It’s amazing to me the attention and outrage expressed against Bill Belichick and the Patriots for Spygate when there’s much more serious cheating going on in the NFL. I mean, Belichick gets lynched for taping a team to figure out its tendencies. A practice that I sincerely believe Belichick thought was a grey area in the rules. Anyways, that’s what coaches are paid to do, analyze film to gauge a team’s tendencies.
In comparison, we have a multitude of other teams tampering with free agency. For example, the 49er’s were recently penalized a 5th round draft pick for tampering with the Bear’s Lance Briggs in free agency. The quality of players (or lack thereof) has a much more dramatic affect on the outcome of a game than whether or not a coach can crack an opposing team’s defensive signals. How about the Patriot’s 2006 season? Remember the Dion Branch fiasco when the Patriots were basically forced to trade their best receiver away at the beginning of the season? Where was the outrage, outside of New England, when the Jets tampered with Dion Branch? The 2006 AFC championship game against the Colts was so close one play could have changed the outcome of the game. Ya think having Branch would have made a difference? No, not at all ;).
It doesn’t stop with free agency tampering. Numerous teams have also violated the salary cap. Those same 49ers were penalized $400000 for violating the cap in Steve Young and Brent Jone’s contracts. The same Steve Young who lambasted Belichick and the Patriots on ESPN. Its not just the 49ers. The Broncos were penalized, not once, but twice for salary cap violations. The first was in regards to John Elway’s contract. Should the Broncos also have an asterix next to their superbowl victories? Where was the outrage? Spectre, where are you? Oh, I forgot, you’re a senator from Pennsylvania, not one from Georgia or Wisconsin.
All and all, I’m fine with the Patriots getting punished by the commissioner. What I’m not fine with is the Patriots being treated as a special case by the media and the fans. I want to see equal outrage against other teams that violate the rules, equal press coverage. Its only fair that fans in San Francisco, New York, and Denver experience similar humiliation and witch hunts.