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New England Patriots: Is it really cheating?

By Denebola
Published: September 2007
By Andrew Tye After the dust surrounding the rece nt New England Patriots cheating controversy settled, the team was fined $750 thousand, and could potentially lose at least one draft pick due to illegal video taping that occurred in their game against the New York Jets. More specifically, head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500 thousand, and Owner Robert Kraft was fined $250 thousand. The Patriots are accused of videotaping the Jets defensive coaches in order to “steal” their signs, and thus the knowledge of their plays.  

In addition, if the Patriots are to make the playoffs, they will forfeit one of their two first round picks. If New England does not make the playoffs, they must forfeit their second and third round picks.Amidst all the media frenzy, many New England fans are left wondering, what does all of this mean? The fact is that this small cheating incident is merely a small bump in the road, in relation to what the NFL as a whole has experienced this past summer.

The summer began with the indefinite suspension of convicted felon Michael Vick. The NFL’s problems also included the suspension of Adam “Pacman” Jones, Tank Johnson, and Chris Henry. These four players were suspended for problems ranging from dog fighting, to gun possession.

In retrospect, videotaping is on a completely different tier then the much more serious charges that face other NFL players. Is it really feasible for a team to video tape an opposing teams signs, interpret the signs, relay the information to the coach, and then to the quarterback? The answer is no. If all of that were to happen, the Patriots would have an advantage on four plays, at most.

Another aspect to consider is the fact that the Patriots won that game 38-14. 24 points cannot be made up with the advantage on three or four plays. The Patriots’ players were not affected by the knowledge of the Jets signals. Randy Moss had nine catches for 183 yards and a touchdown. Ellis Hobbs has a 108 yard kick return. These players had incredible games that were not at all influenced by the knowledge of the Jets plays.

Unfortunately for the Patriots, this event tarnished their reputation. Before the “spying” New England was widely known as a well-run, respectable organization that could make problematic players into respectable ones.

Former running back Corey Dillon, for example, had numerous off-field problems, as well as a bad attitude when he played in Cincinnati; when Dillon came to New England, however, he behaved appropriately and was a big reason for their success.

Wide receiver Randy Moss was also often criticized for his attitude. However, Moss has not had any problems either during his short tenure with the Patriots.

Despite all of their success, the organization will now have to live with the fact that they cheated. Some people have even gone as far as to discredit their three Super Bowl rings. Many others take the side of, “every one does it.” The reality is, most teams do try and steal the opposing team’s signs. There is a reason that coaches hide their mouths when they call their plays.

The fact is, the Patriots were caught cheating. Despite the fact that such actions are taken by most teams in the league, cheating is cheating. Did this affect the outcome of the game? No. Should this incident take away from the fact that the Patriots have won three super bowls? No. But unfortunately, it will.

Therefore, it is important for Patriots fans to move beyond this incident and look forward to the success New England is sure to have in the coming year.

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