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#pounditSaturday, December 5, 2020

Patriots accused of sneaking into locker rooms to steal play sheets

Bill Belichick media

The New England Patriots apparently did more than just film the sidelines of opposing teams before they were busted in 2007.

ESPN’s Outside the Lines released a lengthy story on Tuesday that dives deeper into the controversy surrounding both Spygate and Deflategate. Much of the report is a rehash. The Patriots reportedly filmed opponents’ signals during 40 games from 2000-2007, which could be a shocking number to you or hardly a surprise at all (did anyone really think they only did it that one game?).

In terms of new information, the most interesting accusation came from former Patriots employees who claim the team would sneak into opposing locker rooms to steal play sheets.

In fact, many former New England coaches and employees insist that the taping of signals wasn’t even the most effective cheating method the Patriots deployed in that era. Several of them acknowledge that during pregame warm-ups, a low-level Patriots employee would sneak into the visiting locker room and steal the play sheet, listing the first 20 or so scripted calls for the opposing team’s offense. (The practice became so notorious that some coaches put out fake play sheets for the Patriots to swipe.) Numerous former employees say the Patriots would have someone rummage through the visiting team hotel for playbooks or scouting reports.

We all know the Patriots have done things for years to push the envelope. As one former Patriots assistant coach told Outside the Lines, the team has done a lot of “little s—” that other teams do in an attempt to gain an advantage. Most people believe the Patriots take it a step further than other franchises. Others would argue that they have taken more heat for it as a result of their success.

Remember the stuff we heard about the Patriots sabotaging sideline communications? There was some discussion about that in the OTL report, as well.

Ultimately, the feature seemed to be a further takedown of Roger Goodell and how the league covered up the Spygate scandal. NFL owners reportedly considered Deflategate a do-over for Spygate, which is why Goodell tried to come down hard on Brady. Again, tell us something we didn’t already know.

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