Now swish and Yung God (not really sure what Metsfan does around here) have provided their takes on the Patriots over this week, however I think its only fitting I take over in this department and dissect the situation, without bias of course. I was going to wait for the NFL to comment but who knows when that will be. In order to understand the present, we must understand the past.
2007 Spygate, words that give Patriot fans headaches and rival team fans pure jubilation as they think they have an excuse to defend their team’s ineptness.
September 13th 2007, The New England Patriots were caught filming New York Jets defensive coaches from an illegal area (The New York Jets sideline). The rule states that video recording devices are not permitted during the game on the field, coach’s box, or locker room. All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead. Belichick claims he misinterpreted the rules and thought sideline footage could not be used for analysis or decoding during that specific game. Sounds like an honest mistake. This photo describes spy gate in more simpler terms.
The Patriots were not illegally filming practices or walkthroughs or what not or what every talking head thinks they were doing. Days before the Patriots 2008 Super Bowl appearance, The Boston Herald ran an inaccurate story from an “unnamed source” saying that the Patriots filmed the STL Rams walkthrough prior to the Patriots first Super Bowl win. For what reason? To sell newspapers. (The paper declared bankruptcy in 2017.) The Herald redacted their incorrect and false story and apologized months later. ESPN however ran with the story and let cry baby Marshall Faulk believe he and his team didn’t lose to a double-digit underdog on their own. Every news and media acted like the Patriots committed murder (Hernandez was an independent contractor) ESPN didn’t correct their story until 2015, 7 years later through a quick message during their 1:30 am broadcast.
Anyway, I digress, Belichick and the Patriots apologized and took their punishment and destroyed all tapes. (However, Goodell did hold a meeting with the media to show the famous spygate tapes and everyone concluded it was nothing or just “coaches being coaches” but it was too late the damage was done and the story was set.) Belichick was fined $500,000 (highest fine of an NFL coach to date), the Patriots were fined $250,000 and docked a first-round pick (which could have turned into Matt Forte). Why is this such a high punishment for a seemingly rather insignificant offense? (So, insignificant that “yourteamcheats.com” rated 2007 spygate as 2.5 cameras out of 5, not joking) Honestly, not sure, The NFL prides itself on parity, the Pats dynasty was in full form and about embark on an undefeated regular season and playoff push towards another SB. Also, Goodell could have been pissed that Belichick tried to push the boundaries after he sent the league a memo in 2016 stating “videotaping of any type including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals is prohibited on the sidelines.” I could write a book on this controversy but let’s focus on the now.
Monday, all is well until Zac Taylor winds down his weekly losing Monday press conference. The Bengal’s radio color commentator Dave Lapham (essentially the Scott Zolak of the Bengals) asked about the incident with the patriots in the press box and sparked the frenzy that is spy gate 2.0 or what I am referring to as “Benghalzi” (lets get more creative with our controversy naming.) After what seemed to be brushed off in a quick 5 minute twitter scandal as a common miscommunication between teams, the media cycle stirred up harder as “@DiannaESPN” picked up the story and started running, as well as formal ESPN networks and other new sources to likely inspire a statement from the Patriots organization who took ownership of the mistake. So, as we stand now, we know several things. We know the Patriots were granted film access by the Browns (the Bengals and NFL were unaware) to the Browns Bengals 12/8 football game and hired an independent film crew in order to shoot a Do you job documentary web series on advance scouts. We also know that a Bengals staffer saw the Patriots employee filming and reported him to NFL security on the scene where his footage was confiscated. “Dianna from ESPN” has a “source” that claims the Patriots filmmaker shot 8 minutes of uninterrupted footage of the Bengals sideline and specifically coaches throughout the first quarter. Now, I would love to believe ESPN but its nearly 2020 and we know the ESPN spin machine (see example above regarding Rams walk through.) Now quick peek into this unbiased ESPN reporter’s twitter came up very anti pats and very pro Steelers. Please see below for a series of tweets she liked Sunday into Monday.
Hmm. Interesting, I think someone has an agenda.
Not one favorable patriots like anywhere and then more of this…
Now I wanted to wait until the NFL released more information, a statement, and punishment regarding the situation, but we all know how that played out with Deflategate (a story for another day). The patriots were first to admit their mistake and took responsibility for the incident. Now no one really knows if filming coaches is truly illegal or not as the 2007 rules show. I think it is safe to assume you are not allowed to film coaches/sidelines in the press room in a stadium where your team isn’t even playing. However, for an independent film maker, could be an honest mistake and wanted to get some extra b-roll. Rumors and talks that the footage is nothing you wouldn’t see on a normal broadcast. I expect the Patriots to receive a fine as punishment and let’s grow up and move on. Pats haters will say the NFL is once again protecting the Patriots and that they get all the calls which is by the far the most bananaland take in the game.
Yes this is an unorganized web of a writing piece but so is this controversy we call spygate.