FanDuel - WFBC

September 18, 2007

Belichick's cheating could lead to dark days for NFL.: Gregg Easterbrook: "It would not surprise me in the slightest if, before the season ends, Belichick resigns, or is suspended, or is fired by Kraft, or even is permanently barred from the league."

posted by DudeDykstra to football at 01:12 PM - 99 comments

Just me or is this guy seriously overreacting?

posted by DudeDykstra at 01:15 PM on September 18

Damn! You beat me to it! Someone just forwarded me that link, with the comment, "From the Rita Skeeter of the NFL." Easterbrook is a prime case, isn't he?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:15 PM on September 18

By the way, this is currently the lead story at ESPN.com. Check out the picture they have of Belichick with lightning graphics behind him on the main page. For those who don't get there soon enough, the caption under the photo reads, "Bill Belichick's lying and stonewalling ways are similar to Richard Nixon." They had Woodward and Bernstein. I've got Easterbrook. Scary.

posted by DudeDykstra at 01:23 PM on September 18

"Bill Belichick's lying and stonewalling ways are similar to Richard Nixon." Terrible grammar. Should be "similar to THOSE of Richard Nixon." You can only compare one man's ways to another man's ways. Fox Sports reported that former NFL players believe Belichick had microphones installed NBC reported that several teams might charge the Patriots this week with having stolen playbooks "malfunction" of visiting teams' headphones...seems to have happened far too often to be an IT department error. The rumor mill says Belichick, Richard Nixon-style, has file cabinets of info Well, I heard this guy say something one time that he believed this thing about a rumor that Gregg Easterbrook has an extensive collection of blow up dolls representing every cheerleading squad in the NFL. So I guess that means it must be true.

posted by Venicemenace at 01:42 PM on September 18

Counterpoint from the Sports Guy. Easterbrook's article was disappointing in its bombast, but he's not alone.

posted by yerfatma at 01:54 PM on September 18

I think one point that is legitimate in this article, which is not without it's flaws but does make some strong arguments, is that Belichick is being an incredible asshat throughout all of this. Just saying "I don't want to talk about it, I want to talk about the San Diego game." isn't going to make the situation go away. In addition, I do agree that the NFL has a public opinion problem ready to boil over here if it doesn't respond properly. Whether that's sticking to the fines, confiscating information from the Pats, or calling for the head of Belichick, I don't know, but accusations of cheating can be a harbinger of dark days to a sports league. When fans lose faith in the integrity of the game, underestimating their reaction could prove to be folly. And these accusations, or perhaps facts, are being directed at a team that is on the verge of becoming a modern day dynasty. The article is not complete crap. This is bad juju for the NFL.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:58 PM on September 18

Why does declining to comment make him an asshat? It's not the Spanish Inquisition.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:05 PM on September 18

Why does declining to comment make him an asshat? It's not the Spanish Inquisition. I didn't say declining to comment made him an asshat. But since you brought it up, how would you describe Belichick in the press conference to which I am referring? Insolent and put-upon come to mind. Definitely trying to avoid an issue that is of some importance would be another thing that comes to mind. Combining all his behaviors, to me and maybe only me, mind you, comes off as a bit "asshatty", yes. No it's not the Spanish Inquisition, and to say that this is a comparison is silly. I believe the grander point that I'm trying to make is that the NFL has a quite large public relations nightmare that needs to be addressed and pronto. The old head-in-the-sand approach is probably ill-advised.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:34 PM on September 18

Maybe he is in deep trouble. I doubt it, but odds are high this thing is gonna bite SOMEWHERE down the road.

posted by SFValley_Dude at 02:50 PM on September 18

Oh gee another scandal. Man haven't these writers ruined sports enough. I can't wait to see what they come up with for hockey. Probably goalies that infalte their pads to make them look bigger.

posted by evilchris23 at 03:08 PM on September 18

asshat is so passe. I believe "asshammer" is the term currently in vogue here, although there is no requirement for anyone to conform to fashionable spofi adjectives. Where were we? Oh yes, off with his head! Impeach Belichick just like we did Nixon.

posted by irunfromclones at 03:19 PM on September 18

Impeach Belichick just like we did Nixon. Nixon resigned, if I'm not mistaken. And I don't mean to be an asschapeau.

posted by THX-1138 at 03:26 PM on September 18

Man haven't these writers ruined sports enough. Yep. It was them writers that got Mike Vick involved in dogfighting, spied for McLaren, shot steroids into baseball players' asses, coerced poor innocent Tim Donaghy into betting on games, and fucked up the BCS. Dude, you hit the nail right on the head. Perhaps you should be working at Interpol. As for the article, it's a bit hysterical, to be sure, but as far as what the spectre of cheating can do to a league, I think he's dead on. There is potential for the NFL to lose a lot, just as the NBA and MLB have. I don't know that this is the "scandal" to do it, but it's certainly theoretically possible. As for Belichick being an asshat/hammer/chapeau/monkey wrench, just look at how he acts. When something doesn't go his way, he reacts like a spoiled child. Won't let me wear what I want on the sidelines? I'll just wear the crappiest piece of crappy crap I can get my hands on, that'll show you! I don't want to talk about me being in trouble for breaking league rules, and you can't make me! Maybe if he was my favorite team's coach, I'd engage in the blind worship, too, but he's not. Being a Miami fan, perhaps I am a little jealous of the Pats' success in the Phins' own division, but regardless of your team loyalty, Belichick does come off as quite petulant, arrogant, and sometimes quite childish, and Pats fans seem to eat it up.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:31 PM on September 18

Belichick has a second shoe problem. If somebody can nail him for another form of cheating, and there's huge incentive for the media to accomplish that right now, the shoe will drop and it'll be open season on him.

posted by rcade at 03:31 PM on September 18

I didn't say declining to comment made him an asshat. But since you brought it up, how would you describe Belichick in the press conference to which I am referring? Insolent and put-upon come to mind. Eh...I just think a lot of people are really, really reaching in assigning all kinds of character traits, attitudes, motives and states of mind to a guy who will barely say a word in public. I don't kid myself that I know the details of what's going on in the man's mind, but I also don't really care, nor see why I should. However, since speculation is the order of the day...if I had to speculate, I'd say that he's probably an extremely one-track individual. People like that accomplish amazing things, but ya know, they're not usually the best dinner guests or the life of the party. They're not even good at holding forth on the object of their personal obsession, unless they're doing so to a pack of nerds who are in their same class of obsessiveness about the very same thing. And, sad to say, they don't tend to make the greatest spouses or parents or friends, because they are so focused on their thing that people usually come a distant second. Not everybody at the top level in coaching is like this, but a lot of people who are successful at the top level of just about anything you can name do seem to be cut from this type of cloth. So, if you want to talk about that press conference...well, have you see any of his other press conferences? He's never exactly been Chatty Cathy, and if people had really been paying attention before this scandal, a lot of them probably would have said, "Wow, what an asshat" (and a few who were paying attention did). My thought is if that's how you want to define "asshat", okay, but that's a wee bit simplistic.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:52 PM on September 18

I have difficulty believing that this was the one and only time the Patriots did the sideline videotaping, unless Belichick thought of it just this last off season. If the penalty is just for the one game and anyone has evidence of the taping happening in prior years, well, independent of any other violations, where can the league go with penalties after $500k/250k and the first round pick?

posted by billsaysthis at 04:07 PM on September 18

One man's extremely one track individual is another man's asshat, I suppose. We are all entitled to our opinions and I'm certain Belichick could care less what mine is. I don't think Belichick should be let off the hook by the media at a press conference though. Something about not being able to stand the heat. Sorry for the discomfort, Bill, but you kinda had a hand bringing this on yourself. I don't think anyone was asking him irrelevent questions; quite the contrary. Not answering the question isn't going to change the outcome of the situation. The NFL has levied a punishment for him and if they decide on leaving it settled or pursuing it further, keeping it zipped in front of the media won't be the deciding factor in his ultimate fate. As for my own opinion of Belichick, before all this came to light I thought of him as something of an NFL strategic genius. Now I think of him as a somewhat petty, arrogant, and vindictive cheater. And the Patriots as a tarnished but good football team. But no longer great.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:41 PM on September 18

One man's extremely one track individual is another man's asshat, I suppose. Well, see, that's more or less what I was getting at. We admire great achievers from a distance, but when you get up close, you realize that great things are often accomplished by people who care about that and only that. The odd thing to me is that people are surprised by this. Irrationally, we expect great achievers to also be great human beings, and we're disappointed when they're not. Not answering the question isn't going to change the outcome of the situation. I gotta disagree. I don't know what's behind the curtain -- no one knows, whether this was Belichick's own initiative or someone else's, whether he really thought that it was allowable under some interpretation of the rules, or whatever -- but I think a lot of people's troubles would have been less if they'd just dummied up. Innocent or guilty or somewhere in between, seems like public statements are made into rope to hang you with, most times.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:53 PM on September 18

Uh, you're being an idiot about this, THX-1138. As that Simmons column explained, it's a little silly to think that one videotaping incident in six years, which didn't really suggest a "stealing" of critical information that makes or breaks games, somehow devalues the Patriots or their coach as no longer "great". People who dislike the Pats' success are jumping on to suggest this is the second coming of the 1919 White Sox, but it really, really, really isn't. It's a minor transgression from an obsessive coaching genius, one with little apparent game impact that changes nothing of the last several years of Patriot NFL dominance. The Pats destroyed the Jets in Week 1, and amid all the hullabaloo they just completely DISMANTLED the Chargers. That San Diego team was supposed to be an elite squad this year- a Superbowl contender- and they looked like the second-string J.V. squad out there. If you really, really, really think that some sideline videotaping- a minor technicality that Goodell is making a case out of as much to prove he's a stern taskmaster as any real threat to the integrity of the game- proves the Patriots aren't great, you're going to look fucking ridiculous if they go 16-0 in the regular season.

posted by hincandenza at 05:06 PM on September 18

Insolent and put-upon come to mind. Frankly, that sounds like most of the football coaches that have been considered geniuses. Certainly, it would fit Parcells in dealing with the media.

posted by graymatters at 05:14 PM on September 18

Innocent or guilty or somewhere in between, seems like public statements are made into rope to hang you with, most times. While I do agree that the media will twist statements, anytime someone takes the "no comment" route we assume they're guilty. Coaches, and players, have contractual agreements to talk to the media. So, when they act like stubborn brats that only want to talk about certain topics, they get branded as ass(fill in the blank)'s. If you really, really, really think that some sideline videotaping- a minor technicality that Goodell is making a case out of as much to prove he's a stern taskmaster as any real threat to the integrity of the game Minor technicality? This was blatantly against the rules, and this was stressed during the off season. A minor technicality would be something like, it's okay to photograph the opposing team's coaches, and then the Pat's filmed them. Ethics are ethics, and the Patriots going 16-0 does not change that.

posted by dviking at 05:20 PM on September 18

I have difficulty believing that this was the one and only time the Patriots did the sideline videotaping, unless Belichick thought of it just this last off season. Dude, follow the story: they got caught at it twice last year.

posted by yerfatma at 05:21 PM on September 18

Just calling a spade a spade. I am less disappointed in Belichick and his football team as I am dismissive. The petals are off the daisy, so to speak. The main point I was getting at was not one of Belichick's character, but rather how this might affect the NFL. I don't think it is outside the realm of possibility that this scandal, particularly if it is far reaching and is found to involve championship decisions, could drive fans and money away from the game. For all anyone knows right now, this situation might be just the tip of the iceberg. Or it could be an isolated incident. Time will tell. I'm of the camp that believes one may find redemption in repentence. Saying this, I don't really care if he cops to it or not; I'm just posting on some sports web site. Whether anyone gives a whit about my opinion is neither here nor there, I just throw it out for the mauling. I do appreciate your opinion, l_b_b, and would like to hear what your take on this situation is. Do you think the punishment was sufficient? Are you still a fervent Patriots fan, if you ever were? Or perhaps you feel this whole thing is a non-issue and has been blown out of proportion. And upon preview: Gee Hal, I thought that name calling was beneath you. But it's nice to see that that's what you use to get your point across. Whether or not the Patriots have a great year or not, the only one who may look fucking ridiculous would be the man that takes the low road. Get your facts straight and then come with your A game.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:30 PM on September 18

Pete Rose, the Yankees cheat team, Jose Canseco, Jerome Bettis, NBA refs... which one of us that has ever played sports, wants to know later, that the team/player they lost to cheated... How many of us want the upcoming sports players and fans to believe that cheating is ok? Will, or better yet, has Belichek's alleged cheatin affected....Fantasy Football. I'll wait for the truth (?)! But if it's true that he cheated, then he should go where cheaters are supposed to go.!!

posted by Ranger at 05:39 PM on September 18

Nobody in your above list has been punished except Pete Rose, but they should be. I agree with your statement. If he cheated, he should pay a very large price. However, I think we agree that if the Pats win it all, there will be an asterisk.

posted by SFValley_Dude at 05:58 PM on September 18

THX: Just calling a spade a spade. I am less disappointed in Belichick and his football team as I am dismissive. The petals are off the daisy, so to speak. It's early days, but if they continue to play as well as they did against San Diego last weekend -- all the while, you can be sure, being scrutinized for any errant videocameras -- will you be as dismissive then? SFValley_Dude: If he cheated, he should pay a very large price. Some of you really need to catch up on the news.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:01 PM on September 18

As far as the fine goes, it is fully tax deductable. It can be categorized as either "charitable contribution" or "necessary expense for doing business". I just heard that on a local radio show from a tax expert and found it mildly amusing and worth sharing.

posted by urall cloolis at 06:02 PM on September 18

Anyone who watched the Pats-Chargers game Sunday night was treated to actual footage from the tape in question; aired by NBC. They also showed the legal espionage that takes place in every game with massive printers kicking out numerous photos of the other squads alignments and formations. What really happened here is that the commisioner drew his own personal line in the sand of what he felt was 'going too far' and Belicheck crossed it. The edge gained by the Pats or anyone else doing this (and there are others) is minimal if anything. The asskicking that they put on the Chargers with the league and the world watching proves that the Pats don't need it. The real issue is Mangini being a big pussy tattletale. He opened a can of worms. The other coaches and teams are lucky Belicheck is as quiet as he is. Jimmy Johnson mentioned that this type of thing was done when he coached (18 years ago!).

posted by boceph012 at 06:13 PM on September 18

Dude, follow the story: they got caught at it twice last year. Yeah, i recall something along these lines. The FPP story didn't mention it (or at least I didn't catch it upon re-reading). Does anyone have more info on this?

posted by slogger at 06:21 PM on September 18

As far as the fine goes, it is fully tax deductable. With your point being? It's weird when people treat the tax deductible status of a monetary loss as though you got it back. The FPP story didn't mention it (or at least I didn't catch it upon re-reading). Does anyone have more info on this? Detroit and Green Bay, both last year, caught by team, not league security.

posted by yerfatma at 06:26 PM on September 18

With your point being? It's weird when people treat the tax deductible status of a monetary loss as though you got it back. My point was that I found it mildly amusing that a punishment (fine) could be considered a tax deduction. I am pretty certain that is what I wrote, yes it is, I can read. I never said that a tax deduction would net a return on his money, nor did I imply as much.

posted by urall cloolis at 06:55 PM on September 18

What really happened here is that the commisioner drew his own personal line in the sand of what he felt was 'going too far' and Belicheck crossed it. Actually, what happened here is that your first comment on this site was a pretty poor one. Factually, what happened here is that a coach/team blatantly (and clumsily) violated a very clear rule that was in place well before the current commissioner took his position. What is irrelevant here is how many other coaches/teams might be doing this and to what degree it helps them. As for the dismantling of the Chargers and how stupid any of us who are disgusted by this are supposed to feel if the Pats go undefeated ... very bad logic and ethics to discount right-vs-wrong based upon Win/Loss columns.

posted by littleLebowski at 07:18 PM on September 18

The NFL, and its coaching in particular, is a small fraternity. The chance of being an NFL coach is smaller than the chance of being a US Senator. Belichick's staff has gone on to become members of many other teams and have come from many other teams. In the entertainment industry, they say you can always get to Kevin Bacon in 6 degrees of separation. In the NFL, Belichick is probably no more than 2 or 3. Mangini was Belichick's assistant among many others. The players at the edge of the roster switch teams on practically a weekly basis. There aren't any secrets in this league. Is it any accident that this happened to come to light after Mangini's Jets were stomped by the Pats and his old boss in a highly touted game? There was bad blood between them Bill and Eric before. Remember the build up before the game was "Is Mangini the next Belichick?" Not so much after the Jets were mauled. I think somebody was looking to deflect criticism and broke an unwritten rule by yapping to the commissioner. If the Pats wanted to keep it secret, there were a thousand places you could hide the kid with the video camera in the stadium other than RIGHT BEHIND THE BENCH pointed right at the Jet's coaches. Belichick, like many coaches, has a distain for the bureaucrats at the NFL. Injury reports. Dress codes. And, yes, video filming rules. He puts Tom Brady on the injury report almost every week just to thumb his nose at the NFL (he hasn't missed a game in how many seasons?) As he very genuinely says repeatedly in last press conference, he just wants to talk football. Did he do something wrong here? Absolutely - and he's paying for it - literally. Did you do anything that any other team either doesn't do or doesn't know about? I really doubt it.

posted by wmorrison27 at 07:20 PM on September 18

After readind through this whole thread I have more than one point to make. 1) Comparing this to the Black Sox scandal is stupid. That involved intentionally losing a World Series. Cheating to win is a different animal. Cheating to lose is the worst thing there is in sport. Point shaving to meet a spread is only 2 degrees better because it could (and has) led to losing by accident. Cheating to win is expected and inevitable. It's why there are officials. It's why there are league rules. Every time an offensive lineman holds a pass rusher he's cheating to win. 2) Comparing Belichick to Nixon is stupid. Nixon sought to fundamentally change how US government works by gathering all power to the Presidency in defiance of the US Constitution. Belichick tried to win a football game. Get a grip. 3) I like the word asshat, not so much for itself as for its derivative describing the actions of an asshat. Asshattery may well be my favorite new word of the last 10 years. 4) New England's throttling of San Diego probably has less to do with cheating or Belichick's genius and more to do with the bad coaching of Norv Turner. Let's see, we went 14-2 last year, but I really don't like Marty's attitude. I know! I'll fire Marty, who's never done anything but win consitantly every place he's been, and hire the biggest retread of them all. Of all the stupids in this post this is the most stupidest stupid going. Washington is still trying to wash the Norv Turner out of their mouth by hiring Joe Gibbs. Hey, he sucks, but he's better than Norv. I waiting to hear the offer Miami gives to Schula to lure him back, but it's too late. Once you've gone Norv you can never go... Oh crap. No English word rhymes with Norv. Okay, how'bout this. Once you've hired Norv your franchise sucks for a decade. Yeah, it doesn't rhyme, but truth counts too.

posted by gradioc at 08:17 PM on September 18

Couple of points... Other shoe to drop - I believe people are misinterpreting and spinning what Goodall said on TV Monday night. He said that there could be additional sanctions if Belichik did not come clean. Goodall said that he asked for the prior tapes and notes and expected Belichik to comply. Why on earth would he say this if there was no admission to prior tapes and notes existing? Yes, BB has prior tapes and notes and never denied it. Watergate comparison - give me a break. No laws were broken, only rules within the game. The cameraman was in plain sight, not breaking into a hotel after hours. I prefer to think this more like Bill Clinton getting a Lewinski. Extremely stupid, embarrassing and for marginal gain. Stonewalling - Belichik said pretty much the same thing after every victory or loss in the last 5 years - "we're putting that behind us and moving on to our opponent this week." Nothing new here - no stonewalling - just Bill being boring Bill. By the way, what credible source has come forward regarding the microphone in the pads theory that seems to be repeated with no basis? Does anyone think the Jets would not have had the pads confiscated if they suspected this was happening? Belichik violated the rules. And he is being penalized for it. It was stupid. Now the Pats are becoming just as hated as the old Steelers, Raiders, Cowboys and 49ers. Not because they are cheaters but because they are winners.

posted by endorfin at 08:27 PM on September 18

The situation with the National Football League is a lot worse than people realize, and the only one who seems to grasp this fully is commissioner Roger Goodell. Roger Goodell and the awesome greater spiritual being that is currently inhabiting the earthly body of one Gregg Esterbrook, that is. I think the penalty here was fair (although I maybe would have banned BB from a few games, if I were the mighty one), I think Belichick could be more humble and repentant, I think the NFL will survive (and Belichick will not be fired or resign), and I think that to liken this to the Black Sox scandal is as ridiculous as suggesting that the current "steroid scandal" in baseball is as grave a threat to the game as the gambling scandals of the early 20th century. I also think that Gregg Easterbrook was pissed when his random column generator ("Team A got burned by the blitz this week when the opposing QB hit a one-on-one covered WR for a TD," "Idiot coach Z should have gone for it on fourth and 5 from the other team's 45 with 10 minutes left -- Bwaaak bwaaak," "Gina, a part-time nurse and member of the Eagles girls has a great rack!!!") didn't spit out anything last week about the scandal and now he's trying his damndest to keep this story alive.

posted by holden at 08:30 PM on September 18

Why does declining to comment make him an asshat? It's not the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our four...no... Amongst our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.

posted by grum@work at 09:22 PM on September 18

I was waiting for that...* *Does that mean I was expecting it...Oh, never mind.

posted by owlhouse at 09:32 PM on September 18

How we doing. Any converts today? Not a one Nay Nay Nay We’ve flattened their fingers We’ve branded their buns Nothing is working SEND IN THE NUNS The Inquisition (What a show) The Inquisition (Here we go) We know you’re wishing that we’d go away So come on all you heathens and you Jews We got some good news for all of yous You’d better change your point of views today Cause the inquisitions here and it’s here to say.

posted by HATER 187 at 10:35 PM on September 18

Thanks for the perspective, grum. And now for something completely different: A man with three buttocks.

posted by THX-1138 at 10:38 PM on September 18

The guy who wrote the article is a quack. No matter what, I have always watched football. I am a true fanatic for football. I like baseball and basketball in that order but I do not miss a Sunday Browns game no matter what. The same can't be said for baseball and basketball. I guess maybe because they are only 16 games, makes each one more important than the 162 for baseball and 82 for basketball.

posted by bry66 at 10:41 PM on September 18

I think that all can agree that in present times, in any field of endeavor, information is the most valuable commodity one can have. Easterbrook seems to be rather thrilled at the allegation that Belichick has file cabinets full of information on other teams, coaches, etc. I would presume that the NFL coach who does not have file cabinets full of information will shortly be in the unemployment office. Much further down in his colmn he rips into San Diego's coaching staff for not being able to react to what the Patriots were doing on offense. I guess that Belichick's filing system is a bit more efficient than Norv Turner's, because what Patriots were acting upon was the most basic of information, that of tendencies. All it takes to discover this is the patience to do a lot of analysis of easily (and legally) available information. I think we can tell a lot about Mr. Easterbrook's thought processes by his screed, in the very same article posted, about gas mileage. did I miss something, or is there some connection between the NFL and the popularity of SUVs? The other night, over dinner and a few malt beverages, my colleagues and I were discussing terrorism, politics, and the general dislike of the United States throughout much of the world. Our general conclusion was that when you are the guy at the top of the pile, everyone else is very eager to see you fall. Thus it seems to be with the New England Patriots. They are good, the franchise is run with an eye toward the budget as well as attaining excellence on the field. There was a violation of the rules, but what short-term or long-term benefit this might have produced is not determined. Now the league is investigating deeply into New England's information resources. (The reports are that Belichick is cooperating in the investigation) Those who wish to see the Patriots thrown down from their place atop the heap are in full cry. The rumors and unfounded charges are flying. But this may be the best thing that could happen for New England. If nothing new is uncovered, no one can support any further accusations against NE. By the same token, the league is now very likely to initiate a broader investigation against every team in the league in order to better codify rules to inhibit cheating in the gathering of information. It would be very revealing to see what skeletons reside in the closet of the coach's office of every team. Those who try to pull someone off the top of a pile usually wind up covered with a lot of dirt.

posted by Howard_T at 10:45 PM on September 18

Our general conclusion was that when you are the guy at the top of the pile, everyone else is very eager to see you fall. T I'm sure that's what doomed the guy at the top of the human pyramid at Abu Ghraib. [Did I just pull some sort of corollary to Godwin's law? Back to your regularly scheduled program...]

posted by holden at 10:52 PM on September 18

What really happened here is that the commisioner drew his own personal line in the sand of what he felt was 'going too far' and Belicheck crossed it. No The edge gained by the Pats or anyone else doing this (and there are others) is minimal if anything. 0 fer 2.

posted by bdaddy at 10:59 PM on September 18

Brilliant...put him on the rack! And, if that doesn't work, it's time for the comfy chair!

posted by dviking at 12:17 AM on September 19

Torquemada - do not beg him for mercy. Torquemada - do not ask him for forgiveness. Let's face it - you can't Torquemada anything!

posted by Folkways at 01:15 AM on September 19

I believe that EVERYONE is missing the point here. Does anyone really believe that the Patriots were the only team cheating? I remember when Sosa was caught with a corked bat, I bet hundreds of corked bats went home that night with players all across MLB. The media and the public fried Sosa, he was thrown under the bus and presented as the only cheater. Belichick cheated, that is clear, but the NFL wants us to believe, like the NBA with the gambling ref, and MLB with Sosa's bat that he was the only one. That is something I hate about these situations, the leagues immediately go into damage control instead of a league wide investigation. Don't use tunnel vision here, Belichick was the only coach caught, that's how the NFL wants it to stay and will do its best to keep it that way for the league's integrity. He is not the only cheater, don't let the media's and the league's spin fool you!

posted by SAVANX at 06:42 AM on September 19

interesting point savanx.. however, it doesnt matter what anyone believes whether other teams were cheating also... the point that you are missing is that the Patriots were the ones caught with evidence proving they were cheating. so you can assume all you want, but the simple fact is that other teams have not been caught, which i agree doesnt mean they arent as guilty. so you just have to go with what we know for sure. simple fact: New England Patriots got caught cheating... again. so why havent other teams been caught.. if the pats have been busted a few times?

posted by jlh0837 at 08:39 AM on September 19

I believe that EVERYONE is missing the point here. Does anyone really believe that the Patriots were the only team cheating? Fair question but the fact is as you already know, the Patriots were the only team that got caught. Also to remember is that before the season even kicked off, Roger Goddell told all teams that this act would no longer be tolerated and the Patriots (or Belichick himself) thought that they were above these rules since his 'interpretation' was that he could still videotape the opposing team's defensive audibles. Lesson to be learned: No one is above the commish or his rules.

posted by BornIcon at 08:48 AM on September 19

You know what?Sports is important, but I'm sorry. Lets not obsess on the latest insignificaca. I could give a shit about the latest implications of the revelation that Belecheck and da Pats be cheatin'. Here in North Texas there is 2 sports, Football and Spring Football. However Texans love racing, and in NASCAR if you ain't cheating you ain't racing.

posted by sickleguy at 08:55 AM on September 19

I believe that EVERYONE is missing the point here. Does anyone really believe that the Patriots were the only team cheating? Sorry, what does that have to do with anything? The Pats were caught red handed and their only excuse is "other guys are probably doing it too?" Wouldn't it be nice to leverage that defense in everything else? Husband: "Honey, I know I slept with my secretary, but do you really think I'm the only boss that's done that?" Wife: "You know, you're right. I KNOW you can't be the only one doing it, so I won't give you too much grief about it"

posted by bdaddy at 09:32 AM on September 19

Wouldn't it be nice to leverage that defense in everything else? It's been done successfully in a number of different contexts. If you can demonstrate that there has been selective enforcement against you, you can often make something out of it. In this case, I think that other teams probably are guilty of this, but I doubt that there was selective enforcement -- rather a matter of bringing a complaint vs. not bringing a complaint, which is different.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:25 AM on September 19

In this case, I think that other teams probably are guilty of this, but I doubt that there was selective enforcement -- rather a matter of bringing a complaint vs. not bringing a complaint, which is different. I think it was more of "having evidence" versus "not having evidence". Mangini knew who was filming so he could point him out. If the other teams are doing it they're not doing it as blatantly as this

posted by bdaddy at 10:48 AM on September 19

sickleguy-I don't think obsessing about it is what's going on here. Slept like a baby last night and didn't give this a second thought. But this is a sports site so what the hell-let's talk about sports. The current facts here are that no other NFL club has been caught doing this particular act. The Patriots have been caught twice. My personal opinion is that this may become a trend with them and you just might want to nip it in the bud to the tune of 3/4 million dollars and some draft picks. If caught a third time, then you are showing a blatant disregard for the league and should probably seek gainful employ elswhere. Again, I say that this is my opinion. I also think that if this were the Lions, there might not be such polarizing opinions on this; more likely a whole slew of Millen jokes would abound. But it was the Patriots. A team that just seems to make everything work and whose coach is perceived as a modern day football genius. Unfortunately, sometimes perception can become reality, which, like it or not, was the subject of the article we are all lending our opinions to. Public perception. I do think the league needs to address this. Sort of like MLB needed to address the steroids issue. And don't start railing against me just because I've made a comparison. I do know the difference.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:02 PM on September 19

I do think the league needs to address this. Sort of like MLB needed to address the steroids issue Absolutely. And we know Bonds alleged steroid use was never "pooh-poohed" away by saying "but everybody else is doing it!", so I don't understand why the Pats get to use that argument.

posted by bdaddy at 12:20 PM on September 19

On line with TBH said, Many NFL coaches sort of bring it on themselves. Many of these guys constantly stonewall reporters on simple questions, or say the same thing over and over, eventually creating a tense relationship. Reporters' questions get more adversarial, and then the answers get more adversarial, and it becomes a downward spiral. I suppose it's a case of "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" but the folks who treat reporters with respect seem to be treated the same, Dungy comes to mind. Same goes for other sports, but the NFL seems to try to control information more than the other sports. Maybe because of the massive popularity. But my point is when something like this happens -- no matter how insignificant it may seem to the New Englanders in the group -- there's a feeding frenzy of reporters.

posted by SummersEve at 12:54 PM on September 19

The Pats were caught red handed and their only excuse is "other guys are probably doing it too?" When did BB or Mr. Kraft say this as a defense? I do think the league needs to address this. Sort of like MLB needed to address the steroids issue. And don't start railing against me just because I've made a comparison. I do know the difference. You really don't want a congressional panel to discuss cheating in the NFL, do you? Don't you think the league and Goddell are already on top of this, and handling it appropriately? Perhaps drawing a comparison of addressing this issue to addressing the steriod issue in MLB is not so good. This is no where near the flash point topic that the PED topic was becoming in MLB, and sports in general. MLB chose(and not entirely on their own) to tackle it first, and now I wonder if they would do the same a second time around.

posted by jojomfd1 at 12:59 PM on September 19

Jesus, jojo, you cite a typical problem with posting an opinion on this site. Quoting things out of context and not acknowledging what someone wrote. Did I say I wanted a congressional panel to discuss this? Hell, you even quoted me as saying that the LEAGUE needed to address this. If it's not a flash point topic, then why are we all talking about it? I also noted the punishment that was doled out and gave an opinion on what I thought should be done if the problem persisted. An opinion. MLB's decision to enforce a stronger policy was sort of made for them, if you recall. It would not be prudent for the NFL to follow suit and wait until their hand was forced. Or we can all stick our heads in the sand and it will more than likely go away.

posted by THX-1138 at 01:38 PM on September 19

THX, why do you want congress and the MLB to get involved with the Patriots putting their heads in the sand? And should the NFL really force their hand to follow suit? Where's the humanity in all this league addressing punishment?

posted by irunfromclones at 02:04 PM on September 19

the Pats were caught red handed and their only excuse is "other guys are probably doing it too?" When did BB or Mr. Kraft say this as a defense? Never. I was actually directing that comment at the poster who seemed to be using that excuse, but I used the word "their" instead of "your" to not seem so accusatory :-)

posted by bdaddy at 02:08 PM on September 19

Whoa.. NFL teams are cheating? I would never have guessed! Every single week players on the field try and cheat by committing penalties without being seen. We all know what happens in every pile on after a fumble - hidden from view, players do everything they can, including things that violate the rules, to try and end up with the ball. What Belichick did is equivalent. He got caught and deserves the punishment. But this talk of Belichick somehow damaging the integrity of the NFL is inane. If he has hurt the reputation of the NFL, he has hurt it by getting caught cheating, not by the cheating itself. Most fans know that cheating is rampant, but they prefer not to hear about it so they can ignore it. The fact that drug use has been prevalent in NFL and MLB for the last 50 years or so has never been a secret, but fans were okay with that as long as they didn't know the specifics. This is not true in all sports, of course. In sports like golf and tennis, cheating is truly frowned upon. But baseball and football aren't like that. Vince Lombardi once said (though he wasn't the first to say it) that "Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing." He was later somewhat embarrassed that he said this, but he meant it. While he didn't want his team to kill to win, he wasn't about to tell his team that fair play was more important than winning

posted by spira at 02:16 PM on September 19

irfc, you're killing me. What I was trying to get at was that if congress wanted to start drug testing Gene Upshaw and Roger Goodell, then they would have to get permission from Brian Bellichick and Eric Mangione. Because it just Feels So Good. Torquemada with that idea?

posted by THX-1138 at 02:16 PM on September 19

While he didn't want his team to kill to win, he wasn't about to tell his team that fair play was more important than winning Great. All that parenting down the toilet.

posted by THX-1138 at 02:26 PM on September 19

bdaddy, read the paper or watch the t.v. before you shoot your mouth off. The commisioner and league officials who watched the tape all stated that what they saw on the tape would not have given the Patriots any real eadge. The fines and punishment were for diobeying the commish's orders. littlelebowski- same as above. open your eyes and read what I wrote. I never said that anyone was stupid for anything. I don't stoop to personal attacks like you. I also never mentioned that an undefeated season would somehow let this team and it's coach off the hook. I joined this thread and site looking for real sports fans. I found a group of pompous, self-important idiots. I won't be back.

posted by boceph012 at 04:32 PM on September 19

I never said that anyone was stupid for anything. I don't stoop to personal attacks like you. I found a group of pompous, self-important idiots. Well very good then.

posted by THX-1138 at 05:07 PM on September 19

I never said that anyone was stupid for anything. I don't stoop to personal attacks... I joined this thread and site looking for real sports fans. I found a group of pompous, self-important idiots. Whoa there boceph012, that seems to be a blanket statement addressed at over 16,000 people here at Spofi. Not to mention the obvious contradiction between the above noted comments. Just sayin'. 'course if ya wont be back you wont ever read this and I just waisted a lot of spofites time.

posted by Folkways at 05:33 PM on September 19

I joined this thread and site looking for real sports fans. I found a group of pompous, self-important idiots. We're not just idiots. We were also voted "Community Blog Most Likely to Sarcasm You to Death".

posted by jerseygirl at 05:48 PM on September 19

GAGGHH!!! Biting choking sarcasm.....breathing difficult...............feel literacy slipping..........must stop posting so banally..............what in world was boceph whatsisface talking abouttttttttttt.............

posted by THX-1138 at 05:57 PM on September 19

Torquemada with that idea? "I just got back from the Auto de fe" "Auto de fe? Whats an auto de fe?" "It's what you oughtn't to do but you do anyway".

posted by irunfromclones at 06:06 PM on September 19

I never said that anyone was stupid for anything. I don't stoop to personal attacks like you. The real issue is Mangini being a big pussy tattletale. Didn't Tony Soprano already kill Big Pussy? But seriously, I take that personal attack on my coach, well, personally. I joined this thread and site looking for real sports fans. I found a group of pompous, self-important idiots. Did my wife pay you to write that?

posted by cjets at 07:33 PM on September 19

I found a pompous, self-important idiot. Present.

posted by tommytrump at 08:17 PM on September 19

THX the name is jojo, but thanks for the other reference also. I put the congressional panel comment in there to remind you that the league is already handling the situation. Not turning their backs as MLB did for so long that outside parties decided to step in and start their own investigations into what was going on. Thus my third sentence, after that quote, about drawing comparisons between the two. Also, the stronger policy is not what I was referring to when I made my comment above. I was referring to the timing in which they were forced into having to handle the issue, which they were obviously not equipped to do. Another reason why this was a bad comparison. I also never said that this was not a flash point topic. You should try to read a little slower, you will catch the little words like "no where near the" and things like that. What I did say was that "This was NO WHERE NEAR THE flash point topic that the PED topic was becoming in MLB and sports in general." Now as for the opinions, you know what they say about those right? Opinions are like........Everybody has one!

posted by jojomfd1 at 01:22 AM on September 20

WHEN HE COACHED FOR CLEVELAND HE TREATED THE WRITERS AND THE FANS THE SAME. WOULDN'T TALK AND IF HE DID IT WAS IN A MUMBLE THE BROWNS MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN THE BEST IN THE NFL, BUT BELICHICK SURE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO IMPROVE THEM. SOMEHOW HE BECAME A "GENIUS" BETWEEEN CLEVELAND AND NEW ENGLAND. I WONDER IF ITS THE PLAYERS AND NOT THE COACH?

posted by SHOPVAC289 at 05:21 AM on September 20

Jojo: Now as for the opinions, you know what they say about those right? Opinions are like........Everybody has one! Opinions are like ellipses? SHOPVAC: WHEN HE COACHED FOR CLEVELAND HE TREATED THE WRITERS AND THE FANS THE SAME. WOULDN'T TALK AND IF HE DID IT WAS IN A MUMBLE We've had this discussion here before, but it bears repeating: why on earth do people expect that if someone is successful in the world of sports, it follows that they will also have a scintillating personality? Logic would dictate that if you are going to have some kind of expectations re: an elite sports figure's personality, you probably ought to set them in the other direction: that they're going to tend instead to be obsessive, self-centered, and narrow. So why all the quivering lower lips of disappointment when you get up close and personal and it turns out the Belickick, or any other top-level coach or player, turns out not to be Joe Personality?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:16 AM on September 20

So why all the quivering lower lips of disappointment when you get up close and personal and it turns out the Belickick, or any other top-level coach or player, turns out not to be Joe Personality? So, then we shouldn't criticize them for being assholes? Expecting people to treat other people, even reporters, halfway decently most of the time is not too high of a bar. No coach wants to do a post-game interview after a loss. Most of them realize that it is part of their job and the reporters job to get it, and they treat it that way. It's not unreasonable expectations nor is it expecting him to be Joe Personality, it is expecting good sportsmanship.

posted by bperk at 08:50 AM on September 20

We've also had this discussion on here before: Please quit typing in all caps. Now, on topic, what lbb said. It is not logical to expect public figures to be any different than the rest of society. They are a cross-section of all of us. I know lots of people (myself included) who are prone to asshattery (love that word) so why would it be any different than that in the NFL? Mike Ditka, anyone? He did not only refuse to answer questions, he screamed at the press. I think the more interesting point is that the public seems to forgive this trait in some public figures, kind of laughing it off. "Oh that's just Andy Reid being Andy Reid!"

posted by hawkguy at 08:55 AM on September 20

So, then we shouldn't criticize them for being assholes? You shouldn't criticize someone who's socially awkward for being socially awkward.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:25 AM on September 20

boceph, if you are still here, seeing how the rest of this thread goes ... if pointing out a complete misstatement, done so by you only to try to better get your own point across rather than the facts, is considered "self-important" ... well then, color me pompous. Plus, I wasn't necessarily referring to you with regards to the rest of my comment (such thinking on your part, that might be a little self-important). But, hey, at least you didn't resort to personal attacks and do something like calling me and everyone else an idiot. Too bad, other than being factually misguided, your first post was decently written, and I was under the impression we were allowed to disagree with each other. So, good luck in the rest of your endeavors. As for Belichick, not being Joe Personality isn't the issue for me (although categorizing someone like that seems to indicate that he just has no personality - Belichick has a personality, just a pretty bad one - but that's my opinion and not the point). The overriding issue to me, that plenty of people seem to be willing to blindly use in his defense - regardless of his fashion sense and personality and even moreso regardless of his own or his team's success - he broke a very clear and well-known (amongst NFL personnel) rule. I'm extremely tired of the "other people have done it" and "who knows how much it actually helped". He broke a rule - he should pay for it - he is paying for it - but forgive me if I don't feel like suffering through the "Goodell is a dictator" and the "Patriots will still kick everyone's asses" nonsense.

posted by littleLebowski at 09:30 AM on September 20

I can't figure out if you work for Belichick, or are related to him. Your continued spirited defense of the man is beginning to take on a personal tint. L_B_B = Loves Bill Belichick? T_B_H = Total Bone Head

posted by The_Black_Hand at 09:30 AM on September 20

You shouldn't criticize someone who's socially awkward for being socially awkward. Very well said L_B_B! That is the best comment in this thread and I hope those who are not "getting it" will recognize the wisdom in that one sentence.

posted by Folkways at 09:38 AM on September 20

You shouldn't criticize someone who's socially awkward for being socially awkward. How about criticizing someone for not doing part of their job very well? Coaches are contractually obligated by the NFL to participate in the Post Game Press confrences. Second. So BB is socially akward. Well maybe its time he puts on his big boy pants, quits pouting, and answers the questions. He picked a job that puts him in the public eye. If he is socially akward then he needs to get over himself learn how to do a press confrence. Its his job.

posted by Steel_Town at 10:01 AM on September 20

I can't figure out if you work for Belichick, or are related to him. Your continued spirited defense of the man is beginning to take on a personal tint. I can't figure out how you're seeing an observation that the man is socially awkward as a "spirited defense". Really, I can't.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 10:51 AM on September 20

I can't figure out how you're seeing an observation that the man is socially awkward as a "spirited defense". Really, I can't. Could we consider this a spirited defense of an observation?

posted by Steel_Town at 10:56 AM on September 20

So BB is socially akward. Well maybe its time he puts on his big boy pants, quits pouting, and answers the questions. Sincerely Yours, Asperger Counselor

posted by yerfatma at 11:06 AM on September 20

You shouldn't criticize someone who's socially awkward for being socially awkward. Of course, he is not always socially awkward. His socially awkward affliction just happens to coincide when he is asked about something he doesn't want to talk about it.

posted by bperk at 11:15 AM on September 20

Of course, he is not always socially awkward. His socially awkward affliction just happens to coincide when he is asked about something he doesn't want to talk about it. Really? Have you seen that much of the guy outside a press conference? Have you known him to be effusive and bubbly on subjects that -- by your reckoning -- he ought to want to talk about? At least some of the time, when you hear hoofbeats, you ought to look for horses.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:45 AM on September 20

Really? Have you seen that much of the guy outside a press conference? Yes. His appearances on NFL Network have not exhibited what you have called his social awkwardness.

posted by bperk at 12:00 PM on September 20

Socially awkward. That's interesting. As has been pointed out, answering questions in a press conference is part of his job. But that aside, let's just say Bill get's the jitters when asked questions. This presser was a little different than the typical ones, though. Nobody was asking why he didn't go for it on 4th down or how come Brady was on the injury report again, they were asking what the deal was with the CHEATING. Plead the 5th, whatever. But understand that your silence is going to lead to what is going on here right now. And jojo, (did I get that right?), thanks for the semantical clarification. I just needed help getting your point straight. Everythings fine with the NFL, nothing to see here, move along.

posted by THX-1138 at 12:41 PM on September 20

This whole 'Belichick caught cheating' subject is going absolutely no where. Belichick has not answered one truthful question and I'm afraid that we won't be hearing anything about this scandal unless Roger Goodell finds any more information concerning this matter. The problem that I have with this is that when Mike Vick was dealing with his issues, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say about the situation. People do want to hear what Belichick has to say since we're all interested but he has refused to even acknowledge that he's even been caught doing anything against league rules. His explanation was that his interpretation of the rules were different than what the rules actually are. Roger Goodell suspended Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach, Wade Wilson for 5 games for using HGH while he suspended the Patriots, Rodney Harrison 4 games for the very same thing. Seem fair? Goodell's reason was that he holds a coach in higher regard than a player. If that's the case, why not suspend Belichick for at least one game, maybe two for what he did since he is not only a coach but the head coach. The punishment that Roger Goodell handed down to Belichick just doesn't seem suffice to what the actual incident consisted of. Fair is fair and right is right and the commish got this one wrong.

posted by BornIcon at 12:53 PM on September 20

You're all over the place. First, Vick committed a crime and pleaded out as guilty. Second the Wade Wilson / Harrison thing is a complete non-starter: 4 games is the penalty described in the collective bargaining agreement. Goodell has no room to improvise there. I don't know what the coaches' CBA looks like, but they have a lot less bargaining power with the league than the players, so Goodell can probably do more, so if Wade Wilson is a victim, he's a victim of bad timing.

posted by yerfatma at 12:56 PM on September 20

Coaches don't have CBAs they are management.

posted by Steel_Town at 01:40 PM on September 20

The problem that I have with this is that when Mike Vick was dealing with his issues, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say about the situation. Wow, I don't remember that part. I remember a lot of people wanting to cut his nuts off, throw him to a pack of pitbulls, and so on, but I don't remember many people -- certainly not "everyone" -- wanting to hear his story.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 02:00 PM on September 20

Coaches don't have CBAs they are management. Management of what? They aren't part of the NFL proper. They have a coaches association. What does that do besides negotiate rights and licensing? I don't know if they have a CBA, but I'm guessing they have some sort of umbrella document describing their rights in the league.

posted by yerfatma at 02:21 PM on September 20

I was just explaining why they don't have as much bargaining power. They are not part of the union with the players. They are not members of any union, they are management. Thats why they have no power to negotiate with the commish.

posted by Steel_Town at 03:18 PM on September 20

This story is not over for the Patriots yet, and I hope the NFL will ask the NY Jets head coach a few questions as well. Easterbrook's article is a bit on the hyperbolic contrarian side. He got paid for that? Where's that ESPN ombudsman? Easterbrook ignores that the NFL promotes the game of football and it's teams rather than obsessively promoting its individual stars as the NBA does. Michael Jordan retired and the NBA went through a rough patch. Walter Payton, O.J. Simpson, Roger Staubach, and Joe Montana all retired yet the NFL still seems to be doing OK.

posted by Newbie Walker at 03:51 PM on September 20

Not to argue with you Newbie, but the NBA also had a player lockout that served to turn off a large chunk of their fan base. The NHL's lockout also hurt hockey's popularity. I don't want to be misunderstood, as I agree that Easterbrook isn't exactly what I would consider a level-headed journalist. I do think, as I tried quite unsuccessfully about 90 or so posts ago to point out, that there is a germ, a shred, perhaps a thread of truth to the fact that this bad pub could cause an as-of-yet unrecognized or unforeseen harm to the NFL. Which would make me sad. Because I like watching the NFL.

posted by THX-1138 at 04:07 PM on September 20

THX, I think what's a lot more likely is that nearly all sports fans will continue in the ancient tradition of only observing rigor WRT the rules when their team is losing, or stands to gain by it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 04:16 PM on September 20

Wow, I don't remember that part......but I don't remember many people -- certainly not "everyone" -- wanting to hear his story Maybe you didn't want to hear Vick tell his side of the story but as I recall, the media was waiting to hear what Vick had to say and how he would say it to see if he felt any kind of remorse for his actions.

posted by BornIcon at 04:57 AM on September 21

Your point is more than taken THX-1138. I'd forgotten about the NBA lockout. I shouldn't think that the NFL isn't special and immune from a falloff in popularity (Easterbrook's ultimate point I think,) but not so deep down I guess I do feel that way.

posted by Newbie Walker at 01:19 AM on September 22

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