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#pounditTuesday, December 7, 2021

Articles tagged: spygate

Report: Bill Belichick, Eric Mangini almost had fistfight over Spygate

Bill Belichick

The relationship between Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini has never been the same since Mangini lit the fuse that resulted in Spygate, but tempers have cooled considerably in the past decade-plus. At one point, the topic was such a sensitive one that the two coaches nearly came to blows.

In his upcoming Patriots tell-all book “It’s Better to Be Feared,” Seth Wickersham wrote about the time Belichick and Mangini almost got into a physical altercation at the NFL league meetings the year after the Spygate scandal erupted.

As it was told to Wickersham, Belichick bumped into Mangini’s wife Julie after a dinner for head coaches at the league meetings. Mrs. Mangini tried to say hello to Belichick, but the Patriots coach “blew her off.” When Julie told Eric what happened, he angrily confronted Belichick.

“After a dinner for head coaches, Julie Mangini, wife of Eric, bumped into Belichick and said hi, trying to ease tension after the post-Spygate fallout,” Wickersham wrote. “Belichick blew her off, and when she told Eric what had happened, he charged across the room and needed to be held back by other coaches from swinging at Belichick. ‘Hey Bill, f— you!’ Mangini yelled.”

Mangini was Belichick’s defensive coordinator until he left in 2006 to take the head coaching job with the New York Jets. A year later, Mangini informed the NFL that the Patriots had a cameraperson recording New York’s sideline when the two teams met during the regular season. That is what led to Spygate and all that went with it.

Mangini has since expressed regret over how everything was handled.

Eric Mangini calls Spygate ‘a regret’ and ‘disappointing’

Eric Mangini

Former NFL head coach Eric Mangini opened up on Wednesday about the Spygate scandal he essentially put in motion by reporting the New England Patriots’ practice to the NFL.

In an interview on “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on FOX Sports Radio, Mangini was asked about Spygate and what led him to complain to the league about it back in 2007 when he was head coach of the New York Jets.

“The practice itself, I didn’t think had very much value. But as the head coach of the New York Jets, my responsibility was to, whatever competitive advantage, no matter how small, my job was to make sure that my team had that. And that my team was protected. So I wanted to shut it down if it came to our stadium,” Mangini said.

Mangini’s complaint to the league led to an investigation, which found that the Pats had been illegally taping the signals of opposing teams. The Patriots and Bill Belichick were fined, while the team also lost a first-round draft pick as a penalty.

Mangini was previously a defensive coach for the Pats under Belichick, which is how he knew about the practice. He now says his deteriorated relationship with Belichick is “disappointing” and a “regret” he has.

“The thing with Bill is, I owe him a lot. He taught me football. He read at my wedding. Luke, my middle son, has William as his middle name. We were close. So to have something like this, which wasn’t what it was supposed to be, affect the relationship. It’s disappointing, and it is a regret that I have.”

You can watch video of the interview here:

ESPN clarifies that tweet with video camera emojis was not about Spygate

Bill Belichick media

The official Twitter account for ESPN’s SportsCenter created a buzz Monday night with a tweet that included emojis of little video cameras sandwiched between little footballs. Why? Because the New England Patriots were playing.

Don’t worry, Pats fans — the person who runs the account wasn’t taking a shot at your team. Or so they say.

Naturally, there were plenty of people who accused ESPN of making a Spygate reference. Considering the World Wide Later has had to apologize to the Patriots for citing false reports in the past, that’s somewhat understandable.

Congress threatened Jay Glazer with jail time over Spygate tape


Jay Glazer of FOX Sports was able to obtain arguably the most important piece of evidence against the New England Patriots when the Spygate scandal first erupted in 2007. It was so important, in fact, that Glazer was threatened with jail time over it by the United States Congress.

On the NFL on FOX pregame show Sunday morning, Glazer revealed that former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, who died in 2012, went to great lengths in an attempt to obtain the Spygate tape. Glazer didn’t feel that Congress needed to get involved, but he said Specter offered him a bigger scoop in exchange for the tape before threatening him with jail time.

Yes, jail time.

Most of us have seen a few seconds of the tape that was given to Glazer, which shows a Patriots employee clearly filming signals New York Jets coaches were giving from the sideline. Glazer had a hilarious description of the video several years back.

Much of the bombshell ESPN Outside the Lines report that was published earlier this week discusses Specter’s role in Spygate. The former Senator desperately wanted to launch a congressional investigation, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had former St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz issue a statement — one NFL officials may have changed without permission — in order to protect the league. Specter’s efforts were ultimately unsuccessful.

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.

Don Shula calls Bill Belichick ‘Beli-cheat’

Bill Belichick media

The New England Patriots will never get completely out from under the dark shadow the Spygate scandal cast over their franchise, but winning another Super Bowl with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick wouldn’t hurt. And even if they accomplish that, people like Don Shula will always be around to remind us of the checkered past.

Shula took a shot at Belichick in a recent chat with Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. When Belichick’s name came up in conversation, the legendary Miami Dolphins coach was quick to throw out a certain nickname people have for The Hoodie. Via

The embers of competition have cooled some. But they’re still warm, if you care to see them. The coach can still can bring it when he wants, like when a forgotten scab is picked with the mention of the current king, New England’s Bill Belichick. “Beli-cheat?” Shula says.

That’s a lot nicer than what Terrell Suggs said about Belichick two years ago.

The Patriots were caught videotaping opponents signals in Week 1 of the 2007 season. They went on to beat every regular-season opponent that year and won 18 straight games before finishing 18-1. While New England was 18-0 at one point that season, Shula’s Dolphins capped off their 17-0 season with a championship.

Most Patriots critics will point to the fact that Belichick and company have “not won anything” since they were caught cheating. While it’s true that they have not won a championship, they have had plenty of success as a franchise. Should Belichick and Brady capture another ring, the Spygate talk isn’t going to stop. The only difference is the “they haven’t won anything since…” narrative will need to be adjusted.

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

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.

Marshall Faulk still feels Patriots cheated to beat Rams in the Super Bowl

Marshall-FaulkIt has been more than five years since the New England Patriots were caught videotaping their opponents’ signals, but there are plenty of people who are not ready to let it go. Marshall Faulk is one of those people, as the former St. Louis Rams running back feels he was personally affected by the spygate scandal.

On Tuesday, Faulk spoke with’s Tom E. Curran and said he is never going to be over getting “cheated” out of a championship.

“Am I over the loss?” Faulk asked. “Yeah, I’m over the loss. But I’ll never be over being cheated out of the Super Bowl. That’s a different story. I can understand losing a Super Bowl, that’s fine … But how things happened and what took place. Obviously, the commissioner gets to handle things how he wants to handle them but if they wanted us to shut up about what happened, show us the tapes. Don’t burn ’em.”

Members of the media were shown the tapes before they were destroyed, and from what we hear they were exactly what you might think — the Patriots videotaping opposing coaches giving signals. The more Faulk ranted, the more it became clear that he still believes the Patriots taped the Rams’ walkthrough prior to the Super Bowl back in 2002.


Eric Mangini says he regrets bringing the Spygate scandal to light

When Eric Mangini exposed the Patriots for videotaping opponents’ signals at the start of the 2007 season, he changed the culture of the NFL. Stealing signals — whether by use of camera or other means — is something that is believed to have been done by almost all teams at one point. Now, teams have to be extremely careful. By bringing the Spygate scandal to light, Mangini also changed the way people view the Patriots’ accomplishments as an organization. For that, the former Jets coach says he is regretful.

“If there is a decision I could take back it’s easily that decision,” Mangini said on NFL Live Tuesday according to Pro Football Talk. “Never in a million years would I have wanted it to go this way. It’s disappointing whenever it comes up.”

Mangini was an assistant on the Patriots’ three Super Bowl-winning teams, so when people discredit what the Patriots accomplished because of Spygate they’re also downplaying some of his achievements.