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Title Edit. Belichick Is A Genius. I Am Not Worthy.

may also include historical analysis and perspective

Title Edit. Belichick Is A Genius. I Am Not Worthy.

Unread postby socrates » Fri Sep 14, 2007 7:33 pm

{on edit-the title used to be "Bill Belicheat"}

As a fan of the New England Patriots, this story hurts. Cheating is no good. Bill Belichick has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. If he has been doing this a lot, then all of the Patriots glory has gone down the tubes. Most people were thinking what a genius Belichick is, that he is the second coming of Vince Lombardi. This is no different than if cameras are placed in center field for baseball, and one team knows what pitches are on the way. This is no different than if at the World Series of Poker, a player can see one of the cards of the opponent. The bottom line is I am now waiting for basketball and the Celtics. I want to see how Garnett, Pierce, Rondo, Allen, and Perkins do. Cheating is ********.

Personal foul
His bill comes due big time
The Boston Globe
by Dan Shaughnessy
September 14, 2007
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell dropped the hammer on the head of Bill Belichick last night. The cheatin' camera the Patriots used against the Jets last Sunday is going to cost the coach a half-million dollars and maybe worse . . . a first-round draft pick.

With all the timing of a Red Sox late November Friday evening ticket price increase (the NFL made its announcement long after dinner and just a few minutes before President Bush addressed the nation on the war in Iraq), the league last night slapped Belichick and the Patriots upside the helmet.

The cash doesn't really matter. Belichick is out $500,000 (maximum fine allowed by the league), and Bob Kraft will have to fork over an additional $250,000. But the news that the Patriots will lose a first-rounder if they make the playoffs (a second- and third-rounder if they don't) is a devastating blow to the coach and the franchise.

There is no more gray area now. Those claims that "everybody does it" and "the Patriots didn't need surveillance to beat the Jets" ring hollow. The Commish has spoken, and his ruling ensures the Patriots will pay a steep price for their transgression.

In many ways, the damage was done before last night's sanctions were announced. Having Belichick and the Patriots outed as "cheaters" will always be the worst part of this. There's a legion of people waiting to harpoon the arrogant New England organization, and this episode has armed Patriot critics with weapons they can use forever.

There are so many layers to the scandal.

Let's start at the top with Kraft. Old Amos Alonzo is always there for the trophy presentations and ring ceremonies. His press guide bio, lengthy enough to fill a Ken Burns PBS series, holds that "Kraft is now widely recognized as one of the most respected and influential owners in sports." Kraft's bio in last year's guide said the Patriots "are often referred to as a model franchise."

So where is Kraft now? He was last seen at a supermarket event Monday where he hinted that the Pats were being targeted because they are top dogs ("When you're successful in anything, a lot of people like to try to take you down").

We can't expect Kraft to come forward during Rosh Hashanah, but someday soon the owner is obligated to explain this mess. Ownership needs to be accountable. To use an old Watergate question (and the parallels are almost infinite), "What did Kraft know and when did he know it?"

Kraft could have made some points by punishing his coach in advance of the NFL sanctions instead of falling back on the old "everybody is out to get us" defense. But the owner of the "model franchise" did not choose that path.

And what about his players? What must they think of all this? Patriot players have long been reminded that their skills are almost irrelevant to the brilliant system that enables them to succeed. The message has been "most of you are interchangeable parts and we can win with other people if you choose to leave." Their achievements are minimized.

Now they get hit with the double whammy. Because of the arrogance of the coach and his minions, the championship deeds of the players are reduced again.

Now enemies of the Patriots can claim that all those championships were won because of cheating, which, of course, is untrue. Patriot players have a right to be furious about this development.

Notice how many rival players, coaches, and executives have pounced on the Pats and Belichick this week? There's been a rush to pile on, a frenzy of Patriot hate. It's residue of seven years of coaches being reminded that they are stooges - they will lose to the Patriots because Belichick and his guys are smarter than everybody else.

And that's why we have heard from a parade of players saying, "The Patriots seemed to know exactly what we were going to do when we played them."

Mercy. It's a joke. The pathetic Steelers, who never could come to grips with the fact that the Pats were better, are now using "Cheatgate" as an excuse for blowing the AFC Championship game at home in 2002. It'll never end now.

Getting caught in this stupid stunt has emboldened all those who were legitimately flattened by the Patriots in the last seven years. And it's never going to go away.

It's not fair, of course. Videotaping the other sideline is probably a tactic used by a lot of teams and no doubt it's been done for a long time. The competitive gain is certainly debatable and the punishment seems excessive, given that the Patriots had the misfortune to get caught.

Doesn't matter. Rafael Palmeiro came up positive for steroids only once, but it was enough to invalidate his 569 home runs and it will keep him out of the Hall of Fame.

"This episode represents a calculated and deliberate attempt to avoid longstanding rules designed to encourage fair play and promote honest competition on the playing field," stated the commissioner.

So there you go. Belichick blew it when he flouted the rules and tried to rub it in against Eric Mangini and the Jets. It was absolutely unnecessary - truly Nixonian.

A draft pick is lost and Belichick and the Patriots must live with the label of "cheaters." The Lombardi trophies are tarnished and every team the Pats trample forever has a one-size-fits-all excuse.

It's a sad chapter in the long history of New England sports.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
Last edited by socrates on Mon Sep 24, 2007 9:10 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Good Boston Globe Story on This

Unread postby socrates » Sun Sep 16, 2007 6:30 pm

Sports debate: When to cry foul
Edge-seeking becoming win-at-any-cost cheating

By John Powers, Globe Staff | September 15, 2007
The Patriots signal-stealing controversy, sports ethicists say, is a high-tech example of how competitive edge-seeking and gamesmanship can become win-at-any-cost cheating.

"I think the Patriots have sunk to a new low here," said University of Southern California professor William Morgan, the author of "Ethics in Sports" and "Why Sports Morally Matter."

"Taking it up a notch and using technology to do it strikes me as really below the belt."

Last Sunday's incident in an easy road victory over the New York Jets rekindled a national debate about what should and should not be allowed in sports and where the line should be drawn.

The Patriots' video snooping, which resulted in $750,000 in fines from the NFL and the potential loss of a first-round draft pick, has been widely condemned. Many of the team's fans, though, have been defending coach Bill Belichick. "I've always said it's a continuum," said Boston University sports psychologist Len Zaichkowsky. "And the continuum isn't the same for everybody."

Cheating in sports is nothing new, even in obscure events. In the 1976 Olympics, Soviet modern pentathlete Boris Onischenko was disqualified for wiring his fencing weapon to register an electronic hit without touching his opponent.

Even the most popular sports aren't immune.

"Take baseball, the national pastime," said Michael Josephson, founder of the Los Angeles-based Josephson Institute of Ethics, which provides consulting and training services in fields ranging from business to government to sports. "The spitball came in with the game. There always was a category of people who would do anything to get an edge."

What has changed is how many prominent people across multiple sports are breaking the rules to do it. Thursday, the McLaren auto racing team was fined $100 million for using technical documents stolen from Formula One rival Ferrari. This year, eight NASCAR crew chiefs have been suspended for cheating in separate incidents. Michael Rasmussen, who was leading the Tour de France, was pulled out of the race by his cycling team for ducking doping tests by lying about where he was during training.

Barry Bonds, who broke Hank Aaron's career home run record, allegedly has used a combination of banned drugs. Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was suspended for four games for obtaining human growth hormone through an online scam that reportedly involved numerous athletes.

In a society where cheating, from insider trading on Wall Street to plagiarism in the classroom, seems to be a common occurrence, observers say sports hardly can be considered immune.

"Someone once said that sports is life with the volume turned up high," said Josephson. "It highlights the best and worst of human nature." What has been lost, he said, is the concept of "victory with honor. In sports, we've begun to think that dishonorable conduct is honorable."

Under the old amateur code, winning the "wrong" way was unacceptable. In 1940, Cornell's football team gave back a victory over Dartmouth after realizing that officials had mistakenly allowed them an extra play that produced the winning touchdown. "We figured if they win it, they win it, and that's the way it should be," said Cornell tackle Nick Drahos, whose teammates likely cost themselves a national championship with the gesture.

While most professional sports monitor teams and players and discipline rule breakers, golf still adheres to the gentleman's code, with players routinely penalizing themselves even for innocent violations.

"[British jurist] Lord Moulton once said that ethics is obedience to the unenforceable," said Dan Doyle, founder of the Institute for International Sport at the University of Rhode Island. "The very ethos of golf is to be honorable. You are shunned if you're anything other than that."

At last year's Irish Open, Darren Clarke drove a ball into deep rough just before rain suspended play during the final round. When he returned the next day, Clarke, who was leading by two strokes, found that his lie inadvertently had been improved by subsequent foot traffic.

Though the rules allowed him to hit from the same spot, Clarke chose to play the ball as he originally would have, chipping it sideways. "Honesty is part and parcel of the game," said Clarke, who ended up losing by two strokes, "and I could not have acted any other way."

Sports are governed by rules at one end and by sportsmanship at the other. In the middle is a hazy area of gamesmanship. "Gamesmanship is gaining an advantage without necessarily breaking the rules, but breaking the spirit of the rules," said Doyle.

Stealing signs in baseball and football long has been considered gamesmanship. "In baseball, the batter doesn't look back at the catcher or he'll get hit with the next pitch," said Zaichkowsky. "But if you can get away with it while standing on second base, that's creative." In NASCAR racing, which uses souped-up cars by definition, legal is whatever a garage can get away with.

The problem with gamesmanship, ethicists say, is that it's the gateway to cheating. "We wink and say it's part of the game, but it erodes the line," said Northeastern athletic director Peter Roby, former director of the school's Center for the Study of Sport in Society and ex-head basketball coach at Harvard. "Those things are cumulative because they send a message that you should be looking for an edge and that it's not really a problem unless you get caught."

The most puzzling question, observers say, is why the Patriots would do it. Why would a team favored to win its fourth Super Bowl in seven years brazenly break the rules? "The Patriots are a hell of a team," said Morgan. "They were going to kill the Jets. It almost reminds me of Nixonian paranoia. Nixon had the election won. It makes me wonder about Bill Belichick."

Even after video assistant Matt Estrella was caught camera-in-hand on the sideline by a league security officer, Belichick admitted no wrongdoing, saying he'd spoken to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell about "my interpretation of the rules."

"What strikes me about Belichick is that he's a technocrat without a moral conscience," said Morgan. "That kind of terse technical response is completely evasive."

Belichick's statement also struck some observers as ludicrous. "People keep wanting to rationalize," said Roby. "That's like [basketball coach] Bobby Knight saying he didn't know what zero tolerance is. You're insulting people's intelligence."

Cheating diminishes interest in sports, ethicists say, because the fans eventually grow weary of questioning results and being disappointed by their heroes. "There will be a footnote next to Barry Bonds's record forever," predicted Josephson. "That is the cost of cheating. How come his ball didn't sell?"

John Powers can be reached at jpowers@globe.com.
© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

{educational purposes}
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I Was Thinking About Marcus Camby

Unread postby socrates » Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:02 pm

UMASS/Amherst was ranked fourth in NCAA basketball, until because of Marcus Camby and his greed, the season was deleted from the record books. When the Bill Belichick spygate story first emerged, I felt like he had tainted all the super bowls. Now I have come around to see that it has been jealousy against his success that has led to the hatchet job on his character. But I'll let one of Boston's better sports bloggers explain. I should have realised something was up if it was Dan Shaugnessy doing all that whining above. But Bill, I know you read this forum all the time, mea culpa, mea culpa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Notes on a scandal
by Chad Finn


The notion that the Patriots were loading up for one last run this season before Bill Belichick departed was little more than a talk-radio fantasy driven by people longing for the day when he is no longer the grand poo-bah here and information flows freely from the locker room again. Think about it: If they Patriots truly stacking the deck for one last hurrah this season, they'd never have rolled over that No. 1 pick to next year, and they likely would have given Asante Samuel every dime he wanted right away. What they're doing is loading up for now and the future, and given that Belichick is apparently under contract through 2013 - and wasn't the timing of that announcement the most telling statement Bob Kraft could have made about how he feels about his coach? - it looks like we can hold off on creating fictional rumors about his departure for another five years or so.

I always respected Jimmy Johnson as a football coach and personnel evaluator (I'm not sure his Dallas teams get their just due in terms of how stacked with top-shelf talent they were), but I never realized he was such a stand-up guy until he said this on the Fox pregame show during Videogate:

"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 right, but a lot of teams are doing this."

I think that's the closest thing to the straight truth to come out of this whole overblown saga. I can understand other coaches not wanting to implicate themselves when it comes to similar antics (though Jon Gruden came pretty close), but the holier-than-thou tone of best-selling author Tony Dungy and the rampant excuse-making by the incompetent likes of Jack Del Rio certainly gave you some insight into their true character. Oh, and in a semi-related note, Chris Mortensen still hasn't gotten anything right.

It's actually the coach of the NY Jets who is taking the heat for being a snitch. It will take a lot of injuries for the Patriots not to win another Super Bowl. Brady finally has great receivers. Randy Moss is on fire. Belichick is the Red Auerbach of football. He will turn this spygate into the Patriot's advantage. If the Pats steamroll to another title now, this will prove that the Patriots are a dynasty. His players don't like hearing that their previous wins were tainted. They are gonna shut up dumbasses like me with their play on the field.
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Arlen Specter Calls Sports Radio Shows

Unread postby socrates » Sat Feb 02, 2008 2:24 pm

Many people believe that this spygate thing has driven the Patriots to aspire to the undefeated season. Jimmy Johnson has come out and said the Patriots weren't doing anything other teams weren't doing. Belichick simply was the one who got caught. What he got caught doing exactly I am not sure of. But it happened in the first quarter of the first game. The Patriots have not had a mickey mouse schedule. They have beaten all the top teams. Belichick is a genius. The Patriots are the greatest football team of all time......if they win tomorrow. Another super bowl or two after that would put them at the top without any doubts. They are up there as it is with the 49ers, Cowboys, Steelers, GreenBay, and the Raiders for short term dynasties. They are closing in on the greatest single season of all time. Tom Brady is probably the greatest quarterback of all time. It is what it is.

Top senator demands 'spygate' answers from NFL
Nick Juliano
Published: Friday February 1, 2008

There may not have been any waterboarding shown on secret video tapes that the NFL destroyed, but that's not stopping a prominent GOP senator from demanding answers from the league.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, says plenty of questions remain about revelations the New England Patriots spied on the New York Jets earlier this season, secretly videotaping defensive coaches' signals to players during a game. The NFL confiscated the videotape, fined the team and its coach $750,000 and denied a first-round draft pick to the Patriots, who will play Sunday in the Super Bowl after an undefeated regular season.

After investigating the incident, the NFL destroyed its confiscated tapes without disclosing what they showed or explaining its decision. Because the league enjoys substantial leeway from federal antitrust laws, Specter says an investigation is warranted and has suggested the Judiciary Committee take up the matter.

"The American people are entitled to be sure about the integrity of the game," he told the New York Times. "It’s analogous to the C.I.A. destruction of tapes. Or any time you have records destroyed." .....

"It’s analogous to the C.I.A. destruction of tapes."

Arlen Specter is the same asshat who spoke about the magic bullet that killed JFK and bounced around defying laws of physics. Although one can still watch the History Channel if they like their head in the sand.

Some guy argues that Belichick didn't even cheat. He says there is a difference between cheating and gamemanship.

Bill Belichick's Interpretation

Patriots Did Not Cheat

Dan Shaughnessy isn't the best sports columnist we have here. But he wrote a good one today on the recent developments on spygate and how it will further motivate the Patriots to complete the single greatest season ever in professional football.

It's only added fuel to the ire
By Dan Shaughnessy
Globe Columnist / February 2, 2008

PHOENIX - They were inches from a clean getaway.

The Patriots arrived in the desert Sunday night and for five days were spared questions about "Spygate." It was as if the whole cheating thing and the ensuing sanctions never happened.

It all blew up yesterday when the New York Times reported that Senator Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, wants the commissioner to explain why the league destroyed the tapes the Patriots had handed over to the league. News of the senator's outrage over an event that took place almost five months ago just happened to break a few hours before the commissioner's state of the union address, two days before the Super Bowl.

Naturally, when Roger Goodell took questions yesterday morning, he was bombarded with Spygate inquiries. And so the cheating sandal has resurfaced with full fury.

Not that they needed it, but the Patriots now have new motivation to crush the Giants and give the league the finger. Finding straw men to topple is a Bill Belichick specialty, and he won't have to be very creative on this one. A grandstanding yahoo Eagles fan with a lot of power, coupled with the league's slow response to Specter, conspired to tarnish the Lombardi Trophy that has already been engraved with a Flying Elvis logo.

The Patriots should be furious. This time, their legion of head-in-the-sand fans who believe Belichick can do no wrong have a legitimate reason to feel violated.

Let's start with the obvious admission that the Patriots got caught breaking the rules. Maybe other teams were doing it, maybe not. But the Patriots got caught. They were arrogant and sloppy and they paid the largest penalty in league history. Their reputation took a hit. They armed their millions of enemies with a weapon. If the Patriots embarrass your favorite team, you can always say they had to cheat to win. Even if you are the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The 2007 Patriots eat this stuff up with a spoon. Their season of perfection has been driven by settling scores. They've used every slight - real and imagined - as motivation to crush their next opponent. They were initially driven by the humiliating loss to the Colts in last year's AFC Championship game (blowing a 21-3 lead, yielding 32 second-half points). Then came Spygate and the questions about the legitimacy of their three Super Bowls. Then they had to hear that the refs were in cahoots with them. Then came challenges issued by the lame-o likes of Anthony Smith and Igor Olshansky. It was always something.

Now there's new motivation. The senator and the commissioner did them wrong.

Specter doesn't even have a dog in this Super Bowl fight; he's an Eagles fan. Specter's a regular caller to sports radio in Philadelphia (try to imagine John Kerry calling Fred Smerlas every week). He's been known to corner sports reporters and complain about the odd adjustments the Patriots made at halftime when they beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. It's like they knew something.

So the esteemed statesman, in a complete waste of taxpayer money, wrote to Goodell Nov. 15 - almost two months after the Spygate game in the season opener against the Jets.

He told the Times that Goodell's destruction of Matt Estrella's football video was "analogous to the CIA destruction of tapes."

Wow. That's misplaced. And offensive, to boot. Ya Bloody Hoo.

Strangely enough, Specter's query drew no response from the league. The "United States Senate" letterhead somehow failed to get the attention of anyone in Goodell's office. A flier from a Chinese takeout joint would have gotten quicker attention. So Specter sent a second missive. (A league spokesman told the newspaper Specter's letters didn't reach Goodell's office until late last week.)

The league finally got back to the senator two days ago - just in time for Goodell's Super Bowl press availability. And now Spygate is all the rage. Again. Just as the Patriots prepare for immortality.

"It's a league matter," Belichick said yesterday morning before Goodell's press conference. "I don't know anything about it."

But of course he did know about it. And now everyone has been reminded of it. And the Patriots have new incentive to crush the Giants, 73-0, and force Goodell into that awkward moment when he presents the trophy to the team he punished for cheating.

Goodell's destruction of evidence definitely has a Nixonian flavor. Why destroy evidence? Ever? And Specter's motives are suspect, at best. But it is the timing of this episode that is particularly curious. It's as if the league and the senator wanted to make sure the Patriots' cheating was not forgotten as they stand on the threshold of history.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com"
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Unread postby socrates » Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:54 pm

Belichick is a genius, no doubt. But he coached the last game like a Junior High coach. He should have gone for the field goal. He should have figured out to get the running game going, since Brady was not as mobile as he could be. It's a long season. He was wearing that boot for apparently a high ankle sprain or something. The protection was awful. That's been one of the best things about the Pats. The front line was the collective MVP of the team the whole season until the Super Bowl. The Giants were the only team to figure out how to pass rush the Patriots.

But Belichick should have been ready for that. He should have found a way to get more screen passes, get Maroney running, kevin Faulk. Dante Stallworth could have been used more. More shotguns and hurry ups might have helped.

I was over the SpyGate. I will wait and see if there is any truth to Belichick taping the Rams practice before the first SuperBowl win. If the Patriots cheated and knew exactly what the Rams were gonna do most of the time, that is beyond gamesmanship. But we should wait and see. If this story is true, then Bill Belichick will be forever tarnished. That win will be too.

But I give the Patriots a lot of credit. That great catch off the helmet after Eli Manning amazingly avoided the sack was incredible. Only a bad dose of bad luck kept the Patriots from being 19-0. I wouldn't say the Patriots choked. They did have a bad game. But on any given sunday, it is what it is.

But if this and SpyGate have been overblown, then I will throw in these last two cents, that for the Patriots to be the best of all time, they need two more Super Bowl wins in the next five years or one more next year. Right now, imho, they are knocking on the door to join the Cowboys, 49ers, Green Bay, and Pittsburgh for all-time greatness. They are a level below with the Raiders. I heard the Browns were good too back in the day.

The greatest dynasties of all-time, imho:

*** Boston Celtics
at one point, they had around half of all championships won

*** Montreal Canadiens, NY Yankees

*** Tiger Woods

*** Mike Tyson
Before Buster Douglas

Ok. Enough of me.

The Play: Bears Attack the Band

Flutie Hail Mary

Boston Red Sox- "Greatest Day"- Yankees Choke
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Unread postby socrates » Mon Feb 18, 2008 6:11 pm

Belichick and Pioli speak out

Coach denies any taping of walkthroughs; Walsh conduct addressed

By Mike Reiss
Globe Staff / February 18, 2008

FOXBOROUGH - Patriots coach Bill Belichick and vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli broke their silence regarding taping procedures and suggestions of improper conduct from former employee Matt Walsh yesterday, with Belichick saying he "couldn't pick Matt Walsh out of a lineup" and Pioli noting that part of the reason for Walsh's firing was because of him secretly tape-recording conversations.

Since the days leading up to Super Bowl XLII when Senator Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, questioned the NFL's destruction of tapes that resulted in record fines against Belichick and the Patriots, the club's taping procedures - and Walsh's potential role in them - have ignited a public firestorm.

The Boston Herald, citing an anonymous source, reported Feb. 2 that the Patriots had taped the Rams' walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The Patriots and NFL strongly denied that story, and Belichick further addressed it yesterday.

"In my entire coaching career, I've never seen another team's practice film prior to playing that team," he said. "I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any other team's walkthrough. We don't even film our own. We don't even want to see ourselves do anything, that's the pace that it's at. Regardless, I've never been a part of that."

Belichick added that in his "entire coaching career, I have never filmed a walkthrough, our own. I've never been on a staff that has filmed a walkthrough. I'm talking about when I was a head coach. As an assistant, I've never seen a head coach film a walkthrough the day before a game."

Pioli said Walsh was terminated in January 2003 after he discovered Walsh was "secretly tape-recording conversations between him and me." Pioli said he learned of the recording because "two other employees saw him doing it, and I checked after, and heard it on the tape myself."

Walsh's lawyer, Michael Levy, disputed Pioli's story last night. After speaking with Walsh, he called it a "complete fabrication."

"This is a predictable and pathetic effort to smear Mr. Walsh's character rather than confront the truth about the Patriots' conduct," Levy said from his Washington, D.C. home.

Walsh has hinted he has materials that could prove damaging to the Patriots, and Levy said Walsh will turn them over to the NFL if the league provides him complete indemnification, protecting Walsh from being sued. But Levy said the NFL's most recent offer leaves Walsh unprotected legally against unfounded or unproven allegations.

Belichick further detailed his interpretation of the NFL's taping rules from the league's Constitution & Bylaws (article 9) and scoffed at a "Spygate" reference yesterday because what the team taped was in view to everyone.

The rule states: "Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."

Belichick felt the Patriots' actions were in compliance with NFL rules, saying, "My interpretation was that you can't utilize anything to assist you during that game. What our camera guys do is clearly not allowed to be used during the game and has never been used during that game that it was shot."
more stories like this

At the time the Patriots were fined during the season, it was theorized coaches were utilizing the film of opposing signals to make halftime adjustments. Belichick said that was "never, never" the case.

He described the impact of the tapes as "minimal" to the Patriots' preparations, rating it a "one" on a scale of 1 to 100.

"On the tape of the signaling that we talk about, that film usually wasn't even completed until Thursday or Friday of the following week. It was that low of a priority," he said. "In other words, the video guys had so much other stuff to do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday getting ready for the other game, that a lot of times that film wasn't even processed until later in the week."

Asked, then, why the Patriots conducted the taping, he responded by saying: "Why do anything? Why study tendencies? Why study stances?"

In the NFL, it is commonplace for scouts to attend games of future opponents and study signals. Detailed records are kept of those signals, including which coach is delivering them.

The Patriots' videotaping of signals was deemed to cross the line, which Belichick apologized for yesterday.

"I respect the integrity of the game and always have and always will," he said. "I regret that any of this, or to whatever extent it has in any way brought that into question or discussion or debate. The decision was made by the commissioner, the practice was immediately stopped, and we're not doing it.

"Just going back over the whole taping incident, if I contacted the league and asked them about the practice, I'm sure they would have told me - as they have done - that it is not permissible. Then I could have avoided all of this.

"I take responsibility for it," he continued. "Even though I felt there was a gray area in the rule and I misinterpreted the rule, that was my mistake and we've been penalized for it. I apologize to everybody that is involved - the league, the other teams, the fans, our team, for the amount of conversation and dialogue that it's caused.

"I misinterpreted the rule. The commissioner made his ruling and we've been penalized for it and tried to move on."

Belichick explained why he felt yesterday was the right time to address the issue, and not during the season when it happened.

"I wasn't comfortable talking about it earlier in the year because my No. 1 job is to win football games," he said. "The more distractions there are, I think the harder it is to prepare. I thought the more conversation about this would just take away from what my primary job and our primary job is, which is to win football games.

"I felt like now, the season has been over for a couple weeks, there are certainly a lot of questions out there about it, I thought this would be the timely point to address it as opposed to during the season, at any point. Of course, it came up a number of times."

In the days leading up to this year's Super Bowl, Walsh's potential role in the taping became a hot topic. Yesterday, Pioli detailed the work Walsh did in the personnel department.

"He had come from video, so the first few months his job was to make highlight tapes of draft-eligible players, guys who were going to be free agents," he said. "It's like the entry-level position that we have all the scouting assistants in. It's essentially the same job that I did 15 years ago, which was making copies, picking people up at the airport, data entry, more of the highlight tapes of the players, the draft-eligible guys."

Pioli said reports that indicated Walsh was an "area scout" were incorrect.

Their relationship ended abruptly, according to Pioli.

"The job he was doing, there were two other guys doing it, so essentially the work he was doing wasn't up to the same level as the other people, in my opinion. However, I found out he was secretly tape recording our conversations and he was fired," he said.

Asked if he confronted Walsh for an explanation, Pioli said: "There was never a confrontation. He was just released."

Mike Reiss can be reached at mreiss@globe.com.
© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Unread postby socrates » Mon May 19, 2008 9:48 pm

Eye To Eye: Bill Belichick (CBS News)

It's the NBA refs we need to worry about.

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