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"Cheating" or being good at your job

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by AndyJohnson, Sep 15, 2007.

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  1. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I am developing an entirely different perspective on the tape episode. This may be lengthy, but I need to lay the groundwork for my point.

    What we are talking about is what Bill Belichicks job is. We can all agree his job is to win football games. In order to be the best, no stone should be unturned, and every effort should be made. This includes concept, action, and attitude. In any line of the work the most successful people approach very closely the line between conmly with and breaking the rules. What I mean here are the rules AFFECTING YOUR ABILITY TO SUCCEED, not being on time, harassing the secretary, etc.
    You could make a very strong argument that doing the best at a job involves coming as close to breaking those types of rules as possible, without crossing the line. That would also involve understanding, and INTERPRETTING the rules, so you can assess where that line is.

    Everyone is focussed on one rule. But lets expand this to some of the rules that you deal with as a football coach, or in BBs case the man in charge of all football operations. Here are a few examples:

    1) Penalties.
    -What is pass interference? The best DBs come as close to interference without commiting a foul. Is this not entirely subject to how you interpret the rule, as well as pushing the rule to see what the ref will call?
    -Holding. It is common perception that you hold as much as you can get away with.
    -Illegal picks. The Bill Wlash offense was centered around finding the line between a pick play that will be called as a penalty and one that will not.
    -Cut Blocking. See Denver. They come as close to breaking this rule as humanly possible without crossing the line.
    -How about the recent trend of lining up quickly and snapping the ball before the defense is onsides? Clearly there are rules regardibng this. Teams push the rule and get away with what they can. Can you honestly tell me that snapping the football while the defense is still getting back across the line of scrimmage to get a cheap penalty is high moral ground to stand on?
    -In one game vs the Pats, Peyton Manning got a penalty for walking toward the sidelines and having the ball direct snapped to the RB. This is a clear attempt at deception. They walked the line of the rules, but crossed it. (I think the issue was he was under center first IIRC) Is it high morale character to try to trick a defense into thinking you aren't running a play? Clearly it is illegal, but there is a LOOPHOLE that the Colts tried to exploit, although they failed to do so.
    I could probably go on for hours here. But I think it is very fair to say that a great coach will teach his players to play right up to the rule, and push the limit of crossing it. You could easily argue that the coach with the best INTERPRETATION of the rule would do the best job of this, teaching his players to come as close to a violation as possible without a violation. Is that cheating?

    2) Signing Free Agents
    -There is a specific rule to contact with free agents, with a set time that you can begin contact. There have been many cases where it has been reported there were off the record discussion before that deadline. Get caught its illegal, interpret the rule in a way that says OTHER type of contact, not specifically negotiating a contract, and you have a defense for potentially crossing the line. A great GM will manipulate the cap rules as far as possible without breaking them. Whether he breaks them or not depends on whether his INTERPRETAITON is agreed with.

    3) Salary Cap
    -The art of cap management is pushing to the limit of the rules. Contracts are set up with phony years to drive down the cap number. The league rules on LTBE and NLTBE bonusses are clear, and the intent never was to allow phony bonusses to be added at a point in the season they are impossible to be reached, in order to push cap space into next year, but that practice is now common. Is this not "cheating" within the rules? If the first team to do that were investigated and there interpretation was found to be wrong, wouldn't they have broken a rule and cheated?
    A great GM will manipulate the cap rules as far as possible without breaking them. Whether he breaks them or not depends on whether his INTERPRETAITON is agreed with

    4) Injury Reports.
    -We are very familiar that BB tells only what he is required to. To tell more would be doing a bad job, and reducing his chances to win games. Is he on the right or wrong side of the rule? Is he a good coach if his interpretation is within the rules, and a scumbag cheat if his interpretation is not, and he is told he must disclose more?
    A great coach will tell only as much as possible. Being further away from that line is not doing as good a job. Once again, the coach's INTERPRETATION OF THE RULE is at the heart of this.

    5) Tampering
    -Without any question there has been tampering in the NFL. I would bet that the Jets illegally tampered with Deion Branch. Since whoever in the Jets organization that contacted Branch wasn't holding a video camera, it couldn't be proven. The Jets INTERPRETED the rules, and balanced the gain vs the chance of getting caught and sanctioned, and tampered. Was that a good job by the Jets? In terms of the resposnibility to the organization, the person who did it, found a way, within the rules (or at least there interpretation of the rules, and likelihood of consequence) to strengthen themselves by hurting a division opponent. This one is a little more tricky because its more a case of getting away with cheating that pushing their interpretation, but again, they used the rules to improve their franchise.


    Now the NFL creates a new rule that says "Coaches may not enter the field during play to talk with players for any reason including but not limited to any discussion that may benefit the player on the next play".
    Coach X reads that rule. He is trying to do the best job he can and win football games. HE WILL READ IT FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF HOW DO I ADDRESS THIS RULE IN A WAY THAT HELPS ME WIN MORE FOOTBALL GAMES WITHOUT BREAKING THE RULE. A great coach would push the limit of what he can do and still be within the rules. In this case, if Brandon Meriwhether blows a coverage on 3rd and long, the reciever catches the pass and goes out of bounds, so there is a stoppage in play. BB INTERPRETS that rule, and walks out on the field and instructs Meriwether what he did wrong, and how to handle that coverage in the future on 3rd and long. Helped his team, right? Did he break the rule? Possible by the intent of the rule, but (and I wrote it this was purposely) he could interpret that rule to say you can go on the field when play is stopped, and you can discuss 3rd and long coverages when the next play is 1st and 10.
    IF THAT REALLY WERE A RULE, AND THAT SCENARIO HAPPENED, DOING WHAT I DESCRIBED BB TO DO IS GOOD COACHING. NOT DOING IT BECAUSE A WEAKER INTERPRETATION SAYS IT MAY BE ILLEGAL IS BAD COACHING.

    Now we come to the camera episode.
    Here are some of the facts that matter to me:
    1) BB says his interpretation of the rule was that this was allowed (keeping with the concept of this post, doing a good job means interpreting in a way you can stay within the rule, but not be hurt by it)
    2) It was done right out in the open, there was no hiding, no cloak and dagger
    3) It was done on the road
    4) It was done against a coach who used to work for BB and is a division rival
    5) Because of 2,3 and 4 you HAVE TO BELIEVE that BB either felt this was allowed or HE FELT IT WAS OPEN TO INTERPRETATION, AND HIS INTERPRETATION WAS SOUND.
    6) The circumstances under which this was done would be akin to asking to be caught (guaranteeing it) if BB felt it was wrong. I see no set of circumstances where BB felt doing this would be judged as a violation, and he did it the way he did. If he believed that it would have been disgusied and hidden, not out in the open in front of the opponents security force, IN PATS GEAR, WITH PATS CREDENTIALS ON.

    I surmise that Bill Belichick wasn't cheating, he was interpreting a rule and doing what he felt was the most advantaegous action to him allowable under the rule. That is what he is paid to do. Ultimately, the issue is not cheating or breaking the rules, but doing a poor job of understanding the rules, be it due to ignorance, disregard, or ego.
    If we are going to wrap this up in a bow and call Bill Belichick a cheater and tarnish the accomplishments of this team, perhaps we must fine DBrickashaw Ferguson half a million dollars and take away the Jets first round pick for the holding that I saw in that game that he got away with and didn't get called. After all, he clearly knows the rules, and intentionally violated them.

    In the end, what is happening now is that those who have an ax to grind (and due to our success, and BBs personality there are quite a few) is sensationalizing and putting this issue in its worst light. Because one of the competitive advantages that every team looks for in addition to pushing the limits of penalities, salary cap, etc, is trying to anticipate what the other team is doing. While this is an accepted practice, somehow interpretation of what methods to do so are within or outside the rules has become the definiton, of character and cheating. It seems to me that all that has happened here is that one of the responsibilities of a HC was pushed to the limit, as all are and should be, and this HC improperly interpreted the rule, so THIS VIOLATION is cheating, but all of the other violations happening every day from the same perspective (trying to interpret the rule to allow you to do what is most advantageous to you without violating the rule) are not.
  2. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    right on AJ!

    I doubt very much if it was a Brown's camera man who took too k the video
    that Romeo would have had the lynch mob that BB got and the resulting
    penalty. It was a jealous lynch mob that was just waiting to hang him.
  3. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I do not believe that the most experienced coach in the league mistakingly misinterpreted the rules. You might, I might. But then you haven't spent our lives living on the edge of those rules, bending them, breaking them, and fighting for changes in them. Belichick was part of the dialogue on possible changes so that defensive signals could be transmitted electronically. THE NEP voted against. Belichick is a genious; he is experienced; and yes, he knows the intent of the rules and what the NFL offices want and why. He chooses an "us and them" vis a vis the Commissioner, other NFL offices, and the press. And we love him for it. And when he gets caught, he doesn't even have the intestinal fortitude to simply say that he got caught and to move on.

    I appreciate what your are doing. You are presenting argument so that we can all feel good about what was done, and so that we can believe that Belichick was right. I would note that Belichick doesn't care whether he is right or wrong. With regard to football-related things, he has no moral compass.

    As Churchill said long ago about someone he needed as an ally: "Sure he's a dictator, but he's our dictator." So it is with Belichick. He is what he is. But we are proud to have him as our coach, warts and all. IMO, there is no reason to make believe with regard to his faults.
  4. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Where did I say he mistakenly misinterpreted the rules? I am saying he interpreted them in a way that he felt pushed the limit of violation but didn't cross the line. I believe it was calculated, and he felt that his interpretation was defensible.

    You need to back off of some of these comments. DOESNT HAVE THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE TO SAY HE GOT CAUGHT AND MOVE ON???????
    WTF is that. What do you want him to do? He issued a statement. He apologized. Now you want to write a speech for him so he can say it in the words you would choose? Please explain to me what LACK OF GUTS he showed. Please detail why you are essentially calling him a pu$$Y. Please show me where he denied he was caught and refuses to move on.

    You DO NOT know what I am doing, so don't speak as if you do. I am not 'trying to feel' any way about this. I am putting in PERSPECTIVE. Interpreting, responding to , and acting upon that specific rule is Bill Belichicks job. Rather than acting like a spoiled child who can only see right and wrong and pretends they have never done wrong, I am comparing that decision making process to the entire decision making process of a coach, and drawing parallels to PUT IN PERSPECTIVE the meaning of this violation. I am not judging the "moral compass" of a man I have never met, and a man who does 99.99999% of what he does outside of my view. In other words I am not being ignorant and think I jknow the morality of someone I see on TV.

    Churchill aside, how am I 'making believe'? YOU are making all encompassing character determinations about someone you have never been in a room with. I am laying out the responsbilities of a HC in the NFL, and illustrating how the entire business is about being 1% on the right side or left side of rules. I am putting perspective to the argument that a coaches job is to get to that 1% and they do it hundreds of different ways. I am pointing out that it is ridiculously common that coaches, GMs, etc err on the side of being beyond the rule, and this is ONE CASE OF THAT. I am trying to unemotionally look at the issue instead of labeling it (cheating) and burying my head in the sand to say that this is the only time ever that anyone broke a rule, and that requires character assassination. In reality every coach understands its there job to come as close to breaking rules without breaking them as possible, and that they are broken all of the time.

    You seem to have no response to why if he was deliberately violating the rule, he would do it in the wide open in front of everyone.
    Since you seem to have intimate insight into Belichicks motives, attitudes, intentions and character <you have told us that you know what his attuitude toward the NFL is, you know whether or not he has guts, you know whether or not he cares if he is right or wrong, you know what his moral compass is> so surely if you know him that well, you must be able to answer a simple question for him:
    WE KNOW that he did it intentionally, and knew it was wrong BECAUSE MGTEICH HAS TOLD US SO, so why didn't he try to hide it? Why do it out in the open, in the Meadowlands against his former assistant?

    I look forward being educated on this topic by someone who is an authority on the mind and personality of Bill Belichick.
  5. BoltsFan

    BoltsFan Rookie

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    Dude? I'm sure everyone appreciates the effort you put into this. It was cheating plain and simple. It's over. Move on.
  6. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Well, since that's not what AJ's arguing, maybe you want to just stop there. He's arguing that Belichick interpreted the rules in a way that is ARGUABLE and he lost the argument - for whatever reason. I don't think it's a matter of BB mistakenly just, "Oops, I got it wrong!"
  7. BoltsFan

    BoltsFan Rookie

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    Also, every pats fan should get familiar with this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi
  8. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    "Dude," READ THE F-ing POST. You clearly skimmed it, agenda in hand, and are now making a juvenile taunt. Meanwhile, even the commissioner who overreached on the punishment acknowledged it was, in fact, NOT "cheating."

    See, the problem is, most Bolt fans are from SoCal (I live there now), and in my experience they are, generally speaking, sort of "broad strokes" - kind of dumb, kind of surface and very badly educated. Meanwhile, Patriots fans tend to come from a part of the country that values and produces intelligence. The best schools, the best minds and not the kind of jackass who takes a simplistic view of a nuanced and complicated situation.

    Go back to surfing. And I'll say goodbye now, as I expect you'll be nowhere to be found come late Sunday night, you piece of superficial, shallow GARBAGE.
  9. onegameatatime

    onegameatatime Rookie

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    To show how nuts this has become, in an ESPN poll, about 1/3 said the Pats would have beaten the Jets, but the score would have been closer. Despite the fact that the tape was confiscated in Q1.

    This shows that 1/3 of people reading ESPN and answering a poll (not the general public at large) have bought the "cheating" idea put out by the media with zero understanding if what happened.
  10. lander

    lander Rookie

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    Call it what it is. Cheating. Your boy got caught. Man up and move on.
  11. lander

    lander Rookie

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    All the intelligence in the world can't change the facts. What's funny is how the "best minds" continue to try and spin this. Memo to your part of the country: your team cheated.
  12. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Actually that's not what it was. He did get caught and he did man up, and I'd be happy to do the same. Just don't lie about what actually happened, since you clearly don't understand what actually happened.

    But hey, Mr. 1/3, TELL US what happened. Tell us how the Patriots "cheated" in that game, how they got the upper hand and had a competitive advantage over the jets. We'll admit what ACTUALLY happened, accept it, Hell, we'll EMBRACE it, but I'd love to hear your side of things. So go ahead. Right here. All the time in the world.


    Go.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  13. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    How? Come on, let's hear it, surfer.
  14. PatsSteve1

    PatsSteve1 Rookie

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    Had that video camera been upstairs in the coaches booth, doing whatever it was doing on the sidelines, there's be no issue here at all. Plain and simple, dude.
  15. mgteich

    mgteich PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Andy,

    OK, I apologize for trying to understand you post. I apolgize for any misunderstanding.

    I will only state my personal reaction to the last two patriot incidents of rulebreaking.

    1) I was unhappy that Harrison broke the rules. His reaction was swift and clear. He apologized to everyone and accepted his punishment. It was clear to all that others had also commited this offense. There is no question from anyone but that Harrison will accept the punishment, change his behavior, respect the authority of the Commissioner and move on.

    2) I was unhappy that Belichick broke the rules. His reaction was also clear. He responded with carefully written statements. He doen't believe that he was did anything wrong, other than getting caught. This is my personnel reaction.

    For ME personally, I would have strongly preferred that he suck it up, admit he was wrong, agree to follow the spirit and letter of the rules in the future and move on. There is no question in my mind that our coach has little respect for the league and its leadership. He shown disdain for the NFL and also to the press at every opportunity. But he is our coach, so we will all support him and move on. And yes, to me it does show guts to come out in front of the press that you hate and admit the Commission that you hate was right, and the Commissioner is the appointed leader of the ownership of the NFL and should be supported. Belichick chose a more comfortable path, the middle finger.

    3) Finally, football is a business, an entertainment business where public relations is important. It really DOES matter to the owners what the media, the sponsors and the public think of the integrity of the patriots and of the NFL. The job of a head coach is much more than winning games. There are many requirements that involve administration, relationships with the media and relationships with the NFL. If Belichick doesn't like that responsibility, he should ask Kraft have pioli or dante be named HC and Belichick GM so that he doesn't need to focus on these responsibilities.

    mark
  16. lander

    lander Rookie

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    Nothing I can say would possibly change your minds. That's why you're still in here manning the defenses. You've got blinders on.
  17. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Honestly, mg, after the crap you've spewed this week, even this sincere and generous post has little effect on me. Now that you're bowing at the Altar of AJ (which I agree with), it just rings a little hollow, a little too little and a little too late.

    Having said that, I also think your take on BB's statement is ONCE AGAIN a huge overreach and a ridiculous overstatement. A "middle finger?" REALLY? You genuinely believe that? What F-ing WORLD are you living in? I think at this point you're just stuck in the tracks of your dug-in heels and in red-alert mode. You have made a total MESS of yourself on these boards, and perpetuating your increasingly baseless arguments, no matter the change in tone, isn't helping.
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2007
  18. JJDChE

    JJDChE Rookie

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    This forum never changes....AJ makes some well thought out and well presented arguments and a bunch of people try to refute them without anywhere near the same consideration.
  19. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    EXACTLY. The Haters, or the skeptics like mg, come in armed with their agenda, read AJ's well though out deliberations with THEIR level of surface kneejerk take on the issue, and spew B.S. that has no bearing on what he ACTUALLY wrote. Lazy, disingenuous nonsense.

    FTR, I would have NO PROBLEM with someone coming in and refuting AJ's theory with a similarly grounded and well considered counter. But these are not. These are just drive-by takes from people who didn't even fully read or comprehend the points he's making. It's not up to the standards of the board, and I cannot BELIEVE mg is a freakin' mod here. What a joke.
  20. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    Your POSTS show that you actually didn't READ what he said or understand the point of it. It has LITERALLY NOTHING to do with "defending" Belichick. NOTHING. So, go back and read, and come back and make an arugment commensurate with the deliberative post that started this thread.
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