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Moose
02-21-2008, 07:28 PM
New Claim of Cheating Emerges Against Patriots


By JOHN BRANCH and GREG BISHOP
Published: February 22, 2008
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 then put to use in that year’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Belichick’s debut as New England’s head coach.

The habit of secretly taping 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.

But it was not the first time the Patriots had been spotted taping another team’s defensive coaches at the Meadowlands. In the final preseason game of 2006, the Patriots were caught taping a Giants defensive assistant coach giving signals, several executives within the league 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 cynically by some peers and league officials, hundreds of whom gathered here for the annual scouting combine to evaluate college players for the draft in April.

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 scandal 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 as far as the bylaws are concerned.”

Questions still 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. This would lead to a sizable advantage.

The Patriots lost the 2000 opener against the Buccaneers, the first time taped signals were used under Belichick, according the former Patriots player, who said he was among several former players interviewed by the N.F.L but did not want to speak publicly because it is an ongoing investigation.


Rest of the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/22/sports/football/22patriots.html?ref=sports

craighickman
02-21-2008, 08:25 PM
No wonder Tom Brady was in such a foul mood in the Superbowl.

This tarnishes his achievements.

If I take all this to be true, and the NYT lost credibility this week to be sure, then I have to turn in my Bill Belichick fan card.

patrick
02-22-2008, 04:17 AM
Will Goodell finally get Walsh to talk about taping for New England while employed?