Roger Goodell just fined Belichick 500K out of his own pocket, the Patriots 250K, and a 1st round pick, and this is the most ridiculous, short-sighted, cowardly, infuriating, embarassing thing I have seen the NFL do in my entire lifetime of being a football fan. The Broncos cheated the salary cap to keep John Elway and Terrell Davis, a far worse violation, and only lost a 3rd rounder. He may think he's laying down the law, but he's really showing that he's a puppet to an irrational mob, and not his own man. I have lost complete respect for him as an objective, reasonable manager of the league. Here's why: - With such a harsh statement, he is clearly bringing judgement on the issue of stealing calls, which should not be part of the evaluation of the videotape violation. He is saying that videotaping the sideline for POST-game analysis is sacrilege, but that using lip readers, binoculars, audio surveillance, and other videotaping methods are perfectly legal and okay (and there is evidence of other teams doing these things). It comes off as extremely hypocritical, and also opens a HUGE pandora's box that may drown the league. - For the past 7 years, the Patriots have been the class of the league. They won 3 superbowls, drafted well, consistently built a team of unselfish, blue-collar high character men, and were put up as a model franchise. Such a harsh punishment basically implies that the Patriots have been cheating for much longer than just one game, and it puts into question the entire dynasty of the Patriots, and it lets all the Patriot-haters use this as an excuse to explain why we beat them in any game in the past. He is allowing the mob to spit on the hard work of honest players who earned their victories. - Goodell completely overvalues the impact of sideline videotaping of defensive calls. If it helped, wouldn't the Patriots offense have been unstoppable over the past 7 years? Wouldn't we have done much better in the 2nd half of nearly every game, including each of the 3 Superbowls? Belichick claims the sideline videotaping is only for post-game analysis, and even if this were not the case, I fail to see how the competitive edge is so much more than what teams already employ (binoculars, lip readers, audio, other video, etc). - Finally, and this is most disappointing to me, Goodell is letting the completely biased Competition Committee, as well as rabid media and fan frenzy, influence his decision. He does not take into account that these Patriot haters have an axe to grind, whether it be because they are direct competitors, were put off by Belichick's media interviews, or were jealous/vindictive of past defeats. Goodell, you have made a strong statement, which is what you wanted, but it was in the WRONG direction on so many levels.