Spygate - The Unasked Questions

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PYPER, Sep 17, 2007.

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  1. PYPER

    PYPER Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #12 Jersey

    Hello everybody,

    I've feel I've got a pretty good theory about the truth of this whole Spygate controversy. I wrote a piece titled, Spygate...The Untold Story and sent it out to Florio (profootballtalk), King (CNNSI), Bruce (bostonsportsmedia), and a few others.

    Florio responded that it was too long. It was almost three pages on word, so I agree. I'm attempting to get to the heart of the matter in a much quicker manner and would like to hear your thoughts. Thanks

    I'd like to have an intelligent discussion about the whole Spygate drama. At this point, the only thing any of us know for sure is that the Patriots were filming the Jets coaches. They're clearly guilty of being in violation of league rules on that.

    My question is whether the the accusation of "cheating" should depend on the means in which Belichick used that footage? That's an awfully strong word, I'm not sure its entirely appropriate.

    The entire cheating accusation is based on the "assumption" that they were using the footage to cheat by stealing signals from the opposing teams sideline for the purpose of being able to decipher those signals during the course of either that particular game or perhaps a subsequent game if they were to meet again down the road.

    In your objective minds, does the purpose for which these signals were used have any impact on whether the allegations of cheating are warranted?

    For example, what if all the assumptions are wrong. What if the footage was only used as an advanced scouting method and it had nothing to do with ever stealing the opposing teams signals during the course of any game?

    What if Belichick only used the footage to assist him in developing what is probably best described as "personality profiles" of every coach in the league? What if matching the film of the adjustments up with the game film, Belichick then used the footage as a sort of "key" to unlock the specific tendencies of each coach and/or coordinator in the league? In essence Belichick would be attempting to gain an understanding of how each coach thinks? How might they react to each particular situation that occurs during the game? For example...When the defense has their base defense on the field, what adjustments do they make when the offense goes empty backfield or brings in three tight ends.

    If this is proven to be the case, how would it affect your current stance?

    In my opinion, this isn't cheating. This is absolute brilliance. This level of thinking is what makes Belichick the greatest coaching mind of his time, perhaps even ever. It's worth noting that there is nothing that Belichick did with that video camera that he couldn't do with a digital camera and a note pad, while staying completely within the rules. The only thing the video camera really does is make it easier on the administrative assistants assigned the task of organizing and compiling the data. And if that's indeed the case, the only thing Belichick is really guilty of is being a thoughtful boss.

    At the end of the day, the punishment and ridicule that this man and organization have received far exceeds the crime.
  2. maverick4

    maverick4 Banned

    mediots who keep using the word 'stealing' and 'cheating' should be charged with slander and libel.

    anyone who has seen the tape knows it's for advanced scouting, EVERYONE in the stadium sees out in the open what the video guy was recording.
  3. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

    They violated a rule in an attempt to gain a competitive advantage. That's cheating.

    I'm sorry. I love the Pats and will continue to support them to the death, but come on.

    Unless you are arguing that a) they didn't violate a rule; or b) they didn't gain (or attempt to gain) a competitive advantage, you can pretty much throw your manifesto in the garbage.
  4. PYPER

    PYPER Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    #12 Jersey

    Thanks for responding. I really want to hear from people who disagree with my take.

    I agree that they were in violation of the league's rule. The rule clearly states that no video camera's are allowed.

    But beyond that infraction, can you reply to the specific points and questions that I addressed?
  5. MrBigglesWorth

    MrBigglesWorth Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    the only thing that seeems weird to me is.... why did the guy make a big scene about getting into the locker room at halftime? why not just wait until the end of the game?
  6. pheenix11

    pheenix11 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    They broke a stupid rule, I mean come on, the NFL allows photos to be taken all game long by both teams, who really cares where the video cameras are? What difference does it make whether they are up in the stands or on the sidelines?

    They did not cheat, stealing signals is not cheating and is not against the rules.
  7. Patriot_in_NY

    Patriot_in_NY Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Pyper, I think you are onto something.........

    Giving signs and trying to disguise giving them, is a HUMAN BEHAVIOR and thus can be analyzed for tendencies, patterns and signals. Lets say Bob, Johnny and Fred call the JETS signals at the same time, but with these tapes, you can catalog their signs and tendencies, you may be able to determine interesting tidbit like 86.7% percent of the time when Johnny's sign is the right one, he usually picks his ass just after giving it.

    Everytime Johnny picks his ass, good chance that his was the real one. Or whatever....... you get the point.

    Is this cheating......... Personally, I don't think so, I think it is shear brilliance. However, the way that he obtained the material has been determined to be not within the rules, so therefore he can't do it.

    In fact, I'm sure that there are VERY few coaches that are intelligent enough to be able to do this, so that's why they don't allow it.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2007
  8. DarrylS

    DarrylS PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    I am in the camp of misinterpretation of the rules, here is what I do not get, consider how bright BB is.

    Matt Estrella, a 4 year pats employee, who knows Mangini, Daboll, some of the Jets Players is right out in the open with a video camera, if it was cheating either he is stupid or was filming for the "library". It makes no sense in this digital age for him to be standing there on the sidelines with a big camera in plain view of all of the Jets staff who knew him.
  9. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

    I thought that I had made it crystal clear. I will now try to expound.

    You are saying that they broke the rule so they could compile scouting information, e.g., tendencies of opposing coaches during certain down and distance situations. By videotaping the signals, they illegally obtained the raw data. By deciphering that raw data, they used (or hoped to use) that illegaly obtained raw data to compile a database of tendencies, if you will, in the hopes of gaining a competitive advantage. Just because they had to put some work into it doesn't mean it wasn't cheating. And just because you label it "advance scouting" doesn't mean it wasn't cheating. After all, they wouldn't have been able to "advance scout" in this manner had they not violated the rules.
  10. Iron Helmet

    Iron Helmet On the Game Day Roster

    I posted this a couple days ago:

    It really irks me that the media and the NFL have been operating under the following $#@!#% assumptions:

    #1 Defensive coordinators in the NFL have the IQs of road kill.
    Per almost every NFL coach interviewed (past and present), signal stealing has been going on for all time. So, if I am a defensive coordinator, I am going to make sure my signals are consistent quarter to quarter, game to game, and season to season, because knowing someone is probably stealing my signals, I am just not intelligent enough to help myself.

    #2 The Number of Defensive Schemes/Plays Available to a Defensive Coordinator are limited to a handful, thus patterns are easily discernable.
    There can be hundreds of defensive plays that can be tweaked within dozens of defensive schemes. Hundreds. Upon hundreds.

    #3 The information gleaned in 30 minutes can shed light on the remaining 30 minutes of gameplay.
    Exactly how many defensive plays available to a defensive coordinator are used during a half? 10%? 15% Less? The Patriots offense had 4 possessions (roughly 34 plays) in the 1st half of the Jets game. What are the odds we will see the same defensive play call in the second half? Same formation yes, but will it be the same personnel package? Same alignment? Same assignments? A Blitz? Zone? Man? A little of both? Cover 1? Cover 2? Cover 3? Cover 4?

    BB was compiling information over a coordinator's career to look for patterns. You don't find patterns in 34 plays. You need to analyze hundreds of scenarios/defensive play calls. 30 minutes of football to find a pattern? Come on. Not to mention that based on the every present "signal stealling fear" (see coaches covering mouths with play sheets, towel holders for visual blockage, etc), signals are probably changed at halftime anyways. Maybe. See assumption #1.

    #4 BB was being blatantly arrogant about violating the rule.
    The man was caught last year doing the exact same thing and the film wasn't even confiscated! No one said boo! Guess what...I'm BB, and I'm thinking that other than an annoyance for opposing team security, I'm OK because the NFL didn't do so much as slap me on the wrist. No fines, no suspensions, nothing.

    Bottom line is BB was not "cheating" the way the media has led everyone to believe. Was he using video instead of a polaroid camera to capture the signals? Yes. Was he using the video taped signals captured in game for an in game advantage? NO. See BB statement: "We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress." Did he use this information when a game was over and BB's crew could properly compile the information for an advantage? Hell YES! Big difference.

    His crime was using a video camera instead of a polaroid camera. He could have taken time stamped pictures and matched them up post game with game footage to gather the same information (signal = defensive call) and he would have been within the letter of the rule. The NFL should have minimally fined him and the team and been done with it. Put the radios in the helmets, and call it a day.
  11. checkedout

    checkedout On the Game Day Roster

    I really don't think it was a big deal. I don't think that there is time to use it in that game but perhaps the next. He had a video camera on the sideline, he broke that rule but to call him a cheater and then for others to pile on is wrong. To question past wins is wrong and those players that have done so will have to pay the price as LT did. Oh, and that wasn't enough for me, I hope the rest pay a higher price! (I'm not wishing them an injury, just a bad day on the field and a really sore monday morning.)
  12. ljuneau

    ljuneau Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    I see you are missing the whole point. Let me state this so a third grader can understand....

    Attempting to steal an opponent's signals is not against NFL rules. Therefore, your flawed logic falls apart. Using film for post-game analysis is not cheating, it is simply part of football.

    The only rule BB broke was to have an electronic video device on the field. Read Goodell's statement.

    Take off your tainted glasses, put down the media koolaide and look at the facts with an honest heart.
  13. letekro

    letekro In the Starting Line-Up

    My tainted glasses?? I was a NEP employee, and I've lived and died with this team since the John Stephens days.

    You have stated several truisms, but there is no logical link between them. That is where your post and my post differ.
  14. psychoPat

    psychoPat Role Player PatsFans.com Supporter

    The framing of a controversial question ... even its phrasing ... is important.
    The word "cheating" concedes guilt ... just as scrupulous legal reports refer to "the accused",
    not to "the criminal". Only after conviction is there a criminal.

    In like vein, your title gives away half the argument at the outset.
    "Spying" is standard fare.
    This is "cameragate" ... because the only point at issue is the type and location of a camera.

    Hope this helps.
  15. Satchboogie3

    Satchboogie3 In the Starting Line-Up

    It's just a difference in opinions. Some people think that stealing signals is a part of the game and is fine, others think its cheating. The only rule BB broke was videotaping signals on-field. Accusing them of using that data in game, blah blah blah, is SPECULATIVE ASSUMPTIONS! Either way, finding loop holes to gain a competitive advantage is well within the rules. We don't know why BB videotaped defensive signals, its a simple as that.
  16. naclone

    naclone Practice Squad Player

    I really believe that "stealing signals" is a gross oversimplification of BB's intent for the video. It's borderline insulting when you think about the things written about him in David Halberstam's book. Here's a guy who's been breaking down film since he was 12. I can't imagine the intent is that rudimentary.

    While we don't know why they were taping and what it was to be used for, can we at least agree that BB knows Mangini is smart enough to switch his signals between week 1 and the next game? If that is the case, then the tape, if truly used to crack signals, is useless right?

    I don't doubt it they tape the sidelines in order to gain some advantage, but I don't think it's used to steal signals and that by itself represents some massive advantage. As Brady pointed out, this is but one grain in the desert of sand that represents the Pats preparation. I think that when you combine whatever it is on that tape with the scores and scores of other data points, the net result is an advantage of preparation. Remove any one piece and it's effect is probably negligible. That's why I don't think you are going to see any lasting impact on the team now that they can't tape the sidelines anymore.

    It seems like a very big deal now, but i just have a feeling sooner or later this will be exposed as much ado about nothing. I think more and more coaches who don't have an axe to grind will come forward and put some context around this that ultimately should make the whole episode seem rather silly.
  17. Lloyd_Christmas

    Lloyd_Christmas I can delete my own crap! PatsFans.com Supporter

    Actually, I think your logic is severely flawed. You tie your argument together by suggesting that the patriots couldn't analyze for tendencies without the illegally obtained footage. That is simply not true.

    Their infraction was having the video camera on the field. Had they put a guy in the booth upstairs where footage is allowed, or simply had a guy in the stands in a purchased seat, they would not have broken the rules.

    Analyzing footage to figure out signs is not illegal, only having the video on the sidelines. If the pats were cheating, then so is everyone else... the pats took it too far by violating the no video camera on field rule.
  18. JJDChE

    JJDChE 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    I agree with you and posted virtually an identical opinion here and elsewhere, but I think if you really want to try to have an article printed supporting your theory you need to have some counterpoint to it, so it doesn't seem totally biased (even though most of the garbage that has been written about this has been unabashedly biased).

    I'd include some indication that, yes, if teams DIDN'T change their signals that Belichick/coaches would know exactly what the plays were, although that can be tempered with the fact that traditional and accepted "sign charting" would also yield these results.
  19. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

    What you are trying to argue is semantics.
    A rule was broken. Breaking rules is 'cheating'. It could also be called 'gamesmanship'.
    The difference has absolutely nothing to do with intent, use or the extent of the violation. It has to do with whether the person using the word has a positive or negative opinion toward the person.

    Arguing the details would be irrelevant, anyone who prefers to call it cheating will.
  20. allworldrussfrancis

    allworldrussfrancis On the Roster

    #12 Jersey

    I think we do have different opinions on this. I do not view all violations of rules to be cheating, especially in the way the media has portrayed them. I have not read a detailed explanation of Bill's arguments, and I have not read the particular rules, but as an attorney I can probably summarize my intial understanding of his argument as follows:

    The corporate bylaws provide specific rules or laws for the NFL. As a tax attorney, I would think they are similar to the NFL's verison of the Internal Revenue Code - a legislative statute that takes the highest form of authority (unless it is considered unconstitutional). One specific NFL rule prohibits the use of video during the game. It is this rule that Bill has interpreted as not being in violation of and the Commissioner I would think agrees.

    In 2006, the Commissioner sent a memo to all teams prohibiting the use of video in certain areas, including the field. I understand that this memo was issued by Commissioner and/or the competition committee and is not reflected in the NFL's bylaws. Again from a tax law perspective, in some ways this resembles an IRS Notice interpreting a statutory law. Note that the IRS is not always correct in its legal interpretations and has been overturned numerous times in court.

    So my theory on Bill's argument is that he interpreted the memo as guidance on an existing NFL rule - that video from the field could not be used during the game. You can say this is semantics and I think he should have requested clarification before continuing this procedure, but I do not view it as cheating.
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