The New England Patriot Video Library

Sources: Goodell determines Pats broke rules by taping Jets’ signals

This is an interesting story to me, for a couple of different reasons. First of all, the Patriots have been a very successful franchise over the last few years, with three Super Bowl wins in the last six seasons setting themselves up to be enshrined as the “Dynasty of the Aughts.” It is particularly difficult for teams to dominate over a long period of time in football, because of free agency, injury, and the fact that every playoff game is “win or go home” — games are often won or lost on a single play. These allegations, even if untrue, have already tarnished their accomplishments with the taint of illegitimacy.

Second, if the description of the Patriots’ espionage in the article is to be believed, they went about it in an incredibly amateurish fashion — I don’t understand how they could think that an assistant, standing on the sidelines with a video camera, would not be caught. I guess I gave the NFL more credit than they deserved in the subterfuge department — baseball has a rich history of elaborate sign-stealing schemes, all of which were probably more effective than this clumsy bit of espionage.

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