My opinions: Bill Belichick broke a league rule and is paying dearly for it to the tune of $500,000 and a 1st-round draft pick, which is like gold in the NFL!
I’m not shocked at all this, though. Every team in the NFL steals signals. The problem was that the Patriots were using a camera to do it, which is prohibited. During every game, there are coaches up in the press box with binoculars and people reading lips (why do you think coaches put their playsheets in front of their mouths when they call plays?). This camera was used to gather information for future meetings between the teams. There was no time to run through the footage shot during the 12-minute halftime of the Jets’ game, and besides, the camera had been confiscated in the first quarter.
Every coach wants to 'get an edge'. These guys are crazy! I've read coach bios and insider books and they work 100+ hours a week watching film and creating gameplans and other stuff.
Other coaches around the league, according to an NFL beat writer whom I heard on the local sports talk radio station today, consider taking away a 1st-round draft pick excessive. When the Broncos and 49ers got nailed years ago for playing around with the salary cap and other infractions, they didn’t have to give up a precious first-rounder. Coaches also consider all this much-ado-about-nothing, as it is common practice (the stealing of signs).
Of course, you don’t get that from the national coverage, which makes BB out to be Attila the Hun! I'm amused by all the wailing and gnashing of teeth. :) Belichick has a prickly personality and doesn’t make it easy for sportswriters to do their jobs, and now they’re getting their payback. The other head coaches also are enjoying Bill’s punishment, but they are also less-than-thrilled with Eric Mangini (head coach of the New York Jets), who turned Bill in. This breaks the Coaches’ Code of Silence, as now they’ll all be closely scrutinized, and Mangini was also the protégé of Belichick. Bill brought Mangini into the league as a ballboy years ago and mentored him all the way to defensive coordinator of the Patriots, and the team’s success was why Mangini got the job from the Jets. The other NFL coaches, who are a very tight group, consider Mangini a backstabber. And around here in New England, he’s now known as Ratfink. ;)
Ah, well, this too shall pass. The Patriots have weathered worse in their long history and will persevere through this as well.
You don’t go through the grind of an NFL season and win three Super Bowls in four years without excellent talent and coaching and a lot of hard work. Tom Brady is still the best quarterback in the NFL, and this team will do just fine.
Remember, piling on is easy. In this society, we love to build people up and then tear them down. A lot of the coverage and other teams' glee is fueled by green (as in envy).
Bill Belichick screwed up and he is paying for it. He’s still a helluva football coach.
And now, on to the Chargers who come into Foxboro this Sunday! :)