NFL teams have hired professionals to sweep for Patriots bugs, found nothing
While we don’t know the exact extent to which the New England Patriots have bent or broken NFL rules over the last 15 years or so, one thing is certain — the paranoia from opposing teams borders on out of control.
Sports Illustrated published a story on Tuesday that examines some of the suspicions teams around the NFL have had about the Patriots since Bill Belichick took over as head coach in Foxboro. Current and former employees of 19 NFL franchises told SI that their teams have taken precautions when playing the Patriots that they would not take against any other opponent. Common practices include cleaning out trash cans in hotels, running fake plays at practice and even finding a place to practice other than Gillette Stadium.
But one suspicion seems even more intense than the rest, and that is the fear that the Patriots plant listening devices in the visitors locker room and other places.
Other precautions are extreme: At least five teams have swept their hotels, locker rooms or coaches’ booths in New England for listening devices, sometimes hiring outside professionals. None have been found.
Think about that for a second. Teams have actually hired outside contractors to determine if the Patriots are spying on them. That would be all well and good if they found something, but coming up empty means one thing and one thing only.
The Patriots are in your head.
Even one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time was worried Belichick and his cronies were spying on him when he visited New England. If you think that doesn’t take just a little bit of an opponent’s focus off the game, you’re wrong. When teams suspect the Patriots of cheating and have no proof, the Patriots have already gained a small advantage.