There were a few defenders (few and far between), such as King Kaufman at Slate.com who stated:
What the Pats are accused of doing is "spying" on the Jets coaches as they sent signals to the defense. My understanding of spying must be different from the NFL's. Watching a guy flapping his arms while standing in the middle of 70,000 people and in front of a national TV audience doesn't qualify. Even if you point a camera at him.
I mean another camera, aside from all the legal cameras that can be pointed at him.
For the price of a ticket -- assuming the Patriots as an organization can't find a free ticket somewhere -- the Pats can put a guy in Row 12 with a video camera and record the opposing team's defensive signals to their heart's content. But because the guy's standing on the sidelines it's cheating? Kinda nutty, don't you think?
The Patriots may have been trying to steal the Jets' signals for immediate or future use, but there's nothing wrong with stealing signals. It's a fine and respectable art. If it weren't, teams wouldn't need signals that are coded.
The problem is when teams get sneaky about it, hiding a spy in some cranny of the home stadium that the visitors don't have access to or using listening devices to spy on huddles or locker-room meetings. Where a team has an expectation of privacy, it should get privacy. A guy standing on the sideline and flashing semaphores to the
middle linebacker can't expect privacy. Again: That's why the signals are coded.
That's why the code should be changed every now and again.
The Jets and Patriots are bitter rivals who aren't shy about accusing each other of all kinds of dastardly deeds, so it's worth noting that this accusation came from the league, not the Jets, and that the Jets don't seem to be using it as an excuse for having their hats handed to them on Sunday. I don't think the Jets have a signal, after all, for "let Ellis Hobbs run a kickoff back 108 yards."
Then there was none other than the Hollywood Sports Guy who was so tied-up in knots over this so-called scandal that he needed to enlist help to get over it. Fortunately, he turned to an outsider. Aaron Schatz, the creator of Footballoutsiders.com to be exact. Schatz, Pats fan, set the record straight. He included in attempt to quiet some of the yahoos out there:
It will be a footnote to the dynasty, a funny story like when some guy from the 1967 Packers talks about how they gouged each other's genitalia at the bottom of the fumble pile.
Hey, remember a couple years ago when the Steelers accused the Colts of piping in crowd noise at the RCA Dome?
Remember when the Broncos broke salary-cap rules in order to build the 1997-98
Remember when Jim Haslett said there was rampant steroid use by the Pittsburgh Steelers during their dynasty years of the '70s?
Remember when Herm Edwards admitted to breaking NFL rules by using Stick-Um even after it was banned in 1980?
And remember when Lawrence Taylor said he used to send hookers up to the hotel rooms of opposing running backs while he sat at home doing blow? I mean, are we taking away the '86 Giants' Super Bowl championship too? Come on, already. This stuff happens.
Finally, as you knew they would, the tailgate superstars affectionately known as the AngryTrolls over at ColdHardFootballFacts.com weighed in with an extremely balanced view of what was going on.
My view? Simple. They broke an NFL rule. They should be punished fairly. They were punished justly (if not a little harshly), and now they turn their attention back to the season after the organization and Bill Belichick take their medicine like big boys. Now can we get past this crap and get back to wondering how the Chargers over-rated secondary is going to defend Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Dante Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, and Ben Watson when the Pats go five-wide against them?
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