There is disagreement about whether the league's penalty of a lost 1st round draft pick is too harsh or too lienant. I think it's fair. Think about your position with the following. The link below is to a very interesting article from folks at Duke and the University of Chicago about the "value" of draft picks. It was written in 2005, but is very very relevant when thinking about the true cost of the penalty that has been levied against our Patriots. http://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~cadem/bio/massey & thaler - loser's curse.pdf As you can see in the attached graph, their conclusion is that the most value (where you get the best performance for the least amount of money/salary cap implications) is realized in picks 25-75...exactly where we assume the our first round pick would have been...and certainly where more than one of the picks that we would have inevitably traded the first rounder for would be. In more practical terms, think of anyone that the Pats have drafted in the late first round through early third round and then take them off our team. Some I'm sure we could live with (I'm talking to you, Chad Jackson), but others I'm sure we would be heartbroken about (think Matt Light, Logan Mankins, Ben Watson, etc). Plus throw in the possible trades for veteran players that we would have had the freedom to execute with an extra first rounder and you begin to see the real loss that the commish's penalty is. As I said, I think that the league's penalty was relatively fair, all things considered, as long as the league remains committed to punishing teams equitably in the future for the same infraction of having a camera on the field. Test case possibly coming from the possible Jets employee that has gotten so much attention on this board. The reason I think that the punishment is fair is because in my mind there really IS a difference between videotaping defensive signals and trying to steal them through binoculars. When looking through binoculars, you don't have the luxury of hitting rewind as many times as you want or playing the game in slow motion. At least there is still some skillful human element involved in this type of gamesmanship. The Falcons offical stated that he thought you might be able to correctly decipher maybe two extra plays correctly using video versus binolculars...but many games hinge on the success or failure of a few key plays. Even if they don't directly influence the score, momentum can swing or not. So this advantage, in some cases, might not just be minimal. I don't think that this takes away from ANYTHING that they Patriots have accomplished and I give them props for pushing the envelope in their pursuit of excellence. However, rules were broken that could have given the Pats an advantage. A serious infraction of a rule, backed up by indisputable evidence requires a serious punishment. This was a serious punishment without taking it too far.