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Spygate cameraman Matt Estrella selling his Patriots Super Bowl ring

Matt-Estrella-Super-Bowl-ringEvery authentic Super Bowl championship ring is a rare item. There is only one Super Bowl per year, and only the members of the winning team receive the coveted ring. A New England Patriots ring that was given to Matt Estrella is even more precious than the rest.

If the name Estrella rings a bell, it’s probably because you are familiar with the Patriots’ videotaping scandal that came to light during the 2007 season. Estrella was the man who was operating the camera when Bill Belichick and company were caught recording the New York Jets’ defensive signals.

The ring that was given to Estrella after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2004 is currently for sale through Goldin Auctions. As of Thursday afternoon, the bidding was just north of $5,700.

“This ring remains in Near Mint condition,” a note reads along with the item. “The ring is of a special historic nature, as it was given to Matt Estrella, who was famously caught videotaping Jets coaches defensive signals in the ‘spygate’ affair.”

The ring will probably sell to some Patriots hater with a lot of money who is going to try to put a curse on the team. Just a guess.

H/T ESPN Boston

Wes Welker says Patriots run same play he injured Aqib Talib on

Aqib Talib Wes WelkerNew England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was not shy about the fact that he did not appreciate Wes Welker’s hit on Aqib Talib in the AFC Championship Game. Belichick called the hit “deliberate” and said it was one of the worst plays he has ever seen. The NFL later determined that it was legal, though there has been plenty of debate over whether it was necessary.

[WATCHWes Welker drills Aqib Talib over the middle]

On Tuesday, Welker basically called Belichick a hypocrite. The Denver Broncos receiver told reporters that he ran the same play with the Patriots.

“It’€™s a rub play that everybody runs,” he said, per WEEI.com’s Mike Petriglia. “It’€™s one of those deals where you try to get a rub on that guy and really, if you can get him to go over the top of you, the more separation the other receiver will have. That’€™s what I tried to do to get Demaryius a little more open and unfortunately we collided.

“We ran the same play (in New England).”

While I don’t think Welker intended to injure Talib, the contact did seem a bit excessive to me and a tad early. I believe that the Patriots and plenty of other teams run similar plays, but I’m certainly not buying the whole “unfortunately we collided” thing. Welker intended to hit Talib, even if he wasn’t trying to hurt him.

Colts OC Pep Hamilton takes swipe at Patriots over Spygate

Bill-Belichick-hoodieThe Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots are set to face off in the postseason once again on Sunday, but there is one major difference this time around. Peyton Manning will not be traveling to Foxboro. Instead, Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has to figure out a way to beat the Pats on the road with Andrew Luck and company.

Hamilton, who worked as a quarterbacks and wide receivers coach with the New York Jets from 2003-2005, has plenty of experience facing the Patriots. He spoke about that on Wednesday, tossing in a Spygate reference in the process.

“I do know for a fact that it was always a 60-minute chess match,” Hamilton  said, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. “It was ever-changing looks and disguises and they always tend to find ways to figure out some of your signals.”

The Patriots were caught videotaping opponents’ signals in 2007, so Hamilton seemed to be indicating that stealing signals was something Bill Belichick and company had been practicing for years. Hamilton followed up his swipe with some high praise for Belichick.

“It’s truly an honor to have an opportunity to field a team and compete against the likes of Coach Belichick who will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Football League,” he said.

If and when Belichick is asked about the comments, he’ll pretend he hasn’t seen them. That doesn’t mean they won’t be blown up in size 156 font and hung up on the wall in the Patriots’ locker room.

Houston Texans DE Antonio Smith thinks Patriots might have been spying on them

Antonio Smith TexansHouston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith said after Sunday’s 34-31 home loss to the New England Patriots that his opponents seem to know all the Texans’ defensive plays, and he found that suspicious. Smith even went so far as to suggest the Patriots may have been spying on them.

Smith says the Texans introduced new elements to their defense this week that they had never previously shown in games, therefore he believes no team would have been prepared for the new plays. But the Patriots were.

“I’m very suspicious,” Smith said via ESPN’s Tania Ganguli. “I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance. I don’t know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week.”

The Pats scored 27 second half points against the Texans.

“I can’t tell you an example because it’s G15 classified,” Smith said. “It’s a defensive thing that we might continue to use. … The way, I’m trying to say it without giving it away. When you watch film of the team do something a certain way all the time no matter what team they play — it’s been 12 games played and they always did it — and then all of a sudden it’s changed? It was pretty clever and pretty suspicious.”

Smith went on to say that you can never be sure about cheating or spying accusations, but “it seemed like” the Pats knew what the Texans were going to be doing.

Two weeks ago Robert Griffin III said the Philadelphia Eagles defense knew exactly what the Redskins were doing on offense, but that seemed like a matter of the offense being predictable. The implication from Smith here is that the Patriots were possibly cheating to gain an edge, which would not be new for Bill Belichick. But it really could just be that the Texans have a predictable defense — even with their changes — which might be part of why they’re 2-10.

Jets reportedly tipped officials off about Patriots’ field goal pushing

Patriots-field-goal-push

By now most of you have heard that the New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots in overtime on Sunday thanks to a brand new rule that was called for the first time this season. Patriots rookie Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he pushed one of his teammates into a Jets offensive lineman, which is a play that the league is trying to eliminate for safety reasons.

Many have wondered why the officials decided to call the penalty for the first time this season during a 56-yard field goal attempt in an overtime game. We even shared with you a video that seems to show the Jets doing something very similar earlier in the game, but no flag was thrown. As it turns out, the Jets may have alerted the officials ahead of time that the Patriots were going to do it.

The image you see above, which Ben Volin of the Boston Globe posted on Twitter Monday, shows the same two New England players pulling the same move against the New Orleans Saints a week earlier. The NFL Network’s Albert Breer said Rex Ryan and company had warned the refs to watch for it.

[Read more...]

Jets appeared to do same thing as Patriots by pushing player into field goal formation (GIF)

Jets-field-goal-push

The New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets on Sunday thanks in part to a call that was made for the first time in NFL history. Jets kicker Nick Folk missed a 56-yard field goal attempt wide left in overtime that would have given Tom Brady and company great field position, but Patriots rookie Chris Jones was called for unsportsmanlike conduct for pushing one of his teammates into a Jets offensive lineman.

[Video: Did the Patriots get hosed on this call against the Jets?]

The officials got the call right based on the new rule. It was just surprising that they decided to call it at such a crucial point in the game and essentially hand New York a victory. As you can see from the GIF above that Barstool Sports passed along, it appears the Jets did the same thing on a Stephen Gostkowski field goal earlier in the game.

Jets-field-goal-push

Again, the call cannot be disputed. NFL officials were recently shown examples of the play and told that they need to start calling it. The issue is they should have been looking for it the entire game, not just in overtime. The animation above seems to show that they were not.

Patriots lose on ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chris Jones

The New England Patriots lost to the New York Jets 30-27 in overtime on Sunday after referees called an obscure and ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Pats rookie Chris Jones.

The call came on a 54-yard field goal Nick Folk missed wide to the left to keep the game tied at 27. Jones was flagged for stacking up behind his teammate and pushing one of his defensive lineman into a Jets lineman. As of a new rule created this year designed to protect players, that is an illegal play.

The 15-yard penalty allowed the Jets to retain possession and move closer for a field goal. They won the game on a 42-yard kick from Folk.

According to NFL rules guru Mike Pereira, that is the first time the penalty has been called this season.

Referees apparently had been shown examples of this rules violation and were told to start calling it. The Pats were the first victim.

“It’s my mistake. It’s all my fault,” Jones said after the loss.

Chris Jones penalty

Also see: Did Jets do same thing earlier in game?