Let me begin with a disclaimer. I do not like the NE Patriots. Part of it is subjective – they’ve beaten a team I do like very much, the Steelers, with regularity. But part of it is objective – they strike me as smarmy.
Now there is unfortunate proof of their total smarminess.
The NFL has caught them cheating – videotaping the signals the other team sends in from the sidelines to the players on the field. Simply put they were caught stealing plays. It makes winning a whole lot easier when you know what the other team is going to run. This happened over the weekend in New York.
NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella on the New England sidelines when it was suspected he was recording the Jets’ defensive signals. Sources say the visual evidence confirmed the suspicion.
Goodell is considering severe sanctions, including the possibility of docking the Patriots “multiple draft picks” because it is the competitive violation in the wake of a stern warning to all teams since he became commissioner, the sources said. The Patriots have been suspected in previous incidents.
It has apparently happened before – last year in Wisconsin when the Patriots were playing the Packers.
For the sake of the game, the NFL better step up with those very severe sanctions. So much has been made about the need to punish individual players who take steroids or other drugs. But what of teams that cheat? What of those huge businesses called football teams cheat? Shouldn’t they be severely punished as well?
The answer has to be yes and it should begin with the firing of the head coach. Any coach who permits and benefits from this should be fired – or at the very least suspended for some number of games. It really is gross stuff. And it makes you wonder about those three Super Bowls the Patriots won… or I should say it makes you wonder how they won those Super Bowls.