bill-belichick-bedard-story

In Bill They Trust

Counting out the Pats after a tumultuous offseason? You might want to rethink that

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·

The death of Odin Lloyd was a tragedy. He was someone’s son, brother, friend and teammate, and he will be mourned by those to whom he was closest. We cannot forget that.

But football will be played. The Patriots will take the field on July 25 for training camp after an offseason of unprecedented turmoil, including former tight end Aaron Hernandez’s arrest for Lloyd’s murder. The NFL season starts on Sept. 5, and life will go on. It’s no disrespect to Lloyd and his loved ones. It’s just the way things are.

If you think this turbulent offseason portends a decline on the field for the New England Patriots … well, frankly, you need a history lesson. No team in the NFL, and maybe in the history of sport, has dealt better with controversy. Issues that would have caused other teams to curl up in a thumb-sucking fetal position have been followed by some of the Patriots’ greatest successes. The entire Bill Belichick-Tom Brady dynasty—three Super Bowl titles, two other Super Bowl appearances and nine seasons with at least 11 victories since 2001—was launched on controversy.

Teams should be scared, because this is where Bill thrives. It will be Spygate all over again.

• In the second game of the 2001 season, quarterback Drew Bledsoe—who’d signed a 10-year, $103 million contract the previous March—suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his chest on a hit from Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. When the popular Bledsoe recovered from the injury, Belichick kept him on the sideline in favor of a guy who hadn’t even been able to win a starting job outright in college. If you were to write a book called How to Torpedo Your Football Season, such a team-dividing quarterback firestorm would be the first three chapters. Yet the Patriots went 11-5 and won their first Super Bowl title that year.

• Five days before the start of the 2003 season, Belichick released the even more popular Lawyer Milloy (one of Brady’s best friends). The Bills picked him up and then embarrassed the Patriots 31-0 in the opener. On most teams a mutiny would have been in the offing—even ESPN’s Tom Jackson said the players “hate their coach.” Yet the Patriots went 14-2 and won a second Super Bowl title.

• During the 2007 season opener the Patriots were caught taping the Jets’ signals from the sideline, a serious violation of league rules. The Spygate cheating allegations swirled around the team throughout the season and all of New England’s previous success—not to mention Belichick’s reputation as a football genius—was cast in doubt. Yet the Patriots finished 16-0 and scored more points than any other team in history.

• In the first quarter of the 2008 opener Brady, who was coming off arguably the best year ever by a quarterback, suffered a season-ending knee injury. His backup, Matt Cassel, hadn’t started a game in college and had thrown just 39 passes in three NFL seasons. Though they missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker, the Patriots went 11-5 and tied for the best record in the AFC East.

• In 2010 All-Pro guard Logan Mankins had a messy contract squabble and didn’t report until the ninth game. And Randy Moss, who had caught 250 passes and scored 47 touchdowns over the previous three seasons, was traded after the fourth game following contract complaints and suspect on-field effort. The Patriots survived on the line, changed offenses on the fly and went 14-2.

The Call

You're a team executive, it's 4 a.m., and the phone rings. Bad news awaits. What's that feeling like, and how do teams react?


Andrew Brandt examines

If you’re scoring at home, New England was a combined 65-15 with two Super Bowl titles and a conference championship in those five seasons of turmoil. One general manager, asked how he thought the Patriots would respond to their offseason, texted back, “Teams should be scared, because this is where Bill thrives. It will be Spygate all over again.”

How does Belichick manage these situations? Basically, he doesn’t. Belichick will bring up the issue in front of the team, saying it’s unfortunate for everyone involved and telling the players not to talk about it to the media. He’ll instruct them to refer all questions to him, then he won’t talk about it again. Belichick, who doesn’t outwardly care what anyone says about him, rarely shows frustration or anger in front of the media. He’s a walking billboard for “if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” If the man catching the heat doesn’t sweat a drop and goes about his job normally, why shouldn’t the players? It allows them to ignore the noise.

There is no question, however, that the Hernandez situation is abnormal. There’s little precedent for how to react when a teammate is confined to an 8-by-12-foot cell as inmate No. 174594 awaiting a murder trial at the Bristol County House of Correction, just 33 miles from the practice facility.

If there’s any reason to believe the Patriots might be adversely affected by the situation, it’s because of a locker room shift. The Patriots have typically had at least one strong leader in the locker room to maintain order. Guys like Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Rodney Harrison were strong presences who kept everyone in line. If something needed to be said, either to the team or to an individual, those players did it—Belichick didn’t have to say a thing.

Such a personality does not exist in the current Patriots’ locker room, and it hasn’t for a few years. Even before this offseason, internally the Patriots knew their locker room needed stronger guidance. That’s not to say New England lacks leadership. You won’t find many better lead-by-example players than Brady, Mankins, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty. But none are like Bruschi, who took ownership of the locker room and made sure everyone was doing things the right way. It’s as if the current Patriots have taken the “do your job” mantra too much to heart. If you’re only worried about yourself, people are going to get left behind and could drag the team down.

More Trouble

Aaron Hernandez’s arrest for the alleged murder of Odin Lloyd wasn’t the only legal matter a Patriot became embroiled in this offseason.


Starting cornerback Alfonzo Dennard was arrested on July 11 in Lincoln, Neb., on suspicion of DUI. In April 2012, just days before the Patriots selected him in the seventh round of the draft, Dennard was charged with assaulting a police officer during an altercation outside a bar in Lincoln. He was found guilty in February and sentenced to 30 days in jail (to be served in March 2014) and to two years’ probation. The 23-year-old has a hearing on July 31—six days after the Pats open camp—to determine if he’s violated his probation. He also faces a potential league suspension.


The Patriots have said they are disappointed over the recent arrest but will not cut Dennard.

— G.B.


If the Patriots are to succeed once more in the face of adversity, one or two players must emerge to take ownership of the locker room. The best candidates are Wilfork and Mayo. It’s no longer good enough for them to lead their units. They must get in the faces of teammates on both sides of the ball and hold everyone accountable.

On the field, everyone is asking how the Patriots’ offense will adjust. Here’s what I think they will do. Actually, this is what I know they will do, because after covering New England for two and a half years, I’ve seen Belichick do it in all facets of the game: Whatever gives him the best chance to win one game, that’s what he’ll do.

Some teams enter a season saying, “This is who we have, this is how we’re going to do things each week regardless of the opponent.” Not the Patriots. They are a game-plan team in every phase, meaning the method of attack changes with each opponent. The players and coaches are used to switching up personnel and schemes on a weekly basis, because they do that even when fully healthy. If the Patriots think spreading out and using one back will give them the best chance to win against the Bills on Sept. 8, that’s what they’ll do. If it’s two backs, two tight ends and one receiver against the Jets in Week 2, that’s what they’ll do. Any unavailable player is treated the same by the Patriots regardless of the circumstances: It’s like he never existed.

Yes, Hernandez was an extraordinary talent—unrivaled as an ‘F’ or flex tight end in the Patriots’ system, and the perfect complement to Rob Gronkowski’s in-line, traditional ‘Y’ role. But the Patriots aren’t married to using two tight ends. They’re committed to winning the next game.

Looking ahead, the best players to help them do that are Gronkowski; receivers Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and rookies Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce; running backs Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen and tight end Jake Ballard. Vereen, entering his third season, could be the key. The Patriots love his versatility and were toying with him as a receiver last year. He could become the new flex player, even if he isn’t a tight end.

The Patriots often get better as the season progresses. It might be a little messy early, especially considering Gronkowski’s injury problems, but if New England can get through the first half of the season in reasonable shape, things should start to come together—especially when Brady is your quarterback. It’s not ideal that he’ll be without receivers Wes Welker (free agent) or Brandon Lloyd (released), and that Gronkowski might not be at full speed, but Brady has dealt with this kind of personnel turnover before. He’ll do what he always does: find the defensive flaw or mismatch on a given play and throw to the open player, regardless of who that is.

But there are issues of concern on the field. The Patriots waited far too long to overhaul their receiving corps, and their complicated playbook can be impenetrable to rookies at the position. They chose the athletic Amendola over the reliable Welker, but Amendola has missed 20 games the past two seasons. In fact, health will be a big question with this team—key players such as Amendola, Gronkowski, right tackle Sebatian Vollmer, linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Ras-I Dowling all have had problems staying on the field in recent years. And New England put a lot of free-agent eggs in the basket of former Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, who has underachieved for most of his career. After the release of Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick, the Patriots have no experienced depth in the middle of the line behind Wilfork and Kelly.

History tells us that the Patriots will not be distracted by their tumultuous offseason, no matter how the public perceives them. If they don’t succeed, it won’t be because a valuable offensive player is in jail awaiting a murder trial. It will be because the players they have aren’t good enough.

77 comments
CBOD14
CBOD14 like.author.displayName 1 Like

For this writer to compare this to Spygate shows why the Patriots are despised unlike any team in NFL History. Hello a man is dead, what is this moving on crap? I'm sure that Odin Lloyd's family feels great that the Pats and Tom Brady have moved on. I'm sure they feel great that Belichick will use this to motivate his 31st ranked defense to be even worse. I'm sure that the Lloyd family will swell with pride when The Patriots run the score up again. This is not a teammate being injured, this is not a teammate being waved. My god Bedard stop with the fluff material. It would take incredible gall for Belichick to use this a motivational ploy, but who ami kidding since when has Belichick beena bout decency?

marshallcj
marshallcj

@CBOD14 The Patriots didn't kill Odin Lloyd, a single player on the team potentially and all but definitely did. He isn't comparing the magnitude of a murder with that of taping signals he is comparing them in the sense that they are just both forms of turmoil, that is all. Not that they are comparable in a moral sense. What do you expect them to do hold candle light vigils for Lloyd? It's Belichick and the team's job to go out and win football games. It's a terrible thing that happend but it's also not the patriots fault and they dealt with it in the best way possible. Settle down buddy

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@CBOD14 Well said.... all the love from the media for the scummiest franchise in the NFL.  Fans all around the nation are disgusted by this franchise and the media just keeps going on pretending they don't lack integrity.  I guess they figure if they repeat the lies enough everyone else will believe them. 

johnarocchio12
johnarocchio12

So funny how many patriot haters there are out there. Sorry they have 1 of the best dynasties of all time haters! And guess what??? It ain't stopping until TB12 retires!!! Chalk up 2 superbowls in the next 5 years. Best qb of all time.

CBOD14
CBOD14

@johnarocchio12 Uh sorry son Packers, Steelers, Niners, Cowobys and even Gibbs Skisn would whip this teams ass. Then again since most of you didn't watch football prior to 2002 you have no idea what thell I'm talking about.

2JetAllGo
2JetAllGo

@CBOD14 Oh get your head out of the clouds. The sport of football is far more complex today than it was even ten years ago. You can say that these teams may have been more dominant in their respective eras and against their respectively inferior competition, but any 8-8 team in the league last year would've blown out Lombardi's Packers

iLeonD
iLeonD

If it culminates into another loss in the Super Bowl by The Giants, then I'm all in!

luvfoozball
luvfoozball like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I once counted out the Patriots when Tom Brady was knocked out of the season. Much to my chagrin Bill Belichick showed me who is the boss.

I am not going to make that same mistake again.

Inspector47
Inspector47

I wish the headline had a byline, as well as the body of the piece, because there seems to be a disconnect between the two. Bedard writes as if he believes Belichick and Brady will find, yet again, a way to make the playoffs and remain relevant in the AFC. If that is so, I agree with him. He hedges a bit when he insists this is dependent upon key players remaining healthy throughout the year, but is this not true for every team in each season? Patriots fans, among whom I count myself, still await a vindicating post-Spygate Super Bowl win, and if there is a "yeah, but..." that we must attach to Bill's time here in New England, this is it. In spite of this, I suspect that most of the Belichick haters and other trolls who inhabit these comment sections would trade their own teams' coach for the Hoodie in an instant if they had the chance. I think there is some validity to Bedard's point that it is vital for one or more of the Pats' quiet leaders to step forward and seize the locker room. For those of us who endured the bad years of the Patriots franchise, it has been rewarding to witness these years, and if the window is now closing, we can reflect on one hell of a good time!

dhartm2
dhartm2

@Inspector47 Haha, I'm a Ravens fan and love Harbaugh as a coach, but you are not incorrect, I'd trade him for Belichick in a second.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@dhartm2 @Inspector47 You are a liar.  You would trade a guy who can beat Belichick with Flacco when Belichick has one of the best qb's of all time?  yeah, not buying you are a Ravens fan at all, because that is plain stupid. 

dhartm2
dhartm2

@randomdeletion @dhartm2 @Inspector47 Joe Flacco just put up better numbers in the playoffs than Brady ever did.  We averaged 31 points across four games.  But I digress, you criticize me for saying the Ravens are better at every position except QB and TE, but you don't say where the Pats are better.  You're the worst type of arguer.  The Ravens were better at ever other position, which would create matchup advantages.  You're the anti-Belichick one, you're going against convention, the onus of proof is on you.  And guess what, it's an opinion, so you'll never win.  I actually think Belichick is the greatest coach of all time.  Better than Paul Brown.  Better than Lombardi.  On a scale of 1-10 Landry is an 8, Lombardi is a 10, Brown is an 11, and then there's a sign that says "Bill Belichick: 10 Miles that way."  He's a 45,000.  That's how good he is.  Deal with it.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@dhartm2 @randomdeletion @Inspector47 So it is impossible for you to be unrealistic about your assessment of the talent on the Ravens compared to the Patriots and at the same time a closet fan of the opponent?  Yeah that is not possible.  Yet your view is just that.  Give the Pats the edge at the only positions one would have to be mentally re.tar.ted to understand, where the other team's edge in talent at those positions is irrefutable.  Yet you are positive without a shadow of a doubt that the Ravens edge at all other positions is irrefutable, which no one would agree with outside of someone living in delusion.  So I mocked your assessment because it is ludicrous.  

So further believing in your delusional assessment you suggest the Ravens had the edge at 9 out of the 10 remaining positions.  You are aware that the game is about matchups right? So the "edge" you would need to be speaking of is one team's offensive line against the other teams defensive line and so on... you do get that right?  

Another reason your initial response makes zero sense if you are a smart football fan of the Ravens is the age difference of the coaches ESPECIALLY considering your own assessment and ranking of the two being only 9.8 to 8.5.  JH is a young coach who has already won a super bowl and you would trade him for an old coach who doesn't have many years left and has not won super bowl in 9 years all the while having one of the best qb's of all time putting up record numbers and playing remarkably well?  I think you would be the ONLY Raven fan with such a ridiculous view of the idea.

dhartm2
dhartm2 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@randomdeletion@dhartm2@Inspector47Can you read or are you just trolling me, I honestly cannot even tell?  I clearly said, "The Ravens are better on offensive line, running back, wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, secondary, and in all phases of special teams."  Now if you use your powers of reading, you will see that I didn't include QB or TE on that list, because the Patriots were better at those positions.

So now I'll answer your question, because that's what someone with good reading comprehension does.  How is it that the worse coach got the better performance out of the worse QB?  Well, probably by having a better supporting cast at 9 of the 10 remaining positions on offense.  It also probably has something to do with Flacco playing much better than his baseline in that game an all other games in the playoffs.  So if you are better at 9/10 spots, and then your QB steps up in a major way, it's pretty easy for the coach to win.  And I'm not saying that BB is a 10 and JH is a 7 or something like that.  I've got BB as a 9.8 and JH as like an 8.5.  It's not a huge gap.

Seriously though, your responses are pretty great.  You call me a delusional homer in the first sentence and a closet Pats fan in the last.  Very cohesive message you got there.  You're clearly an out of the closet Pats hater, lets see, who would have so much unreasonable vitriol?  Must be a Jets fan.  Don't worry, none of us would take Rex Ryan over any of these guys.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@dhartm2 @randomdeletion @Inspector47 Hahaha.... homer delusions huh?  Ravens were better at all positions?  Really?  Funny how Flacco outperformed Brady, and there is no way a sensible person can say he is better than Brady.  So how is it that the worse coach got the better performance out of the worse qb and the better coach got a worse performance out of a hall of fame qb?  That has nothing to do with coaching?  Coaching is only involved in making the other 21 players whom are all second rate to the Ravens better in the regular season?  WHAT?  LOL... OH and I guess coaching has nothing to do with any player ever being better than another player on another team.  Odd logic, but whatever (closet pat fan)

dhartm2
dhartm2

@randomdeletion @dhartm2 @Inspector47 Well as it were, I live in a world where there are 22 starters on a football team, and that the Ravens have better players all over the place has nothing to do with the ability of the head coach to get the most out of their players.  The Ravens are better on offensive line, running back, wide receiver, defensive line, linebacker, secondary, and in all phases of special teams, and yet, the Patriots still had more wins in the regular season.  Belichick gets more out of less than any coach in the league, and that I can admit that doesn't make me some sort of "bad Ravens fan."  An intelligent fan can admit that the team they are a fan of, even if that team just won the Super Bowl, is not perfect.  Belichick is the premier coach in the league, both in reputation and wins and loses, and if you disagree with that maybe you are plain stupid.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@Inspector47 you are kidding yourself if you think fans of other teams would take Belichick to be their team's coach.  He is a vile disgusting cheater that has zero integrity and credibility with most fans in the NFL.  We all find it incredibly pathetic how Pats fans denial and delusion is so strong they defend the man as if what he did was no big deal totally ignoring the reality that NO cheater ever cheats for no reason.  They cheat for an advantage that they believe they need to accomplish what they want to accomplish or they wouldn't do it.  So considering common sense reality, BILL was the one that was convinced he needed to cheat in this way to win super bowls and that is just plain fact.  No i would not want that scumbag coaching my team.  

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@randomdeletion Most Patriots fans acknowledge the the team broke a rule therefore "cheated".  However if you are going to try and say they cheated during all their Super Bowl wins, that sounds like sour grapes.  Bottom line is, the ban for the filming from opposing teams sidelines was not a rule until 2006, therefore if teams were doing this in the 2001-2004 seasons, it was ALLOWED.  Also, my biggest gripe with the Spygate excuse is that the team has won more games post Spygate then pre Spygate but opposing teams fans seem to think they can pick and choose when it applies (i.e when it suits their argument), like "haven't won a SB since".  Which while that is true, I highly doubt a camera is the reason they did not beat the Giants either time or the reason they won by 3 in all 3 of the previous SB wins.

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@randomdeletion @MMoney0021 So you know for a fact they were taping signals now??  WOW.  Bottom line is, all you can point to from a factual standpoint is 1 game in 2007 with not a shred of evidence they were "cheating" in any of their SB wins, by using a technicality in the rule book to try and discredit a teams success and then draw assumptions or opinions from that one game to fit your argument.  

 We can agree to disagree at this point because I can point to statistics to back up my argument like WINNING-est team POST SPYGATE which is 6 seasons worth of data (Spygate always the fall back crutch/excuse).  Cherry pick the playoff games if necessary because your obviously not a stats major 90+ games > 10.  Toughest professional sports league to win in with the most parody but again you would like to point out something that happened over 6 years ago.  Again we can agree to disagree at this point.   Your not changing my mind and I am not changing yours. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MMoney0021 @randomdeletion Hahaha.... you are a total joke.  You ignore all facts that do not fit your paradigm.  You know we are talking about filming the coaches giving signals and then you feel the need to try and change course and talk about filming the game?  LOLOLOL.... only an idiot would divert like you just did.  You are so clueless about the whole matter it is comical.  Hey, obviously you need to stay in denial, will refuse to do your own research so that you are aware of reality, and need your delusions to feel better about being a fan of the team that was caught cheating unlike any team had ever been before.  

Thanks for the laughs. 

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@randomdeletion @MMoney0021 Patriots beat 8 I REPEAT 8 PLAYOFF TEAMS THAT YEAR.  Go look at the scores from the SD, Dallas (#1 seed in the NFC) and Indy game from that season as well as the Steelers.  Dont give me this BS they feasted on inferior competition.  They admitted to cheating in 2007, again and yet no other evidence has surfaced of previous games over these past years (assuming they have been cheating forever as you state more evidence should have surfaced by now).  Again all this team has done is win games.  The reason for blowouts is because of the media and people like you claiming they needed a camera to win close games.  Also you CAN video tape games.  Ever hear of College Teams, NFL teams, High School teams exchanging game film??? How did they get those films from outter space?  Bottom line is, all the SB wins the games were there for the taking.  They won 3 lost 2.  I guess the reason they lost to the Giants was every bit because of a camera and not the fact that Wes Welker dropped what would have been a game clinching pass (yes it was a high throw) or the fact that a mircale helmet catch (best in SB history) won that game for NY.  Must have been a camera.

Your coming up with your own BS that your trying to sell me like BB admitted to cheating the entire time, they only blew out bad teams, teams do not change their signals from previous games (complete BS and why coaches cover their mouths while calling plays).  Must have been a damn camera which caused Adam V to hit 3 game winning FGs.  You sound ridiculous.   You can taint the SBs all you want but the fact of the matter is I see 3 SBs in the NFL record books all without this self proclaimed *.   Fact of the matter is, you cannot provide links evidence etc other than the 2007 incident which anyone with half a brain would realize that if the advantage was that substantial then there would have been some falling off turning over an entire roster which has not been the case over the past 6 years.  Let it go bud.  Figure out what your team can do to win a SB.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MMoney0021 @randomdeletion Wow, seriously?  I mean my god are you freaking kidding me?  BB admitted that he had been doing this since his first year with the Pats.    The rules state you can't tape from ANYWHERE.  Sideline, in the booth, or freaking anywhere.  Are you really that dumb?  Look it up yourself. It is very clear that it is not allowed.  Period.  Additionally it is possible that the tapes were used in subsequent games, not necessarily in the second half of the game they taped.  A coach was quoted as saying that sometimes it can take players 6 weeks to get down one signal, so teams did NOT change their signal systems at all from year to year.  So a tape from last year that was dissected by BB would be useful to steal signals the next year.  

You love to harp on "Patriot hater" to make yourself feel better.  When in reality what I hate is cheaters.  You don't because it is your team.  You live in denial because it is your team.  You are like a SF Giant fan that can't handle the truth and reality about Barry Bonds. 

I have brought facts, you have brought really ridiculous opinion and notions that are far removed from reality.  As if just because you say so, cheaters cheat for no reason or advantage whatsoever.  In 2007 the Pats ran up scores and were incredibly classless against the teams that were overmatched against them.  They still did not blow away the best teams in the league.  They barely beat those teams.  It was close and most don't believe BB sent in all the tapes.  Funny how the juggernaut offense scored so little against the Giants in the SB.  

I have never felt they needed this cheating to win a lot of regular season games, they are a good team with a GREAT QB and a really good head coach.  It seems clear the head coach felt this edge was just what they needed to win the close games against best teams, especially in the playoffs.  Ever since then their record against the best teams including the playoffs is no where near as good as it was before they were caught.  That is not opinion, that is FACT.

God pats fans are pathetic with the whole jealousy thing.  As if everyone is jealous of a fan base that has to deal with tainted titles and everyone knowing they cheated.  Yeah no one is jealous of that. 

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

@randomdeletion @MMoney0021 Show me some evidence other than the Jets game and also explain to me how video taping on the sidelines vs anywhere else gives such a competitive advantage.    Your bringing more opinion than fact to this argument bud.  Again until we see an * your opinion as a Patriot hater is no different than my opinion, of not being able to dissect a film and interpret signals in a 15 minute half time (I played football).  You could have given teams NE's playbook in 2007 and they still would have won.  Until then NE 3 SBs.  Keep on harping on something that happened 6 years ago if it makes you feel any better about the Patriots beating your team.  If a camera had this HUGE advantage, I highly doubt they would be the winning-est football team in the league after turning over an entire roster outside of Brady and Vince.  Spygate is simply for the simple minded people, that need to make excuses as to why their team has not been as successful as NE.  Winning breads jealousy. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MMoney0021 Critical thinking skills?  Where?  Hahahahahaha... omg you are a riot you are so funny!  Talk about being so blind and clueless you are at a total loss on what is reality and what isn't.  Apparently you fail to understand that the rule book you are referencing is for on field play and involvement.  The rule broken is written and explained in the nfl constitution and bylaws (as it was an action that did not pertain to the on field play).  Good lord, why are so many of you so clueless in Boston?  

You go to all  this effort to prove the extent of your lack of awareness and knowledge? Read the rule in the bylaws and tell me it was not in place before 2006 when it specifically notes that POLAROID pictures are ok.  POLAROID!!  How old is Polaroid?  Hmmm?  Do you even know what it is?  This rule was put in place back when video taping became possible.  Roger Goodell explained that clearly enough in his press conference where he was announcing the punishment.  Roger stated that it has ALWAYS been against the rules and that there was zero gray area and Belichick knew that.  

Here is Roger Goodell's actual quote when he made the announcement.  “This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field,” Goodell said in revealing the sanctions.

This infraction is even covered in the game operations manual.  “No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game,” the league’s Game Operations Manual reads.

Here is an excerpt of the memo sent to team in September 2006, so BEFORE the beginning of the 2006 season.  “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines,"

So the memo was reminding everyone that this is a rule and Bill still cheated the entire 2006 season.  

Jimmy can say whatever he wants, I don't buy it, but even if he was doing it all he is doing is tainting his titles.  He isn't indicting everyone else.  Don Shula believes that an asterisk is called for and that as far as he is concerned he has no idea how people can't agree with that.  He felt that it was obvious it made a difference or the league wouldn't have punished so harshly but at the same time Roger Goodell wanted to end it quickly and have it go away.  Yeah Don Shula has no credibility does he?  You know he even said that the 2007 season is tainted.  I agree with him.  


So continue to be daft and delusional if it makes you feel better.  I guess it is easier to deal with just blindly ignoring reality or making up an entirely alternate reality. 

MMoney0021
MMoney0021

So I guess your comment about taping from the side lines trumps what former Hall of Fame coaches once stated like Jimmy Johnson stating that this was common practice in the NFL.

Your incorrect about taping from the sidelines prior to 2006.  Here is the official NFL Rulebook:

http://www.nfl.com/rulebook/digestofrules

There is not one specific rule contained in this book pertaining to videotaping. There is simply a section called Unfair Acts that states:

"The Commissioner has sole authority to investigate and to take appropriate disciplinary or corrective measures if any club action, nonparticipant interference, or emergency occurs in an NFL game which he deems so unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of a game. "

Meaning that it is at the Commissioner's sole discretion to determine what is unfair and act accordingly.

I draw two conclusions from this (yes critical thinking skills):

1. The commissioner was acting within his power to declare the Patriots vidoetaping unfair and was within his power to fine them as he saw fit for the action.  I have acknowledged that they did cheat in 2007 vs the Jets, payed a price for it and have only been the most winning-est team in the NFL since (statistical fact not a biased opinion like your making because you hate NE). 

2. Prior to Goodell taking over as commissioner of the NFL in August of 2006 there was NO rule in place regarding videotaping. Therefore, if an NFL team did use video taping tactics prior to 2006, it was legal based on the fact that commissioner Taglibue did not raise the issue and did not punish any team for using this tactic. Therefore, either the tactic was not used by the Patriots or any other team or it was not considered illegal or unfair.

And about winning close games??? They still have a winning playoff record Post Spygate and have gone to 2 Super Bowls.  They just do not have a dynamic defense, which has been close to last in the league the past 3 years in yards given up and third down efficiency.  But ignore facts and yet focus on a camera.  No offense, but its people like you that still hang on to something that happened 6 years ago and use it for an excuse everytime the Patriots beat your team. 

Lastly, when I look in the NFL history book, I yet to see any * next to any of the 3 SBs.  So until that happens, I sleep comfortably knowing I witnessed my team play in 5 SBs in the Brady/BB era winning 3 of them.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MMoney0021 @randomdeletion Huh?  Where did I mention winning big?  Do you comprehend what you read?  I mentioned winning big games against top teams and in the playoffs and on the road against those teams is not happening like it did pre spygate.  Check it yourself.  Apparently  you have revisionist history glasses on.  

I have never acted like a camera is some magical device between winning and losing football games.  You are being daft.  I said that it mattered to Bill, he was the one that thought it mattered.  Only a fool would think he would do it if it didn't matter.  Are you a fool?  I imagine knowing the plays the other team is calling on defense could make a difference in close games.  What has changed post spygate is the Pats are not adept at winning the close games against the best teams like they did pre spygate.  That is not in doubt.  

You refuse to accept reality about why cheaters cheat and assume it made no difference, which is about the most naive view of it I have ever heard of and only hear it from pat fans.  Everyone else accepts the reality that a cheater cheats for an edge with the goal in mind that it will help the cheater win.  It doesn't matter how much of a difference your or I think it made. 

The memo was sent out to REMIND every team that it is a rule and it is against the rules to tape the signals from anywhere to be used at any time.  It wasn't to state there was a new rule.  As for sending it to all teams, that is exactly what the league did regarding bounty gate.  They sent memos to every team.  They always send any memo to every team about any infraction any particular team makes so as to remind everyone that it is against the rules.  Not because they know everyone is doing it.  Are you really that dense you are unable to grasp reality?  Do you just make it up as you go along to fit your paradigm?  You really think that is critical thinking?  

MMoney0021
MMoney0021 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@randomdeletion @MMoney0021 Winning big does not happen post spygate?? You may want to check the scores of the entire 16-0 regular season.  What your post tries to do is act like a camera is some magical device that is the difference between winning and losing football games while totally ignoring the talent on the field.  The 2003 and 2004 Patriots were heavy favorites to win the SB.  2007 as well except the simple fact you leave out that the Giants over the Pats was arguably the biggest upset ever.  The post season failures have zero to do with a camera and everything to do with the talent on defense.  When your defense is ranked in the latter 20's and even 30's in yards allowed, thats a recipe for failure come January.  However you decided to leave statistics out and use some tiresome argument, again that held no water until 2006 (which is why a memo to the entire league was sent out in 2007).  BB was arrogant enough to ignore the memo.  That is the only thing he did wrong.  If the Patriots were the only team taping from the sidelines prior to 2006, then I would have to assume, because I have the ability to critical think, that a memo would have been sent to the Patriots and not the entire NFL.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@MMoney0021 @randomdeletion Only Pat fans that live in severe delusion and denial deny the reality that it was against the rules the entire time therefore BB was cheating every year he coached the pats up until he was caught.  Roger Goodell himself said it was always against the rules and it in no way was a misinterpretation of the rules or allowed at any time prior to the memo being sent out.  Pat fans would have us believe that Roger Goodell was unaware of the rules.  Your biggest grip about spygate does nothing to refute the reality that Belichick obviously believe he needed to cheat in this manner to win titles.  It was his choice to cheat and no cheater cheats for zero advantage.  You can highly doubt all you want, but winning regular season games does not refute the reality that winning in the postseason has dramatically decreased since spygate.  No one ever thought that Belichick needed to cheat to beat the Bills, Dolphins or the Jets most of the time, but it was winning close games against the top teams or playoff teams even on the road that does not happen post spygate.  That is where it made the difference, obviously and Bill knew it which is why he needed to do it. 

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@randomdeletion @Inspector47 You're wrong.  Bellichick is by far the best coach in the league.  I'd trade him for Greg Schiano any day of the week. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@nfinitwordsfoto @randomdeletion @Inspector47 Yeah all my blind hatred disables me from seeing how good Barry Bonds really is, or ARod, or Ryan Braun, or Lance Armstrong, or whomever.  LOL

Uh, it is called recognizing and calling a cheater what a cheater is.  That they felt the need to cheat to get an edge and win.  I didn't feel that, they did.  I just call it out and don't forget the reality.  He is a good coach.  A very good coach.  He is also a cheater and shows little integrity or respect for the game.  I choose to not respect that no matter who does. 

Additionally I have seen how much Tom Brady means to his success and have serious legitimate doubts as to what he could accomplish without one of the best qb's of all time. 

nfinitwordsfoto
nfinitwordsfoto

@randomdeletion @nfinitwordsfoto @Inspector47 You're too full of blind hatred to see how good BB really is.  I'm not worried about that, but people with an open mind or who know about sports all consider him to be one of the best ever.  I'll just have to go with their opinions over one that's biased. 

And no, I'm not a Pats fan at all.  I live in Tampa and couldn't care less about any of the teams in the North. 

Frank D
Frank D

The rest of the country is crazy if they think the Patriots are going away yet.  They are in the midst of an unrivaled run of success (12 years) that will continue for awhile because of BB/TB. What other team has been able to reload/adjust on the fly and compete every year for this long. We miss you in Boston but congrats on your new job!

BillyK
BillyK

Great website with one thing missing: No print button for people like me that want to read it elsewhere!

MMoney0021
MMoney0021 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Awesome website, could not have come at a better time with ESPN completely dropping the ball converting all their conversations to facebook format 5 days ago as if I want strangers to have access to my personal profile. 


Anyway as a die hard Pats fan this team on paper can be as bad as 9-7 or as good as 12-4 IMO.  There are a lot of "ifs" that need to fall in their favor but the main piece is Gronk and Amendola staying healthy.  Both of those happen, and they will be just fine.  The defense has the ability to be a strength this year rather than a weakness like it has been over the past 3 seasons.

benbona
benbona

Look at the record of the "genius" when he was in Cleveland.

JPM
JPM

Look at all the dumb things you did as a teenager?  People change.  Circumstances change.  What's your point?

JPM
JPM

@benbona Loo at all the dumb things you did when you were a teenager.  What's your point?

WilliamBerry
WilliamBerry

@benbona 

You do it again.  His first year with a lousy team was a reflection of the team he was handed.  Second year, where he replaced Kosar was 7-9.  Then they made the playoffs. then they were 4-1 when the move was announced and the did not win again until the last week.

Unless you are an idiot and a hater back out ten losses for when he learned to handle the distraction OF A TEAM ANNOUNCING THEY ARE MOVING.

jsolomn
jsolomn

Good article and great points.  Let's not forget it has been the Patriots defense which has let them down these past few years.  Unless they address their secondary concerns and pass rush, the top ranked office in the NFL alone is still not good enough to help  them win the Superbowl.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

That is a stretch to compare any other previous off season to this one, or any of the other turmoil to this.  The targets for Brady is a drop off in what he is used to. Gronk can't be counted on and likely Amendola can't either.  Your last line is the most accurate and realistic part of the entire article.  The players they have are not good enough. 

WilliamBerry
WilliamBerry

@randomdeletion 

Look at 2006 and tell me again how bad the receivers are.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@WilliamBerry @randomdeletion How old was Brady then?  And in 2006 they may not have been great but they were more experienced than this bunch. 

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@WilliamBerry @randomdeletion The experience that really matters was experience and timing working with Brady.  Brady thrives off of a comfort zone feel he gets with certain receivers, especially as he has gotten older.  He won't have that with anyone on the team except Gronk and the team can not count on Gronk to be out there. 

WilliamBerry
WilliamBerry

@randomdeletion @WilliamBerry 

Age is a valid point.  Of course in 2006 the defender could actually hit the QB.

And experience is a two edged sword.  Troy Brown had experience of stuff he could not do.  I think it was Cromartie (then with san Diego) who said they were the slowest WRs in the league.

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