First of all, let's get this "stealing" signs crap out of the way. No one is "stealing" anything, the players and coaches are giving the signs out in open. There is no, nor has there ever been, any rule about not watching the other team's signs. Now, the big issue. Everyone is throwing around the big C-word, as if the Patriots were caught in the Jets locker room putting sedatives in their water supply. This is crazy, part of playing the game of football is trying to figure out what the other team will do before they do it. It's not just blocking and tackling. It has been like this since day 1. Any information you can gather on the field is fair game. I can see why the league has a problem bringing video equipment into the equation (I should say additional video equipment, since the teams are allowed to gather information on the other teams calls from sanctioned videos). I don't have any problems with punishment related to this, it's a league violation. That said, I just don't see any reason why reading the other teams signs should be looked on in a negative light. The reason there are elaborate play calls is to try to conceal from the other team what you are doing because part of the objective of the game is for the opponent to figure out what you're doing. The more I think about it, the more I am confused about the prevalent idea that reading another teams signs is some clandestine activity. It's an integral, and I think, perfectly legitimate part of the game of football. I think a lot of the backlash (besides the fact that people want to bring the Patriots down, and that the media are attention whores) is that the average fan doesn't get on the field and hear what goes on. Every time an offensive or defensive unit comes off the field, part of what they are discussing is what the other team is trying to do and what calls they are making and how they can recognize those calls, what hand signals they are using, etc. It's not just, "hey, we need to execute this play better." This isn't something teams are trying to hide...THIS IS PART OF FOOTBALL! That's the reason why many players and coaches being interviewed are blowing it off, to them that's what you are supposed to do. Seriously, the more I think about this, the more I realize how insanely overblown the reactions are. I'm guilty myself of being swayed by the overwhelming negative media reaction. What should have been apparent immediately, actually took me two days to figure because I've been constantly being bombarded with the media allegations of cheating. Looking at what the Patriots actually did within the context of the game I see how innocuous it is now. In my opinion, what this amounts to is the Patriots being caught using an unsanctioned way to gather information that everyone else is gathering anyway. It's a clear cut case of violating an equipment rule and should be punished as such. I can't believe I'm agreeing with Sean Salisbury, but 50K and move on really sounds right to me.