Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Operation Spoilsport: ESPN's 11,500-word temper tantrum

I'm sure it's a total coincidence that the NFL suffered a humiliating defeat in Judge Richard Berman's courtroom less than a week ago, and now there's a full-length article up on which basically says, "Well, the Patriots are rulebreakers anyway!"

Never mind that 90% of the article rehashes old allegations that were published eight years ago. Never mind that it contains a total of thirty-seven unattributed quotes and one unnamed source after another. Never mind that the star witnesses for ESPN's case are:

  1. Matt Walsh, a disgruntled former Patriots employee, who was fired not for poor performance as the authors claim, but for surreptitiously recording a conversation with his supervisor without permission. Walsh strongly implied that he had a videotape of the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough prior to Super Bowl 36, then admitted he was lying--and yet, our friends at ESPN accept his every word as infallible gospel;
  2. Arlen Specter, who is dead; and,
  3. A bunch of people who refused to allow their names to be used.

A few key points from the analysis below:

ESPN makes a Federal case (chuckle) out of the Patriots' use of stolen defensive signals, and tries mightily to imply that these signals helped them win games. But of course, this type of assessment is completely subjective, and ESPN itself presents evidence that signal stealing isn't very effective. And even if the signals DID make a difference, this does not prove impropriety. Stealing signals is legal and quite common. Even videotaping signals is allowed, but it must be done from approved locations; sideline taping was banned by a league memo in 2006. Yes, a memo, not an actual rule.

The authors paint a picture in which the other 31 NFL teams are pious, churchgoing old ladies, and the Patriots are lawless hooligans. Any evidence of other teams' rulebreaking is ignored, even though it provides valuable context of what it's like to run an NFL team in 2015. Eric Mangini was caught videotaping at Gillette Stadium in 2006, and the NFL did nothing. The Miami Dolphins purchased tapes of the Patriots offense and used them to decipher their offensive signals, leading to an important win against New England. The NFL refused to even investigate. The Baltimore Ravens, and specifically Ray Lewis, bragged that his defense knew what all of the code words in Brady's one-word offense meant, and no one accused him of spying or cheating. The Patriots also reported that they were being watched during their practice for Super Bowl 36, and to my knowledge, neither the NFL nor our friends at ESPN have looked into it. Funny, right?

ESPN knows very well how football works. You are allowed to try to figure out what your opponents are doing. You are allowed to try to decipher their signals and calls from the line of scrimmage. It's not against the rules in any way. Every single team in the NFL does it, and if they do not, they lose. But ESPN is searching high and low for raw brains to feed to the zombied masses, who need to believe that the Patriots aren't as good as they seem to be. Any allegation, however ridiculous or unfounded, will do: No one is reading past the word "cheater" anyway, which is probably why it appears about 372 times in ESPN's article.

Point is, trying to figure out what your opponents are doing can sound pretty damn ominous if you don't tell the full story. If you're willing to tell just half the truth, and hide the other half, you can make a team look really bad. Welcome to the ESPN - the National Enquirer of sports.

The article carefully quotes unnamed members of the Eagles and Steelers who suspect that the Patriots somehow spied on them, though they provide zero evidence, but they ignore, or bury, quotes from Jeff Lurie, Eagles owner, Andy Reid, Eagles coach, Art Rooney, Steelers owner, and Bill Cowher, Steelers coach, all of whom say that the Patriots' wins over their teams were fully legitimate.

The few new allegations contained within this article are supported only by anonymous quotes and zero evidence. They are nonetheless presented as hard facts.

The purpose of the ESPN article is not to find the truth: It is to further smear the reputation of the greatest franchise in NFL history. It's impossible to beat Belichick and Brady on the football field consistently, and those who dislike them grow more frustrated about that by the day.

There are some formatting issues here, but I wanted to get this out as soon as possible. It may be a bit hard to follow in parts. But I have a feeling you'll like it anyway.

Date Allegation Source(s) Against NFL Rules? Y/N Anonymous Source? Y/N Notes
9/9/2007 Matt Estrella caught on sideline, "illegally taping Jets coaches' defensive signals" Undisputed N N Scouting opponents' defensive signals is legal and quite common. Videotaping signals is also allowed from certain locations. The Patriots were penalized for videotaping from their own sideline, which violated a memo sent by Ray Anderson in September 2006. The NFL cannot create new laws via memo; they must be voted on by owners, and this was not.
September, 2007 League investigators found a scouting library containing videotapes and handwritten notes of opponents' signals and diagrams of formations unspecified N Y Scouting libraries are not against the rules. Handwritten notes and diagrams are not against the rules. Videotaping from your own sideline is also not illegal, but it violates a memo that was sent in 2006.
September, 2007 "League executives stomped the tapes into pieces and shredded the papers inside a Gillette Stadium conference room." unspecified N Y This is strikingly similar to the furor over Brady's cell phone. In both cases, no one has come forward claiming to know what was on either the tapes or the phone, but the destruction has caused widespread accusations that Someone Must Be Hiding Something.
Was this destruction of evidence in keeping with prior NFL practices? And why didn't you admit that some/all of these tapes were shown to the media before being discarded?
2006 "At least two teams had caught New England videotaping their coaches' signals in 2006, yet the league did nothing." unspecified N Y Eric Mangini was caught videotaping in 2006 also, and the league did not discipline him either. We only know about this because it was reported by the media, who were struck by the irony that Mangini was the one who turned the Patriots in to the NFL.
How many others besides Mangini were caught?
2006 "NFL competition committee members had, over the years, fielded numerous allegations about New England breaking an array of rules." unnamed competition committee members ?? Y There are no specifics listed as to what is included in this "array of rules"
2015 "Goodell deemed the Patriots and Brady "guilty of conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of football," the league's highest crime, and punished the franchise and its marquee player." Roger Goodell Y N "Conduct Detrimental" applies to teams, not players. Players cannot be punished under this clause per the CBA. Further, per Judge Berman's ruling, it was improper to invoke conduct detrimental over football inflation, when there were already equipment violation rules on the books.
2015 "After Goodell had upheld Brady's punishment, on the basis mainly of his failure to cooperate by destroying his cellphone…" Undisputed N N Ted Wells did not ask for Brady's cell phone. He only asked for the information FROM the phone, which Brady provided. Roger Goodell refused this information because it would have been "impractical" to follow up with the 28 NFL-related people with whom Brady had been in touch.
2007 "...the NFL's stonewalling of a potential congressional investigation into the matter…" authors' opinion N N In a June 16, 2008 interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Specter said he "had gone as far as he could" with the matter, and would not request a senate hearing. You can't stonewall an investigation that no one is pursuing.
2000 ...before a Patriots preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jimmy Dee, the head of New England's video department, approached one of his charges, Matt Walsh, with a strange assignment: He wanted Walsh to film the Bucs' offensive and defensive signals, the arm waving and hand folding that team coaches use to communicate plays and formations to the men on the field.  Matt Walsh N N The article goes into great detail with respect to how the videotaping was done, in the Tampa game and others. Again, videotaping opponents' signals is legal; only doing so from a team's own sideline is prohibited by the 2006 memo. Even if we assume (wrongly) that a memo is a rule, most of the incidents described pre-dated this memo, and were therefore completely legal in any case.
2008 Walsh recalled to Senate investigators that [Ernie] Adams told old stories from the Browns about giving a video staffer an NFL Films shirt and assigning him to film the opponents' sideline huddles and grease boards from behind the bench.  Matt Walsh N N Belichick left the Browns in 1995, 11 years before the Ray Anderson memo prohibited sideline videotaping. Everything described here was legal. Incidentally, the authors do not claim otherwise, and in fact rarely comment on the legality of any act, despite the ominous tone of the article.
c. 2004 "an entire system of covert videotaping was developed and a secret library created…" unspecified N Y The videotaping wasn't covert. It was conducted on the Patriots' sideline in front of tens of thousands of spectators. And no, taping over your Patriots' logo doesn't make it covert.
Of course the library was "secret". Did you expect them to post their scouting videos on
c. 2004 "Sources with knowledge of the system say an advance scout would attend the games of upcoming Patriots opponents and assemble a spreadsheet of all the signals and corresponding plays. The scout would give it to Adams, who would spend most of the week in his office with the door closed, matching the notes to the tapes filmed from the sideline" unspecified N Y This type of scouting is 100% legal today and always has been. All 32 NFL teams scout their opponents.
c. 2004 "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" Matt Walsh N N A-HA! Lying! There must be an NFL rule against that! And, BTW, why do we automatically assume that Matt Walsh's testimony is so completely unassailable? This is a man who was first disciplined for poor job performance, then fired outright for surreptitiously taping a conversation with his boss without permission. A disgruntled former employee with an axe to grind could be making things up or embellishing his story out of spite.
Unspecified "sometimes the team would add recently cut players from upcoming opponents and pay them only to help decipher signals, former Patriots staffers say" "Former Patriots staffers" N Y It's common practice to sign a player who's been cut from an upcoming opponent in order to collect scouting information. Legal and common.
Unspecified "A former Patriots employee who was directly involved in the taping system says "it helped our offense a lot," especially in divisional games in which there was a short amount of time between the first and second matchups, making it harder for opposing coaches to change signals." Former Patriots employee N Y Great, except another employee says that Ernie Adams was "horrible" and that the tapes weren't useful at all. Besides, if this "former employee" worked for the Patriots pre-2006, then the tapes were 100% legal.
Unspecified "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.) " Former New England coaches and employees Y Y Let me make sure I understand.
Opponents left their play sheets out in the open, unattended, and a low-level employee was able to sneak in and out of the locker room undetected, knowng exactly where the play sheets were being stored. And even though there were no windows to peer into to verify that the locker room was empty, he just barged right in anyway.
 And these opponents, after finding that their play sheets had been stolen, chose not to report it to anyone, and instead left fake play sheets. Even now, when it's open season on the Patriots, and when one major scandal would probably mean the end of Belichick's career, no one is speaking up.
This would be a huge scandal by any measure. Why wouldn't / didn't the opponents say anything to anyone about it, ever?

Lastly, as we all know by now, there are security cameras at Gillette Stadium. Why would the Patriots order one of their employees to do something like this, which would be clearly captured on video?
Unspecified "Numerous former employees say the Patriots would have someone rummage through the visiting team hotel for playbooks or scouting reports. " Numerous former employees N Y How does one "rummage through" a hotel? Do you mean the garbage? If so, that's been going on since the days of George Halas and probably before. Believe it or not, Bill Belichick did not invent this. IF your anonymous sources are even telling the truth.
Unspecified "Walsh later told investigators that he was once instructed to remove the labels and erase tapes of a Patriots practice because the team had illegally used a player on injured reserve" Matt Walsh Y N Common across the league. Maximum penalty is a monetary fine. Do you pretend that this had ANY effect whatsoever on a game? (If Matt Walsh is even telling the truth)
Unspecified "At Gillette Stadium, the scrambling and jamming of the opponents' coach-to-quarterback radio line -- "small s---" that many teams do, according to a former Pats assistant coach -- occurred so often that one team asked a league official to sit in the coaches' box during the game and wait for it to happen. Sure enough, on a key third down, the headset went out." Former Pats assistant coach Y Y Since the authors don't dispute that many teams do this, I'm going to assume that’s true. The Bill Walsh 49ers were accused by Bill Parcells (for one) of turning off their opponents' radios during the 49ers first 15 scripted plays, for example. And, since the NFL official was right there, surely he took action, right? And yet we've heard nothing about this story. Sounds like BS to me.
Also the authors conveniently forget to mention that, when one team's radios go out, the other team must turn theirs off as well, so I'm assuming that happened in this game. 
2001-2006 "A former member of the NFL competition committee says the committee spent much of 2001-06 "discussing ways in which the Patriots cheated," even if nothing could be proved" former member of the competition committee ?? Y How do they know the Patriots were cheating, if nothing could be proved? What kind of cheating are we talking about here? This article is one vague generality after another. No substance.
2007 "There were regular rumors that the Patriots had taped the Rams' walk-through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002" unspecified Y Y The Boston Herald reported this story, then ran a front- and back-page retraction and apology. Seven years ago. ESPN themselves apologized for reporting the same thing last month. Now, after apologizing, ESPN is back on the same story again?
2007-8 "If it had passed, defensive signals would have been unnecessary. But it failed. In 2007, the proposal failed once again, this time by two votes, with Belichick voting against it. (The rule change passed in 2008 after Spygate broke, with Belichick voting for it.)" unspecified N Y Wow! Belichick voted one way one year, then changed his mind the next year? Clearly illegal!!!
9/6/2006 "The allegations against the Patriots prompted NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson to send a letter to all 32 team owners, general managers and head coaches on Sept. 6, 2006, reminding them that "videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited from the sidelines."" public records N N You only listed part of the quote. Here's the full one:
"videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches' booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game."

Oct-06 ". In November 2006, Green Bay Packers security officials caught Matt Estrella shooting unauthorized footage at Lambeau Field. When asked what he was doing, according to notes from the Senate investigation of Spygate that had not previously been disclosed, Estrella said he was with Kraft Productions and was taping panoramic shots of the stadium. He was removed by Packers security. That same year, according to former Colts GM Bill Polian, who served for years on the competition committee and is now an analyst for ESPN, several teams complained that the Patriots had videotaped signals of their coaches" Senate investigation notes N N We don’t need notes from a Senate investigation to tell us that the Patriots were taping other teams' signals. The Patriots readily ADMITTED this when they were asked. They made no effort to conceal the videotaping; it was done out in the open, in front of 80,000 people. These facts were established 8 years ago, and severe punishments were issued. Unless you have something new, why are we rehashing this?
You left off everything after "sidelines", because you know full well that, the way the rule is written, no team could ever tape anything at a game. But every single team takes coaching video of every single NFL game, without exception. So obviously, there is some interpretation that all teams do when it comes to this rule, and just as obviously, the NFL is not interpreting their own rule to the letter. If a "club staff member" is taking video, then whatever location s/he is in would obviously be "accessible to club staff members", and therefore that person would be breaking the rule.
You cut off the quote because to leave the whole thing intact would prove that this was a selective enforcement of a memo that wasn't even an actual rule in the first place.
2006 "The tension was raised later that year, when the Patriots accused the Jets of tampering and the Jets countered with an accusation that the Patriots had circumvented the salary cap. " unspecified Y Y The Patriots have never been found guilty of circumventing the salary cap.
2007 "Mangini saw it as a sign of disrespect that Belichick taped their signals -- "He's pissing in my face," he told a confidant" unspecified N Y Mangini was caught taping the Patriots in 2006 in Foxboro, something you forgot to mention. Was Mangini "pissing in Belichick's face" by taping him?
2007 "They took him into a small room off the stadium's tunnel, confiscated his camera and tape, and made him wait. He was sweating. Someone gave Estrella water, and he was shaking so severely that he spilled it. "He was shitting a brick," a source says." unspecified N Y I wonder where it's written that NFL security employees can confiscate team property and force an employee of an NFL team to come with them. Are these law enforcement officers?
2007 ""Goodell didn't want to know how many games were taped," another source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation says, "and Belichick didn't want to tell him."" unspecified N Y At some point during the investigation, Bill Belichick told Goodell that he had been taping signals throughout his time in New England. Roger Goodell had a very good idea of how many games were affected, despite your efforts to make this sound like new information.
2007 "the Patriots told the league officials they possessed eight tapes containing game footage along with a half-inch-thick stack of notes of signals and other scouting information belonging to Adams, Glaser says. The league officials watched portions of the tapes. Goodell was contacted, and he ordered the tapes and notes to be destroyed, but the Patriots didn't want any of it to leave the building, arguing that some of it was obtained legally and thus was proprietary. So in a stadium conference room, Pash and the other NFL executives stomped the videotapes into small pieces and fed Adams' notes into a shredder, Glaser says. She recalls picking up the shards of plastic from the smashed Beta tapes off the floor and throwing them away." Jay Glaser N N Not sure who the "she" referred to here is. No mention of how much of the tapes the league officials watched. 90%? 20%? It matters, and no one is saying.
2007 "Sources with knowledge of the investigation insist that the Patriots were "borderline noncompliant." And a former high-level Patriots employee agrees, saying, "The way the Patriots tried to approach it, they tried to cover up everything," although he refused to specify how. " A former high-level Patriots employee N Y So you have an anonymous source, who, despite being anonymous, still won't tell you what the Patriots did wrong. And you included it in your story. Wow.
Jay Glaser adamantly denies that assertion, saying all the Patriots' evidence of stolen signals was turned over to the league that day. On Sept. 20, Glaser says the team signed a certification letter promising the league that the only evidence of the videotaping of illegal signals had been destroyed two days earlier and that no other tapes or notes of stolen signals were in the team's possession. The letter does not detail the games that were recorded or itemize the notes that were shredded.
2004 "The Panthers now believe that their practices had been taped by the Patriots before Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. "Our players came in after that first half and said it was like [the Patriots] were in our huddle," a Panthers source says. During halftime -- New England led 14-10 -- Carolina's offensive coordinator, Dan Henning, changed game plans because of worries the Patriots had too close a read on Carolina's schemes. And, in the second half, the Panthers moved the ball at will before losing 32-29 on a last-second field goal. "Do I have any tape to prove they cheated?" this source says. "No. But I'm convinced they did it." A Panthers source / Dan Henning Y Y So a coordinator from the Panthers, who lost to the Patriots in Carolina's only Super Bowl appearance, is going to give you a neutral, unbiased opinion of the team that beat him? Do you think there's any possibility of bitterness there?
Another parallel to the Wells Report: Automatically assuming that rulebreaking occurred as a sort of diagnosis of exclusion. "Well, it couldn't have been anything else, so they must have cheated". There is zero evidence that any practice was taped by the Patriots, ever. Which practice was supposedly taped? When? Where? Aren't these practices closed? And even IF a practice is videotaped, what good is it if you don't know which play is going to be run at which time? How could a videotape of a practice even be used in game preparation?
Oh, and by the by, funny story: Carolina's longest drive of that game was an 8-play, 95 yard TD drive--in the SECOND QUARTER, when the Patriots were supposedly "in their huddle". The first two drives of the second half, after the game plan was changed, were both punts. "Moving the ball at will", indeed. Yes, they had three TDs in the 4th quarter, but the first of these drives featured a 33-yard run for a score, and the second, an 85-yard TD catch. Big, impressive plays, yes. Moving the ball at will, no.
2002 "[Hines] Ward told reporters that Patriots inside information about Steelers play calling helped New England upset Pittsburgh 24-17 in the January 2002 AFC Championship Game. "Oh, they knew," Ward, now an NBC analyst who didn't return messages for this story, said after Spygate broke. "They were calling our stuff out. They knew a lot of our calls. There's no question some of their players were calling out some of our stuff.""
Some of the Steelers' defensive coaches remain convinced that a deep touchdown pass from Brady to Deion Branch in the January 2005 AFC Championship Game, which was won by the Patriots 41-27, came from stolen signals because Pittsburgh hadn't changed its signals all year, sources say, and the two teams had played a game in the regular season that Walsh told investigators he believes was taped. "They knew the signals, so they knew when it went in what the coverage was and how to attack it," says a former Steelers coach. "I've had a couple of guys on my teams from New England, and they've told me those things."
Hines Ward / "sources" / A former Steelers coach Funny how you mention Hines Ward, and some anonymous people, but you don't mention the coach, Bill Cowher, who said: "We didn’t lose the game because of any 'Spygate,' because of them having any additional things. [If] they’re guilty of anything they’re guilty of arrogance because they were told not to do something but it was something everybody does. They got caught doing it with a camera.”
“Stealing someone’s signals was a part of the game and everybody attempted to do that. We had people that always tried to steal signals,” said Cowher. “What happened when we lost that game is they outplayed us. It had nothing to do with stealing signals or cheating or anything else.”
2004 "How did New England seem completely prepared for the rarely used dime defense the Eagles deployed in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on three of four drives? The Eagles suspected that either practices were filmed or a playbook was stolen. "To this day, some believe that we were robbed by the Patriots not playing by the rules ... and knowing our game plan," a former Eagles football operations staffer says." former Eagles football operations staffer Y Y Moreover, Ray Lewis bragged before the 2012 AFC Championship Game that the Ravens had figured out the Patriots' one-word offense, and knew what all the various QB calls meant. Were they spying?
2008 "When Specter pressed Goodell on the speed of the investigation and his decision to destroy evidence, Goodell became "defensive" and had "the overtone of something to hide" according to notes taken by Danny Fisher, a counsel on Sen. Specter's Judiciary Committee staff and the lead investigator on the Spygate inquiry. "No valid reason to destroy," Specter wrote in his own notes." Danny Fisher N N Or what about Miami in 2006? Several players from that team admitted to purchasing tapes of the Patriots offense that allowed them to decipher Tom Brady's audible and line-blocking calls. The NFL's reaction? Nothing to see here--move on. Why didn't Goodell help his "friend", Bob Kraft? Was this illegal, or wasn't it? I'll bet you a dollar that, if the Patriots "purchased a tape" of another team, it would be front-page headlines. But for another team, it's not even against the rules.
2008 In his 2012 book, "Life Among the Cannibals," Specter wrote that a powerful friend -- he wouldn't name the person -- told him that if he "laid off the Patriots," there could be a lot of money for him in Palm Beach. Specter told the friend, "I couldn't care less."" Arlen Specter N N Do any the witnesses in this case have names?? Does he pretend that this offer was made on behalf of the Patriots? And why DID Specter "lay off the Patriots" eventually? Was it because Matt Walsh gave him nothing?
2002 "the public didn't know the great lengths that video assistants were told to use to cover up the videotaping of signals. Belichick had insisted that it was done openly, with nothing to hide." Matt Walsh N N Covering up videotaping is not against the rules. If the Patriots were videotaping from the press box, for example, no one from the other team would even see them, and therefore would not know about the taping at all, and it would be completely legal. Is there something sinister about that?
A man who is videotaping from a sideline, with 80,000 people in the stands, IS doing it openly--whether the videographer has turned his sweater inside out or not.
So WHAT if they were trying to conceal their videotaping? How is that a congressional matter?
2003-2005 "Walsh told Specter that the taping continued in the years after he left the team, by Steve Scarnecchia, his successor as video assistant, whom Walsh claimed to see taping opposing coaches' signals at Gillette Stadium from 2003 to 2005. Specter asked whether he had told Goodell about it. "No," Walsh said. "Goodell didn't ask me about that."" Matt Walsh N N Goodell probably didn't ask Walsh about it because Belichick already admitted to Goodell that he had been taping for his entire career in New England. And the years of 2003- 2005 were all pre-memo anyway, so it was 100% legal at that time.
2002 Walsh reported what he had seen to Patriots assistant coach Brian Daboll, who asked an array of questions about the Rams' formations. Walsh said that Daboll, who declined through the Patriots to comment for this story, drew a series of diagrams -- an account Daboll later denied to league investigators." Matt Walsh N N Daboll would have no reason to deny this. The event described is 100% legal. Employees are allowed to describe something they saw at a practice to their coaches.
Interesting, isn't it, how we start out with the allegation that Walsh had a videotape of the entire practice, and we end with a little sketch on a piece of paper. And oh, BTW, I noticed you forgot to mention Willie McGinest's allegation that the Rams were actually spying on the PATRIOTS' practice before the Super Bowl. When are you releasing your 11,000-word expose on that?
2002 "Faulk had returned only one kickoff in his career before the Super Bowl. Sure enough, in the second quarter, he lined up deep. The Patriots were ready: Vinatieri kicked it into a corner, leading Faulk out of bounds after gaining 1 yard." unspecified N Y Yeah, because there's no way they could've looked down the field and seen Marshall Faulk standing there waiting to receive the kick. Wow. Really dude?
2002 "When they ran the same plays late in the Super Bowl's fourth quarter, the Patriots' defense was in position on nearly every down" unspecified Y Dude. You just admitted that your star witness, Matt Walsh, had nothing. Now you're building a case that the Pats had something. Which is it?
2002 "The Patriots' game plan had called for a defender to hit Faulk on every down, as a means of eliminating him, but one coach who worked with an assistant on that 2001 Patriots team says that the ex-Pats assistant coach once bragged that New England knew exactly what the Rams would call in the red zone. "He'd say, 'A little birdie told us,'" the coach says now." a coach who worked with an assistant on the 2001 team Y Do you, or do you not, think the practice was taped? If so, how and by whom? Sounds to me like they played a hell of a defensive game and you're trying to attribute it to cheating.
2002 "But in his handwritten notes the day before, beneath Matt Walsh's name, Specter jotted the phrase, "Cover-up."" Danny Fisher N …even though, when asked directly, Specter denied there was a cover-up, just an enormous amount of haste.
2008 "Martz also recalls that Goodell asked him to write a statement, saying that he was satisfied with the NFL's Spygate investigation and was certain the Patriots had not cheated and asking everyone to move on -- like leaders of the Steelers and Eagles had done." Mike Martz N Now Martz says he didn't write the statement with his name on it. He says he had more questions, but he "got in line". So basically he's admitting to lying in a written statement released to the public, and now we're supposed to believe him, because now he's telling the truth?
2015 "Another legacy of Spygate -- consequences for failing to cooperate with a league investigation -- was used against the Patriots and, ultimately, Brady. " authors' opinion Y N Are you saying that Brett Favre would not have been punished for non-cooperation had it not been for Spygate? Was the entire concept of non-cooperation completely foreign to the NFL prior to 2007?
2015 "That, in fact, was the only notable similarity between the two investigations: the order to destroy evidence." authors' opinion N N Wrong. The cell phone itself was not evidence. The data contained on it was, and Brady offered this to Goodell. Goodell refused, because it would have been "impractical" to track down the 28 NFL-related parties that Brady had been in touch with, even though Ted Wells had just completed a 4-month, $5M investigation. Cool.

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