I am 51 and have lived in Massachusetts all my life. I have been a diehard Patriots fan since the Grogan days. I have seen them go from the laughingstock of the league, to one of the most respected teams in the league (circa 2003-2006) to now, arguably the most “hated” team in the NFL (if not all of sports). It’s all almost surreal. I have to say, having my favorite team being “hated” for winning so much( that’s my theory anyway) is much better than being laughed at or irrelevant. So thank you to the irrational haters for the icing on my already delicious cake.
As I mentioned in my very first post on here, I own a sports forum.(sportschatter.co if you want to check it out) I was working on a”post” (this post to be specific) about what it’s like to be a Patriots fan and some of the crazy things I read about my beloved Pats. Almost on queue – the very next day – those trash pieces by ESPN and SI came out. The ones fueled by about 100 “Anonymous sources” and their allegations of cheating by the Patriots over the years.
We heard how visiting teams would have their locker room swept for “bugs”. The Colts in particular would have this done before every game in Foxboro. Despite the fact that no bugs were ever found, this was somehow more proof of cheating by those dirty Patriots! Huh? Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the Patriots are guilty.
We also heard how the Pats were “notorious for stealing play books”. How do teams allow that happen enough times for the Pats to be notorious for it?
A little known fact about “Spygate” is that most of taping was perfectly legal. Other than game 1 of the 2007 season when they got “caught”(in quotes because Estrella was not trying to hide, he was right out there with a pretty large video camera) you heard they got caught in Green Bay previously. The infraction was doing the taping from the sideline which wasn’t one of the designated areas. Lambeau and the old Giants Stadium (where the Jests also played) are fairly unique in that those are (or were in the Giants case, I dont know if the new stadium is the same way) the only stadiums where the home team’s bench is under the press box which makes it nearly impossible to see/tape the signals from the “legal” areas
In Goodell’s statement about why he destroyed the tapes he said:
“We wanted to take and destroy that information,” he said. “They may have collected it within the rules, but we couldn’t determine that. So we felt that it should be destroyed.”
That statement right there tells you it wasn’t the taping of signals that was the issue or there would be no doubt whether the “information” was collected within the rules or not.
So yes they did break a rule or “cheated”in the games at Lambeau and the old Giants Stadium. They only play the Giants and Packers once every 4 years so it’s hard to figure they gained much of an advantage since the tapes were not even viewed until after the game. I doubt any team keeps the same signals for 4 years. That leaves the Jets as the only team that might have a legitimate beef. All the nonsense about “cheating their way to 3 titles” is just that- nonsense. Mostly fueled by “media” like ESPN with shoddy , slanted “reporting”. It is just human nature for sports fans to “hate” teams that do a lot of winning so for many it’s pretty easy to WANT to believe the Patriots are the biggest cheaters of all time.
Another great example of how the media can, or at least tries to sway public opinion, especially the opinions of those that WANT to believe is the part in the ESPN trash piece about all the notes and diagrams that were destroyed along with the tapes. There is absolutely nothing illegal about taking notes and making diagrams/graphs of the signals during the game. Even the purest of teams had people doing this. Yet ESPN leads (wants) you to believe that was even more cheating. When they allude to Belichick not cooperating, that’s what it was- he didn’t think the legal stuff-which was most of it- should be destroyed, but it was.
So we know that after week 1 of 2007 the entire library- again most of which was actually legal- of signals, notes…everything, was destroyed. They went on to go 16-0 while setting numerous offensive records. The next year they won 11 games despite Brady being lost for the season during the 1st quarter of the first game. Year in year out since they lost all that “intel” they have one of the best offenses and teams in the NFL
All this usually leads to the question of “Well if it didnt help much why did they do it then? I really don’t know the answer, all I know is it doesnt seem like there has been any drop off and actually I’d say Brady has been even better since ….
Some people are swayed by but what they read or hear the talking heads say. Me? I prefer to watch football and come to my own conclusions. Every game I watch that doesnt involve the Patriots I see things that just make me shake my head and realize how lucky I am to root for a team that always shows up prepared, plays hard and rarely makes that bonehead mistake that can be the difference between a win or a loss. You also hear from guys like Reggie Wayne, Revis , Browner, Ocho that come here and seem shocked at how much “work” the Pats put in for every game.
It is unfortunate so many believe every negative thing they hear concerning the Pats instead of just watching them and acknowledging that maybe they just are that good because they work hard and play hard . But it’s unfortunate for them, not me. All the crazy stuff I read about my team from fans of other teams (And sometimes the media) only makes the winning even more fun so I thank you, you crazy sports fan! The onlt thing that bothers me is when I see something like “I hope they break Brady’s knee!” That is just being an awful sports fan and human being. Other than that, whine away!