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Mike Reiss' Q&A on taping

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  1. NYCPatsFan

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    In the frenzy for the last two days, I am not sure how many read Mike Reiss' Q&A on the Globe yesterday. Excellent piece as usual.

    Here is the link:

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/extras/askreiss/05_13_08/?page=full

    (Mods - please feel free to merge if this is already there but I don't see it in the first two pages. thanks.)

    Note this simple Q&A on page 2 (bold emphasis mine).

    Curious to know what the fans think of the above.
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  2. hambone1818

    hambone1818 Rookie

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    I'm currently reading through the mailbag, but two things struck me about the first answer that Reiss gave (thanks for posting this, by the way):

    (1) Wow...I mean, I NEVER, ever believe Belichick was sincere in his 'misinterpretation' of the rule, but I had also never read the direct quote from the Constitution and Bylaw. After reading that (particularily the bolded part) I can see EXACTLY where confusion could have been made. With such vague wording, it now bothers me even more that this blew up into what it has.

    (2) I might be mistaken, but doesn't this little blurb here restrict the filming that the Jets did in 2007? Why is this not brought up? I understand completely that their filming was done in the stands, but I'd hardly call a hand-held recorder to be 'enclosed on three sides'. The wording in this case is just as vague and, to me, could be interpreted any of a number of ways. Fortunately for the Jets it appears as though Goodell interpreted this one differently than in the Pats case.

    God I'm getting madder and madder at this crap.
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  3. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    There's a thread already on this.

    But I have to say, Mike's work in that Q&A is not 100% up to snuff. He ignored one of the iterations of the rules regarding videotaping:

    It reads: League’s operations manual: “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.” Furthermore, all video shooting locations for shooting purposes “must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead.”

    One emailer asked him whether the NFL forbids taping only from certain locations. According to the league manual that Reiss is quoting from, it makes plainly evident that there are areas that YOU CAN tape from. Reiss however replied that the rule is absolute.

    Here's what bugs me about the media. They can't seem to develop a proper context in which to write about and discuss what happened. All of us here do a much better job, probably a product of the hive mind.

    If taping is ABSOLUTELY forbidden EVERYWHERE, as Reiss claims, then he needs to open the context of the discussion a little bit and consider why the league allowed taping by the Jets and Dolphins in 2006. And why did Goodell make it plain (in the Costas TV interview) that the Patriots were punished for taping out in the open in view of everyone?

    Alternately, Reiss and the media need to address why the memo takes precedence over both the bylaws and the operations manual (which, this is new information for me, are supposedly two different things/books, huh? eh?). Why, after the memo was issued, did the NFL dismiss the Phins taping witha "That's football" comment, and why, with the Jets taping, did the NFL let the Jets get away by claiming they had permission, when the Patriots deny permission was given? Why does the NFL even allow you to seek and obtain permission to break the rules?

    These are the questions that need to be considered for the full context of the entire incident to be developed. If you hedge and only look at one aspect at a time, it's easy to draw simplistic black and white conclusions such as, there's the rule, the Patriots violated it. But the world isn't black & white, it's complicated. There's a context for everything. If Belichick sees that the league has undercut the force of its own memo by dismissing cases where the tapers have admitted taping, then Belichick puts his team at a disadvantage if he DOESN'T tape. That's the real context for this.
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  4. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    This is what MOST of us who read the rule have been arguing all along.

    (2) I might be mistaken, but doesn't this little blurb here restrict the filming that the Jets did in 2007? Why is this not brought up? I understand completely that their filming was done in the stands, but I'd hardly call a hand-held recorder to be 'enclosed on three sides'. The wording in this case is just as vague and, to me, could be interpreted any of a number of ways. Fortunately for the Jets it appears as though Goodell interpreted this one differently than in the Pats case.

    God I'm getting madder and madder at this crap.[/QUOTE]

    This is exactly the kind of contextualizing information we need. It' evident that some good writers like Reiss have done th legwork to find the rule, but they haven't added everything together yet.

    People act as though a NFL memo exists in hyperspace without any contingent information related to it. But that's not the case. The NFL gives force to its memos by either supporting them or enforcing them, and it's clear in this case that the NFL actually undercut the memo by supporting the Phins and Jets in their taping. So, Belichick has to then revert back to the bylaws. Which clearly state you can't use the tape in a game.
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  5. TedyB54

    TedyB54 Rookie

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    I suppose one could argue that since the rule says "during the playing of a game", it would extend to any game.
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  6. MoLewisrocks

    MoLewisrocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is why while it's perfectly fine to disagree with Bill's interpretation, it is not a given that it is baseless or mockable. Believe me, if a thing like this ever went to an actual court for determination, where every word is parsed and every precedent noted, it's at best 50/50 whose interpretation prevails. Bill's rationale for doing what he did is to remain competitive you do business as business is done. The competitive alternative is you risk getting left eating the dust of people who are.
  7. upstater1

    upstater1 Rookie

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    You couldn't use that argument very well in a court of law. Typically, the inclusion of such language is necessary only to differentiate between one aspect of the rule and another. In other words, if you intend this rule to be enforced for all games, you should leave out the language about "games" altogether. Just try reading the rule without the words "during the playing of a game," and you'll see exactly what I mean.

    If the NFL had intended for the rule to be a blanket prohibition, then they shouldn't have used the words "during the playing of a game" at all, since those words just confuse the intention.
  8. Deus Irae

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    That interpretation is the one used by Goodell.

    Goodell:

    "A game" = "Any game"

    Belichick:

    "A game" = "A game currently being played"


    This is why the punishment was ridiculous, the whole issue was overblown and Goodell needs to go.
  9. PatsFan37

    PatsFan37 Rookie

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    Much as I don't like the man, this isn't as big a part of his job as one would think. This is a media scandal.

    The more important part of his job is to limit the real criminals of the NFL: the players who get in trouble with the law, the referees that might be tempted to court gamblers, the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. And of course, the negotiation of the CBA.

    He handled this media scandal poorly, but I doubt he could have done too much to slow the landslide of pent-up bitterness toward this team. When ESPN and SI are ganging up against you, along with fans of 31 teams, there's not much to be done.

    Now, I hope, he'll get back to the real thugs and to negotiating a CBA that will keep the league from a strike.
  10. Deus Irae

    Deus Irae PatsFans.com Retired Jersey Club PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Come on now..... Had Goodell just punished the team with, say, a $50,000 fine, this wouldn't have lasted a week.
  11. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Sorry - but Reiss is wrong on at least on matter:

    He says in responding to "Jack in TX":

    "Jack, taping signals of opposing coaches, regardless of location, is against the rules."

    But the aforementioned 2006 memo - which he correctly asserts still does not exist in the NFL bylaws reads:

    September of 2006 memo: “Videotaping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”

    So given the chance to clarify in 2006 the NFL reaffirmed that the prohibition is specific to those locations and conditions.

    Videotaping is the bread and butter of NFL analysis. It has and continues to go on today. The memo is not outlawing videotaping. .. just saying that it can't take place in locations specified in the memo.

    If the NFL meant to say "regardless of location" then they would have said "regardless of location". They purposefully did not. If they want to change it to say that, they should do so, but they did not either before September 2006 or after September 2006.

    Hopefully Reiss can make his misinterpretation clear as I'm sure some in the national media look to him as a knowledgeable resource.

    The bottom line is that the NFL will never outlaw videotaping nor do they have the ability to police what is on the dozens of videotapes that all teams gather from each game. The best they can do is ensure an "even playing field" which is what they've tried to do with the policy as it now stands, allowing teams to videotape signals...

    And knowing that if teams are stupid enough not to change their signals (or let Patriots personnel watch their Super Bowl walk throughs and take notes) then they deserve whatever consequences that results in.

    And for anyone who thinks that modern telecsopic microphones and telephoto lenses can't pick up visuals and audio of sideline conversations, they are incredibly naive.
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  12. TedyB54

    TedyB54 Rookie

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    I agree 100%. Or just replace the words "a game" with "any game" and it's a no brainer.
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  13. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    Yup - he wanted to send a message that he was the boss and that even violations of unenforceable rules (tampering) would result in stiff penalties.

    It all backfired on Goodell unfortunately (i.e. the NFL in general) because of the combined value of his fine (though still less than that charged to the Broncos for cheating on the salary cap) and draft pick loss (though the same 1st round draft pick loss as was levied on Don Shula's Dolphins for their tampering in obtaining Shula as a coach)
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  14. NYCPatsFan

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    Since we all respect Mike, can I bother you to email your eloquent response to Mike also so that he can address it on his mailbag please? Thanks!
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  15. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I did

    But I'd encourage others to do the same as well. That's a pretty big mistake for Mike to make. I'm not expecting perfection but given the delicate nature of this, he should immediately correct himself.
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  16. dante828

    dante828 Rookie

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    I posted this is another thread but since you haven't read much on the issue, here is the most thorough analysis of the rule I have read:

    http://thesportslawprofessor.blogspo...pretation.html

    I can't take credit for the find though, I actually first read it here in another post, but no one significantly discussed it when I wanted to, so I posted again.

    As do we all. :mad:
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  17. NYCPatsFan

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    Will do! Thanks.
  18. Hardboiled

    Hardboiled Rookie

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    I noticed that too and sent an email through the mailbag process asking for clarification.

    Goodell's message yesterday was certainly one of "no taping of coaches anytime anywhere."

    But I don't see that in the Anderson memo, Manual, or By-Laws.
    Last edited: May 14, 2008
  19. PatriotsReign

    PatriotsReign On the Roster

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    I'll have to post a link to this over at ColtFreaks!;)
  20. JoeSixPat

    JoeSixPat Rookie

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    I received a few updates from Mike Reiss - who is incredibly responsive to readers - and possibly understandably sensitive to any suggestion he made a mistake (tough to blame him as he's watching Tomase twisting in the wind).

    He asked a point blank question to an NFL spokesman:

    "...if a team was taping from a location enclosed on all sides, it still can not shoot signals of opposing coaches?"

    The response from the unnamed NFL spokesman? "That is correct. You can scout opposing team signals but not with a video camera."

    This, in my opinion (and its not really opinion if one reads the rule) is completely contrary to what the NFL has said in their rule, as well as their 2006 clarifying memo.

    In my assessment this indicates a much broader problem within the Commissioner's office. Either the spokesmen don't know the rules, or they know the rules and don't want to admit that taping is legal.

    Even with a spokesman's comment, are NFL teams supposed to ignore the rules in the rulebook and base their practices on the statements of spokesmen to the media?

    Of course not.

    So to be clear here, Reiss is correctly conveying what the NFL spokesman told him.

    I'm just hoping - and asked him to consider, making clear the conflict between the rule and the statement and holding their feet to the fire on such inconsistencies.

    The NFL rule says taping signals is OK in certain locations. The NFL spokesman says taping signals is NOT OK regardless of locations.

    An operation run like that is sure to get more teams in hot water even if they follow the rules to the letter.
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