Spygate 2.0

Allegedly.

Jim Rome
December 11, 2019 - 9:37 am
Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft

USA Today

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It’s been about 48 hours since the first reports about the Patriots being caught allegedly cheating, again, ERRR, AHHHH, making a documentary about an advanced scout… and the reactions have been pretty fascinating.

There was that initial reporting from league insiders that had sources telling them that nothing was wrong and New England was just making a documentary, they were allowed to be there, and they hadn’t actually filmed anything inappropriate. They weren’t filming FROM the press box, they were filming IN the press box and it was a feature on a scout for the series “Do Your Job.”

And it seemed like people rushed to judgment and were making a mountain out of a molehill. Come on, the Patriots are being unfairly criticized. They just want to make a documentary. Get off their backs. They’re more about Ken Burns than Vince Lombardi these days.

And then came the reports that it was a little more than just shooting some video of an interview in a press box. That there might have been more than that.

And that’s when the Patriots came out with that statement that while they got credentials from the Browns to be in the press box, they didn’t tell the Bengals… and that was quote: an “unintended oversight.”

Oh, and “In addition to filming the scout, the production crew — without specific knowledge of league rules — inappropriately filmed the field from the press box. The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road. There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box.”

So in a matter of hours on Monday, it went from, hey, this is nothing… to yeah, we screwed up and broke the rules, but not intentionally. We didn’t mean to. You know what we’re about; and we would NEVER do something like that intentionally. Yeah… Maybe they would. Maybe they wouldn’t. Maybe they already have. Maybe they haven’t. 

But, the fact that the Patriots came right out and admitted to doing it  in a matter of hours, when they never ever come right and admit to or say anything, tells you that the video isn’t what the alleged league sources claimed it was. It’s worse than that. Question is how much worse. That’s what others around the league and pretty everyone in the world wants to know: exactly what’s on that video?

Still, while the Pats admit that a rule was broken, they also want you to know, they themselves didn’t break it. It was some sub-contractor, that didn’t know the rules, not the Patriots. Never mind that the Patriots hired the crew. Never mind that they were there working on the Patriots’ behalf. 

Oh! It wasn’t you, it was just people who were working on your behalf? Okay, that’s cool. Why didn’t you just say so? No problem. Have a great day. 

Yeah…Nice try with that! 

And by the way, is there anything more absurd than the Patriots making a documentary series entitled “Do Your Job” and then claiming that the people helping you cheat, errrr,  shooting the series DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO THEIR JOBS? The only thing more hilarious than the Patriots getting all caught up in something like this, again, is that revolves around a documentary called do your job, when no one in question seems to know how to do theirs. 

And then comes the report from Paul Dehner Jr that “According to sources who have viewed the tape, it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on recording the Bengals’ sideline. It’s a direct view of the sideline as players run on and off the field and coaches make signals for plays.”

Now would be a good time to go back to a bit of reporting from Don Van Natta Jr and Seth Wickersham. Back in 2015, in a piece titled “Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots apart,” they wrote:

“During games, [Matt] Walsh later told investigators, the Patriots' videographers were told to look like media members, to tape over their team logos or turn their sweatshirt inside out, to wear credentials that said Patriots TV or Kraft Productions. The videographers also were provided with excuses for what to tell NFL security if asked what they were doing: Tell them you're filming the quarterbacks. Or the kickers. Or footage for a team show.”

Tell them that you’re just shooting footage for a team show. Does that sound familiar?

It just so happens to be that the person who got caught in the press box was doing nearly the exact same thing that had happened during the Spygate Era. What a coinky-dink.

And the weirdest thing about this isn’t that this allegedly happened, it’s that there have been reports that people might actually buy the Patriots explanation for this and just keep moving.

And the rationale for that is that there’s no way they’d be caught doing this again, so it couldn’t have happened and it must just be a misunderstanding. There’s no way that Bill Belichick or his staff would sign off on something this dumb.

Are you kidding me? They appear to be caught doing the exact same thing that you busted them for in the past and your reaction is, well, there’s no way they’d do it again.

If a bank robber was caught in broad daylight, convicted, went to prison, came out and got caught in broad daylight again, nobody would say, he couldn’t have done it, nobody would be that stupid. They’d say he was a bank robber. And he’s doing what he does.

If the Patriots were caught and punished before, then if they’re caught again doing something very similar, maybe you want to look into it and not just sweep it under the rug. Maybe you don’t just buy that weird-ass explanation about a documentary series and accidentally breaking the rules.

Besides, accidentally or unintentionally breaking the rules isn’t an excuse. Breaking the rules is breaking the rules. Especially when you’ve already been busted for it.

There is absolutely no excuse for not knowing these rules and there is definitely no excuse for the Patriots and Patriots independent contractors not knowing these rules.

If you work for or with the Patriots and you are holding a video camera, you have to know every rule. You have to quote…DO YOUR JOB.

Yes, I know they could’ve just had someone in the stands using a iPhone 11 and probably gotten better footage, but just because they could’ve cheated in a different way, doesn’t mean they didn’t break the rules in this way. And they admitted that they did break the rules.

I’m not saying that Bill Belichick ordered this or signed off on it or knew about it. I actually don’t even know what the Patriots did, so I’m not rushing to judgment on this.

But I sure as hell am not giving them a free pass on it or just buying their hasty statement on it that was a complete reversal of what league sources had been reporting a few hours earlier.

And to the question…Why would the Patriots risk their reputation and do something this stupid? 

And why would they do it against the 1-12 Bengals? I don’t know…, why did they videotape the 4-12 Jets? Why did they deflate footballs, allegedly?

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s not a coincidence.  Maybe it’s not an innocent mistake. Maybe it’s not an accident. Remember, Spygate wasn’t just about the 4-12 Jets. It was about the Packers as well. And investigators found eight tapes of game footage, with notes, going back over a number of years.

And to the question of why would you do it against one of the worst teams ever, in this case, the Bengals. I don’t know. But I do know, this is a first year head coach who they haven’t faced before. Any signals you can get and any edge that you can pick up would be helpful, not necessarily for this year, but for the future.

And as for the question of why would they be so dumb and so brazen as to get caught again, I don’t know.

For all we know, this isn’t the first time they’ve done it since Spygate, it’s just the first time they’ve been caught.

People around the league and in the league office have to be like, these guys? Again?

And it’s a fair question. Why is it always the Patriots in the middle of these things?  Worst luck ever?  Or IT’S PART OF THE PATRIOT WAY.  PART OF THEM DOING THEIR JOB.  PART OF THEIR DNA.  PART OF THEIR CULTURE.  OR MAYBE IT’S JUST THE WORST LUCK EVER.  YOU TELL ME.

Maybe this is all a coincidence. Maybe it really is the craziest thing ever and that even though this is very similar to ways that they’ve cheated in the past, that this was just about making a documentary. Maybe the Pats just happened to have a completely innocent independent contractor who was filming a documentary on an advance scout. And it just so happened that they bumped the camera and trained it on the Bengals sideline for eight minutes. Maybe they really are just supremely unlucky.

But if I see a serial bank robber in a vault holding sacks of money, I’m going to want more than just him saying “this isn’t what it looks like” before I let him go.  And I’m really not going to accept I have never knowingly robbed a bank, as an excuse.

The Freaking Patriots, if true, same as they always are….  And if true it’s time for Rog to “DO HIS JOB!”