Note: I had originally posted this in the Peter King thread, but given all the negativity, which has already pushed this off the front page, I wanted to start a thread for positive discussion and praise, too. I think this is an accurate assessment. I also think that the league does not see the action as cheating, although it is likely to consider it against the competitiveness of the league. This is a fair, and in my opinion accurate, assessment of the matter. BB has apologized not because he thinks he cheated, but because his competitive nature, which has constantly driven him to push at the envelope of what has been considered "competitive" and "fair play", has, in this case, brought down a great deal of aggravation, and genuine pain, on the team and the fans, which he clearly had not anticipated. I will also say this, and it is in some way directed at the nay-sayers. BB is not, as some coaches in the league are, a genuine "sportsman". He does not, I think, hold traditional sportsmanship sacred. His own attitude has been that of the military planner, and his art is not that of the rec room but of the war room. He is a man who believes that competitive activity should be conducted according to manuals such as Liddell-Hart's Strategy, and Sun Tzu's Art of War. In fact, he is on record as holding such manuals essential. What BB does value, and what I consider also deeply worthy of respect, is teamwork--the importance of the unit, and the family. Compare him to a general (with the caveat that of course football can not compare to actual battles); compare him, if you want, to Michael Corleone. BB believes that the game should be played a certain way; he believes in obtaining as much information as possible, in foreseeing every possibility, and in practicing situational football to such a degree of perfection that a game such as last year's contest in San Diego could be decided, for his team, by players making the sorts of instinctual plays that I believe few other teams in football history would have made. The idea that we were gathering information that, in the spirit of fair play and competitiveness, is better left unobtained by video technology, is reasonable, and I think the New England Patriots team should be glad to apologize, and willing to cease the activity, and comply with both the letter of the rule and the punishment; however: the idea that such information would lead to easy advantages and easy victories, that somehow any other team with such information could have won twenty-one games in a row, and set a standard for excellence and teamwork that few teams in history have rivalled, is a joke, full stop. Such information, once gathered, might allow for a slight advantage in certain gametime situations (again, situational football), but only to a team which is already insanely well-prepared, well-coached, and well-laden with intelligent and talented players who have bought into a system which places the team, the unit, above the self. BB is a great coach, one of the greatest to have ever walked the sidelines. He is not, as Michael Holley once wisely wrote, necessarily a great man. His weaknesses, his flaws, are, I think, fairly clear. His intensely competitive nature, his easy anger, his quick-to-surface contempt for people who are poorly-prepared, poorly-informed, and who value sensationalism, drama, personality, and popular opinion over committment, leads him to be rude when courtesy would be more just, and leads him into self-absorption, when the situation calls for a generous spirit. If I seem to give short-shrift to actions, or personal misdeeds, which some think more appalling, I can only say that for Belichick, his committment is to something other than what you hold dear. And it is his sense of committment that few understand, and even fewer possess. It is not, as is Tony Dungy's, to a higher purpose than the game of football. Coach Dungy has made his own priorities clear, and one can laud him for that. He is a different man, and a different coach. BB's committment is not, as is true for many coaches, to a cult of personality, or to maintaining the status quo, or to some nebulous and tentacled network of supporters and aides. Attractive or not, BB's committment is to football, and to winning football above all. For him, such a committment to winning leads him into maverick ways, maverick modes of thinking. But it has also led him to victories, and to a level of football excellence that few have ever matched. I will say it again: for one to believe that Coach Belichick is a cheat is to misunderstand the man and his purpose. He is a man of war; one clad in sweats and not fatigues, and a lesser warrior than any of the men and women who serve our country in times of battle, and guard our freedoms in times of peace--but a warrior nonetheless. That is the way his mind and spirit work. The product of military discipline, of a loyal and gifted father, of an elite education, and of a long and tireless pigskin apprenticeship, one that has led, there can be no doubt, to mastery. He may be a disdainful warrior, one given to disregarding the acceptable, and, at times, given to error. He is human--he has erred, and will again. But, for me, there is no one I would rather lead us, no one I would rather trust. Because we know where his committment lies--it is to the team, to the Patriots, and to victory. It was the great Vince Lombardi who was supposed to have said "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing." I imagine Coach Belichick would add that if it isn't, it's pretty damn close. Apologies for the lengthy post--I needed to let out some steam.