Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Belicheat: Verdict Stands

I think Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL right now. He's also a Hall of Famer.

Bill Belichick is also a cheater.

These two statements do not cancel each other out.

Some die hard Pats apologists, however, keep trying to insist that Videotape-Gate was much ado about nothing.

Not so.

Here's one email...


I am listening to your breakdown of the Redskins game yeasterday; and one of you guys(out of jealously) feel the need to call Bill and Charlie Weis cheaters.  You should have more of a clue before you call the best coach in sport a cheater, but you obviously don't really have a clue that the so called "tapes" had absolutely nothing to do with their success.  Maybe you would like to remind your listeners that George Allen used to send coaches to opposing teams practices, I wonder how that would go over?  Would that be cheating, or was he just doing what all the other coached were doing; and their wins and loses were decided on the field.

Roger in Annapolis

REACT: Put simply, Belichick and the Patriots cheated. They cheated in a way that prompted an un-precedented fine of $1 million and a forfeiture of a 1st round draft pick. The fact Belichick was not suspended, was perhaps only due to owner Bob Kraft's lofty standing within the NFL's inner circle. None of this is in dispute.

Now how much this taping program helped the Patriots is unknown. None of the principals (Belichick and Weiss to be specific) will address it, and neither has elaborated.

But we know this much: the program was in place for over a full season, and they felt it was so crucial, that they risked (and got caught) the practice after the league issued a specific edict against it.

To me, that means the program was not insignificant.

All that said, I still think Belichick is an awesome coach. He's also a homewrecker, sore loser, and more boring than a box of unsharpened #2 pencils.

These opinions are do not cancel each other out.

And as for George Allen, that's beside the point. Allen likely cheated too, with some of his actions. He was never fined $1 million or docked a #1 pick. (He didn't have any lying around, anyway.)


  1. "The fact Belichick was not suspended, was perhaps only due to owner Bob Kraft's lofty standing within the NFL's inner circle." Or perhaps because it was much ado about nothing.

    When I hear a cogent (I'll wait while look that word up, El Baldo), explanation on how video tape shot in one half could be dissected and used in the 2nd half maybe, I'll be swayed. Otherwise, it was no different than looking at game film and taking advantage of coaches too dumb to change their signals from game to game (like they do in baseball).

  2. Hey Morty, checkout a tape of the Pats/Eagles Super Bowl. The Eagles led at the half and were doing a good job of shutting the Pats down. In the second half, the Eagles couldn't stop them. It's as if the Pats knew the defensive signals. They probably cheated last night against the Bills as well. Cheaters always find a way. Just like all of the juicers on the Red Sox. Boston: City of Cheaters!!!

  3. When this story broke, ESPN's Chris Mortenson told the story about when he was covering the Browns when Beli was the head coach, the Browns either never wore numbers on their practice jerseys or wore different numbers. Beli explained to Mort that this was because he was afraid opposing coaches were taping or otherwise spying on his practices. Mortenson went on to say that several players told him Beli did the jersey number thing because he was using players who weren't on the active roster and didn't want to get caught by the league.

  4. So according to your logic, Prof. Jeff, any 2nd half comeback is the result of cheating? I guess SD cheated in Oakland the other night too?

    Again, when I hear a plausible theory I am willing to consider it.

    And let's also be clear here: This was not done covertly (see the 60 Minutes piece) and if every coach in the league knew it was going on, you don't think they would change up the signals or at least who was relaying the real signals into the game? You don't have be as smart as Coach Bill to figure that one out.

  5. Morty,

    How do you then explain the fact that they were warned by the league after being caught once, and still continued to do it? They must have been getting something out of it otherwise why would they keep doing it?

  6. I'll even concede the breaking of a rule.

    A DB who touches a receiver beyond 5 yards breaks a rule. Peyton Manning broke a rule when he wore black cleats to honor Johnny Unitas but we don't label them cheaters, do we?

    But yet jealousy and a poor relationship with the media gets Belichick that moniker, has Arlen Specter's panties in bunch and has people crying for an asterisk on the Lombardi trophies.

    All he did was look for a slight edge - which any good coach should do. And that's is all that can be gleaned by such tapes unless you use them in the course of the same game - which to this point, has yet to be explained to me (rationally) how anyone could physically do it in the allotted time.

    Next you'll tell me the example of the illegal contact foul and Manning's cleats are on a far different scale than Belichick's rule breaking offenses.

    So I ask, why no cries of cheaters and an asterisk for the Broncos and Mike Shannahan who won two Lombardi's while exceeding the league's salary cap? Why no cries about the 'undefeated Dolphins' who broke the rules to sign Don Shula away from the Colts? They too were all penalized by the NFL so they must be guilty.

    Seems to me the difference was the media liked those guys.

  7. Thanks Morty for taking a stand against ignorance and jealousy.

    The Steelers of the 70s were all 'roided up, yet no outrage.

    The Pats went undefeated in the regular season after they were accused of "cheating"....so what is the logic? That they cheated the entire season, but did NOT cheat when they lost the Super Bowl to the Giants. People do not make sense-they just want to talk crap.

    Czabe's point about Goodell's unprecedented fine and the taking away of the Pat's first round pick is a joke. This was done during Goodell's power trip immediately after taking on the role of commish. It was one man's decision-the same man who wants to have the Super Bowl played in London. Are you freaking kidding me people? The fine and losing the first rounder is a TRAVESTY.

    Jealousy of probably the best coach in NFL history. Goodell and BB haters are a joke.

  8. Actually, the cheating scandal reached it's zenith during Super Bowl week that year, wg. It's entirely possible that the Pats continued to cheat all year and then stopped for the Super Bowl because they knew they would be under increased scrutiny. When you are caught cheating, reprimanded, and then get caught again, you don't get the benefit of the doubt anymore. The Pats 3 Lombardis will always be tarnished by the cloud of cheating.

  9. Hahaha..Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. The taping incident happened in the first game of that season. They then went on to win 18 games in a row. The "zenith" you speak of was about unproven rumours during Super Bowl week that the Pats had taped the Rams final walk through in 2002. Some former Patriot employee in Hawaii claimed he had the tapes. But he didn't. Because they didn't exist. Please try to pay attention. Oh, and the 3 Super Bowls are not tarnished. If that were to be the case, the 4 Steelers Super Bowls would have to be tainted as well because of the the steroids. You could find something wrong with ANY champion and say "asterisk". You have no cogent argument. You just don't like the Patriots and can't live with the fact they are champions, are the best run organization in the league, have the best coach, etc. Get over it.

  10. One additional note about the rule breaking itself. Read this…


    Pay close attention to these two excerpts…

    1. The league's operations manual states that "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." Furthermore, all video shooting locations for coaching purposes "must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."
    2. While the Jets cameraman was not in an enclosed location - there isn't one in Gillette Stadium's north end zone - the NFL said yesterday the team was not in violation of league rules.

    With such selective enforcement of this videotaping rule how can anyone know what will be enforced and what will be ignored? And why the double standard?

  11. I am not a pats fan.

    Why do coach's still cover their mouths when sending in plays? Why do they have a dummy signal caller on the sidelines? I'm sure it has nothing to with the other team.

    I am not saying it is right, but get over it! "just about" everyone in football does this (steal signals or anything to get an edge). I'm sure it is done in other sports as well.

    The NFL finally wanted to make an example out of someone and who better to get their point across than with the NFL exec hating, cut-off wearing, superbowl coach.

  12. All I know is that the Pats haven't won a Super Bowl since the '04 season. That's a long time now. Maybe the Unabomber needs to start up the old cheatin again?

  13. Real good insight there Jeff. Now that is the logical argument I've been waiting for.