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'Gate closed

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff May 8, 2008 08:49 AM



Call it a shock, relief, or just the expected development to end a ridiculous "controversy." Whatever lingering fear there was that golf pro and former Patriots video assistant Matt Walsh might have possessed a Spygate smoking gun is a distant memory. As it turns out, he’s got nothing that the NFL already didn’t know about.

See, this is where the Patriots need someone like Charles Steinberg. The former Red Sox maestro would have spun up a grand delivery of the tapes to the league’s offices knowing that the team’s name had been cleared, trumpets greeting the FedEx arrival in downtown Manhattan.

The Patriots will instead probably release a terse statement acknowledging the entire situation has come to a close, finally, with the underlying message quite clear: You are all in trouble.

Unless you deeply believe a conspiracy theory that involves the Patriots paying Walsh a settlement under the table to destroy evidence of the Rams walkthrough back in 2002, prior to New England’s Super Bowl win, it’s time to file this whole silly affair away.

Or unless you’re, say, Mike Fish.

The ESPN.com Spygate pusher still believes that the tapes Walsh turned over to the league can be damaging to the Patriots. Fish writes: “Now, that list is growing. So, too, are the questions. Between what the Patriots revealed in September and Walsh's new evidence, as many as 11 teams could have been spied on by New England. Is the league now compelled to identify them all? And now that new evidence has surfaced, do we believe the Patriots really turned over everything they had back in September?”

I don’t know. Maybe we ought to excavate the new Patriots Place facility to find out if the team’s top men buried the Rams walkthrough beneath Circuit City. Gregg Easterbrook already has his shovel.

There is some delicious irony in the following quote from Walsh’s attorney (told to the New York Times) appearing beneath John Tomase’s byline: “Mr. Walsh has never been the source of any of the media speculation about such a tape…Mr. Walsh was not the source for the Feb. 2 Boston Herald article.”

It was, of course, the Herald that ran with the story the day before Super Bowl XLII that said a “member of the team’s video department filmed the Rams’ final walkthrough before that 2002 game.” It was widely assumed that “source” was Walsh. Guess not.

This could all be the ultimate case of talking out of one’s rear, the end game of an embellishment gone all wrong. Who hasn’t entertained friends with tales of enhancement while on the golf course. Now, imagine you’re Matt Walsh and have to tell the same stories over and over again on the greens of Hawaii.

Here is what Walsh has reportedly delivered to the league:

  • Signals from Dolphins coaches in a game Sept. 24, 2000.

  • Offensive and defensive signals of Dolphins coaches from a game Oct. 7, 2001.

  • Signals from Bills coaches from a Nov. 11, 2001, game.

  • Signals from Browns coaches from a game Dec. 9, 2001.

  • Two tapes of signals from Steelers coaches from the 2001 AFC Championship game, held Jan. 27, 2002.

  • Signals from Chargers coaches from a game Sept. 29, 2002.

  • Reruns of “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

    Wait, that last one was Paul Rudd’s tape collection.

    In any case, the contents of the package that Goodell receives today will look an awful lot like what he decided to destroy back in September, as if they were a reminder of his attempt to kill them in the first place. (“But ... I thought you were dead ...”) As far as the tape that folks suspected might cause the commissioner to level further penalties on the Patriots? It doesn’t exist. Or at least, Walsh doesn’t appear to have it.

    It is the Honus Wagner card, the Loch Ness of this whole ridiculous affair. It is either incredibly difficult to find or it doesn’t exist.

    It will be interesting to see how Sen. Arlen Specter proceeds in his quest to do the country good by getting to the bottom of Spygate. After all, what kind of country would we live in if a football coach got away with practices that many of his colleagues admitted to also doing (Jimmy Johnson: Everybody does it.). The fact that I paid $3.65 for a gallon of gas this morning can quite obviously wait until we solve the far-ranging human affairs regarding sideline signal taping.

    Walsh is scheduled to meet face-to-face with the senator, as well as Goodell, next week, which should prove pretty interesting discussions. Somewhere along the lines of “My Dinner With Andre,” except even more painstakingly boring. Maybe now Specter can turn his attention to the sincerely more relevant tape scandal on our plate. I mean, what do Spencer and Heidi have on Lauren anyway? Come on, Arlen.

    There will be lingering criticism for sure from the likes of those who just want something else to come out of all this besides the penalty of a No. 1 draft pick. But they will be the last, desperate souls trying to hang on. Spygate is over. Matt Walsh is officially irrelevant. He has nothing to damage the Patriots any further. Only the conspiracy theorists will be on the story now.

    I, for one, would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for a tremendous waste of time. All for nothing.


  • 79 comments so far...
    1. Dear Mr. Wilbur,

      I have asked this question of other sports writers/reporters several times and never received a satisfactory or direct answer. So now I ask you: as you wrote, Jimmy Johnson, among others (John Madden, etc.) has said that "everybody does it" or has done it, meaning taped or stolen signals or whatever. If this is true--it must be or why would Johnson, Madden, et.al say it is?--then why has not a single piece of evidence surfaced to that effect? Is it a conspiracy of silence? Did Mangini (sp) of the Jets violate a code of honor among thieves? Why hasn't Belichick pointed fingers in his defense? Why has there not AT THE VERY LEAST been an investigative story by a single journalist? I--and I'm certain thousands of others--would dearly love some answers. Thank you.

      Posted by Robert Kelley May 8, 08 11:27 AM
    1. and again, a hearty "thank you" goes out to the New York Herald...oops..."Boston Herald", although you wouldn't think that from their sad attempt to garner publicity by launching that blindside one day before the super bowl. I'm wondering how warmly the Herald's beat reporter will be received in the NE locker room for the next...oh, I don't know...lifetime?

      Posted by Bob O May 8, 08 11:28 AM
    1. to Robert Kelley:
      What if people don't have any evidence to present? What if they destroyed their tapes?
      What if Belichick doesn't point fingers because he doesn't feel the need to? Ever consider that?
      There has only been one investigative story: A bunch of reporters, on ESPN and the Herald, trying to find ways to make the Patriots look worse, while turning a blind eye to the rest of the league. It's sensationalism at its finest. Heck, Mr. Kelley, why don't YOU do some investigating, since you actually think only one team ever came up with this idea and used it!

      Posted by shauna May 8, 08 11:49 AM
    1. What a loser Matt Walsh is. I can't believe he held onto these tapes for 7 years, let alone tape conversations with Pioli, he mut have serious problems. Was he waiting for this day when he could try and get the patriots back? Too bad all of the information he provided was already admitted to by the patriots and they were already punished for it. Unreal, this was a great attempt by walsh to get famous. what a joke.

      Posted by Brian May 8, 08 11:55 AM
    1. Belichick is NOT a RAT! He is taking a beating publicy, financially, and competitively (losing a 1st round pick).

      He got caught, and he hasn't pointed the finger at anyone else. Say what you will about his character, but many people would have whined about everyone else... not Bill.

      Why would any other coaches come forward? Because they see what has happened to Belichick, they would not put their necks out there after seeing what BB has dealt with

      Posted by DION May 8, 08 12:02 PM
    1. Right on brother Wilbur.....and to answer Mr. Kelly, yes, it IS done all the time by others, you can tell by the deafening SILENCE from both the league and coaches (except for St. Dungy of the Hippocrites)...and yes...ratgini DID violate a code...and I'm sure in the coming years he'll pay for it...watch how long he lingers as an assistant if he ever loses his job with the Jets

      Posted by Mr. James Davis May 8, 08 12:03 PM
    1. Robert Kelley,
      The reason no one has investigated other teams for doing the exact same thing the Patriots have done is because there haven't been any formal complaints filed with the NFL against those teams the way Mangini did. The NFL was compelled to investigate the Pats and no one else. As for why Belichick hasn't pointed any fingers, perhaps it has to do with his having something called class. Snitching on other teams won't do his team one bit of good, and the well-being of his team is all he cares about. It's time you and everyone else realizes what this Spygate thing is: nothing more than a sorry, overblown attempt to bring down the Patriots. It's sad how everyone's jealousy of the Pats' success has materialized into this "scandal."

      Posted by Los May 8, 08 12:08 PM
    1. Robert,

      Why would any other team offer up evidence of their taping? If anything once this story broke they probably destroyed any remnants of signal stealing that they may have had in their possesion.

      As for why you haven't seen any journalists pursuing this angle it is because that doesn't sell newspapers or magazines. If someone did go out and land additional tapes it would make the Patriots situation a non-story. Do you think Greg Easterbrooke would have entered our vocabulary if he worked dilligentely to prove that at least 6-10 other teams also participated in this type of taping?

      For some unknown reason Bill Bellichick did not seem to think he would get caught if he continued to tape coaches signals. What is also true is that the NE Patriots were not the sole team in the NFL employing this process. It doesn't make it right or legal and they have been punished. However, to say that the Patriots taping policy destroys their on field accomplishments or taints their three Super Bowl titles is ludricous.


      Posted by Rich May 8, 08 12:14 PM
    1. I just have to wonder why Walsh left it 'out there' that a walk though tape of Philly exosted...he easily could have said it did not..so, what's his sick behavior about? obviously anyone can say anything then the accused has to bear the burden until they are proved innocent...Walsh is a sad person.

      Posted by peter martin May 8, 08 12:31 PM
    1. To Robert Kelley,

      You should have enough brains to figure out the answers to your own questions. The only way a team could get caught doing this would be to have a peer blow the whistle. Mangini did. Belichick is not about to point fingers and rat out others. Mangini screwed up and he knows it.

      I heard the interview with Jimmy Johnson on ESPN radio when JJ said this story was the most overblown thing he has ever heard of. And he did say that everyone did at one time or another, even admitting to using sideline videotapes.

      I have read that even Bill Polian, a notorious Patriots hater, has called Robert Kraft and gave him support. It was Polian that went out of his way to commend Robert Kraft after Kraft spoke to all the owners at the NFL meetings, basically saying how classy Robert Kraft is and they there was no need for him to speak like that. Do you need any more proof than that shows that other teams were also involved in chicanery of some sort and just want this thing to blow over, knowing that it never should have even seen the light of day except for one rat moron that broke ranks. Eric Mangini.

      The media and the Patriots haters tried their best to build this up to ludicrous proportions. They failed. Miserably. John Tomase of the Herald is a perfect example. He saw a chance to hop on the spygate bandwagon and make a name for himself. So on the eve of the Super Bowl, the nitwit basically makes up a story and then his editors let it be published as fact. But do we ever expect anything else from a rag like the Boston Herald ? How Tomase is not cleaning out his desk right now is beyond belief.

      Tomase....if you are listening.....get outta Dodge fast, and don't look back.....

      Posted by Gary May 8, 08 12:32 PM
    1. To Mr. Kelly,

      Pick up a book from the 80's called "One Knee Equals Two Feet" written by John Madden. There's a whole section in there about how Madden and Hank Stram and other coaches used to cheat before video was used. There's a humorous story about Stram placing an electronic bug in the Raiders locker room. Madden was explaining plays to his players when Stram came over the intercom and said "That play will never work". In the book Madden acts like it was pretty funny although he may have felt differently 20 years ago.

      Posted by Carl May 8, 08 12:33 PM
    1. Just saw a special on the career of baseball great Hank Greenberg.
      Greenberg tells about how during the 1940 season, the Tigers had a guy in
      the centerfield bleachers with binoculars stealing signs, and how they
      had the Cubs signs during the World Series.
      He states; "Cheating has always been a part of baseball and always will."
      History has shown it is the same in all sports.
      The Patriots are guilty of arrogance. Nothing more.
      Especially when you consider that they could have taken the "same" shots
      from other locations, and they would have been perfectly legal.

      Posted by Bruce May 8, 08 12:53 PM
    1. Very good article. I have one request of Mr. Wilbur. Why has the news industry not policed itself better? You have a code of ethics. I Have a brother who is a Technology journalist, and he has showed me this code, which to my eye had not been followed or enforced on a regular basis. You laudably condemn Mike Fish, but does anyone actually punish him for his transgressions? The papers in general have cared more with selling papers than presenting news to the public. As proof I give you the NY Times article on Senator McCain and his "rumored" relationship with a lobbyist. They deliberately mislead readers with a title that did not accurately represent the article. Then the rest of the news outlets focused on the "rumor". Please realize that unethical reporting should be condemned by all.

      Posted by Dave May 8, 08 01:01 PM
    1. C'mon! Despite the denials, Walsh has to be the source of the Herald story. What other former assistant from that period of time is there? Walsh certainly made it sound like he had that tape, too, with his, "Wait until I show you what I have" attitude. Wilbur got it right. The Rams walkthrough tape is like the Honus Wagner card or the Lock Ness Monster, but more like the latter than the former. Had Walsh not stolen those tapes from the Patriots, this whole thing would have been over with months ago. Had fatboy from the Herald not cashed in his credibility chip to publish a BS story in order to sell newspapers, this story would have been over months ago. Now, thankfully, it is over. Finally! Patriots haters like Robert Kelly (above) have another two weeks to keep barking at Belichick as this whole sad process winds down to an end, which is kind of sad because I loved reading their enormously stupid rants, but we can turn a page and watch other more exciting things happen: like watching the Patriots stomp everyone into the ground!!

      Posted by BobC May 8, 08 01:14 PM
    1. Spector is a glaring example of what's wrong in Washington.

      Ok...so we have illegal immigration issues, an energy crisis due to a lack of any energy strategy, instable financial and credit markets, which are all contributing to an economy in a downward spiral as a result (no pun intended), thus Arlen Spector believes that the NFL spygate soap opera is the best use of his time and our taxpayer dollars?

      Spector should be investigated and dismissed from the Senate for misappropriation of taxpayer dollars and abbrogation of responsibilities for which he was elected.

      Spector is an embarrassment to the Senate and an example of the bigger problems in Washington which continue to plague the direction of this country.

      China, Japan, India, Singapore, etc., are all positioning themselves to succeed in world economies while our Federal government does nothing but cater to special interests and in the process, abandon their responsibilities.

      Spector and any other Senator who wastes our taxpayer dollars on issues like steroids, spygate, etc., should be impeached from the Senate.

      It's time to stand up to these elected officials who operate according to their own personal agendas.

      Posted by Bill S in Houston May 8, 08 01:17 PM
    1. I still cant belive that with all the problems in this world, we still have Senator Spector wasting his time with NFL videotaping. This isn't illegal drug use. Please focus on the more serious issues facing this country. GO PATS.

      And for those who still love the Pats, I found a great contest where you can enter your kids to win a chance to participate in a kids football clinic with Tedy Bruschi! Check it out at https://tedy.sbli.com/clinic.aspx. You have to fill out a quick form, but your kids will love you for it!

      Posted by matt May 8, 08 01:18 PM
    1. If your children cheat, you scold them.

      If your golf buddies cheat, you ridicule them.

      If your politicians cheat, you call for their heads.

      But if the Patriots cheat, their fans attack the whistleblowers as cowards and rats, whine about a conspiracy of jealousy and unjust retribution, and defend them to the bitter end.

      Posted by David May 8, 08 01:19 PM
    1. "Shauna", calm down, I did not say or imply that the Patriots were the only team that has taped. In fact, I do believe Johnson, Madden, et. al, that the practice was, at least, widespread. And it does not take the physical evidence of tapes to confirm it. What still doesn't make sense is that no stories--to my knowledge--have surfaced about other teams doing it. I mean, collectively, involving all the teams over the years, there must have been a few dozen individuals involved--surely it would be fairly easy for an investigative reporter to have turned up a quote or two from SOMEBODY involved.

      In response to "Rich", yes, that's another curious issue as to why Belichick did not think he would be caught--unless the answer is that he is to be believed (I believe him) that he thought it was legal as long as he did not use the tapes during that game; otherwise it doesn't make sense that the taping would have been done so openly.

      And to "Peter Martin", yes, Walsh could have said long before this that his collection of tapes did not include a "walk-through" tape of the Rams. And while I'm not among the pack of jackals after Tomase of the Herald--he was only doing a journalist's job and I do wish people would drop it as it is tiresome--I do wonder what his source was.

      And, finally (at least for now, lol), yes, I do think that many are jealous of the success of Belichick and the Patriots, as they would be of any successful achievements. Sad, but true. However, there are also many who admire and respect the Patriots record, including that most phenomenal year of 2007-8.

      Posted by Robert Kelley May 8, 08 01:19 PM
    1. Uh, Robert, either you're lying, you're an idiot or the sportswriters you've talked to are idiots. In fact, there is evidence that other teams have cheated. But don't take my word for it. Go check out the New York Times archive. Robert, let me try to put it into simple words that even you can understand. Before Super Bowl 37, the Patriots (Pepper Johnson) found a telescope aimed at their practice. See, that's the irony of this whole thing. Thousands of trees were killed to publish stories over a non-existent tape. Yet no one is particularly concerned about the spying on the Patriots. So, Robert, next time you post something, try to get your facts straight.

      Posted by Please crawl back into your hole, Robert Kelley May 8, 08 01:36 PM
    1. ...and by the way, the Patriots went undefeated in 2007. Thus, anyone who believes that the Patriots derived some unfair advantage has an uphill battle to climb.

      The rest of the league is always trying to figure out the other team's signals during a game, with people assigned to watch the other team's sidelines.

      Heck, the QB's regularly look at photo's of the defensive sets when they come off the field during a game. This is overblown.

      Posted by Bill S in Houston May 8, 08 01:43 PM
    1. BB is not pointing fingers because men don't point fingers in their defense. Most coaches that have been through the NFL grind would tell you (off the record) that they try to use every advantage possible. If another coach had been accused of this and he was of lesser ilk than BB, he may have been crusified for this. And if that lesser coach had pointed fingers.....he would have been blackballed. Thats how these situations work. See the ESPN article about the Baylor asst coach that blew the whistle on his head coach......he's working the 3rd shift at a factory in Missouri or something......BB took the punishment like any respectable man would. He went down with the ship.

      Posted by Ziti104 May 8, 08 01:51 PM
    1. thanks to robert kelley and his critics for one of the few enlightened fan discussions i have seen in the comment section following an article.

      Posted by phil May 8, 08 01:53 PM
    1. And this is... this is "Everybody Loves Raymond"... This probably shouldn't be in here... This is just a good show, I just tape this sometimes.

      Posted by Paul Rudd May 8, 08 01:59 PM
    1. In late 2006, the Dolphins soundly thrashed the Patriots in surprising fashion. Tom Brady was nearly decapitated in the process. After the game, several Miami players openly bragged about using video and audio tapes to steal the Patriots signals. Not one of the great media minds that have been so "shocked" by the Patriots actions said a word about Miami cheating. Not a word. Miami didn't lose a draft pick or get fined. No investigation was launched. Senators didn't grandstand. To the contrary, everyone marveled at how they had outsmarted the mighty Patriots. Hypocrites!

      Posted by mark May 8, 08 02:10 PM
    1. To Robert Kelly; if you were paying attention, the ESPN ombudsman chronicled all of the answers to your questions back when the story broke.
      The truth is that the truth doesn't sell stories, and putting a target on Bill Belichick's made a lot of people a lot of money this year. No one really cared about about context, so when those stories were released they were largely ignored, and blind editorials continued to reign supreme.

      Posted by Jack Rizutko May 8, 08 02:12 PM
    1. Very well done sir, and I especially commend you on the 40-Year-Old-Virgin reference. Classic.

      Posted by Mnice May 8, 08 02:16 PM
    1. "it’s time to file this whole silly affair away."

      Just what Richard Nixon said about Watergate.

      The fact that there is no Super Bowl tape doesn't exonerate Belichick.
      He's a cheater.

      Posted by Cinghiale May 8, 08 02:31 PM
    1. Didn't Herm Edwards (former coach of Jets) also come out and say "everyone does it" only to retract it later when it hit the fan?

      Posted by Orange Julius May 8, 08 02:31 PM
    1. Interesting how no one remembers the JETS admitting to doing the same thing to the PATS. Why weren't they investigated and fined, etc.

      Let's face it, losers hate the winners, for any reason.

      Posted by Mike P May 8, 08 02:39 PM
    1. Thomase is despicable. Boycott the Herald!

      Posted by Rick May 8, 08 02:54 PM
    1. I would say John Tomase with the Boston Herald should be fired. This was irresponsible journalism at its worst. At the very least, there is no way he can continue as the Boston Herald's Patriots beat writer. His credibility is destroyed. This was a classic media hit job to get maximum exposure for the Herald during Super Bowl week.

      Who knows what impact this late erroneous story had on the Super Bowl game? We will never know. But Tomase has to go. I see no way he continues as the Patriots beat writer much longer for the Herald. He is lucky he still has a job today.

      Posted by Chris Meany May 8, 08 02:56 PM
    1. Sorry, Pats fans (Eric Wilbur included). No one outside of New England is buying it. Fact is, regardless of what Matt Walsh turned over to the NFL, there is one team, and one team alone that was caught red-handed and punished breaking a rule that the commissioner explicitly said before last season was going to be enforced. That team was the New England Patriots.

      No amount of fanboyism or "stop snitchin, Mangini" rants by that team's fans or, apparently, Boston sportswriters, detracts from that fact. Nor will it detract from the fact that the NFL itself handled the situation piss-poorly by dealing a slap on the wrist to Bellichick. Feel how you want about Matt Walsh or Eric Mangini, but any fan with a sense of fairness and an understanding of how the league regularly dispenses discipline has to see the disparity: Several players were suspended for all of last season for off-field actions. Yet the Patriots' pro-bowl starting safety was caught red-handed violating the substance abuse policy and served only four games, and their head coach was caught red handed, cheating, on the sidelines, during a regular season game. He served not a single day of suspension. Missed not one practice. Something's amiss here, and calling it out doesn't make you a Pats-hater.

      Don't allow your fandom to blind you. There's nothing wrong with loving the Pats; but that doesn't mean you can't admit when they're wrong, wrong, wrong.

      Posted by john May 8, 08 02:57 PM
    1. David,
      Cheating requires you to obtain an unfair advantage and taping signals does not constitute obtaining an unfair advantage. If you will look at the tapes that Walsh brought most of the games that they taped they lost especially the earlier games and once they got better players they began to win more. If you can't beat a team physically, or are stupid enough to use the same play signals for a number of years YOU DON'T DESERVE TO WIN. Loser's point fingers and accuse teams of cheating citing minor rule infractions. Matt Walsh just made everyone in the nation look like morons. Huge witchhunt, senators getting involved, why? because Bill Belichick doesn't defend himself, or doesn't look personable so everyone ASSUMES he's lying. Give me a break and grow up. This is just another case of ignorance fueling a controversy and people being uneducated fans. Stop watching ESPN, and read something informative and make your own decisions from there. For months everyone bashed Patriots fans, now we sit back and laugh at you as you are proven wrong, and now defend your backwards logic and phony spygate beliefs till the death. Thanks for the inspiration Dave.

      Posted by Ryan May 8, 08 02:59 PM
    1. So, today it must be better to be any sports reporter in Boston other than John Thomase.

      In the near future, I hope to enjoy reading his personal apology to the Patriots and its fans for running his ridiculous story on the eve of the superbowl. I would love to hear how he managed to corroborate what his source was telling him when it was nothing more than a load of bunk.

      "Apologize? Wait a minute, there really was a source."

      In the Globe's quest to save dollars, maybe they could lure John away from the Herald to replace Jackie Mac. I'm sure he will work cheap.

      Posted by Ray May 8, 08 04:09 PM
    1. Tomase, Specter, Goodell, Every Paper in New York, Welcome to Idiotgate. Boycott the Herald, does anyone even read that rag? As for Tomase, I can only hope he is Felger..(i.e., Ostra) cized from the Patriots locker rooms, no stories provided at all, so he can go the way of the Borges of the world. As you'll see by his quick story in the online Herald today, unlike I'm sure the day he ran the world-shaking news, he doesn't even have his email available at the end...one of the gutless denizens of the media world....accountability only goes one way.

      As for Robert, dropping the attack on Tomase because it's tiresome? How about the 10 weeks we've been subject to attack based on a phony story printed the day before the Superbowl based on one uncorroborated and unnamed source. Shoes on the other foot buddy, take your punishment like a man!

      Goooooo Patriots...19 and O!!!

      Posted by Ed Ahern May 8, 08 04:09 PM
    1. This has been a complete waste of time from the beginning. I guess the Herald needed to sell some papers!!!! Old man Spector should have other more important things to worry about in Pennsylvania.
      To those Patriot haters - shut up
      Cinghiale ......you hate because your team can not beat the Patriots.....
      Mangini you should be ashamed of yourself.
      Go Patriots, and Bill Belichick. Super Bowl bound in 2008.

      Posted by PatsFan May 8, 08 04:11 PM
    1. What everybody seems to forget is that until 2006 there was no rule against taping opponents signals which is why they came up with the "original rule" to begin with. Which means that ANY tapes prior to that time were legal. Why does no one report that?????

      Posted by Beth May 8, 08 04:20 PM
    1. There have been stories written on the topic. The excerpt below is from 2001. Notice how nonchalant the tone is. The team videotaping is obviously not the Patriots.

      PRO FOOTBALL: INSIDE THE N.F.L.; Some Coaches Reading Lips to Steal Plays
      Published: October 28, 2001

      "...There have also been instances when scouts have videotaped opposing coaches while standing on the opposing sideline or sitting in an upper deck box. They later review the tape, slowing it down to make it easier to understand the target's words, coaches said.

      The spy will then match the play called to what the defense does on the field and -- presto -- they have stolen a call. If the teams play again the heisted information might be useful.

      One National Football Conference assistant coach said he has stolen several dozen plays from a total of five or six teams using all of these methods. ''Cover your mouth,'' said the coach, who asked not to be identified, ''and your plays are safe, but get careless and you're fair game...'''

      Posted by JV May 8, 08 04:51 PM
    1. John - your post makes no sense. The memo sent out by the commissioner's office that "explained" the rule contains a "clarification" that cannot be inferred from the text of the rule.

      And I really love the "slap on the wrist" argument. When the story first broke, Pats haters were braying about how Belichick's/the Pats' punishment was a slap on the wrist. Then, when the story seemed to fade away, all of a sudden, the story was that the punishment was the heaviest punishment ever assessed, which proved the severity of the offense. Now, we're back to it's a slap on the wrist. How would we then classify the punishment of the Jets for tampering with Deion Branch? Or the 49ers for tampering with Lance Briggs? Or the Rams for spying on the Patriots' practices before their Super Bowl? What sort of investigation of the Colts took place after an RCA Dome official admitted that the Colts pump up the volume in the RCA Dome? And remind me how many people ended up paralyzed as a result of Rodney Harrison's off-field actions? In fact, his suspension was the same length as that of the Dallas coach who took illegal drugs. Where's the disparity there?

      Most people here aren't saying that the Pats didn't cheat. They did, and they got punished. Don Banks published an article last year in which he said that most teams cheat, and the Pats cheat more than most. He's probably right. But it's really tiresome to hear people say that the Patriots are the only team that cheated, to hear the same people argue that the Patriots got a slap on the wrist and that they got the most severe punishment ever handed out by the league, depending upon which argument makes the Pats look worse, and to hear people give Matt Walsh/John Tomase/Gregg Easterbrook a free pass for spreading a false rumor by saying that, well, the Pats did other bad stuff.

      Posted by John, get a clue May 8, 08 04:52 PM
    1. We'll said, Eric! At least one Boston newspaper has the gravitas to be wholly objective for a refreshing change, in this matter.

      P.S. whoever that was who said in a previous comment that no one outside of Boston is buying it speaks only for himself!

      I am buying it and I am a huge Patriot fan and I live in Tulsa, OK.

      Posted by Mark Alexander May 8, 08 05:07 PM
    1. I sent the Herald an email via their 'Contact Us' page first thing this morning.

      I asked two questions ... that since Walsh has not delivered the alleged Rams Super Bowl walk-thru tape as reported by the Herald in an unsubstantiated article when could we (a) expect Tomase's resignation and (b) expect a full front-page retraction and apology from the Herald??

      Guess what ... No Response ?!? Is anyone surprised??

      Posted by Roger May 8, 08 05:08 PM
    1. Beth, that isn't true, you should check your facts.

      Posted by iceberg slim May 8, 08 05:09 PM
    1. The toughest thing about this is that Bill's players now know that - unbeknownst to any of them until now - all of their accomplishments - both team and individual - are tainted and a lie. It's not that tough to defend when you know what the other team is going to do.

      I feel sorry for all of Bill's players past and present who I'm sure will be bitter towards him for this forever.

      What a shame. Bill will forever be known for this, and his no one will ever know what his players and teams might have accomplished on their own.

      Posted by Sad for Bill May 8, 08 05:11 PM
    1. 2008 Patriots 19-0
      You heard it here first

      Posted by Tim May 8, 08 05:52 PM
    1. Why is John Tomase not paying for this (ei fired), his source is bogus just like his writing. Trying to destroy people with lies, lies and more lies.

      Posted by joe May 8, 08 05:56 PM
    1. Wow. Shocking! You mean the guy who was shown to be a liar and then demanded indemification from lying was actually...wait for it......wait for it.......LYING the whole time?

      Hahahahahaha!! John "I am Cheese" Tomase and all the ESPN blowhard commentators got suckered in by a self-serving attention whore milking his 15 minutes for all he could get. Now every writer on ESPN, rather than being contrite, or god-forbid apologetic, are painting this loser as some sort of victim in this impotent witch hunt. Where's the Ram's walk thru? Where are all those crybaby Eagles who were insinuating that it was "almost like they (Patriots) knew what defense we were calling"?

      We know exactly as much today as we did the day the Goodell ruling came down:
      -The Pats broke the rule.
      -They got caught.
      -They confessed and turned over all tapes.
      -BB admitted taping since 2000.
      -Largest penalty ever given to a team in NFL history.
      -The other owners and writers around the country are insanely jealous of Pats success.

      The only thing we know today that we didn't know then is that some nobody loser named Matt Walsh is a vindictive sociopath who secretly tapes his conversations with his employer, puts razor blades in his bed and is willing to string along professional sports journalists to further his own pathetic agenda.

      Posted by WestCoastPatsFan May 8, 08 06:09 PM
    1. Amazing or unbelievable how few pay attention to or understand what one actually wrote or said. I don't wonder why individuals who become public figures are wary of how they are treated by the media . . . or 'the people". Ah, democracy, thy wonders to behold.

      Posted by Robert Kelley May 8, 08 06:19 PM
    1. Prior poster John is an idiot. He wrote:
      "Several players were suspended for all of last season for off-field actions. Yet the Patriots' pro-bowl starting safety was caught red-handed violating the substance abuse policy and served only four games"
      Jones was suspended for all of 2007 - 2008 for multiple off field run-ins with the law. No-one else, so where is your "several" coming from? Aside from Jones, Chris Henry received an 8 game suspension for his off field issues. Patriots Pro-bowl Safety Rodney Harrison received a 4 game suspension as would ANY player in the NFL for failing a banned substance test (see Sammy Morris when he was a Dolphin for using an Over The Counter medication). Truth be told that Harrison admitted prior to any testing that he had taken such a substance, and owned up to it mainly because of all the digging going on with the MLB Steroids issue, also see Marion Jones.
      John the village idiot goes on to say:
      "He served not a single day of suspension. Missed not one practice. Something's amiss here, and calling it out doesn't make you a Pats-hater."
      In defense I give you Roger Goodell's statement published several months ago, detailing why he wouldn't suspend Belichick and I cite "largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension."
      John you may not be a "Pats-Hater"... but you are an idiot! Check your facts before you sling mud!

      Posted by Jon (not the village idiot - John) May 8, 08 06:48 PM
    1. Now maybe This will finally stop the talk about Spygate so sick of hearing about it
      so typical of Walsh to stir up trouble maybe he got a few Golf balls knocked on his thinck skull the guy is nothing but a lyer
      This yr I hope the Patriots wipe the floor w/ all these teams until the NFL gets bored again and decides they have nothing better to do except mention Spy Gate MOVE ON NFL or get new jobs This is over now leave it burried

      Posted by Paula May 8, 08 06:58 PM
    1. Bill from Houston has it right. This story should be all about Spector and how he is wasting tax payer money. This really is an outrage and we all SHOULD be outraged! This is a sad world when sports shenanigans get so much attention. And yes folks it was just shenanigans! Nobody drugged the opposing team or bet on the other team or some other criminal offense. Key word there Mr. Spector-criminal! There was NOTHING criminal so you should keep your sore-loser nose out of it. You work for us and you have no business wasting our money because you're still Mr. Bitterman about your football teams visit to the SB. If you have an ax to grind then do it on your own time and DO NOT use your position in DC to find an excuse to why your team lost. In regard to that I think I can help you out Senator. Take a look at your QB in that game, especially in the late minutes while he was puking on the field without any rush between plays while the clock was ticking away. Your fat, out of shape QB that doesn't have a clue about a 2 minute offense is why you lost that game. Shame on you Senator and shame on all the reporters who think spygate is a bigger story than Senator Spector. You should be investigating him! We have real problems in this country and Belichick and the Patriots are not on that list of problems.

      Posted by Wayne-Carmel Valley May 8, 08 07:33 PM
    1. Great article, Eric!

      I'm a retired military member transplanted from Massachuetts now living in Sumter, South Carolina. This town is home to a major USAF installation and, as such, has fans of practically every team in the NFL running around. As a result, I have been inundated with cheating crap since the "scandal" broke in September. I'm happy the whole mess has finally played itself out.
      I would print your article and give to these folks but, alas, I'm afraid most of them wouldn't be able to read it. I certainly don't have the time to read it to them.

      Go Pats!

      Posted by Dan Coughlin May 8, 08 08:14 PM
    1. Thank god there is the spygate controversy. Can you imagine how many hatriots would be marching in the streets about the fact that a gallon of gas is over a dollar more expensive today than when all of this started??? But it is so much more important to rant about a rule infraction, and a conspiracy theory about the NFL.

      In the beginning as a Patriot fan I was insulted, then I was saddened, now I am in wonderment at the tenacity all of you hatriots show in maintaining your focus on this issue. It must be such a blessing that you focus so much on spygate, that you have not become depressed about the economy, gas prices or the housing crisis.

      Posted by Dave May 8, 08 10:48 PM
    1. Arlen Specter is the worst character in all this. I'm so comforted in knowing our highly privileged senator is using all his time to investigate this story of national security. I would spit in his face if I could and let him know, sorry, Arlen, but the Eagles are EVER getting a Super Bowl Ring.

      Posted by Mac May 9, 08 01:11 AM
    1. Funny...the esteemed Senator from Pennsylvania's is so involved in this. Why doesn't Goodell acqire some intestinal fortitude and expose this fraud of a lawmaker. Spector is also the same senator who's claim to fame is sitting on the Warren Commission and telling the world that one magic bullet did all the damage to JFK and Senator Conley of Texas. What credentials.

      Posted by td May 9, 08 06:32 AM
    1. Wow, so many of you New England fans are just blind about this issue and in such denial. You think it's over? You think the case is closed? Are you serious? Your guys cheated. Period. They cheated and got caught. It's not going to change the scores, it's not going to change the titles, or the money, or the experience that people had winning (or watching their team win). But it is going to change the legacy. It is going to be an asterisk on this "dynasty". The whole thing is a scam, and it's about as valid, honorable, and legitimate as Barry Bonds' home run record. That truly is a fitting analogy. That's it. That's the bottom line. People will argue about it, depending on which side of the fence you're on, but that doesn't change the facts: the New England Patriots systematically cheated for nearly a decade and it had a direct correlation to their win-loss record. Can't have any respect for liars and cheats.

      Posted by Doc's Sports Predictions Guy May 9, 08 07:22 AM
    1. "JV" thanks for that excerpt from a story way back in 2001 on the practice in the NFL of taping signals! Are there any other stories that you know of? I wonder why those sports journalists writing today, given all of their access to research sources, haven't referenced such material and haven't written more about this? Until more is written in this respect, I'm still mystified by its absence. Seems to me to be shoddy journalism. And just to bring up a couple of other aspects, I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that some journalists feel that Belichick has mistreated them, thus their wounded egos? And, then again, there's the jealousy of success.

      Posted by Robert Kelley May 9, 08 08:32 AM
    1. I pose this question for all the "Pats are cheaters and that's all that matters" types. You are driving on a highway over the speed limit and everyone else is going the same speed, say 75 mph in a 65 mph zone; and the police pull over two cars in front of you in a radar trap but you get away as do others. Who is the cheater, only the drivers who got caught? what about the other drivers who are also speeding but did not get caught...when we only punish those who get caught that's called deterence; when we only punish the ones who get caught and claim that they were the only cheaters, that's called a dillusion, scapegoating, etc.

      Posted by aw May 9, 08 08:53 AM
    1. Now that the truth of the Boston Herald's poor reporting has come out, I think New Englanders should give them what they deserve, blackball their paper. Don't buy it, don't click on it ignore them.

      Posted by Fletch May 9, 08 09:48 AM
    1. Does anyone remember the last time the Patriots lost a game in the regular season?? I think it was an '06 wuppin by the Phins (28-0 maybe) after which Miami team members admitted to receiving an audio tape that queued them about the Pats audible signals. They told the press that they knew what plays were being run whenever the Pats audibled. When asked about it the next day, the Pats, Brady and Belichick took the high road and said they doubted that had very much to do with the outcome of the game. Miami just played better. My point is that this sort of "gamesmanship" goes on all around the NFL. The Patriots have been the only team penalized for it to date. Maybe it only counts if you actually get penalized by the league. Otherwise no one seems to care about or remember it.

      Posted by Bob May 9, 08 10:49 AM
    1. Does anyone remember the last time the Patriots lost a game in the regular season?? I think it was an '06 wuppin by the Phins (28-0 maybe) after which Miami team members admitted to receiving an audio tape that queued them about the Pats audible signals. They told the press that they knew what plays were being run whenever the Pats audibled. When asked about it the next day, the Pats, Brady and Belichick took the high road and said they doubted that had very much to do with the outcome of the game. Miami just played better. My point is that this sort of "gamesmanship" goes on all around the NFL. The Patriots have been the only team penalized for it to date. Maybe it only counts if you actually get penalized by the league. Otherwise no one seems to care about or remember it.

      Posted by Bob May 9, 08 10:49 AM
    1. Arlen Spector is violating the ethics of the Senate (if that isn't an oxymoron) in "pursuing" this matter. There is no appreciable difference from what he is doing to the behavior of Senator Domenici that was recently chastized by the Senate Ethics Committee: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/04/24/domenici.ethics/ Anyone outraged by this can contact the Select Committee on Ethics, 220 Hart Building, United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510. Telephone: (202) 224 - 2981. Fax: (202) 224 - 7416.

      Posted by angered_in_NY May 9, 08 11:20 AM
    1. Eric, how does it feel to actually have written something positive and constructive? A little bit better than your normal drivel, (that by the way does mostly the same thing Tomase does.. stir the pot, and try to increase viewership regardless of content or accuracy.

      Posted by Lance in the Pants May 9, 08 11:21 AM
    1. I think you Arlen Spector "fans" are looking in the wrong direction for his motivation. He is the Senetor from Penn., home of Comcast Communications. They want the NFL Sunday ticket, available exclusively on Direct TV., Goddell won't give it to them. Wonder where Spector's campaign funds are coming from?

      Posted by Go Pats May 9, 08 12:46 PM
    1. I wonder if Specter knows how much we are paying for gas at the pump. He should investigate that as fully as he is investigating spygate. He should find something ALOT more constructive to do with his time.

      Posted by Billy May 9, 08 01:12 PM
    1. #54/td...very much OT, and not to nitpick, but when John Connelly (not "Conley") was wounded along with Kennedy, he was the Governor of Texas, not a Senator. And, by the way, the same bullet DID wound them both and the Warren Commission turned out to be right after all. However, Spector is still a fool, obviously about this NFL witch hunt, , but still...

      Read Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History" for more details; the first bullet went through JFK's neck and into Connelly, the second missed and the third was the fatal head shot ("did all the damage"). All courtesy of Marine Corps Expert Marksman Lee H. Oswald. Believe it!

      Posted by Seanman May 9, 08 03:18 PM
    1. Just so we all understand, 99% of the whining about Spygate comes from Steeler fans. These are people who have nothing better to do than reminisce about their four rings back in the 70's. "They" got a 5th ring a few years ago but still can't deal with the success of any modern team being compared to the Steelers dynasty of the 70's..

      I would be surprised if John, the Pats hater above, is not a Pittsburgh fan. He'll never admit it but I'll put money on it. Specter is an Eagles fan but it does no harm to him to push the Comcast agenda at the same time as he makes points with the poor side of PA. One thing about Steeler's fans, most of them live in their parents' basement so they don't have to worry about things like gas prices, the economy, war, or any other real issues. Specter is addressing an issue that matters most to them.

      Posted by ALFMAN1000 May 9, 08 04:04 PM
    1. You Patriot fans are something else!!! Of course you have been cheating for years and the NFL will just sweep it under the rug!! You tell me Patriot fans........what motive would one of your all time great LB's Ted Johnson say this......"Every now and then I'd get a sheet, one hour before the game, with a list of audibles for our opponent," (Ted) Johnson said in November 2005. "I don't know how, but they just showed up."

      Everyone in America knows you cheated and the whole organization will be tainted forever!!!

      Posted by Rick May 9, 08 06:17 PM
    1. I like the comment that Jimmie Johnson made about sending on of his guys into the opposing teams coaches box after the game and going through their rubbish just to see if they left any plays. Yes, all the teams have done it. Jimmie said it is even worse in college. The commissioner told them no more. Bill can be arrogant or may have interpeted wrong. Only he knows. In most sports even if you know the signals or plays, you still have to stop the plays. You know it's a running play, but you still have to stop L.T. It does't help as much as people think. Ask any coach of any sport and they will tell you the same thing. The Pats got caught and they got penalized. Now that it is over I think the commissioners of all sports should investigate Congress. The politicians have crossed into sports so why not let the commissioners cross into politics. I might be wrong, but I think they would find more dirt in the Capital then on the ball field. Maybe not as much steroids, but alot of booze, drugs, prostitution, stealing,and lies. Go Pats!

      Posted by James Ferguson May 9, 08 06:42 PM
    1. Loved the column and the discussion too. For anyone wanting to check it out,

      The article regarding the Dolphins recording the Patriots' audio signals can be found at: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2696227

      The article regarding the CAROLINA PANTHERS CHEATING during Super Bowl XXXVIII (with 6 active including some starting players charged with violating the steroids policy) can be found at:

      Ever wonder why so many coaches and organizations were quick to offer support to Belichick and the Patriots? It’s like politics. Nobody’s hands are completely clean. I know if it were the Patriots who tampered with a player such as the 49’ers were caught doing, they would have been slapped with more than a 5th round draft pick, that’s for sure. That article can be found at:

      Of course, the 49ers were caught violating the salary cap too, and were fined $400,000. No one is calling for THEIR heads, with the cry that they are all “just cheaters” and should have their Super Bowl wins taken away. You can’t argue that paying players more money than other teams could, didn’t help their chance at winning. Learn all about this at:

      Posted by Marima May 9, 08 09:38 PM
    1. Anyone outraged by Arlen Spector's misuse of public taxpayer dollars to pursue his private agendas? Do something about it.

      But then again, that's like turning in the prostitute to the pimp advisory council. Sickening.

      Select Committee on Ethics,
      220 Hart Building, United States Senate,
      Washington, DC 20510.
      Telephone: (202) 224 - 2981.
      Fax: (202) 224 - 7416.

      Posted by Bill in Houston May 10, 08 12:54 AM
    1. I do not understand - why everyone here is trying to justify Pats' action last fall by saying everyone does it. That is NOT the point! The Pats did it and they got caught - the others who did it did not get caught! And when they did it, there was no memo that went around that said that you should not do it!!
      Its like telling a cop who pulls you over for speeding that "hey everyone does it!" - do you think it will sell?? Well, he'll tell you "yes, buddy, but you got caught!"
      And if anything Mangini must be lauded not criticized for exposing BB - Mangini is not a rat. When he did this, the Jets and not BB or the Pats were paying him. Mangini had every reason to be loyal to the Jets and not BB or Pats! If he had not exposed the Pats then that would have been wrong .... when the guy on the street does not tell the police about his friend who committed a crime, we make it a big issue saying he is not doing a right thing - how is it different here?
      Just for the record, I am a Pats fan but I feel every punishment they received in this episode was justified.

      Posted by From a Pats Fan May 10, 08 01:23 AM
    1. You say nothing? What are you talking about - nothing? They were caught cheating...C - H - E - A - T - I - N - G !!! Are the NE fans in denail? You just expect this to go away? You were not punished enough in the first place. Do you guys realize that your championships are forever tarnished?

      Posted by TC May 10, 08 07:00 AM
    1. ALFMAN thinks that 99% of the complaining is coming from the Steelers fans? What? Do you think the NFL revolves around Pittsburgh?

      This is a serious subject that includes all teams and the legacy of the Patriots. When you reflect on the Patriots superbowl teams after knowing what they did - you cant help but be upset - even if you are a Pats fan - it is upsetting to know they cheated.

      I believe Pittsburgh won 4 SB's in 6 years with relatively the same group of players. With free agency - nobody is going to do that again, unless ofcourse they were cheating.

      Posted by ALFMAN response May 10, 08 07:13 AM
    1. Doc's Sports Predictions Guy:

      "New England Patriots systematically cheated for nearly a decade and it had a direct correlation to their win-loss record"

      I await your proof? Please prove? I believe in the Easter Bunny, doesn't mean its true unless I have proof. Please give facts that can back your statement? You must show a direct correlation of proof of cheat in each game of the past ten years along how that was the defining factor in the win. Here's a link on how to write a math proof you may want to start with this (If I see no proof from you I assume you admit you're wrong):

      Posted by Doc's Predictions Must Be Unemployed May 10, 08 08:06 AM
    1. I love the hypocrisy of Boston fans.

      When Barry Bonds came to Fenway as a part of inter-league play, Red Sox Nation salivated at the thought of lashing out at Barry, and boy did they. How many asterisk signs were in the stands during that series?

      But when obvious evidence of their team cheating is presented, they choose to look the other way, with cool catch phrases such as "can we now end this silly affair?" and "Walsh also had a tape of Everybody Loves Raymond".

      Also, Boston fans have questioned the usefulness of illegaly videotaping signals. Well, if that is the case, then why did William Bellicheck do it in the first place? Why did he continue doing it.

      I agree with a recent article in the NY Times that Bellicheck should be banned by the league for an entire year. Will the NFL have the guts to do it? Not likely.....after all, there is money still to be made.

      Posted by Gary May 10, 08 05:01 PM
    1. "You are all in trouble."

      Great line Eric!

      Posted by Phil May 12, 08 03:25 PM
    1. Are you kidding me?
      You must be stuck in some adolescent stage of development to use "everybody else was doing it" as your main excuse. The fact remains that tapes have been turned over showing cheating at least eight more times than the Patsies were punished for. There surely needs to be additional punishment, and I hope Sen. Spector has some influence with whoever is dragging their feet and allowing the cover-up. What would be fair? How about "no playoffs for 5 years" and an asterisk next to every tainted win? We want that for Barry Bonds cheating, and for the Yankees tainted titles of 1998, '99 and 2000. Let's be consistant and level the punishment at all offenders equally.
      Guess again. They're got everything they need to expose the morality-void franchise.
      And Wilburn is nothing more than an enabler; like the wife of an alcoholic who buys him booze because "He's no fun to be around when he's out of booze!"

      Posted by vinylord May 12, 08 05:24 PM
    1. Did anyone else notice how Brett Edgerton's sidebar story to John Clayton's ESPN.com article "Minus a whistle-blower, Spygate will expire quietly" http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=3386833 showed a blatantly anti-Patriot's bias in the way it recounted the results of the Patriots' record against the teams in the Walsh tapes after they had been spied on? San Diego, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Buffalo all have very poor records against New England since the 2000-2002 period found in the tapes. Those results were reported in a narrative that implied the Patriots won all those games because they were taping in 2000-2002. The record of the one team that's always played the Patriots hard (almost even) in that time, Miami, is conveniently NOT reported -- instead only the Patriots overall record against the whole league (99-26) is mentioned since that taping of Miami October 7, 2001. Such selective reporting of records is almost comical when it exposes the underlying motivations of the writer so clearly.

      Posted by California for Fair Treatment of Patriots May 12, 08 10:25 PM

      More cheating from the no good filthy cheating rotten Patriots! Championships forever tarnished!

      Posted by tc October 2, 08 07:07 AM
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