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Tom Brady Critical of ESPN on Spygate

Tom Brady was on WEEI for an interview recently and was pretty candid speaking about a number of topics. He addressed Spygate, whether or not the erroneous Boston Herald report bothered the Patriots (the Herald actually did apologize), his thoughts on his cryptic coach, and much more. It’s a good interview well worth a listen. MDS at FanHouse pulled a few quotes I’d like to pass along (via Pro Football Talk):

Brady suggested that the reason Patriotgate has stayed in the news is that the media in general and ESPN specifically are looking to fabricate a controversy.

“I think it’s a way to really sell newspapers, and all the ESPN stations, they’ve got to fill the air, too,” Brady said.

When it was pointed out to Brady that many of the ex-NFL players who work at ESPN were harshly critical of the Patriots and suggested that they gained a huge advantage from stealing signals, Brady said, “It’s just kind of the environment right now, though. I think that’s the way that guys make it. They just say the craziest things. That’s what ESPN has become. ESPN, to me, is like MTV without the videos, ESPN is without the highlights.”

It’s hard for me to recall what each individual analyst on ESPN had to say about Spygate at its various stages, but there’s no doubt that they covered the story to death. And you know what? I don’t think there was anything wrong with that — initially. When the legacy of a “dynasty” team in the country’s most popular sport is accused of achieving its success because of illegitimate means, it warrants plenty of coverage. There’s no way around that. But after the season ended, maybe they did go overboard with the coverage because they really did need filler. Lots of stories on Arlen Specter and Matt Walsh, and I really think that went overboard. But while they were in season, the coverage was probably fair. Aside from that, Brady is right on. And I like the fact that he doesn’t hide his thoughts, either.

No Walsh Super Bowl Walkthrough Tape?

Adam-Vinatieri-Field-Goal-RamsIf you remember back in February, the day before the Super Bowl, I was all over the Boston Herald for their story suggesting the Patriots taped a walkthrough of the Rams prior to the Super Bowl back in 2002. My issue with Tomase’s story was its exquisite timing; when you release something the day before the biggest game of the season, it sure seems intentional to me. Not that it proves Tomase’s story completely wrong, but it sure was suspicious that none of the tapes turned over by former Pats video assistant Matt Walsh to the NFL contained footage of a Rams pre-Super Bowl walkthrough. To compound this news, Chris Mortensen says ESPN had the story too, but decided not to report it.

Other media outlets including ESPN, had this allegation and pursued this allegation for months, and it just didn’t meet the standard in terms of what you needed to report it, and the Boston Herald evidently felt they had met the standard to report it,” Mortensen said. “They need to come out and say, ‘We stand by our story’ or they need to have a retraction and apology and deal with the consequences of it, but certainly it’s damaging to the Boston Herald at this point, especially if they stay silent on the subject.”

Again, we don’t know for certain that the Pats didn’t tape the walkthrough and that the Herald got the story wrong, but they’re certainly left out in the cold right now. Mortensen’s comments make it seem overwhelming like the Herald was intentionally planning to drop the bomb on the Pats the day before the Super Bowl. Seems pretty scummy to me.

Spygate Tapes Like Girls Gone Wild Video

The infamous Jay Glazer who somehow procured a copy of the Spygate video tapes has been making the rounds lately to promote his participation in a Subway commercial. The NFL on FOX reporter did a little stop and chat with A.J. Daulerio of Deadspin on Thursday and spent most of his time reminding all of us how cool he is. But then he actually strayed from his regimen of self-aggrandizement to give us this nugget about the Spygate tapes:

The tapes go back and forth between… Well, the first part of the tape, the guy recording it , all he’s focusing in on are the butts of the Jet City Dancers. He’s going from chick, to chick, to chick, and then you see, like, Tom Brady step in and then he’ll [the dude taping it] hit the coaches a little bit, but when there’s a break? He goes into the stands and then focuses on T and A. It is classsssic. It is like Spygate meets “Girls Gone Wild.”

Yeah, so in that respect it’s just like any other camera guy shooting the “scenic” shots for a game. Glazer does go on to say however, that the tapes show the Pats were blatantly trying to steal signs in their taping. He also says he and his friends watch em when they come over for parties. I guess in that respect they’re also similar to GGW tapes. It will be interesting to see what comes about with Goodell’s meeting with Walsh next month. I’m guessing things will get ugly for the Patriots.

Herm Edwards, Jets, Knew Belichick and Patriots Filmed Defensive Signals

Back in 2004, well before Eric Mangini blew the whistle on the whole Patriots Spygate operation, Herm Edwards then the Jets coach, knew that the Patriots and Bill Belichick taped defensive signals. Just like in baseball when guys try to pick up signs there will be a few different coaches relaying signs, the ’04 Jets compensated by having two coaches give signals, one as the hot signals, the other as the dummy. I’m pretty sure that this is a standard defense mechanism in the NFL, whether or not it’s against the Patriots. The NY Daily News which relays the story, even adds this comment made by Roger Goodell:

“One of the coaches was actually waving at the camera, so it’s clear that teams, to me, recognize that taking signals from another team is something that they do, so they have very complex systems to make sure that they don’t allow their plays to be intercepted.”

And pretty much anyone who’s watched an NFL game recently can tell you that almost all coaches hold their play charts up in front of their mouths when they talk into the headset to prevent lip reading. I’m not out here to defend the Pats and Belichick — I’ve been skeptical of the advantage they’ve received — but I think an important factor in this whole Spygate equation is that opponents were well-aware of the Pats’ tendencies. This signifies to me that the Patriots won games because they were better than their opponents rather than because they cheated, which at least provides me some peace of mind.

Tony Dungy Cracks on Patriots, Belichick

In case you’re unaware of where the whole Belichick/Dungy dicey relationship, you only have to go back to September when Dungy compared Spygate to Barry Bonds‘ use of performance-enhancers in baseball. That’s a pretty strong charge where I come from, and it resulted in a non-handshake between the two after they played in the season. Well anyway, Dungy was interviewed by Gametap about NFL Head Coach ’09, a videogame for which he appears on the cover. Check out the remarks he had for the Patriots:

GameTap: Are there going to be any cheat codes in the game where I can spy on my opponents?

Tony Dungy: [laughs] I don’t know about any cheat codes. They say that’s really a big secret around here, it’s like Spygate. I don’t know if they put that in there or not or what the penalty would be if you entered any cheat codes, but we’ll probably only let New England have cheat codes.

Surely he’ll say he meant it in jest, but man, has any coach ripped on the Pats harder than Dungy? Even the Rams who have players suing the Pats haven’t unloaded comments like that, and they lost in the Super Bowl. Love to see how Billy boy reacted when that comment got around to him. Next time these teams play, I’m sure the Pats will do their best to run up the score.

Browns Say Patriots Were Shady

If you remember not too long ago, I presented a story from the Lions and Bengals who both complained that their coach-to-quarterback headsets went out when the were playing the Patriots in Foxboro. Now you can add the Browns to the list:

In the wake of the Spygate scandal involving New England coach Bill Belichick, there were accusations the Patriots may have manipulated radio frequencies during games in their stadium, ostensibly to disrupt the coach-to-quarterback radio communication for visiting teams.

Well, it happened to the Browns during their game on Oct. 7 in Foxboro, Mass.

A team source said Browns coaches lost communication with Anderson eight to 10 times.

None of the breakdowns occurred prior to any of Anderson’s three interceptions in the game.

Headset malfunctions or not, the Browns still weren’t likely to compete with the Patriots. Still, this is the latest charge against New England and it doesn’t make them look any better. Here’s a thought: Why not just win controversy free? Do they really need to keep messing with headsets? Can’t they just win straight up, considering they are one of the best teams ever? Complaint by complaint, their legacy is being tarnished, and that’s a damn shame.
(photo courtesy Elsa, Getty Images)

Now the Patriots are Headset Sabotagers, Too?

Goodness gracious, does it get any worse than this? Just how dirty are the Patriots? Or is everyone just eager to jump on their case because they’re jealous of all the success and glory they’ve received? Who knows what the motives are at this point. All I know is that these reports portray the Pats in the most sinister of lights. From Nurse Dr. Z of SI, via Michael David Smith at FanHouse:

“At one point we had a good drive going against the Patriots,” said one Lion who doesn’t want his name involved in this mess, but was willing to talk about it. “Mike Martz really had ‘em going. They were getting fouled up, lining up wrong, we were moving the ball. Then boom, the headset from the sidelines to the coaches’ booth goes out.

“Next possession we were moving the ball again and the same thing happened. You know it only takes two or three plays to mess up a drive.”

Matt Millen, the Lions’ GM, was talking to Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis at the league meetings. He started telling him the story.

“Yeah, I know,” Lewis said. “Headset went out. It happened to me in Foxboro, too.”

Tell me those reports don’t reek of slime and corruption. Maybe that’s why the “Patriots always seem to win, regardless of who they lose to injury or free agency.” Maybe those are the Patriot intangibles — the “something about that organization” that they’re always winning. Honestly, football’s a much different game when you know exactly what’s coming because you stole signals. But to cut out opposing team’s headsets? That’s just downright wrong. I’m starting to lose respect for the Patriots by the minute. I’d like to hear some explanations coming from their end of things.