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Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Patriots v. Jets: Spies Like Us?

This Sunday the 3-10 New York Jets travel to Foxboro, Massachusetts to take on the 13-0 New England Patriots in what will be the teams' first meeting since the Jets complained about the Patriots violating the NFL gameday manual by having a video assistant tape the Jets coaches and players on the sidelines in Week 1. We had several posts on that topic, including a terrific one by Geoff entitled "Sign-stealing, Trade Secrets, and Corporate Espionage." The relevant rule reads as follows:
"No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game . . . . [all video for coaching .purposes must be shot from locations] enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."
Although the Patriots were apparently neither the first nor only NFL team to break this rule---former Dolphins and Cowboys head coach Jimmie Johnson admitted, "I know for a fact there were various teams doing this . . .that doesn't make right, but a lot of teams are doing this"---the Pats got caught red-handed, and it led to a severe punishment from Commissioner Roger Goodell: Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the Patriots were fined $250,000, and, of greatest value, the team's 2008 first round pick was confiscated. The Patriots rule-violation has been great fodder for Patriots haters, who now believe the Patriots "cheated" (I guess any time a rule is broken, we can call that cheating? Or is breaking a rule just breaking a rule?).

Interestingly, Tom Rock and Bob Glauber of Newsday reveal that the Patriots caught the Jets breaking the same rule last season, but instead of telling the NFL, they apparently laughed it off:
According to league sources familiar with the situation, the Jets were caught using a videotaping device during a game in Foxborough last season that resulted in the removal of a Jets employee. After Gillette Stadium officials saw him using the recorder early in the game, he was told to stop and leave the area. He had been filming from the mezzanine level between the scoreboard and a decorative lighthouse in an end zone. The camera was not confiscated by the Patriots or stadium security.

Tuesday night the Jets admitted that they did videotape the game and their employee was confronted, but said they had permission from the Patriots to film from that location.

An NFL source told Newsday the league office is unaware of the incident, and that the Patriots did not bring it up during the investigation into the Jets' charges of illegal videotaping by the Patriots in September.
It always seems the Patriots get the last laugh. Not only are they 13-0 and perhaps headed for 19-0, but courtesy of an earlier trade, they hold the rights to the San Fransisco 49ers 2008 first round pick. As it stands now, that pick will be the 2nd overall pick, meaning the Patriots could go undefeated, win the Super Bowl, and then--right before the Jets pick 3rd--draft a potential franchise player like University of Arkansas running back Darren McFadden. Now that sounds like cheating!


Do I detect a little bias in that post?

Anonymous Chris Smith -- 12/12/2007 8:33 PM  

Looking at it objectively, I don't see any bias. :)

Blogger Michael McCann -- 12/12/2007 9:25 PM  

Tough to be a Pats fan right now, with all the Spy Gate, and the Loss in the super bowl. I look forward to greener pastures.

New England Patriots Fan!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/14/2008 1:55 PM  

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