
Jastremski: I told him it was. He was right though…
Jastremski: I checked some of the balls this morn… The refs fucked us…a few of the[m] were at almost 16
Jastremski: They didnt recheck then after they put air in them
McNally: Fuck tom …16 is nothing…wait till next [S]unday
Jastremski: Omg! Spaz
Five NFL Coaches lodged complaints about break downs in communications at critical moments during games at Gillette Stadium, all to have those complaints fall on deaf ears by the league. We have to acknowledge the enormous success of the Patriots in game situations. To ignore their success would be foolhardiness but at some point, the sport’s world will have to stop ignoring the fact that the New England Patriots have cheated their opponents for the better part of the decade and make this a part of their story as well.
In 1985 one of the great innovators in professional football, the late Tex Schramm stated, when interviewed by legendary journalist Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune, “I think we’ve done about all we can do to protect the quarterback when he’s in the act of passing, which is a defenseless position for him.” This was after altering the game since the mid-70s to make the sport more appealing to television viewership. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1985-01-13/sports/8501030633_1_defensive-offensive-linemen-larry-rakestraw) Little did Tex Schramm know at the time, the NFL would continue to change the sport up to this very moment.
Roger Goodell, the son of a diehard Patriots’ fan and season ticket, has spent his entire professional career changing the fabric and authenticity of professional football. There has been much reporting about rule changes to protect less athletic and inferior players on the field of play. In 1994, with the enormous contract with Fox, rules were piled on to protect the quarterback again (http://www.slate.com/articles/sports/sports_nut/2014/09/_1994_nfl_rules_how_a_series_of_pass_friendly_changes_saved_a_moribund_league.html)
In 2014 the New York Times reported on the alarming rate at which the quarterbacks were scoring touchdown due to rule changes after Patriots owner Robert Kraft petitioned the league to enact arguably the most comprehensive and stringent rule changes applied in the sport:
As the author of a document (The Asterisk, A Fans Grievance On Cheating And Rule Manipulation In The NFL) with well over 200 sources on how cheating by the Patriots and rule manipulation by the NFL worked to contribute to much of the success of the Patriots, I urge the NFL community of fans, journalists, analysts, coaches and especially those who play the sport at all levels to closely observe this latest infraction by the Patriots and not treat it as a so-what moment, but let’s start to evaluate this organization without the rose-colored glasses.