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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Steve Spagnuolo, Orlando Pace still think Patriots cheated to win Super Bowls

No matter how many Super Bowls the New England Patriots win, there are always going to be fans who believe their unprecedented dynasty has been built through systematic cheating. The same still goes for coaches and players, apparently.

Let’s start with Super Bowl XXXVI, in which the Patriots defeated the St. Louis Rams and the legend of Tom Brady was officially born. On Tuesday morning, former Rams All-Pro offensive lineman Orlando Pace said in an appearance on PFT Live that he still believes Bill Belichick found away to steal his team’s signals.

“There’s a little bit of suspicion there. I think guys all feel that way,” Pace said. “They had a pretty solid game plan for us, so I don’t know. … They knew exactly what we were going to do down there.”

After the Spygate scandal erupted in 2007, a report from the Boston Herald claimed the Patriots filmed the Rams’ walk-through the day before the Super Bowl in 2002. Months later, the reporter who published the story apologized and admitted he had no evidence to support his claim.

However, former Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo also believes Belichick’s Patriots cheated when they defeated his team in the Super Bowl two years later. Like Pace, he hasn’t let it go.

“I remember through the course of the game [defensive coordinator Jim Johnson] saying, ‘They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing … Try to hide it, etc. etc,’” Spagnuolo recalled in an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic on Monday, via Tom Rock of Newsday. “I remember distinctly thinking, ‘Jim I don’t think that’s true.’ Now I’m not saying this to him, because I don’t want to upset him. I’m saying it to myself. ‘I don’t think so, Jim. Just concentrate on calling the game.’

“In hindsight, he was right. When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us.”

Spagnuolo was also the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants when they spoiled the Patriots perfect season in 2007.

“The biggest thing we learned was make sure you have two signal-callers, not one signal-caller,” he said. “Because they may have all your signals.”

For what it’s worth, Brady said in his “Tom vs. Time” documentary that he often knows when blitzes are coming by reading the defense like a poker player and looking for tells. Obviously, people like Pace and Spagnuolo believe there is more to it than that.

As we have learned over the years, there are even some other Hall of Fame players who will never escape the feeling that the Patriots cheated against them. The bottom line is Brady and Belichick have continued to win even after they were supposedly caught stealing signals and deflating footballs. That really says all you need to know.

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