Saturday, May 24, 2008

Steelers player Joey Porter says Patriots cheated, so Super Bowl victories should get asterisk*

All-pro linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers Joey Porter is speaking out. He says, "They [the Patriots] cheated, there should be an asterisk. They cheated and they got caught. Why, if you have nothing to hide, would you destroy [the evidence]? That's how I've looked at it from the beginning. Why destroy something that doesn't have to be destroyed? Let everyone know what was on the tapes. Why would you destroy them so fast? They went from zero to 60 overnight and [Belichick] went from a good coach to a great great coach and he got caught cheating."

Porter says that many other NFL players feel the same way. (More)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

More cheating by Belichick: RossTucker confirms that Belichick used players on injured reserve in practices, against NFL rules

Former Patriots lineman Ross Tucker corroborated whistleblower Matt Walsh's statement that Bill Belichick used players on injured reserve in practices, against NFL rules. Tucker said Belichick would "do anything" to gain an advantage, including violating NFL rules. (more)

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Football Expert: Bill Belichick flat out lied to Roger Goodell

Bill Chuang of The Football has an incisive article today about Spygate. In it, he writes:

"During the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers on Jan. 27, 2002, at Heinz Field, Walsh was instructed not to wear anything displaying a Patriots logo. Walsh said he turned the Patriots sweatshirt he was wearing at the time inside out. Walsh also was given a generic credential instead of one that identified him as team personnel. Walsh was instructed to use a "cover story" if anyone questioned him about the filming.

"This to me is the most damning statement I have heard the past few days because it makes it clear that Belichick flat out lied to Goodell. He initially claimed that he didn’t intentionally cheat, but he simply misunderstood the rules. From the instructions given to Matt Walsh, Belichick clearly knew that what he was doing was against the rules. Goodell severely sanctioned both Pac Man Jones and Micheal Vick with suspensions when they were caught lying to him. Belichick deserves the same punishment. Both players lost years of salary. They each lost multiple millions of dollars for indiscretions outside the football field. Belichick was only fined half a million for indiscretions on the field. Goodell needs to be more consistent. So far, there’s been no comment from Belichick."

My Take: Chuang is exactly right on the double standard for Belichick. NFL Commish Goodell obviously would rather have the whole Spygate and cheating saga swept under the rug, in order to keep the revenues up for the NFL. Could you imagine what would happen with a full investigation of Spygate that might reveal how many games the Patriots benefited from blatant cheating?

Spygate: Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan lambastes Bill Belichick for cheating + continuing to cover up, causing permanent stain on all 3 Super Bowl wins

I met veteran sports writer Bob Ryan once. He's a charming, sports knowledgeable, straight shooter who appears on PTI occasionally.

Well, today, Bob Ryan -- who writes for the Boston Globe -- has come out with a scathing article roundly criticizing Bill Belichick for his cheating in Spygate, but even worse for his cover-up and refusal to show remorse or regret. Ryan invokes Richard Nixon and Watergate, the cover up is worse than the crime. Ryan even floats the idea that the Patriots owner Bob Kraft should fire Belichick, which would then give even more credence to his wrongdoing. Here's a sample of Ryan's scathing criticism of Belichick:

"It doesn't matter, because the only thing that does matter now is the image of the New England Patriots. The sports community now associates the Patriots with cheating. The three Super Bowl championships are, and forever will be, under suspicion. The thought will never go away.

"Let Mike Martz, coach of the vanquished Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl, absolve the Patriots all he wants. A year from now, five years from now, 50 years from now, who will know or remember what Mike Martz said? The Patriots have been irrevocably stained. They will be, in the eyes of many, the reverse Black Sox. They will be the team that broke the rules. Their three Super Bowls will be regarded as ill-gotten gain.

"And Bill Belichick still hasn't fessed up. * * *

"Now we know that Bill Belichick covered up, and may still be covering up. Matt Walsh says he was told to prepare a cover story for his activities, even as Bill Belichick continues to insist that he had "misinterpreted" the rule in question. He alone of the 32 coaches was confused. Amazing. The commissioner didn't buy it, and neither should anyone else.

"The cover-up is what matters now. Bill Belichick has yet to seek mercy from the National Court of Public Opinion. He has his story, and he's sticking to it. He's going to stonewall it, just as he stonewalls a routine injury inquiry. It's just his nature, apparently."

My take: This is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's worst nightmare. He tried to preemptively get rid of Spygate by destroying all the tapes and then issuing a penalty on Belichick and the Patriots. But that turned out to be the worst decision of Goodell's life. It only fed into the perception of a cover up, which Bill Belichick has fomented with his incredibly stubborn refusal to come clean or to show any remorse. Bob Ryan is spot on -- there is a permanent stain on all 3 Patriot Super Bowl victories. Roger Goodell's only way out of this mess is to suspend Belichick for 1 season or more, or to strip the Patriots of all 3 Super Bowl victories.

South Park: Bill Belichick cheated episode

Funny, but true. The truth hurts.

Even funnier.

“Just before the last Super Bowl, Bill Belichick gathered his football players and said let’s win this one for real… Just this one time.. Let’s not cheat. You know what happened? They lost.”

This is so true. Belichick cheated from 2000 to 2007, when he finally was caught. During those years, he won 3 Super Bowls. But this past year, when he couldn't get any more illegal videotapes of the opponents, he lost.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Calls for 1-year suspension of Bill Belichick mount

Gregg Easterbrook has a pretty scathing critique of the NFL's weak punishment of Bill Belichick, who continues to show no regret for cheating for 8 years.

The entire article is well worth a read. Here's a flavor:

"But many NFL contests turn on as little as a few snaps. If cheating allowed the Patriots to come out ahead on a couple of more snaps per game than they otherwise would have, that could shift outcomes in their favor. All four New England Super Bowl appearances of this decade have been decided by three points. Change one or two plays in Arizona this February, and Belichick joins Chuck Noll at 4-0 in the ultimate game; change one or two plays in each of his previous appearances, and Belichick joins Bud Grant and Marv Levy at 0-4. How many NFL owners would surrender a first-round draft choice and a fine equal to one player salary to exchange results over the past eight years with the Patriots? New England kept cheating because it was benefiting from cheating, and the price paid so far is trivial. * * *

"What is necessary is a serious suspension for Belichick. Suspension for a season would actually be a mild penalty. Belichick's lack of remorse creates an argument for a lifetime ban. Why should the 99 percent of NFL players, coaches and front-office officials who are honest sportsmen be tarred by association with a few who are not? There's no "right" to coach in the NFL -- if you thumb your nose at the rules, you should be held accountable. Just like everyone breathed a sigh of relief on the day Richard Nixon left office, including his own supporters, everyone who loves football will breathe a huge sigh of relief on the day Belichick is finally punished and the sport's integrity is restored. Suspending Belichick would be a fitting last chapter to Spygate, bringing the matter to a close. Unless, of course, you would prefer that Spygate go on and on and on."

Should "asterisks" be placed next to New England Patriots Super Bowl wins in 2002*, 2004*, 2005*

The worst part about the whole Spygate controversy is NFL Commissioner's Roger Goodell's attempt to cover up and sweep it all under the carpet. I can't imagine any other sport in which 7 years of blatant cheating by one team would go without a more serious penalty.

Here's what we know
: Bill Belichick cheated in order to get an advantage on teams that would be played 2 times in the same year. Videos were made of the opposing teams signals on both offense and defense. These videos were then used for the next time the Patriots played the same team that year. This enabled the Patriots to correctly predict the plays of the opposing teams in some games. The full extent of which we don't know yet. Roger Goodell has made no attempt to determine this crucial fact. But some anecdotal evidence from one unnamed quarterback suggested it could have been as high as 70% of the plays from the opposing team.

Did this cheating help the Patriots win 3 Super Bowls: Undoubtedly. The taping goes back to 2000 and continued until 2007. The Pats won Super Bowls in 2002, 2004, and 2005. The only Super Bowl the Pats lost in this decade was this past year -- when the Patriots no longer were videotaping because they had finally been caught by the New York Jets.

Why doesn't Roger Gooddell do anything: It's against the self-interest of the NFL to expose the extensiveness of the New England Patriots cheating. Tom Brady and New England are marquee names for the NFL, and the whole Spygate saga threatens to unravel the entire mirage of the Golden Boy.

Why aren't more NFL teams complaining: Ditto the last comment. It's against their self-interest. The Patriots bring in money for the NFL. To tarnish their image would potentially hurt revenues.

Bill Belichick smears whistleblower Matt Walsh + refuses to fess up to his cheating in Spygate

Click here for video