Thoughts/Impressions on “The Dynasty” Apple TV Series

tims4wins

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What’s actually incredible - and this is in some ways the ultimate testament to both Belichick and Brady - is that the Patriots got up off the mat from the Spygate and especially Deflategate situations to go on and make it to four more Super Bowls and win three of them. They shrugged off all that utter BS - which would have sunk anyone else - and dominated the league again. That’s ridiculous.
Technically they went to 6 Super Bowls after Spygate, if you count 2007, since the allegation came out early that season. But they went to 5 after the pick was taken away.

My favorite part of the DFG penalty was that the league specified that the Pats would lose their best first round pick, after the Pats were still allowed the 7th pick in the 2008 draft. It didn’t matter in the 2016 draft because they didn’t have a second 1st rounder, but it was just an extra LOL screw job by the league.
 

BaseballJones

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The reason teams think the Pats got off light for Spygate is because teams didn’t understand the actual rules violation. They thought the Pats were cheating in real time or taping practices and other such BS.
And when Denver was actually caught taping San Fran’s practice in 2010, there was such outrage that the league fined them $50,000.

Nobody said boo.
 

cornwalls@6

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One thing I’m pretty sure of is that BB never in his wildest dreams think that taping signals against the rules would lead to the kind of penalty they got, and what that would carry with them in the future. If he knew that THAT was going to be the consequence I cannot imagine he’d have kept doing it.

The fact is, it was the biggest penalty the league had ever handed down. And that includes teams like Denver repeatedly violating the salary cap to build championship rosters. Oh and when Denver (under McDaniels LOL oops) was caught videotaping another teams practice in 2010 (so not long after Spygate), Goodell punished this team that had broken major rules multiple times…..by fining them $50,000.

That’s it. The Patriots, a team that had never been punished for a violation before, were hit with a million dollar fine and the loss of a first round draft pick.

The scandal here isn’t that the Patriots broke the rules - yes they did and teams break rules all the time and do and should be punished for it - it’s the NFL’s reaction to it compare to what other teams got.

My comparison is in college sports. Syracuse broke rules by having an assistant do academic work for Fab Melo. He was deemed ineligible and as a result SU hoops forfeited a ton of wins and lost scholarships and were put on probation. Pretty big penalty. Ok fine.

North Carolina has a 20 year academic scandal that’s so bad that the school nearly loses accreditation, as thousands of athletes are involved in fake classes and fake majors. They literally got no penalty from the NCAA. Why? Because non athletes were also involved in the scandal so the NCAA said, well the athletes weren’t receiving a “special benefit” (for being athletes) so there’s nothing to be done. The academic fraud at UNC was many orders of magnitude worse than what happened at SU, involving several thousand times more athletes and they got no penalty at all.

It’s this kind of thing that’s the problem. By levying such a massive penalty against the Patriots - while not levying penalties anywhere close to that against other teams doing much worse stuff - the NFL made it look like what the Pats did was just this horrific, outrageous thing. After all, if it wasn’t that bad why did they get penalized so hard? And even at that, many NFL teams wanted them punished even MORE. Which is why when the idiotic Deflategate thing came about, the league came down so hard on the Pats for that too.

The real scandal in all that was the disparity in treatment the Pats received, not in the violation itself.
Excellent summation of both these faux “scandals”, and how one, insanely, directly led to the other. I’m actually having doubts as to whether I want to watch this, or at least the installments that cover spy and deflate gate. I’m getting that pissed off all over again just reading these posts about them.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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The reason teams think the Pats got off light for Spygate is because teams didn’t understand the actual rules violation. They thought the Pats were cheating in real time or taping practices and other such BS.
That’s part of it but the real reason is that folks wanted Belichick suspended because of the breathless coverage, mainly on ESPN. The doc makes it clear (in a blatantly self serving way) that was avoided because of Kraft. Many talking heads suspected this (probably because of their team sources) and were “outraged”.
 

Dick Drago

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If only the Patriots had Wes Welker on the team they’d have won. Oh wait he caught over a hundred passes for 1,100 yards?

Wes got a huge snub. Outside of the side of his head shirtless in one shot he’s not even hinted at.
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I know it isn’t meant to be a hi-lite show…but they should have at least mentioned his name as an integral part of the 2007 re-tooling.
 

Bowhemian

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I know we've beaten Deflategate to death but there was another example where there was plenty of evidence that other teams did stuff with the balls and crickets, nobody cared. I remember one game between the Packers and Vikings where the kicker was caught on tv putting the balls in front of the heater to get the PSI up on a very cold day. Nobody said a word. The other teams only care if you break the rules and win.
And Aaron Rodgers was quoted during the broadcast of a Packers games not long before Deflategate that he used over-inflated game balls.
 

Dollar

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My favorite thing is that one of the press clippings from the Deflategate episode said something like "Patriots Caught Cheating" with the subheader "Multiple Steelers Sources Claim Every Team Does It" or something to that effect, and then the documentary cuts to Terry Bradshaw yelling into the camera about BB's legacy being tarnished forever.
 

Dick Drago

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I wish they’d cut the bit with the smug ex-cop head of security with the tough guy act. He thinks he solved the Jimmy Hoffa case.
 

Gene Conleys Plane Ticket

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I found these episodes disappointing, and they left me wishing someone would do a REAL documentary ONLY about the 2007 Patriots.

"Dynasty" totally skipped the fact that the Patriots had already started to slow down late in that season. They barely squeaked past the Giants in the final game of the season 38-35. And two weeks earlier the Jets held them to just 20 points, their lowest total of the season, until they managed just 14 in the Super Bowl. In the AFC Championship game against the Chargers, they scored only 21 and Brady threw 3 interceptions. And hurt his ankle!

So as crushing as it was to lose that Super Bowl, the writing was at least somewhat on the wall. I'd love to see a real documentary that goes in depth on that whole season. It was a fascinating one from start to finish.
 

Al Zarilla

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Excellent summation of both these faux “scandals”, and how one, insanely, directly led to the other. I’m actually having doubts as to whether I want to watch this, or at least the installments that cover spy and deflate gate. I’m getting that pissed off all over again just reading these posts about them.
Watch episodes 1 through 3 anyway. There are things in them we've all seen in 3 Games to Glory or Do Your Job, etc., but a lot more we have not (at least I hadn't) seen.
For example, Bruschi is quoted as saying about Bledsoe when it became clear that BB was going to start Brady in the Super Bowl, and Drew said he was disappointed but he would do everything in his power to help win the game. Bruschi said he was so impressed by Bledsoe's attitude that, to him, that was when "the Patriots Way" started. Also a great quote from Jackie MacMullan.
Bledsoe is in eps 1 through 3 a lot more also. Happy he hasn't become the forgotten Patriot.
 

JokersWildJIMED

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The first couple of episodes were good but the series is annoying, at best, to anyone who has closely followed the team. Brushing over key details in the name of forwarding a particular narrative (to put Kraft into this overly important figure in so many things including in increasing season tickets or the Brady decision) or implying that spygate gave an unfair advantage in order to throw BB under the bus. They are taking way too many liberties with the facts.
 

Van Everyman

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Skipping the Lawyer Milloy saga and the 21 game win streak over ‘03-‘04 was surprising.
The director was on Curran’s podcast this am and they asked him about the short shrift the series gave 38 and 39. And in answering he actually volunteered that the Milloy story, “They hate their coach,” etc. was interesting and they had a cut that included that but that it was the same narrative they spun during Spygate – that the team rallied around Bill when the media attacked him. He said thayhe didn’t want to resort to just repeating facts on a timeline and wanted to tell a story.

I’m okay with it. This isn’t America’s Game or Three Games to Glory – it’s a documentary about a twenty year dynasty.

BTW they also discussed whether they would release the outtakes which included Martz’s take on Spygate and Moss and the director said it’s “up to Apple.”
 

Oil Can Dan

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There's an awful lot of experts here that know full-stop whether the spygate tapes were beneficial to the team or not.

Nobody here knows the full extent of what was going on. Nobody here knows whether or not the tapes were reviewed and information utilized in real-time. All we know is that a couple of really smart people, BB and Adams, purposefully ventured down a risky path that were literally instructed not to go down in Nov of the previous season and again via league-wide memo a month before the Jets game. Some of you are sure there was no benefit in them doing that, but you can't then explain why they did it anyway except to hypothesize that they figured there's be no real ramifications. Total speculation coupled with facts not in evidence.

I'll throw out some speculation while we're at it. The Patriots had a library of videos and notebooks of opposing team signals that they put together over time. They had this historical information. This enabled them to go into a live game with an idea of what signs meant what, but they couldn't know whether the opponent updated their signs or not. By recording the signs live during the game and analyzing during say halftime a handful of plays were certain coverages or blitzes happened they could then know during the second half what to expect based on the real-time signs. Could they have done the same without that videotape review during the half? Sure, but likely with less accuracy. So, that's why they took the risks and had their videographer incognito and set with a cover story in case he got caught. Was this going to enable them to know every single call and take advantage of it 100% of the time? Of course not, but maybe it helps on a key 3rd down or at some critical juncture.

And maybe they figured the math was if they got caught it's a slap on the wrist, but if they didn't then it's all "wow what amazing half-time adjustments the Pats made" and were wrong on that. I don't see how it's the NFL's fault that the Patriots did this and I can't believe the boo-hooing about the punishment. Again, neither you nor I saw the library, the notes or more than 10 seconds of the Jets tape. The fact that Goodell had the library of tapes and the Jets tape literally destroyed four days after the incident stinks to high heaven and indicates that things were much worse than some simple little infraction. You don't destroy evidence if it's not that big of a deal, and in no way did the NFL want anything that questioned the vaunted "integrity of the game" in the public domain. The NFL seemed to be doing the Patriots a favor yet some of you are aghast at the lofty penalties the league handed down.

And when Denver was actually caught taping San Fran’s practice in 2010, there was such outrage that the league fined them $50,000.

Nobody said boo.
First of all there were two fines of $50k. Second of all the facts of the matter are pretty different. The Broncos self-reported the violation to the NFL. The Patriots were caught red-handed. Not to get all V&N in here but it's like saying that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden had Presidential files at their respective residences that they shouldn't have so they're equally guilty. One self-reported the infraction and the other lied, hid and obstructed the return of theirs. Are those both the same thing that call for the same punishment, or is there some important nuance in there that makes these things a little different? The Broncos, who hadn't had any history of taping violations in the past (unlike the Pats) had what all seem to agree was a single rogue employee tape six minutes of a walk-through. When the executives found out they informed the league and the 49ers about it. Still not cool, and they took their sweet time reporting it, but they did and there's no indication it was going to get out on its own.
 

BaseballJones

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Good post, OCD. I'll just respond to this since this is a reply to my post.

First of all there were two fines of $50k.
One was a fine of the team, and one was a fine of McDaniels.

Second of all the facts of the matter are pretty different. The Broncos self-reported the violation to the NFL. The Patriots were caught red-handed. Not to get all V&N in here but it's like saying that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden had Presidential files at their respective residences that they shouldn't have so they're equally guilty. One self-reported the infraction and the other lied, hid and obstructed the return of theirs. Are those both the same thing that call for the same punishment, or is there some important nuance in there that makes these things a little different?
Sure, it's different. The self-reporting is important. Good point. But it's also different in that the Patriots taped in-game signals that were out in the open for everyone to see. It was still wrong, and I don't have a problem with New England getting punished for that. The Broncos, meanwhile, taped a walk-through - which is very, very different and much more nefarious and damaging, honestly. That it was a single "rogue" employee doesn't mean it's not a really bad thing.

The Broncos, who hadn't had any history of taping violations in the past (unlike the Pats) had what all seem to agree was a single rogue employee tape six minutes of a walk-through. When the executives found out they informed the league and the 49ers about it. Still not cool, and they took their sweet time reporting it, but they did and there's no indication it was going to get out on its own.
The Broncos hadn't been caught taping before, but their organization had committed two salary cap violations which allowed them to construct a roster that won two Super Bowls. Thus when they committed this violation, they were a multi-time NFL rule offender. That it was a different rule they broke is immaterial. You are a two-time drug dealer, and you now get caught in corporate espionage, I'd bet the two drug dealing felonies are going to be on your record and be part of the judgment against you. (I'd imagine, anyway, not being a lawyer)

Similarly, one reason why Deflategate penalties were so big was because the Patriots were considered a multiple offender, even though they'd never been accused of tampering with football before. Goodell absolutely held Spygate against the Patriots when it came to Deflategate. So you can't say they were right to take Spygate into account when it came to Deflategate, but also say Goodell was right to NOT hold past Bronco offenses against them when it came to their taping violations.
 

Ed Hillel

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And maybe they figured the math was if they got caught it's a slap on the wrist, but if they didn't then it's all "wow what amazing half-time adjustments the Pats made" and were wrong on that. I don't see how it's the NFL's fault that the Patriots did this and I can't believe the boo-hooing about the punishment. Again, neither you nor I saw the library, the notes or more than 10 seconds of the Jets tape. The fact that Goodell had the library of tapes and the Jets tape literally destroyed four days after the incident stinks to high heaven and indicates that things were much worse than some simple little infraction. You don't destroy evidence if it's not that big of a deal, and in no way did the NFL want anything that questioned the vaunted "integrity of the game" in the public domain. The NFL seemed to be doing the Patriots a favor yet some of you are aghast at the lofty penalties the league handed down.
Are you suggesting the league went out of its way to not make Spygate a scandal? On the contrary, Spygate was the watershed moment where leagues decided to make scandals part of the soap opera. Nobody ever would have known these tapes existed under Tagliabue. Certainly, no members of the media would have been given access to them, as Jay Glazer was! Most NFL fans were never even aware Paul Tagliabue punished the Broncos for cheating the salary cap 25% or more to win multiple Superbowls. Hell, just a year prior, in 2006, the Jest were caught taping Patriots signals - how was that one handled?

The idea the Patriots got off light can only be seen through the lens of how things have become now because of how Roger Goodell handled Spygate was subsequent so-called scandals. BB had been around professional football for decades before Spygate, and I am quite confident his indignant response to this is in large part based on how disproportionate the handling of Spygate was compared to all the stuff he'd seen in the past and how the league dealt with them. Owners used to actually go out of their way to assign commissioners who actually protected the league from stuff like this by keeping it on the DL, but Goodell came in post-memo and completely changed how it was done. Also, there's no mystery here, Jay Glazer saw the tapes. It was a bunch of tapes similar to the ones we've seen of them filming the Jets, just of other teams.
 

Oil Can Dan

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Are you suggesting the league went out of its way to not make Spygate a scandal? On the contrary, Spygate was the watershed moment where leagues decided to make scandals part of the soap opera.
Sort of. I am suggesting that many people, myself included, took the immediate destruction of the tapes to imply some form of coverup or at least an attempt to minimize the situation. Goodell's explanation for destroying the tapes was that he didn't want any other team to see or have the information on the tapes, and so there was just no other solution but to destroy them. Not that they even would but what's the big deal with other teams seeing this stuff? It's widely available to 70k people in the stands, right? So, what's the big deal on this tape library the Patriots had? I mean, is this some minor technical rule violation about taping from the wrong areas or is this some more nefarious thing, because I gotta tell ya destroying the tapes leads me to believe there may be a little something more to this. If it's a minor rule violation and there's really nothing to see here why are we destroying the tapes in a Patriot conference room four days after the incident? If nothing else confiscate the tapes and lock them up in a cabinet at 345 Park Ave. Leave them there for awhile for future reference just in case.
Nobody ever would have known these tapes existed under Tagliabue. Certainly, no members of the media would have been given access to them, as Jay Glazer was! Most NFL fans were never even aware Paul Tagliabue punished the Broncos for cheating the salary cap 25% or more to win multiple Superbowls. Hell, just a year prior, in 2006, the Jest were caught taping Patriots signals - how was that one handled?
The NJ State Police confiscated the tape in the tunnel at halftime. Neither you nor I have any idea how Tagliabue would have handled this very public incident, but I don't think keeping it all behind the scenes was an option. I take the Glazer viewing as damage control, but reasonable minds can differ. And I was aware of the Broncos' action back when it happened. I can't speak for the media and their take but there's a heck of a lot more sex appeal in a spying-on-the-other-team narrative vs a the-bookkeepers-cheated narrative. I am not confused as to why one story blew up and the other blew over.

The idea the Patriots got off light can only be seen through the lens of how things have become now because of how Roger Goodell handled Spygate was subsequent so-called scandals. BB had been around professional football for decades before Spygate, and I am quite confident his indignant response to this is in large part based on how disproportionate the handling of Spygate was compared to all the stuff he'd seen in the past and how the league dealt with them. Owners used to actually go out of their way to assign commissioners who actually protected the league from stuff like this by keeping it on the DL, but Goodell came in post-memo and completely changed how it was done. Also, there's no mystery here, Jay Glazer saw the tapes. It was a bunch of tapes similar to the ones we've seen of them filming the Jets, just of other teams.
I have not said and don't mean to say that Patriots "got off lightly". I have no idea if the punishment fit the crime at all because I don't know how extensive the crime was. Neither do you.

I'm sure you're right that BB didn't think getting caught would lead to the major story it became (you didn't really say it that way but that's how I'm taking it). He had gotten caught vs GB at the end of the previous season and nothing was really done about that except apparently a warning, and then a reminder memo to all teams just prior to the '07 season. Perhaps the punishment was harsher than you seemingly think it should have been because of this continued and complete disregard that BB had for the league and this rule, eh? My tone when I tell my 10 year old it's time for bed is much nicer the first time I say it than the 5th. In any event, we're now making massive assumptions about what a guy that is notorious for not saying what he's thinking or feeling was thinking or feeling. I don't know why BB kept doing this thing, I just know that BB is really smart so there was probably something it it that he viewed worth the effort and worth the risk.
 

Oil Can Dan

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Good post, OCD. I'll just respond to this since this is a reply to my post.



One was a fine of the team, and one was a fine of McDaniels.



Sure, it's different. The self-reporting is important. Good point. But it's also different in that the Patriots taped in-game signals that were out in the open for everyone to see. It was still wrong, and I don't have a problem with New England getting punished for that. The Broncos, meanwhile, taped a walk-through - which is very, very different and much more nefarious and damaging, honestly. That it was a single "rogue" employee doesn't mean it's not a really bad thing.



The Broncos hadn't been caught taping before, but their organization had committed two salary cap violations which allowed them to construct a roster that won two Super Bowls. Thus when they committed this violation, they were a multi-time NFL rule offender. That it was a different rule they broke is immaterial. You are a two-time drug dealer, and you now get caught in corporate espionage, I'd bet the two drug dealing felonies are going to be on your record and be part of the judgment against you. (I'd imagine, anyway, not being a lawyer)

Similarly, one reason why Deflategate penalties were so big was because the Patriots were considered a multiple offender, even though they'd never been accused of tampering with football before. Goodell absolutely held Spygate against the Patriots when it came to Deflategate. So you can't say they were right to take Spygate into account when it came to Deflategate, but also say Goodell was right to NOT hold past Bronco offenses against them when it came to their taping violations.
I don't disagree with anything you're saying here. And I didn't mean to say what the Broncos did with taping the walk-through wasn't a bad thing; it was.

There is absolutely nothing to say about Deflategate other than it was the stupidest thing in the entire world and the Patriots and their fans are right to be pissed about the entire fiasco.
 

Al Zarilla

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There is absolutely nothing to say about Deflategate other than it was the stupidest thing in the entire world and the Patriots and their fans are right to be pissed about the entire fiasco.
Maybe the Patriots and Brady got pissed off enough to storm through the regular season, playoffs and Super Bowl, winning yet another title. But, they've done that before, and since.
 

djbayko

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I just have to say, this series is incredible. What a rollercoaster ride through 4 episodes so far. That last episode was like re-living a part of my life which I had blacked out for a long time.
 

tims4wins

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It’s been over 15 years so please forgive me, but wasn’t the only problem with what the Patriots did the location from which they recorded? As in, if they recorded from a different area of the stadium, analyzed the video in game, it would be legal?
 

lexrageorge

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There's an awful lot of experts here that know full-stop whether the spygate tapes were beneficial to the team or not.

Nobody here knows the full extent of what was going on. Nobody here knows whether or not the tapes were reviewed and information utilized in real-time. All we know is that a couple of really smart people, BB and Adams, purposefully ventured down a risky path that were literally instructed not to go down in Nov of the previous season and again via league-wide memo a month before the Jets game. Some of you are sure there was no benefit in them doing that, but you can't then explain why they did it anyway except to hypothesize that they figured there's be no real ramifications. Total speculation coupled with facts not in evidence.

I'll throw out some speculation while we're at it. The Patriots had a library of videos and notebooks of opposing team signals that they put together over time. They had this historical information. This enabled them to go into a live game with an idea of what signs meant what, but they couldn't know whether the opponent updated their signs or not. By recording the signs live during the game and analyzing during say halftime a handful of plays were certain coverages or blitzes happened they could then know during the second half what to expect based on the real-time signs. Could they have done the same without that videotape review during the half? Sure, but likely with less accuracy. So, that's why they took the risks and had their videographer incognito and set with a cover story in case he got caught. Was this going to enable them to know every single call and take advantage of it 100% of the time? Of course not, but maybe it helps on a key 3rd down or at some critical juncture.
These were physical tapes. Still unclear how there would be enough time during the break to go through them in any detail.
 

tims4wins

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You can’t see it from this angle, but he 100% drops the ball when he rolls over. The ball is just sitting on the ground for a moment. I remember seeing it live and being like…ok, glad nobody is mentioning this, but it was not a catch, even for those times.

Relatedly, that was Hochuli’s rookie season, and remains the worst called Patriots game I can remember. They blew like 4 calls…AFTER REPLAY REVIEW. It was uncanny how bad the officiating was that game.
The “survive the ground” rule wasn’t in effect yet, and Patten apparently had possession long enough to make it a catch.

I’d forgotten the hit on Bledsoe going out of bounds by #30 of the Steelers. Looked scary as hell like the one that Jets Mo Lewis could have killed him with.
[/QUOTE]
The weird thing about the Patten catch is that they did review the play in the Super Bowl (and obviously confirmed it)… but they did not review the play in the AFCCG despite it being within two minutes.

And as mentioned above, Hochuli and crew had an abysmal game.
 

BaseballJones

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To rehash all this....

This ESPN article from Sep 13, 2007 says, "The "Game 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." The manual states that "all video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead." NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from a New England video assistant on the Patriots' sideline when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Taping any signals is prohibited."

Here's the rule the Patriots broke in Spygate, which is found in the Game Operations Manual (referenced in that ESPN article):

"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. All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead. Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

How did the article's conclusion in bold ("taping any signals is prohibited") arrive out of the actual rule above? The rule says nothing about taping the other team's sidelines or signals.

In this NY Daily News article from Dec 13, 2007, we see that Goodell sent out another memo on this topic. "One GM told the Daily News yesterday that a letter, signed by Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, was received Thursday to reiterate the league’s policy on the use of video equipment on game day.
“Please be reminded yet again that a coaching aide, such as a computer or electronic equipment of any kind, other than monitors supplied by the league, are prohibited,” the memo said.

It went on to stress that “any use by any club at any time from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant of any communication or information-gathering equipment other than a Polaroid type camera or field phone, shall be prohibited,” which includes, but is not limited to, “videotape machines, telephone tapping, bugging devices or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of the game.”"

Again, we see the rules about what kind of equipment can be used, but not a word about whether opponents' signals can be photographed. Because teams ARE allowed to use still photos - old school paper printouts were examined all the time by teams. Now it's done by tablet. See this photo.

78598

So it's always been ok to use photography to look at the game on the sidelines. Always. So:

(1) Can a team use an NFL-approved device (a polaroid type camera or a digital camera or a video camera IN APPROVED LOCATIONS) to record the game and use that information during a game? Yes, 100%.

(2) Can a team use a non-NFL approved device to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

(3) Can a team use a non-NFL approved LOCATION to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

Now...

(4) Can a team watch the opponent's signals, write them down, and use that information during a game? Yes.

(5) Can a team videotape the opponent's signals? Wellllllllll.....mostly no. But here it gets fuzzy. The rule above says nothing about the opponent's signals. But the memo that Goodell sent out in 2006 said this: "Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping off an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines."

So it makes it look like the issue is with taping the opponent's signals. However, kind of like with the second amendment, there's a clause that makes the issue gray. The second amendment, of course, says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." Is that just stating a fact or is that establishing the condition upon which we have the right to bear arms? No, we're not getting into that topic here. It's just that in a similar way (lawyers here will probably say it's not similar at all, and who am I to argue?), this little clause in the memo in bold is a problem. That can easily be read that the issue is not taping signals. It's where you tape them from. What's being prohibited is taping them from the sideline.

But let's combine the operations manual and this memo. It sure looks like what you cannot do from the letter of the law, so to speak, is use video in a non-NFL approved location, or to video signals *from the sideline*. There is nothing in there about whether you can use still photography to record opponents' signals. There is nothing in there about whether you can use video cameras to record opponents' signals as long as that video is taken from an approved location. And there's nothing at all that says you can't use your still camera (polaroid or digital) to take photos of the other team's signals and use that in the same game. Literally nothing at all in either the rule or in Goodell's memo.

This is interesting, from this NY Times article in 2008,

"The issue is not stealing signals. That is allowed, “and it is done quite widely,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently.

The issue, rather, is the method of acquiring the signals.

“I’m not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn’t expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams,” Goodell said Feb. 1, two days before the Super Bowl.

Hardly a revelation, it is nonetheless striking to hear the leader of the top sports league in the country combat questions about cheating with reminders that signal stealing is part of a time-honored tradition.

The message is a murky one, ethicists said. Further advances in technology, combined with the game’s winking culture toward espionage, promise to confuse matters.
“Is it a gray area? Yes,” Sharon Stoll, the director for a center on sports ethics at the University of Idaho, said in a telephone interview. “And they have a problem. We enjoy the nature of competition and gamesmanship. And we enjoy placing those skills against each other. But how far are those skills to go?”

Should they include the ability to steal signals, either by “permissible observation,” as the N.F.L. put it, or by electronically recording them?

Goodell suggested that the responsibility was on teams to conceal their messages, not on the ones trying to steal them. Unless, of course, would-be thieves have the gall to break out the video equipment.

It is why, as Goodell pointed out, coaches cover their mouths when barking instructions. It is why teams use complicated hand signals and often have someone send fake signals to confuse opponents. It is why the N.F.L., at the recent Super Bowl, surrounded the practice facilities of the Patriots and the Giants with police officers, security guards, even F.B.I agents. It is all to keep prying eyes away.

During a news conference two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell said that any coach who did not expect signals to be stolen was “stupid” (a word he attributed to a coach). When asked whether a specific game might have been tainted by taping, he said no, in part, because the would-be victim, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, “is a very smart coach.”
It is an interesting perspective, where the people who try to steal information and those who protect themselves from such theft are deemed to be playing the game the right way.

Already, games are broadcast through a dozen or more cameras for television. Teams also record games with their own equipment and spend hours analyzing the tendencies of their next opponent. The mission is to decode intentions. It is reasonable to wonder exactly where legitimate research ends and illicit activity begins."

- - -

So Goodell is on record saying that it's not wrong to steal signals, and that a team that doesn't expect the other team to try to steal their signals to be *stupid*. You're allowed to do all kinds of things to steal signals, and there's nothing immoral or illegal about it. There is, however, a very narrow band of activities that are not permissible, and while the Patriots technically broke the rule - 100% they did - the idea that it was some moral monstrosity was, and forever will be, an absolutely massive overreaction.

Yourteamcheats has it right when it says,

"Spygate was:
  • 10% about where they were filming from
  • 90% about Belichick stupidly thumbing his nose at Goodell's new rule, and
  • 0% about what was being filmed
It should have been called WrongLocationgate or F*ckYouRogergate, because there was absolutely no element of spying involved."

And...

"Spygate was a chest-thumping pissing match between Belichick and Goodell that Goodell was able to "win" by imposing an outsized fine as he fell back on his fainting couch crying "fair play" and "honest competition.""
 

NortheasternPJ

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 16, 2004
19,642
To rehash all this....

This ESPN article from Sep 13, 2007 says, "The "Game 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." The manual states that "all video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead." NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from a New England video assistant on the Patriots' sideline when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Taping any signals is prohibited."

Here's the rule the Patriots broke in Spygate, which is found in the Game Operations Manual (referenced in that ESPN article):

"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. All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead. Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

How did the article's conclusion in bold ("taping any signals is prohibited") arrive out of the actual rule above? The rule says nothing about taping the other team's sidelines or signals.

In this NY Daily News article from Dec 13, 2007, we see that Goodell sent out another memo on this topic. "One GM told the Daily News yesterday that a letter, signed by Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, was received Thursday to reiterate the league’s policy on the use of video equipment on game day.
“Please be reminded yet again that a coaching aide, such as a computer or electronic equipment of any kind, other than monitors supplied by the league, are prohibited,” the memo said.

It went on to stress that “any use by any club at any time from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant of any communication or information-gathering equipment other than a Polaroid type camera or field phone, shall be prohibited,” which includes, but is not limited to, “videotape machines, telephone tapping, bugging devices or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of the game.”"

Again, we see the rules about what kind of equipment can be used, but not a word about whether opponents' signals can be photographed. Because teams ARE allowed to use still photos - old school paper printouts were examined all the time by teams. Now it's done by tablet. See this photo.

View attachment 78598

So it's always been ok to use photography to look at the game on the sidelines. Always. So:

(1) Can a team use an NFL-approved device (a polaroid type camera or a digital camera or a video camera IN APPROVED LOCATIONS) to record the game and use that information during a game? Yes, 100%.

(2) Can a team use a non-NFL approved device to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

(3) Can a team use a non-NFL approved LOCATION to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

Now...

(4) Can a team watch the opponent's signals, write them down, and use that information during a game? Yes.

(5) Can a team videotape the opponent's signals? Wellllllllll.....mostly no. But here it gets fuzzy. The rule above says nothing about the opponent's signals. But the memo that Goodell sent out in 2006 said this: "Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping off an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines."

So it makes it look like the issue is with taping the opponent's signals. However, kind of like with the second amendment, there's a clause that makes the issue gray. The second amendment, of course, says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." Is that just stating a fact or is that establishing the condition upon which we have the right to bear arms? No, we're not getting into that topic here. It's just that in a similar way (lawyers here will probably say it's not similar at all, and who am I to argue?), this little clause in the memo in bold is a problem. That can easily be read that the issue is not taping signals. It's where you tape them from. What's being prohibited is taping them from the sideline.

But let's combine the operations manual and this memo. It sure looks like what you cannot do from the letter of the law, so to speak, is use video in a non-NFL approved location, or to video signals *from the sideline*. There is nothing in there about whether you can use still photography to record opponents' signals. There is nothing in there about whether you can use video cameras to record opponents' signals as long as that video is taken from an approved location. And there's nothing at all that says you can't use your still camera (polaroid or digital) to take photos of the other team's signals and use that in the same game. Literally nothing at all in either the rule or in Goodell's memo.

This is interesting, from this NY Times article in 2008,

"The issue is not stealing signals. That is allowed, “and it is done quite widely,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently.

The issue, rather, is the method of acquiring the signals.

“I’m not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn’t expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams,” Goodell said Feb. 1, two days before the Super Bowl.

Hardly a revelation, it is nonetheless striking to hear the leader of the top sports league in the country combat questions about cheating with reminders that signal stealing is part of a time-honored tradition.

The message is a murky one, ethicists said. Further advances in technology, combined with the game’s winking culture toward espionage, promise to confuse matters.
“Is it a gray area? Yes,” Sharon Stoll, the director for a center on sports ethics at the University of Idaho, said in a telephone interview. “And they have a problem. We enjoy the nature of competition and gamesmanship. And we enjoy placing those skills against each other. But how far are those skills to go?”

Should they include the ability to steal signals, either by “permissible observation,” as the N.F.L. put it, or by electronically recording them?

Goodell suggested that the responsibility was on teams to conceal their messages, not on the ones trying to steal them. Unless, of course, would-be thieves have the gall to break out the video equipment.

It is why, as Goodell pointed out, coaches cover their mouths when barking instructions. It is why teams use complicated hand signals and often have someone send fake signals to confuse opponents. It is why the N.F.L., at the recent Super Bowl, surrounded the practice facilities of the Patriots and the Giants with police officers, security guards, even F.B.I agents. It is all to keep prying eyes away.

During a news conference two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell said that any coach who did not expect signals to be stolen was “stupid” (a word he attributed to a coach). When asked whether a specific game might have been tainted by taping, he said no, in part, because the would-be victim, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, “is a very smart coach.”
It is an interesting perspective, where the people who try to steal information and those who protect themselves from such theft are deemed to be playing the game the right way.

Already, games are broadcast through a dozen or more cameras for television. Teams also record games with their own equipment and spend hours analyzing the tendencies of their next opponent. The mission is to decode intentions. It is reasonable to wonder exactly where legitimate research ends and illicit activity begins."

- - -

So Goodell is on record saying that it's not wrong to steal signals, and that a team that doesn't expect the other team to try to steal their signals to be *stupid*. You're allowed to do all kinds of things to steal signals, and there's nothing immoral or illegal about it. There is, however, a very narrow band of activities that are not permissible, and while the Patriots technically broke the rule - 100% they did - the idea that it was some moral monstrosity was, and forever will be, an absolutely massive overreaction.

Yourteamcheats has it right when it says,

"Spygate was:
  • 10% about where they were filming from
  • 90% about Belichick stupidly thumbing his nose at Goodell's new rule, and
  • 0% about what was being filmed
It should have been called WrongLocationgate or F*ckYouRogergate, because there was absolutely no element of spying involved."

And...

"Spygate was a chest-thumping pissing match between Belichick and Goodell that Goodell was able to "win" by imposing an outsized fine as he fell back on his fainting couch crying "fair play" and "honest competition.""
Sincerely, Michael Hurley.
 

cornwalls@6

Less observant than others
SoSH Member
Apr 23, 2010
6,358
from the wilds of western ma
Watch episodes 1 through 3 anyway. There are things in them we've all seen in 3 Games to Glory or Do Your Job, etc., but a lot more we have not (at least I hadn't) seen.
For example, Bruschi is quoted as saying about Bledsoe when it became clear that BB was going to start Brady in the Super Bowl, and Drew said he was disappointed but he would do everything in his power to help win the game. Bruschi said he was so impressed by Bledsoe's attitude that, to him, that was when "the Patriots Way" started. Also a great quote from Jackie MacMullan.
Bledsoe is in eps 1 through 3 a lot more also. Happy he hasn't become the forgotten Patriot.
Yeah, I would definitely want to see the early days of the dynasty stuff. Really disappointing that it sounds like they're devoting so much time to the fake scandals and the "decline" of the dynasty. With a decidedly pro Kraft, not so high on BB viewpoint.
 

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
8,477
Manchester, N.H.
I’m not really enjoying this as much as others are I guess. The discussion surrounding episode 4 is being had so I don’t need to go there, but on the whole it really does feel like it’s doing the most to really, I guess, diminish a lot of the good post 2001. Episode 4 with all the media talking heads who lived off of the Patriots for the last 20 years kind of gleefully talk this much about Spygate while we fast forward over two super bowls, the first 18 games of 2007, the first third of Tom Brady’s career, the existence of Wes Welker, etc. just sucked.

I get the vibe the direction this is going in is putting the downfall at Belichick’s feet and angel wings on the Krafts. We will see I guess
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
38,834
Hingham, MA
I’m not really enjoying this as much as others are I guess. The discussion surrounding episode 4 is being had so I don’t need to go there, but on the whole it really does feel like it’s doing the most to really, I guess, diminish a lot of the good post 2001. Episode 4 with all the media talking heads who lived off of the Patriots for the last 20 years kind of gleefully talk this much about Spygate while we fast forward over two super bowls, the first 18 games of 2007, the first third of Tom Brady’s career, the existence of Wes Welker, etc. just sucked.

I get the vibe the direction this is going in is putting the downfall at Belichick’s feet and angel wings on the Krafts. We will see I guess
I mean, isn’t this exactly how the book went?
 

Oil Can Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2003
8,183
0-3 to 4-3
To rehash all this....

This ESPN article from Sep 13, 2007 says, "The "Game 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." The manual states that "all video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead." NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from a New England video assistant on the Patriots' sideline when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Taping any signals is prohibited."

Here's the rule the Patriots broke in Spygate, which is found in the Game Operations Manual (referenced in that ESPN article):

"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. All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead. Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

How did the article's conclusion in bold ("taping any signals is prohibited") arrive out of the actual rule above? The rule says nothing about taping the other team's sidelines or signals.

In this NY Daily News article from Dec 13, 2007, we see that Goodell sent out another memo on this topic. "One GM told the Daily News yesterday that a letter, signed by Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, was received Thursday to reiterate the league’s policy on the use of video equipment on game day.
“Please be reminded yet again that a coaching aide, such as a computer or electronic equipment of any kind, other than monitors supplied by the league, are prohibited,” the memo said.

It went on to stress that “any use by any club at any time from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant of any communication or information-gathering equipment other than a Polaroid type camera or field phone, shall be prohibited,” which includes, but is not limited to, “videotape machines, telephone tapping, bugging devices or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of the game.”"

Again, we see the rules about what kind of equipment can be used, but not a word about whether opponents' signals can be photographed. Because teams ARE allowed to use still photos - old school paper printouts were examined all the time by teams. Now it's done by tablet. See this photo.

View attachment 78598

So it's always been ok to use photography to look at the game on the sidelines. Always. So:

(1) Can a team use an NFL-approved device (a polaroid type camera or a digital camera or a video camera IN APPROVED LOCATIONS) to record the game and use that information during a game? Yes, 100%.

(2) Can a team use a non-NFL approved device to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

(3) Can a team use a non-NFL approved LOCATION to record the game and use that information during a game? No.

Now...

(4) Can a team watch the opponent's signals, write them down, and use that information during a game? Yes.

(5) Can a team videotape the opponent's signals? Wellllllllll.....mostly no. But here it gets fuzzy. The rule above says nothing about the opponent's signals. But the memo that Goodell sent out in 2006 said this: "Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping off an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines."

So it makes it look like the issue is with taping the opponent's signals. However, kind of like with the second amendment, there's a clause that makes the issue gray. The second amendment, of course, says, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State...." Is that just stating a fact or is that establishing the condition upon which we have the right to bear arms? No, we're not getting into that topic here. It's just that in a similar way (lawyers here will probably say it's not similar at all, and who am I to argue?), this little clause in the memo in bold is a problem. That can easily be read that the issue is not taping signals. It's where you tape them from. What's being prohibited is taping them from the sideline.

But let's combine the operations manual and this memo. It sure looks like what you cannot do from the letter of the law, so to speak, is use video in a non-NFL approved location, or to video signals *from the sideline*. There is nothing in there about whether you can use still photography to record opponents' signals. There is nothing in there about whether you can use video cameras to record opponents' signals as long as that video is taken from an approved location. And there's nothing at all that says you can't use your still camera (polaroid or digital) to take photos of the other team's signals and use that in the same game. Literally nothing at all in either the rule or in Goodell's memo.

This is interesting, from this NY Times article in 2008,

"The issue is not stealing signals. That is allowed, “and it is done quite widely,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said recently.

The issue, rather, is the method of acquiring the signals.

“I’m not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn’t expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams,” Goodell said Feb. 1, two days before the Super Bowl.

Hardly a revelation, it is nonetheless striking to hear the leader of the top sports league in the country combat questions about cheating with reminders that signal stealing is part of a time-honored tradition.

The message is a murky one, ethicists said. Further advances in technology, combined with the game’s winking culture toward espionage, promise to confuse matters.
“Is it a gray area? Yes,” Sharon Stoll, the director for a center on sports ethics at the University of Idaho, said in a telephone interview. “And they have a problem. We enjoy the nature of competition and gamesmanship. And we enjoy placing those skills against each other. But how far are those skills to go?”

Should they include the ability to steal signals, either by “permissible observation,” as the N.F.L. put it, or by electronically recording them?

Goodell suggested that the responsibility was on teams to conceal their messages, not on the ones trying to steal them. Unless, of course, would-be thieves have the gall to break out the video equipment.

It is why, as Goodell pointed out, coaches cover their mouths when barking instructions. It is why teams use complicated hand signals and often have someone send fake signals to confuse opponents. It is why the N.F.L., at the recent Super Bowl, surrounded the practice facilities of the Patriots and the Giants with police officers, security guards, even F.B.I agents. It is all to keep prying eyes away.

During a news conference two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell said that any coach who did not expect signals to be stolen was “stupid” (a word he attributed to a coach). When asked whether a specific game might have been tainted by taping, he said no, in part, because the would-be victim, Philadelphia’s Andy Reid, “is a very smart coach.”
It is an interesting perspective, where the people who try to steal information and those who protect themselves from such theft are deemed to be playing the game the right way.

Already, games are broadcast through a dozen or more cameras for television. Teams also record games with their own equipment and spend hours analyzing the tendencies of their next opponent. The mission is to decode intentions. It is reasonable to wonder exactly where legitimate research ends and illicit activity begins."

- - -

So Goodell is on record saying that it's not wrong to steal signals, and that a team that doesn't expect the other team to try to steal their signals to be *stupid*. You're allowed to do all kinds of things to steal signals, and there's nothing immoral or illegal about it. There is, however, a very narrow band of activities that are not permissible, and while the Patriots technically broke the rule - 100% they did - the idea that it was some moral monstrosity was, and forever will be, an absolutely massive overreaction.

Yourteamcheats has it right when it says,

"Spygate was:
  • 10% about where they were filming from
  • 90% about Belichick stupidly thumbing his nose at Goodell's new rule, and
  • 0% about what was being filmed
It should have been called WrongLocationgate or F*ckYouRogergate, because there was absolutely no element of spying involved."

And...

"Spygate was a chest-thumping pissing match between Belichick and Goodell that Goodell was able to "win" by imposing an outsized fine as he fell back on his fainting couch crying "fair play" and "honest competition.""
I’m on my phone so limited in my ability to respond, but you have some things a little wrong about how and where teams were allowed to take photographs from during games. There were stationary cameras at the top of the stadium - one at midfield and one in an end zone. There were team employees on the sideline that took a still photo pre-snap and one two seconds post-snap on each play. At the conclusion of every drive the print outs were staples together then a runner would run the booklet to a designated coach. The booklet BB is looking at is likely one of those. I believe this process has been replaced by the Microsoft Surface tablets we see now but I really don’t know. In any event, it’s not accurate to say that teams had some wide latitude to do what they wanted in-game with photography of any sort. It was regulated pretty well.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,294
I’m on my phone so limited in my ability to respond, but you have some things a little wrong about how and where teams were allowed to take photographs from during games. There were stationary cameras at the top of the stadium - one at midfield and one in an end zone. There were team employees on the sideline that took a still photo pre-snap and one two seconds post-snap on each play. At the conclusion of every drive the print outs were staples together then a runner would run the booklet to a designated coach. The booklet BB is looking at is likely one of those. I believe this process has been replaced by the Microsoft Surface tablets we see now but I really don’t know. In any event, it’s not accurate to say that teams had some wide latitude to do what they wanted in-game with photography of any sort. It was regulated pretty well.
I did t say they had wide latitude. I just quoted both the rule and the memo Goodell sent out. And if you read both of them, it’s not exactly clear whether a team is allowed to use some technology to record opponents signals, if you do it using a proper piece of equipment and its done from a proper spot.

Again, NE broke the rules. But it’s not some massive “cheating” scandal.
 

Oil Can Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2003
8,183
0-3 to 4-3
The NFL approved areas were the mid-field and end zone stationary cameras at the top of the stadium. That was it. There was a monitor and a clicker at a table on the sideline were an employee would click to take the overhead shots. I know this because I was one of the guys that did it. There was no other team photography allowed. Maybe I’m misreading you but you seem to be twisting yourself into knots trying to find some loophole that makes it all okay. Or something where you’re concluding that the weren’t really cheating they were just breaking the rules. What’s the difference?
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,294
The NFL approved areas were the mid-field and end zone stationary cameras at the top of the stadium. That was it. There was a monitor and a clicker at a table on the sideline were an employee would click to take the overhead shots. I know this because I was one of the guys that did it. There was no other team photography allowed. Maybe I’m misreading you but you seem to be twisting yourself into knots trying to find some loophole that makes it all okay. Or something where you’re concluding that the weren’t really cheating they were just breaking the rules. What’s the difference?
I’m just reading the actual rule and the memo Goodell sent. Tell me how I’m reading it wrong. No knots. Just reading the rule.
 

Oil Can Dan

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2003
8,183
0-3 to 4-3
Okay, how about this:
Please be reminded yet again that a coaching aide, such as a computer or electronic equipment of any kind, other than monitors supplied by the league, are prohibited,
So no coaching aids, like a camcorder where you can rewatch a play in the little eyepiece, is prohibited during games.
Isn’t that enough?
 

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
47,723
Hartford, CT
I mean, even Bill wasn’t really defending the practice as of early ‘08. Putting aside the vast depths of discussion one could have about the severity of the rules violation and the fallout, which I don’t care to relitigate because there is really no point, I don’t think there is much use in trying to mount a technical defense of the practice at the time.
 

djbayko

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
26,217
Los Angeles, CA
I have to say that, while that 4th episode ends rough, it was kind of cool to have what we felt (and assumed) as fans confirmed by the players - that they rallied around their coach, they wanted to say “fuck you” to the world, and that the blowout touchdown drives were intentionally sending a message and settling scores.

If you can try to remove yourself from being a Patriots fan, crushed by the final game, that season really is an incredible story — one that ended very cathartically for most of the nation.
 
Last edited:

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,294
Okay, how about this:

So no coaching aids, like a camcorder where you can rewatch a play in the little eyepiece, is prohibited during games.
Isn’t that enough?
If that was enough, why would the league also have a rule that says where you may - or may not - record games from? This little piece should settle everything, right? Except that the line is, "Please be reminded yet again that a coaching aide, such as a computer or electronic equipment of any kind, other than monitors supplied by the league, are prohibited."

This says the only electronic device allowed are the "monitors" supplied by the league. By your own testimony as someone who worked this job, CAMERAS are also allowed, as long as they're NFL approved. So even this memo (which isn't a rule, but a memo) doesn't really cover it or make it all crystal clear.

But hey, look, I have agreed fully that Belichick broke the rule. He shouldn't have done what he did. All I'm trying to say is that it isn't really much of a moral outrage that people are making it out to be. And the penalty was severely out of proportion to the crime. Even Goodell said that teams were always stealing signs and that the responsibility is on the team to protect themselves from sign stealing. So the IDEA of sign stealing is not a problem at all. Belichick went out of bounds in how he did it. Ok fine, give him a penalty. Even a stiff one. But $750 k and the loss of a first round pick when nothing like that had ever been issued before? And then to use that to pile on in DFG? Yikes.

Anyway, the only reason I'm even talking about this now is because it was the subject of that episode in The Dynasty. But what's done is done. Long in the past.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
25,294
I mean, even Bill wasn’t really defending the practice as of early ‘08. Putting aside the vast depths of discussion one could have about the severity of the rules violation and the fallout, which I don’t care to relitigate because there is really no point, I don’t think there is much use in trying to mount a technical defense of the practice at the time.
I'm not really doing that. He broke the rules. They should have gotten punished for it. I'm just suggesting that it wasn't any sort of moral outrage like people make it out to be, and that the punishment handed down was quite disproportionate to the crime, especially when you consider that the Spygate penalty was also a major impetus for the penalty handed out in the DFG absurdity.
 

Cousin Walter

New Member
Jun 26, 2006
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It was not mentioned in the Spygate episode, but it always infuriated me that the Pats actually only lost their first-round pick if they made the playoffs in '07. Had they somehow missed the postseason, it would have only been a second-rounder taken away. What kind of punishment is conditioned upon how successful the team is? That made me realize it was more about increasing the degree of difficulty for the Pats going forward than the actual crime.
 

tims4wins

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It was not mentioned in the Spygate episode, but it always infuriated me that the Pats actually only lost their first-round pick if they made the playoffs in '07. Had they somehow missed the postseason, it would have only been a second-rounder taken away. What kind of punishment is conditioned upon how successful the team is? That made me realize it was more about increasing the degree of difficulty for the Pats going forward than the actual crime.
And I wrote it upthread, but the Pats ended up with the 7th pick in the 2008 draft, so #31 was forfeited. The NFL didn’t like that, so when it handed out the DFG penalties, they specifically said the Pats would have to give up their best 1st round pick if they had multiple. It was all crooked.
 

Preacher

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Goodell talking in episode 4 about how he’s responsible for the integrity of the game and how seriously he takes it made me think of the Ray Rice situation. Once that elevator tape came out, he had to increase the suspension. He just goes where he thinks the media wants him to go. Event with the spygate shit, why order the destruction of the tapes? The guy has a real punchable face.
 

MuppetAsteriskTalk

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I’m disappointed they didn’t get a Super Bowl for Moss and Seau and I’m sure a lot of the other guys who missed out in those in between years.
Logan Mankins is the guy that bums me out. Played for the Pats for 9 years in the middle of the dynasty and somehow came away without a SB victory. I know some people think he came up small in the some big games, but he was practically playing on one leg. Tough as nails.
 

Eddie Jurak

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The NFL approved areas were the mid-field and end zone stationary cameras at the top of the stadium. That was it. There was a monitor and a clicker at a table on the sideline were an employee would click to take the overhead shots. I know this because I was one of the guys that did it. There was no other team photography allowed. Maybe I’m misreading you but you seem to be twisting yourself into knots trying to find some loophole that makes it all okay. Or something where you’re concluding that the weren’t really cheating they were just breaking the rules. What’s the difference?
It seems to me that the Pats rationalization of all of this was that they were not doing in for use in-game. A lot of the specific rules (not the Goodell 2006 memo) that @BaseballJones references were tailored towards use of the info during games.

Here's the rule the Patriots broke in Spygate, which is found in the Game Operations Manual (referenced in that ESPN article):

"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. All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead. Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

It went on to stress that “any use by any club at any time from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant of any communication or information-gathering equipment other than a Polaroid type camera or field phone, shall be prohibited,” which includes, but is not limited to, “videotape machines, telephone tapping, bugging devices or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of the game.”"
So the Pats rationalization here was "the policy applies to in-game use" as in "we are videoing the signals, breaking them down, and using them to gain advantage during the game," but not to post-game use as in "we are building a library of signals of likely opponents, and breaking them down for use in pregame preparation."

I think that is at least a colorable (not frivolous) argument.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I have to say that, while that 4th episode ends rough, it was kind of cool to have what we felt (and assumed) as fans confirmed by the players - that they rallied around their coach, they wanted to say “fuck you” to the world, and that the blowout touchdown drives were intentionally sending a message and settling scores.

If you can try to remove yourself from being a Patriots fan, crushed by the final game, that season really is an incredible story — one that ended very cathartically for most of the nation.
I seem to be the only one here besides you enjoying this series. I am a bit taken aback that after all the winning and the fact that its all history, some cannot look fondly back at the ride, including the painful times. I wanted more too but damn I will take what we got.

As for the narrative choices, they make sense to me. The showrunners were never going to get everything perfect for hardcore fans but I feel like they are doing a decent job thus far.

Finally, I have seen the comments here repeatedly so people are looking for it but this doesn't feel like Kraft hagiography to me. Maybe it will turn out that way but pretty much every subject is given shine here. This is a documentary about the winning and not an airing of the grievances. We may get that too but not here.
 
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