In case you missed any of it, here’s an extensive sampling of what the NFL analysts had to say during their various broadcasts yesterday about the Patriots video scandal.
FOX Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer headlined FOX NFL Sunday with an exclusive copy of the actual tape that was confiscated during last Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game and sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Glazer: “Everyone wants to know what evidence the NFL has in order to drop the hammer on the Patriots. We’ve got it for you. Check this out. [Tape runs] Video assistant Matt Estrella is clearly picking up the Jets’ defensive coaching signals, and then he pans up to the scoreboard for down and distance. This goes on throughout the entire tape. What they do is take this film and then afterwards, synch it up with the actual coach’s game tape. One of the coaches will then study the signals, and the next time they play the New York Jets and see those same hand signals, they can relay the blitz and coverage info down to the coaches on the sideline. Obviously this evidence proved to be damning enough for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.”
Back in the studio, Jimmy Johnson led off the following discussion on this practice: “This is exactly how I was told to do it 18 years ago by a Kansas City Chiefs scout. I tried it, but I didn’t think it helped us.”
Howie Long: “If you’re going to tell me that this is the first time that a team has taped an opposing team’s sideline, you are naïve. The only thing that’s unique about this is that the Patriots tried to do this at the Meadowlands, a stone’s throw from NFL Headquarters, on a sideline that some would argue is policed better than our national borders, using a video guy who has a prior record after being caught doing the same thing last year, and against a coach who knows the who, what, when and where about everything. Now, the moral outrage that’s been expressed by some people within the NFL and some of the media that cover the NFL, to me, rings a little bit shallow. I think there have been people laying in the tall grass looking to kick Bill Belichick in the teeth.”
Terry Bradshaw: “I agree, but here is the fact. Bill Belichick, you are now known as a cheater. A cheater! That doesn’t sound too good. It’s embarrassing not only to yourself, but to your players. They didn’t need this. It’s uncalled for, and now people are wondering if you cheated during your Super Bowl wins. You’ve hurt your ownership and you’ve hurt the fans in your city all because of your arrogance.”
Johnson: “Every team has got a file on the other team. I used to send an intern up to the opposing coach’s box after the game and go through the trash. Because after the game, what do they do? They take their game plan and their scouting reports and throw them away. My intern would get all of that stuff and put it right in the file.”
Bradshaw: “He did not need to do this. He’s too good of a coach.”
Long [to Terry]: “If you think the Patriots have the market cornered on this, you are naïve.”
Curt Menefee: “Bottom line, it wasn’t the cheating that got the Patriots in trouble, because everyone does it, but the arrogance with which they operate.”
On this week’s ‘Grumpy Old Coaches‘ analysts Barry Switzer, Jimmy Johnson and moderator/referee Terry Bradshaw discussed the Patriots punishment for illegally videotaping the Jets sidelines and their own experience with going after a winning edge:
Johnson: “Bill Belichick was wrong because he videotaped signals after a memo was sent out to all of the teams saying not to do it. But what irritates me is hearing some reactions from players and coaches. These players don’t know what their coaches are doing. And some of the coaches have selective amnesia because I know for a fact there were various teams doing this. That’s why the memo was sent to everybody. That doesn’t make him [Belichick] right, but a lot of teams are doing this.”
Switzer: “It’s total arrogance. The Commissioner sent a memo out to every squad.”
Bradshaw: “Did you do it at Oklahoma?”
Switzer: “Yeah. It happened.”
Bradshaw: “Did you do it at Arkansas?”
Bradshaw: “Did you do it in Miami?”
On CBS’ NFL TODAY “General Manager” Charley Casserly had plenty more accusations to make against Bill Belichick and the Patriots, and what else there might be in the future:
James Brown: The New England Patriots got caught red-handed with a spy camera on the sidelines. Is there anything else they might have been up to?
Charley Casserly: There are a couple of things: First of all, wireless frequencies. The Patriots asked for three wireless frequencies to be used on their Patriot television show. However what they did was change to other frequencies, other channels, which is against League policy. Also during the game, Jets had trouble with their coach-to-quarterback system. One of these (Patriots) channels was close to the Jets coach-to-quarterback system. You can’t deliberately interfere with another team’s coach-to-quarterback system. Now, many other teams have had trouble when they’ve played the Patriots with their coach-to-quarterback system. I asked the League, is there any specific knowledge that the Patriots deliberately interfered with the coach-to-quarterback system of the Jets. They told me no, but they said they reserve the right to make another case against the Patriots if other facts come forward.
Brown: Coincidence or not we just don’t know. Are there any other tactics that you are aware of that the Patriots use?
Casserly: An NFL coach told me he got this from an ex-Patriot coach. What the Patriots would do is send someone into the opponent’s locker room looking for information. In one specific game the opponent had left their opening plays on the board, this person brought them back to the Patriot coaches.
Brown: We know they got caught with a spy camera against Green Bay and Detroit last season. It’s one thing to do it against a division opponent, but why tape a team you won’t see again?
Casserly: I’ve been told by a number of people in the NFL that Bill Belichick keeps a library on each defensive coordinator to use against them in the future. The NFL has requested the Patriots and Bill Belichick to turn over all videotapes and notes with videotapes. One of the things they’re looking for is that library.
Brown: The League has penalized the Patriots, what else are they doing?
Casserly: The League has prepared a memo to go out to all teams next week, not with new policies, but to re-emphasize certain points of policies. First of all, NFL security will be allowed to spot check sidelines and locker rooms presumably for videotaping. Also, NFL security will be allowed to confiscate materials, equipment, or any parts of uniforms in violation of NFL rules. I think this rule is being emphasized because last week when NFL security went to the Patriots and asked them to turn over the camera and videotape, they refused. And finally, wireless frequencies – you’re only going to be allowed to be on NFL frequencies, which is the rule now, but it will be strictly enforced and penalties could be enforced if you violate it.
(More on New England Patriots Bill Belichick and fines for video taping on sidelines)
Bill Cowher: From a coach’s perspective, trying to steal signals is part of the game. We understand that as a coach. You see walkie-talkies, tape recorders, but when you take the camera on the field, that’s just arrogance. I think the penalty was stiff by the Commissioner. I think it will be a good deterrent. The two AFC Championship games that we lost to the New England Patriots, I don’t believe this had any factor in it. I have too much respect for Tom Brady, for (Corey) Dillon, for (Deion) Branch and also for Coach Belichick. I think he’s still a good coach. I do agree with the fact that the deterrent has been set with the precedent when this Commissioner came down hard on him.
Dan Marino: To a quarterback, if you know the signals ahead of time, that’s a huge advantage. If you know where the blitz is going to come from, what coverage that they’re going to be in…It’s arrogant. It’s wrong. It’s cheating. When you look at it that way, you could make Boomer Esiason look like Joe Montana. I’m trying to keep it light.
Boomer Esiason: I agree with the punishment also. I think it does fit the crime…When it’s all said and done, it doesn’t tarnish in my eyes, in any way, shape or form, what the Patriots have accomplished under Bill Belichick.
Shannon Sharpe: I think the punishment should have been more severe. The precedent was set when the Commissioner suspended the quarterback coach for the Cowboys Wade Wilson five games for receiving human growth hormone. Even if you just suspended Bill Belichick for five games, fine him a third of his salary on principle alone. Maybe he can still talk to his coaches and get the plays in, but the precedent has been set. Now you’re talking about competitive balance. You’re talking about the integrity of the shield. This guy blatantly did it. Blatantly disregarded your direct orders Mr. Commissioner on September 6 when you sent out that memo, he did that. If it wasn’t a big deal, why would he go to these lengths to do what he did?
From ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown:
Was the Punishment Harsh Enough for Patriots and Bill Belichick?
Tom Jackson: “I don’t think so. When you think about the players, whether it was Odell Thurman, Chris Henry, Tank Johnson the list is endless, those people were taking off the field because that’s what actually hurts players and coaches alike. $500,000 is an immense fine, but it is less immense if you are rich. When the commissioner said I’m going to take those who have charge over these younger players to a higher level of authority, to a higher standard, I think that that’s the message that he was trying to send here, but he should have sent this by taking his (coach Belichick’s) expertise off the field for a game.”
Keyshawn Johnson: “This is not anything that has to do with off-the-field issues. It is not criminal at all. These are two totally different things. Those football players got into trouble off the field doing things that the commissioner said, ‘hey you need to not do this, you need to pay attention, need to stay out of trouble.’ So it took them off the field. The fine that was paid was a $500,000 fine, $250,000 for the team, this is totally different. Advance scouting does not give the team an advantage during the game.”
Jackson: “It’s not criminal. Just answer me this: so I tell you don’t do it, you do it. You do it in the first game, against a team that you absolutely know you’re going to see one more time. And you do it against a guy who you know knows that you do it, what is that?”
Emmitt Smith: “That is arrogance. It is still arrogance because Belichick knew he was wrong. When you get a message from the commissioner and he tells you you should not be doing this and you do it anyway you just said to the whole entire league: ‘Forget your rules, I have my own set of rules. I’m going to run my rules the way that I want to do it’ and that is what he did on Sunday. Not only did he send a message to Mangini and his group, but he also sent a message back to Roger Goodell. ‘Roger you may be the commissioner but as I run this team, this is the way I’m going to run it.'”
Mike Ditka: “The one thing he said that is behind us, you’re wrong. This is not behind you. It will never be behind you. It is part of your legacy whether you like it nor not. I don’t make the rules. I’m just telling you you will always be remembered for this, more than the great things you’ve done on the sidelines. I’m just telling you that’s just the way it is.”
Smith: “The $500,000 fine to Belichick is good, but also the $250,000 fine to the Patriots is good. The first round draft pick if you get to the Super Bowl is good. But to take this man from his ball club and take him off the sidelines is even better, because it sends a stronger message. Roger (Goodell) is doing a heck of a job. It will affect Belichick and his thinking.”
Jackson: “I believe that when you’re talking about a guy who is as good a coach as coach Belichick is, his ability to make adjustments on the field, his ability to go into a locker room and make adjustments at halftime, I believe yes if you take that away, no Charlie Weis, no Romeo Crennel, I believe that if you take that away yes you certainly have affected that football team.”
Smith: “He’s messing with the integrity of the game, which as you know, when we were kids we grew up we were taught that integrity, sportsmanship, all those things are very much part of the game and when you start crossing that line you’re messing with a whole lot of things and I think he crossed the line.”
Ditka: “Character counts.”
Has the perception of Belichick and Patriots been tainted?
Johnson: “It doesn’t change my mind one bit about the New England Patriots…I think for the one part that you think about it changes the minds of the fans and these media types that sit up here. It changes your view of the New England Patriots but not mine.”
Smith: “It doesn’t change my mind either, in terms of their success but what you have to look at truly is whether or not the players are doing their part, and I believe that their players get on the football field and they get in the position to make plays…Belichick can not make a player catch a ball, he can not make a player make the right block and he can make Tom Brady make the right reads. What he can do is to put you in a position to make a play but it is up to the player at the end of the day to make the plays.”
Jackson: “I have a 12 year named Taylor who plays premiere soccer and I’m trying as best I can to teach her the edict of fair play and in the sports climate that exists right now I’m finding that’s it very difficult. I’m going to give you a parallel here only because he is the head coach of the defending world champions and I think that his ethics stand way up here so I can use him in this analogy. If this happened to Tony Dungy, would we call into question his championship won last year? Would we call into question all that voodoo that Peyton Manning does at the line of scrimmage figuring out what the defense does? Would “Quiet Strength,” his best selling book, be dissected for every single utterance for something about fair play. So when you talk about legacy, when you talk about what’s going to be remembered, I can say that it will be remembered. I don’t know to what extent, but it will be remembered.”
Ditka: “Key, from this media type, let me tell you something if somebody calls you a cheater and it doesn’t bother you then you are a cheater.”