Let's punish the Patriots!

It seems to be confirmed now – the New England Patriots were caught videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals, in defiance of league rules.

So let’s punish them! I think they should have their victory annulled, and the game given to the Jets. How about the rest of you? What do you think Goodell will do, and what would you do as a fitting punishment?

I always had a vague impression that Belichick was kinda slimy. The article mentions losing multiple draft picks. I’d argue for all of them to be lost. Or better yet, give them to the Jets and the three other teams they’ve been caught spying on.

What transpired that made Mangini think that they were cheating?

Ban them from appearing on TV of any kind for at least 3 years. Or take away NFL permission to profit from their logo.

They should be fined 5 dollars and the Jets should be spanked for being crybabies. Videotaping signals? Why is that even against the rules?

Because it gives you an unfair advantage? If you know a team’s signals beforehand, you are winning due to cheating, not due to skill. It doesn’t take much ability to view a videotape.

Er, the article says it was DURING Sundays game. Which could be on hundreds of different cameras by now.

The Patriots should forfeit the game and lose draft choices.

I don’t know about forfeit the game, but I do want this to be more than a slap on the wrist. Forfeiting draft choices seems like a good start.

Heh, it’d be fun to keep the players on-field from communicating with the sidelines for a game or three. No helmet with a green dot, no third string QB sending in the plays, no jogging over to The Great Satan and having him call the plays. Just send the players out there, and they’re on their own, without the benefit of any potentially tainted information.

Right - they were just videotaping something that was in plains sight anyway. Would they also be breaking the rule if they had a guy watching and writing down the signals? It’s just seems bizarre to me that coaches’ signals should be sacred in this way.

No it doesn’t. Not during the game that’s being taped. The coaching staff can see what’s being signaled on to the field just as easily without a camera as with one. At most, it might give them something to look at and review for future games, but the live, as-it’s-happening videography does nothing particularly useful for them in the game that’s being played.

It’s a rule violation, I suppose, but it didn’t give them an advantage in that game. Videotaping defensive signals did not allow Brady to hit Moss in triple-coverage for a 50 yard strike down the field.

I think BB may be trying to find some tendencies and get an edge for later in the season, but that could be just as easily plotted without a personal sideline cam.

Anyway, if you’re not cheating, you’re not trying, I always say.

I’m not aware of any network/television camera focused on the coach the entire time, recording these signals. I’ve also noticed, when the cameras do focus on the coaches, that coaches tend to cover their mouths when they speak on the headset, and go out of their way to obscure other, non-verbal signals.

But I could be wrong. Pick a game next weekend, any game, and record it. Then, based on what’s clearly in “plain sight” draw up a gameplan for the team of your choosing, detailing what each signal means. Surely if you can do it at home with just the footage provided by the television coverage, coaches should be able to do it without the need for cheating, right?

You don’t need a camera to be able to see what the other team is signaling and you don’t need a camera to document them for analysis at halftime. Videotaping signals from the sideline does not give a team any particular advantage in the game that’s being played. Signals can be just as easily decoded without a camera as with one. Besides, why is it “cheating” to decode the other team’s signals? It seems like that should be fair game to me. It’s a normal part of game play for players on the field to try to decode the verbal signals that a QB calls at the line. Why is figuring out hand signals inherently any more unfair?

If you don’t need a video camera to watch/decode signals, and it’s no big deal to decode signals, why did BB even bother cheating (which he was doing by operating outside the agreed rules of the game, even if there’s question of how wrong he was to do so)? If he just had a guy with a notebook sitting on the sideline making notes, nobody would be the wiser. Why run the risk of getting caught, and dealing with the subsequent punishment? Because a punishment, even a minor one, would be forthcoming. He had to have known that. So he must have taken that into consideration and decided, for whatever reason, that violating rules and risking punishment was worth it.

If it was worth it to him, he must have garnered some unfair advantage from it–and maybe it’s a clever plan, but he still deserves some sort of consequence. BB is clearly a very, very intelligent man with a mind for strategy. He would have done a risk assessment before pulling this stunt.

I fall in the middle. I think they should be punished and the only way you can effectively punish a team is by taking away draft picks or imposing a salary cap penalty. Monetary fines don’t work.

A salary cap penalty would hurt the players, which in my opinion is unfair to them as they weren’t to blame. So a draft pick penalty is most logical, but probably only one. I think they should lose a 4th rounder. Anything later loses its impact since those players are typically not always expected to make the team and anything earlier would be too much.

I think that what they were doing is wrong, but it’s not exactly the biggest offense in the world. It’s true that it would be pretty easy for any team to employ a similar tactic, and that most of these signals are performed in plain sight. The signs are generally coded signals for a reason. Calling it espionage is a bit much, but then again it’s against the rules so most teams probably aren’t doing it which makes it an unfair advantage to those who do.

I think it’s about time that defensive captains are allowed to wear radio receivers like the QBs do. I don’t particularly think that it makes the game more interesting for the fans when teams spend an inordinate amount of time encoding defensive signals or running in new players with the calls. I also don’t want the alternative where stealing signals is openly allowed as simply another form of “scouting” either. I don’t exactly want the guy with the smartest encoder/decoder to have an advantage, that’s not really football. I want those smart guys thinking about game plans, not counter-intelligence.

Well, sensible or not, videotaping the opposing coaches is against the rules and the Pats have been reminded more than once. I say cut their scholarships in half and no post season play…wait…take away their first day draft choices and suspend Belichek for 8 games. if a QB coach can get suspended for 5 games for a ‘performance enhancing substance’ then the punishment for violating this rule should be even stiffer.

Here’s what the league says:

“The rule is that 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,” the league said Monday in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited.

And if a fan, sitting at the game does it… or the press… and they just so happen to give the Patriots a copy… no harm no foul? Weird.

I meant it was in plain sight to anybody who was there on the field. Obviously I can only see it on TV when the broadcaster decides to show it.

It almost seems like this rule is intended more to protect the league’s precious broadcast rights than to prevent any cheating. Can’t have any game footage floating around that’s outside the league’s control!

Right, it’s in plain sight to see at that moment. But it’s only what they can see at that moment–they don’t have the means to analyze it when crafting their strategy to meet their division rival later in the year in a game that could conceivably have playoff implications. They don’t have the means unless they record it. Which is against the rules for a reason.