I posted this in the alt.sports.football.pro.ne-patriots group: --- Once again watching Belichick's interview here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Hyg9BhqESxU It got me thinking. Exactly *how* would the Patriots use the tapes, and what kind of edge could they gain? Let's start with the premise that the Patriots did *not* use the tapes for the games in which they were taping. That's been the contention all along by Belichick, and even Matt Walsh, who appears to have a major axe to grind against Belichick and the Pats. That was the conclusion of Goodell as well, who interviewed more than 50 people about this. So that means that the tapes were used as part of the "mosaic", as Belichick put it, the package of information used to prepare for a future game. What else might go into such a package? - Legal videotapes - NFL approved film - Advance scouts - Statistical breakdown of team's tendencies in every situation (they have *reams* of info on each team in this regard) - Inside information from players who used to be on your next opponent's team - Coach-to-coach conversation (yes, probably some of this goes on...."Hey Mike, this is Bill. We're playing the Chargers this week and we know you'd like us to beat them...anything I should watch out for?") - Scouting out the opponents' signals yourself So that's a TON of information on each team, on each coach (head coach or coordinator). Here's how it appears that the Pats would use the tape. They video the opponent's coaches and edit the tape to line up with different angles of the same play. This way, they can try to match the signals with exact defensive setup. But that really only helps if you know their tendencies, because teams likely change signals routinely. But they may be able to pick up on a pattern more easily with video. But let's say they didn't have the illegal video. BB has said plainly (and other coaches, like Shanahan, have said the same thing) that without the video, they still watch and chart opponents' signals. Without video, you'd still have legal NFL game film, and you'd still have all the rest of the stuff I listed above. But instead of the video, you'd have someone speaking into a voice recorder and typing into their laptop or writing on their notepad what signals are being used on each play. They would then take that information, line it up with the legal film they have of the game, and *still* be able to decipher what each signal meant. For example, if I was a scout, I could jot this down: 3rd and 2, NYJ 35, 11:05, 2nd qtr - right hand to nose, left hand to belt, right arm up, 2 fingers extended, then arm moved into a "T" position Something like that. I wouldn't have to chart the play, because we would have other guys doing that. So I take my descriptions, and, so long as I'm consistent in my description (and I'd eventually have my own shorthand), we line them up with the actual plays and the legal game film. And there's enough shots of their coaches shown on network TV and other game film for me to say, "Yeah, that "T" motion right there...that's what I mean by this notation." That kind of thing. And, of course, the more I do it, and the more familiar I get with the coaches, the easier it is for me to describe what they're doing. There are professional people in the military who are adept at this sort of thing, and in baseball, they're *continually* changing signs, from game to game sometimes, because a trained person really can steal signals rather easily. So you end up with the same thing. Now, this is more labor intensive, and it's a little harder, but it's the same exact principle. Obviously, you can't really do this if you're going to use the information *for that game*, but we've established the premise that that's not what the Pats used it for anyway. So for advanced scouting purposes, you have this process going on. All taping does, then, is make this process a little more streamlined and easier to do visually. And it allows for an ongoing library of material. So is it helpful? Absolutely, or they wouldn't do it. It's easier for them to do this than it is to do it the old-fashioned way, no question. And it's probably more efficient. So I think, when seen from this perspective, that the advantage is not really that great. It's there, of course, or, again, they wouldn't do it. But since people have been stealing signals successfully for eons without the use of videotape, the Pats, with their attention to detail, would still be wildly successful. The video simply allows them more effeciency and streamlining of the process. Was that worth doing, when they knew the risk of getting caught? I don't know. Obviously they felt so, or at least BB felt that what they were doing was within the boundaries, because he saw some gray area presented to him by the bylaw that speaks of using the video in the game itself, which they didn't do.