After a more than 2,000-word opening statement in his Saturday press conference detailing how the club’s footballs might have become under-inflated in the AFC title game vs. Indianapolis, Patriots coach Bill Belichick opened the floor for a question-and-answer session.
Seven questions in, a sore subject for the Patriots was broached: the 2007 videotaping scandal that cost the club a first-round pick and $250,000 in fines, plus another $500,000 docked from Belichick.
According to the press conference transcript from the Patriots, here’s what Belichick was asked:
“You said you always try to err on the side of caution and stay on the right side of the rules, but with the videotaping it was clear that you were pushing the envelope on that. Is that something that changed that?”
Here was Belichick’s response, per the Patriots:
“I mean, look, that’s a whole other discussion,” Belichick said of the Patriots’ taping of the Jets’ signals from the sidelines. “The guy’s giving signals out in front of 80,000 people, OK?
“So we filmed him taking signals out in front of 80,000 people, like there were a lot of other teams doing at that time, too. Forget about that. If we were wrong then we’ve been disciplined for that.”
Before a follow-up question could be completed, Belichick continued:
“The guy’s in front of 80,000 people. 80,000 people saw it. Everybody [on the] sideline saw it. Everybody sees our guy in front of the 80,000 people. I mean, there he is.
“So, it was wrong, we were disciplined for it. That’s it. We never did it again. We’re never going to do it again and anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.”
It’s possible Belichick could again be asked about “Spygate” at the Super Bowl, especially after indicating Saturday that “there were a lot of other teams” filming signals around 2007, too. However, it doesn’t seem likely Belichick would be very expansive about this topic next week. To borrow a phrase from Jerry Reinsdorf, this might be our only bite of the apple on “Spygate.”
Then again, who saw Saturday’s press conference coming?