It seems that everyone - fans, media, some players who are talking to the media, are really missing the point. This is in a small way about breaking the rules. The bigger issue is the culture in the NFL when it comes to competitive advantage. Teams have been stealing signs and committing other infractions for years and years and from reports I've read over that last few years, just about every team is involved in some kind of rules breaking or going "outside the lines" to gain an advantage. Examples: 1.) A few years ago the Broncos brought their white jerseys to San Diego even though San Diego, being the home team, determined that they themselves were going to wear their white jerseys. In the SoCal heat, this is a big pretty big deal. 2.) Miami purchased recordings of Brady's snap counts and cadence last year and were able to use them to their advantage on defense. 3.) Denver teaches their offensive lineman to cut block, an illegal and dangeous practice, but they do it and their running game benefits. These are just three examples, but if you listen to what long time players and former coaches have to say, these kind of tactics are commonplace and have been for a long time. Sign stealing has become an art and everyone does it their own way. As far as the acceptability of it, that is for the league to decide, but when you know your opponent is doing something against the rules in order to gain an advantage, will you as a team do nothing do gain your own advantage. It reminds me of a quote from a few years from Belichick when he was asked about Patriots corners bumping Colts receivers; he said something like, "You play the game the way the game is played." I took that to mean if that is what is commonplace and accepted, then by all means play that way. I look at the sign stealing and other tactics in a similar way. Now if the league wants to eliminate these practices, great. If they want to use the Patriots as an example and punish them for violating the rules by taking away a draft pick, fine. They broke the rules and should be punished. However, the commisioner needs to know that their are many other teams (if not all) in the league who are violating the rules to gain an advantage and they need to be watched and discplined as well if he wants to achieve his goal of modifiying the way the game is played. This will be difficult when certain team executives and coaches occupy places of influence within the league...particularly the competition committee. This committee has attempted to legislate their way to success against the Patriots before (Ty Law rule emphasis), and while this particular situation is of the Patriots doing, not theirs, it should not be seen as an opening for attempting further unreasonable checks on a successful team. Are the Patriots tainted? In my opinion, they are in a small way because they got caught breaking a rule...but the bigger picture is that all teams are doing this or something like it in their own way and if that is going to get fixed, then the league needs to be equitable in their investigation and disciplinary actions.