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June 03, 2009

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Dave

One problem with the idea that the Patriots are "Team of the Decade"... they cheated their way to the top. Nobody can argue that fact... and secretly recording plays and practices DOES create quite an advantage. In fact, they did so on a couple of occasions against... guess who... the Pittsburgh Steelers... knocking them out of the playoffs.

If it had been a fair game... who knows what the outcome would have been. One things for sure, we'll never know.

The Patriots dynasty will forever be tarnished because of their tactics. It's really too bad. They were a good team.

BmoreBlitz

I'm with Dave here, they're cheaters. Why would Belick do it if it didn't help? I'm a Ravens fan and I'll give the team of the decade award to Steelers, and the Colts coming in a close second. Patriot coaches are cheaters, has any of them gone on to be successful without cheating?

Brent

The Patriots did not hide the fact they were filming. The people on the sidelines were seen in the open and taping.

The league sent a letter warning ALL teams not to violate the filming policy taping from the sidelines (it is allowed from other areas of the stadiums) and the Patriots broke that rule.

The NFL has never come out about how many other teams were considered to also have violated that rule. Obviously with the Patriots being tagged and made an example of by Goodell, no other team would still be foolish enough to continue filming from the sidelines.

Bob

Your point about the Patriots being the team of the decade because they are, without a doubt, a team that draws the most attention--positive or negative, is supported by the first comment from Dave. There isn't anyone who follows football that doesn't have an opinion about the Patriots. I, like most folks from New England, think they are a model franchise that provides me with great entertainment year round! GO PATS--Brady is back and "we" are ready to win it all again. (That ought to get the Pat haters going!)

Scott Sheaffer

One mistake in the post. The Patriots aren't tied with anyone when it comes to Conference Championships. They have four. For Conference Championships, they beat the Colts once, the Chargers once, and the Steelers twice in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is tied for second with 2 which they won when they didn't have to face New England. Even if Pittsburgh wins another Super Bowl this year (meaning they won a Conference Championship to get there) New England will still have 4 Conference Championships to Pittburgh's 3. Usually when two teams are tied with the same record, the League goes to tiebreakers. The first tie breaker is head to head. New England has already clinched that over Pittsburgh for this decade both in the regular season and the playoffs.

On to the comments. Fans sure can argue against the cheating accusations. It's Belichick and the Patriots who aren't allowed to defend themselves. See, the league fines coaches for criticizing referees publically. (Look what happened to Norv Turner after that 1st Denver game last year.) Can you imagine what would happen to a coach who critized the COMMISIONER'S DECISION especially with the media and other teams' fans screaming for an even worse punishment than what had already been given out? So that said, let's look at the comments. The first commentator says the Patriots recorded plays and practices. The accusation that the Patriots recorded a Rams walkthrough was later retracted by the paper that made it when they had to admit they had no evidence. Got a problem with recording plays? Then you have a problem with every team in the league including the Steelers and Colts. Check it out:
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/preview07/news/story?id=2982416

All teams record plays. All teams are required by the league to record plays. Yeah, this seems to contradict Article IX of the NFL Constitution and By-Laws, right? That's because the interpretation is not that you can't film at all, you just can't use the film until after the game. (Like it's even possible to break down an hour and a half of film during a 12 minute halftime anyway, right?)

Soo . . . what's left. Oh, yeah, some people remember that the outrage wasn't over recording plays (like every team in the league does) it was over recording coaching signals. The problem there is that the league didn't have any rules against filming coaches. Sure there's a September 2006 memo from Ray Anderson who says that teams can't film coaches, but guess what? Rules can only be changed by a vote of the teams. They can't be changed through league memos. Get a copy of THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE POLICY MANUAL FOR MEMBER CLUBS VOLUME II GAME OPERATIONS which was in effect for the 2007 season. Pages A105-A106 have the league's videotaping rules. There's no rule against filming coaches. All the league has in an argument that the Patriot's placed a camera in a technically incorrect location, and they only get that argument by quoting select phrases out of context.

Even if Ray Anderson was allowed to change rules by writing memos, the Patriots won their Super Bowls before the memo came out. Since the camera filming the coaches got taken away, the Patriots posted a record of 29 wins against only 6 losses. (11-5 without Tom Brady, 18-1 with him.)

What spygate was really about was promoting the league's beloved concept of parity. The league doesn't want one team to dominate for too long. The problem was that just when they appeared to be fading away like past dynasties had done, the Patriots rebooted following their 2006 AFC Championship loss. So, with Spygate, it looks like the league took extraordinary measures to reestablish parity.

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