Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine spent the last four years as a defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets, so he is very familiar with the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick and company have become known for shady antics like videotaping opponents signals and fudging injury reports, but do they also steal playbooks?
Pettine recently discussed his team’s playbook with Greg A. Bedard of The Monday Morning Quarterback. The first-year head coach admitted he takes the Patriots’ shadiness into consideration when putting it together.
The initial playbook itself is actually quite thin, and that’s by design. “I don’t put a lot of graduate-level information in it,” Pettine says. “We know in places like New England, it’s only a matter of time that they somehow mysteriously end up with our playbook.”
Pettine told a story of how, at Wes Welker’s wedding, Tom Brady bragged a little bit to Jets outside linebackers coach Mike Smith, who was Welker’s college roommate, that the Patriots may or may not have had possession of a couple Jets defensive playbooks.
“It didn’t shock me because Rex would give them out like candy anyway,” Pettine says. “He gave one out to [Alabama coach Nick] Saban and I was like, ‘Don’t you know Saban and Bill [Belichick] are pretty good friends? I have a feeling it’s going to end up in New England.’”
If any team was given a copy of an opponent’s playbook, they wouldn’t be hiding their eyes and returning it to its rightful owner. The Patriots get the most attention for doing stuff like that because of Spygate, and deservedly so.
Don’t worry, Browns fans. Cleveland and New England aren’t facing each other in the regular season this year. Belichick won’t have a chance to hang 50 points on Pettine because of that comment.