November 19, 2017

We’ve All Been Cheated

logo 912by Dan Snapp
[email protected]

What the hell is going on?

The Patriots did play Sunday, right? Because suddenly I’m not so sure. Is it even September? Did they even start the season?

We should have been three days into a post-blowout celebration, but we’ve been cheated of that. The rumors that the Patriots are guilty of illegally recording Jets defensive signals, and the mass media fallout that’s resulted, have left us all feeling a little hazy.

It’s still early, and there’s only smoke so far (lots and lots and lots of smoke), but that’s not stopping people from yelling “Fire!” Some are way out ahead of themselves, like Terrell Davis on the NFL Network suggesting a two-year playoff ban. Mike Florio ponders whether Coach Bill Belichick will be fired or merely suspended. And LaDainian Tomlinson, already on record last winter as calling Belichick “classless”, is shooting his mouth off again.

“I think the Patriots actually live by the saying, ‘If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying,'” opined Tomlinson, sharing the results of his exhaustive investigation. You know LaDainian, he’s classy. Just ask him.

There’s still nothing definitive from the league yet, only reports from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen that Commissioner Roger Goodell has already determined the Patriots guilty. Mike Reiss, and Shalise Manza Young , however, have league spokesman Greg Aiello saying no decision has yet been rendered. And Mortensen’s sources have left him dangling recently on stories about Michael Vick and Eli Manning.

Nonetheless, Patriots fans should brace for the worst. Goodell’s the gunfighter hired to clean up Dodge, and neither the team’s reputation nor Robert Kraft’s influence will stop Goodell from making an example of them. Plus, they might just be guilty.

The damage already done to the Patriots reputation may be worse than anything Goodell could mete out.

There was an old novel, “The Good Soldier”, in which two couples enjoy the best of friendships over a nine-year period. The narrator comes to learn his wife’s been cheating on him with his best friend over that same span. He wrestles with the question of whether  this news negates all the good times enjoyed, since every memory has now been corrupted.

This is what Patriots fans have in store for them, whether they themselves will be rehashing the authenticity of the Super Bowl wins, or whether it’s being zealously done for them by pundits and opposing fans alike. It took the 2003 and 2004 wins to quell the “tuck rule” clarion calls, but now there’s gristle for the masses to call those into question as well.

Yeah, we’re never going to hear the end of this.

So are the Patriots victims of some breach of unwritten NFL etiquette? Everybody steals signals, everybody knows about it, but nobody says anything until some maverick whistle-blower decides he wants to take down the league’s elite? That sort of thing?

Even if there’s truth to the “Everybody does it” argument, it doesn’t wash here. The Patriots were so amazingly, arrogantly brazen with this, it’s almost as if they were trying to get caught.

We never thought we’d ever be saying this about Belichick, but how stupid can he get? The same assistant videographer got nabbed in Green Bay, they’ve been warned by the league about the practice, and oh yeah, his old assistant coach – a guy who knows how the operation runs –  is on the other sideline. Ya think they might be looking for it?

The punishment is going to leave somebody unsatisfied. Execs like Bill Polian and Bob Harlan smell blood in the air, and are going for the jugular. Will the loss of a second- and fifth-round pick (The speculation from Sports Illustrated’s Don Banks) appease them? Or will the sway of public opinion force more forfeitures of picks, a forfeiture of the game, or like Florio predicts, a suspension for Belichick?

The events of the last few days have also revealed the league-wide contempt for the Patriots. Remember the days of the Cowboys with the “America’s Team” crap, and how reviled they were for it? That’s the Patriots now.

Whatever Goodell’s decision, the Patriots should follow Rodney Harrison’s lead, cooperating with the league, accepting the punishment and moving on as best they can. We should have little doubt the first thing we hear out of Belichick’s mouth is, “I’m just concentrating on the next game.”

Here we thought it might actually be easy this season. Big free agent signings, huge trades for premier players, and nary a storm on the horizon, save for Asante Samuel’s contract talks.

We should have known better. The Patriots are at their best when facing adversity. Here’s hoping they’re at their best now.

Adversity’s here.


  1. Chris in NH says:

    This will blow over. The earth will continue to revolve, and life will go on. This doesn’t taint the Jets game, let alone three Super Bowl victories. This is called ‘rationalizing’ on the part of fans from lesser teams. It’s their way of saying, “See? Without that dweeb on the sidelines, we would have won.” No one with a clear head would subscribe to that thesis, which is why I think this will die a relatively quick death as a news story.

    And oh by the way, the Jets–every last member of that organization–better have their halos on straight when these teams next meet in Foxboro.

  2. Facts are facts, Dan? What are the facts, exactly? You read something by Chris Mortensen and because it supports your ridiculous notion (hope, actually) that the 3 SB’s are ‘tainted’, it becomes ‘fact’? Then why didn’t the league office just come out and confirm Mortensen’s story, and deal with this thing right away?

    Don’t come over here with your own obvious biases and shake your head about mine. Look at the top of the page, Dan. It says ‘Patriots’.

    Even if you don’t share that opinion, you’re welcome to comment, but as far as this ‘what if the shoe was on the other foot?’ stuff, give me a break. The shoe isn’t on the other foot, and the Patriots didn’t chase down a Colts video assistant in the hallway. And what does it prove if a Patriots fan is more likely to believe the worst about an opponent than they are their own team? Isn’t that exactly what you just did?

  3. Ok pal. Just so you know, we can tolerate disagreement here anytime, as my discussions with both Brad and Lebron today indicate. I don’t think either one of them agree with me, but they’re making a sincere effort to get their point across, with respect for both sides. We welcome that, in fact, we count on it.

    One thing we don’t count on is mouthbreathing trolls that think they’re going to get the keys to this place like they do at some all-too-trusting Pats boards elsewhere.

  4. No playoffs for a year or two? Forfeit a game? Girl, please! Imagine how Jax, Cincy, Denver, Tennessee, Houston, or other team hoping to go 10-6 and sneak in would feel if the Jets got an extra win at the expense of the 13-3 NE P?

    No playoffs? How would the AFC seed its half of the bracket? What if 7-9 is the second best record in the AFCE? Why would advertisers rather pay to see J.P. Losman than Tom Brady?

    A fine? Certainly? A one game suspension for the coach? Not impossible? The loss of a couple of 2008 scholarships, for people who want the Commish to mistake his org. for the NCAA? Likely! But changing the result of a game after it’s been played? Do that, and you open a can of worms Goodell is too smart to open!

  5. I don’t know about you guys, but Dan sure convinced me. How could your “opinions” possibly hope to measure up with his “facts”?

  6. Bruce – looks like the league issued something prior to the season, last Wednesday…And, a memo from Ray Anderson, NFL head of football operations, to head coaches and GMs on Sept. 6, 2006 said: “Video taping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”

  7. Thousands of teens on ESPN can’t be wrong. Personally speaking, every day this week has improved my disposition about this whole affair. I don’t think the silence from ESPN and NFLN is a small thing. THAT is what turned this into the circus it is today and I am betting Goodell is less pleased with that then the allegations themselves.

  8. LeBron – by “addressed” I should’ve said “handled” – if the evidence was there that the Patriots have been doing this for so long, and it apparently was public knowledge among the other teams in the league, shouldn’t something a little stronger than a memo been in order here? We don’t know if there wasn’t, but I’d like to know a little more about what went on in that area.

  9. Here’s my prediction: Chargers get their assses handed to them this Sunday by a team out to prove they can kill you straight up. Physical, physical game.

  10. So….they’re going to cheat, is what you’re saying.

  11. Hit LT over the head with one of them tainted Lombardis.

  12. So, Terrell Davis wants NE excluded from the playoffs? Then he *must* be petitioning to get Denver’s 1998 SB removed from the record books, right? They were proven to have cheated the cap, which seems to be a MUCH greater offense.

  13. Oswlek, I heard that. Nah, people aren’t getting carried away at all here, are they?

    Beaker, whatever happens, they will have been closer to losing to the Chargers than they were to cheating the Jets.

  14. Of course, if there are ‘interested parties’ actively promulgating the ‘Patriots will be severely penalized’ theory of things to come, you have to hand it to them.

    If strong actions are taken, they get their way.

    But if the NFL announces anything under the ‘multiple draft picks lost and a fine’ or the more ridiculous ‘suspensions/forfeiture/playoff ban’ scenarios that are now making the rounds, it could give the public impression the League is going easy on its top franchise.

    It’s practically a no-win situation for New England.

  15. Good point, Major, I really hadn’t thought of that. I guess I’d hope that being right, whatever that turns out to be, is going to be more important to him than the public’s impression. I guess we’ll see about that.

  16. Meanwhile, the Globe has weighed in with its first ‘tsk, tsk’ editorial, which contains no mention of the fact that the league has made no statement as to the Patriots guilt, or the penalty that may be due them.

    But you just know they did it, don’t you Globe?

  17. jamesgarnerisgod says:

    Lost in this discussion is how the Pats cheated by having the referee invoke the Tuck Rule on the road to SB XXXVI, and how the Pats cheated by hitting the Colts receivers too hard on New England’s way to SB XXXVIII. And I’m sure they cheated somehow in SB XXXIX, but I just can’t remember it. Probably something to do with muddy field conditions on the pre-Stadium Turf Razor. (BTW, what are the chances that, oops, Gillettee won’t be able to get the makeshift pitch from the Brazil-Mexico match up on time? I sure hope LT wouldn’t be slowed down on such a surface.)

    And it’s not like having a tractor come out onto the field, divert from the yard line, and plow snow at the spot of the kick right before a field goal attempt. (The classics never go out of style.)

    The Patriots will ALWAYS find the way to win b/c ever other team in the NFL is made up of weak-minded crybabies. If that constitutes cheating, so be it.

  18. T.J. Donegan says:

    The thing that gets me about this whole situation is that the Pats didn’t break any rule that states you can’t try to steal signs. That has nothing to do with what happened, everyone does that. You think the Bears didn’t have recordings of Rivers’ snap counts and were learning his cadences before the game? They were jumping his counts the entire game. Every team bends this rule as much as it can. The rulebreaking here is hardly the kind of thing that should call for firings, suspensions, or forfeiture of games. It’s the same thing everyone else does but to a degree, through the use of technology, that the league has deemed illegal. The public lynching that’s been going on you’d think they killed puppies to win the game.

  19. I hope the league makes him change his name. For some reason “Belichick” still makes me stop and say, “Is that the right spelling?” It would be nice if the upshot of all this was the league made him go by “Bill Bell”…that would seem fair

  20. Nice n' Stinky says:

    I remember discussing the Yankees’ purchase of multiple World Series in the late 90’s with one of my few Yankee fan friends (this is a topic we agree to rarely broach). He clung to the defense that the games are played on the field, and regardless of how a team was assembled that is where those championships were won. In truth, it was obvious that the Yankees were simply outspending the field to purchase a competitive advantage that other teams were unable to overcome. Any reasonable and intelligent Yankee fan knew this, but to accept the obvious truth would taint the enjoyment of cheering for their team. With no leg to stand on, any Yankees fan with a modicum of shame had to stick their head in the sand and ignore the truth of the matter.

    How is this relevant? I have the same feeling today that intelligent Yankees fans must have feltback then, having to choose between defending the indefensible or ignoring what appear to be some unseemly facts. And it doesn’t feel very good.

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