Bills may have gone too far with pre-play stadium sounds

Getty Images

In the aftermath of the odyssey known as #DeflateGate and the short-lived phenomenon known as #HeadsetGate, two things were clear: (1) anyone who loses in Gillette Stadium can try to blame it not on their own failure to perform but on cheating; and (2) anyone who hosts the Patriots can take liberties with the rules and there’s nothing the Patriots can say about it.

The first example came in the first game after the Steelers suggested that something fishy happened in the regular-season opener at Gillette Stadium. (The NFL quickly concluded that nothing fishy happened.) The Bills hosted the Patriots at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and on multiple occasions the very loud third-down train horn blared when it arguably shouldn’t have.

In the memo sent last month reminding all teams of the NFL’s in-stadium noise policies, the league said this: “The home team is permitted to play audio while the visiting team is on offense and the play clock is running. The audio must cease by the time the play clock reaches 20 seconds, or when the visiting team’s offense reaches the line of scrimmage, whichever occurs first. Pursuant to this policy, the visiting team’s offense is considered being at the line of scrimmage when the center touches the ball.”

The Patriots used the no-huddle offense on multiple occasions, and on multiple occasions when the Patriots used the no-huddle offense the Bills were blaring the train horn.

It’s unknown whether the Patriots made an official complaint to the league regarding the apparent violation of the noise rules. If they were to make any suggestion of it publicly, they’d invite plenty of eye rolling and cries of “karma!” from fans of the Bills and the other 30 teams not named the Patriots.

It may not matter if the Patriots complain. By league rule, “[a]ll clubs must submit a recording of the video board feed paired with the PA system audio by the Wednesday following a home game.” So if the Bills went too far when the Patriots had the ball, the NFL easily will be able to figure it out.

115 responses to “Bills may have gone too far with pre-play stadium sounds

  1. Funny that the Bills were viewing this game as the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to winning the AFC East.

  2. You’d never hear the Patriots make a public excuse for a loss – but they should bring such Gamesmanship to public attention as every team “cheats” like that

    Other teams fans just delude themselves and since they are perennial losers no one cares

  3. Wait, what? That can’t be! Only the Pats cheat 😉

    Seriously, now you can see how greatness handles adversity, not with tears and excuses but with completions & touchdowns.

    BTW, I’m offering 2 cents on a dollar for used air pumps 🙂

  4. That wasn’t train whistle, it was Ryan, his team and the Bill’s fans wailing as they got their a$$ handed to them. Ryan’s game plan: turn up the noise. turn up the hype and let’s pray the Patriots lose. Yes, Cryan WAS out-coached.

  5. The NFL may be able to figure it out, but it is highly unlikely the good folks at Football Ops (Vincent, Kensil and Gardi) will care.

  6. Where have I seen this before. The league already sent a memo and unlike another team who interpreted it to its letter…the Bills actually ignored it and also unlike a similar incident with another team…this absolutely did give them an in game advantage.

    Hmm. Therefore I expect a hefty punishment for the cheating Bills. And I think it’s funny that they cheated and still got WHOOPED. 🙂

  7. I Was wondering why the stadium was so close to a train yard. I concluded that all of Buffalo is a train yard and that’s why I kept hearing the horn.

  8. They may have already lodged a complaint to the league. Most teams do after every game they play every week.
    But say something about it to the media?
    No the Patriots wouldn’t say something. They don’t make excuses publicly. Probably if someone asked him about it. Bellichick would give one of his Bellichikian responses like “There’s noise at every stadium. You just have to deal with it.”
    Its gamesmanship.

  9. The Bills could have played that famous video of the black dude tickling Rex Ryan’s wife’s feet when Brady was under center and it wouldn’t have mattered. Pats crushed the Buffoon…as usual.

  10. Can only imagine the outrage if this happened in NE. But of course it didn’t so no one will care. Funny how it’s OK when other teams push the limits but if the Patriots do it all of a sudden their incredible accomplishments are easily dismissed as cheating. The double standard is amazing.
    -Cardinals Fan

  11. But yet nothing that anyone ever writes or says will change the fact that every Patriots “championship” is tainted with one of the largest cheating scandals the NFL has ever faced.

  12. Goodell and his henchman will leak to their ESPN spokespeople that although the league was generally aware of excessive noise, the New England Patriots exacerbated the situation by approaching the line of scrimmage at an excessive rate…creating unfair conditions for Buffalo’s sound men. Hatchetman Vincent has docked NE a 3rd round draft pick and fined Tom Brady $250k for failure to give Buffalo ample time to turn off their horn.
    Video of Wrecks Ryan giving the horn pumping sound from the sideline has been removed from NFL Networks online site and no further discussion will be allowed.

  13. The Patriots ignored a memo prior to Spygate….and were docked a 1st rounder and a hefty fine.
    Lets see what kind of justice the league hands down to teams that ignore league memos.

  14. Just imagine the outcry if this happened in Foxboro??!!!!!!!

    “CHEATERS, DIRTY ROTTEN CHEATERS!!!!!!”

    Let it happen in Buffalo, and …… *crickets*

  15. Brady and the Patriots did the best thing possible – they just beat the Bills and the Steelers.

    I hope the NFL does go after the Bills. What they appear to have done is just as bad as what the Falcons did.

  16. Is that in the same infraction list as pumping in crown noise? Or is it more minor than that?

    Still, I suppose it should be at least looked at, I guess.

    On the other hand, it wasn’t the Patriots, so no one is going to care. Least of all Roger “Discipline by Magic Eight Ball” Goodell.

  17. They probably did.

    The entire Bills organization needs to take a look at itself this morning and remember they’re a team trying to make tbe playoffs for the first time in 16 years and not defending a super bowl title. This past week was an embarrassing circus.

    And I’m a huge Bills fan.

  18. TRAINHORNGATE!!

    That CHEATING franchise should be banned all year, lose next years first and fourth round pick, and WRECKS suspended for a year. Sick and tired of their cheating ways. Enjoy your asterisks cheaters…!!! Oh dam forgot, they haven’t won anything yet!!

  19. And since most of the fans on here act like 17 year old girls, I’m sure they won’t care if the patriots were put into a disadvantage. People like to cry about perceived “cheating” (I use that term loosely) by the patriots, but they are very selective about when to be outraged. It’s just human nature. When the team you hate gets an edge, it’s time to jump on the soap box and whine, but when the roles are reversed, well it’s just gamesmanship. It’s only a gigantic scandal when it’s not your team…

  20. The Bills play the horn on first down to announce the Defense is on the field, and on 3rd down. They have done this for many years so I don’t see the issue unless yesterday they timed it differently. Either way the Bills D had no answer for the quick release offense.
    Signed- A Bills Fan

  21. As a Patriots fan, I can honestly say, who cares? The Patriots had over 500 yards in offense and it didn’t make a difference. This is football and not golf. What annoys me more is if the Patriots had done this, we would already be calling this “#horngate”.

  22. It’s only cheating when the Patriots do it. When other teams do it, they get ignored or maybe a warning is issued.

    The “integrity of the game” is only at issue when whining opposing coaches at Gillette stadium (cough…Harbaugh…cough Pagano…cough…Tomlin) whine.

  23. What no new -GATE?!?

    Oh yeah, it didn’t occur in New England so nothing to see here. Move along.

    ……….

    Of interest is how New England was seemingly prepared for it and it did not seem to effect their play on the field, which leads me to believe that Belichick is one heck of a coach!

  24. In all fairness, Bill Polian was there for a halftime ceremony and the Bills know how much he loves illegal noise. They were just giving him a tribute.

  25. I personally think there are too many baloney things that the NFL complains about and very few teams does it apply to, unless you are The Patriots Organization. If this happened in Foxborough-Espn would already be calling calling it Noise-Gate

  26. Forget about the legality of it, it was friggin’ annoying as hell just on TV. I can’t imagine anybody at the game was enjoying it.

  27. Roger? Kensil? Anyone? C’mon man, I thought you guys were all about “integrity of the game”?

    From Mort to kravitz to Carter, Brunelle and Bettis, it was a lie from day one.

    Nice try boys, better luck next time. Maybe if you have actual evidence you might fare better.

    How many blown calls by refs did we see across the league yesterday? How many episodes of “cheating” did we see?

    Time to grow up Haternation. This is a big boy sport. Not peewee soccer.

  28. The Hoodie always has his team focused and prepared. NE, above the noise in so many ways.
    Pile on all the hate you want but he is the best coach of the salary cap era and it isn’t even close.
    The only real flaw I can find is the same one that fans of 31 teams all do, he isn’t coaching the team I root for. His defensive game plan for SB 25 got Big Blue a championship though, so there’s that.

  29. BB probably had the patriots practicing with train horns blaring in the background for just this situation. Nice try though buffalo.

  30. I noticed the timing of the horn but thought little of it. NFL HQ will do nothing. It doesn’t fit their agenda. The Patriots doing it would bring fines, suspensions, and loss of draft picks as well as call it #Horngate—oh yeah, a conspiracy would then be mysteriously “Leaked” to a third-rate local Buffalo reporter. The Patriots continuing to win is driving the ex-NY Jets execs that run the NFL even more insane.

  31. I would argue that pumping in noise is worse than videoing from the wrong area and playing with balls that naturally decrease in air pressure due to atmospheric conditions….the Pats lost 2 first rounders…the Bills should lose there first rounder next year…that will send a message to ALL the teams that do this very thing week after week after week…..All you Patriot haters wanted skewer BB and TB, well now the microscope is on all your games. You want the rules enforced and no more gamesmanship…well careful what you wish for it may bite you in the ass.

  32. What are you referring to? Spygate ? They were punished. Deflategate? Even Wells said something to the affect of they were barely guilty. I also know for fact the NFL does not use calibrated gauges. Therefore you cannot achieve exact measurements.

  33. “In the memo sent last month reminding all teams of the NFL’s in-stadium noise policies, the league said this: ‘The home team is permitted to play audio while the visiting team is on offense and the play clock is running. The audio must cease by the time the play clock reaches 20 seconds, or when the visiting team’s offense reaches the line of scrimmage, whichever occurs first…'”

    In a memo sent just prior to the 2007, the league reminded teams that any video taping had to be done from an enclosed space, not the sidelines. The Patriots violated that rule in the first game, and lost a first round draft pick as a result.

    Anyone expect the league to respond to a more game-impactful violation by the Bills similarly?

    They shouldn’t, of course – it’s not a big deal. But it shouldn’t have been a big deal when the Patriots had a camera in the wrong place in 2007, and the NFL League Office lost its collective mind, with a grotesque overreaction, the fruits of which we all saw for the last 9 months, and are living with today…

  34. “But yet nothing that anyone ever writes or says will change the fact that every Patriots “championship” is tainted with one of the largest cheating scandals the NFL has ever faced.”

    Thanks for the laugh. If you think using a recently-outlawed methods of signal-stealing, one which had been common across the league for quite some time prior to 2006, is one of the largest cheating scandals the NFL has ever faced, I don’t know how to help you. But by all means, enjoy explaining away every moment of New England’s success if it helps you sleep at night.

  35. To all pats fans do only thing the haters do is try and rrile us up we know wat time it is Brady is God they can’t beat him! Hahahahaha loving it cry babys

  36. Mike, how is this any different from Spygate???

    I cannot see how this is in any way different, down to the memo/reminder that was sent right before the season. This arguably gives the home team much more of an advantage than Spygate as it disrupts EVERY play the visiting offense has. The Spygate advantage theoretically would have worked on away games too though, even if it was just 1 or 2 plays.

    60 plays * 8 home games

    vs

    2 plays * 16 regular season games

    The Bills need an equal or greater punishment…or the Patriots #1 draft pick needs to be returned.

  37. 500K Fine for Sexy Rexy
    250K Fine for the Bills organization
    Loss of first round draft pick.

    Oh, this was against the Patriots, never mind, we will just issue another warning memo to the offending team…

  38. i think every team should just cheat against the patriots and when they get caught just say “you cheat to!”. pay off the ref’s, blare music when pats are in huddle, etc.. do whatever it takes to win and when the pats cry foul then just say “you cheat to butthurt hater!” and lie about it. This is the culture the so called “champs” created. disgrace to football and all sports for that matter.

  39. Why do they play a train horn? They don’t have anything to do with trains?

    Vikings blow the giant Viking horn. Panthers have the growl. Eagles, Seahawks, Falcons play the bird shriek. Pats have the 10 gun salute.

    Bills play a train horn?

  40. Yet another rule I was completely unaware of… I’m still on page 147,254,812,898,156,215,654,235 of the NFL Rule Book.
    Solution: How about the crowd can be as loud as it wants and when the any team breaks the huddle just stop with the media noises.

  41. Remember when home field advantage in Cleveland meant throwing bottles at the refs?

    The train horn was used illegally. We timed it. Worse than taping signals. NFL must respond and penalize or they show themselves to be total frauds.

  42. “Losers assemble in little groups, and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups.

    Winners assemble as a team”.

    This is all that needs to be said about the New England organization…

  43. LeSean McCoy and Dion Lewis both played well for their respected teams on Sunday but one was given a max contract to play for the Bills and the other was a street free agent who signed near the veteran minimum. Maybe, just maybe, Belichick is much better at not only coaching but also at shopping for the groceries.

  44. ESPN just released information that they received from an NFL source, that the Patriots hacked the sound system and did this to frame the Bills. Ted Wells will be independently investigating this with Pash.

  45. I see the cheaters sign held up by fans.
    maybe they were talking about themselves.

    I think the sign is referring to the ticket sales office who convinced fans to buy season tickets based upon the second coming Jesus, err I mean Rex.

  46. tpaleo says:
    Sep 21, 2015 5:39 AM
    Funny that the Bills were viewing this game as the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to winning the AFC East.
    *******************************************************

    Apparently the light at the end of the tunnel was an oncoming train…..lolzzzz….and I don’t mean the third down train horn. I mean The Patriots Express, that rolled over those circled wagons, then shuffled off from Buff-a-lo….

    Yet another Buffalonian Bummer. It’s like I am watching a Wile E. Coyote cartoon and the Patriots are The Road Runner…. beep beep!

  47. The Bills cheated and still lost!! It’s apparent that at least 26 of the 32 teams in the NFL have a low aptitude or suffer from a low football IQ. Therefore, I chalk all the cheating talk regarding my Patriots as a failure by other teams to consistently execute intelligently. With almost two weeks down in the 2015 season, just look at all the mental issues.

  48. When Bill Belichick and the Patriots ignored the league memo on filming from sidelines we know what happened. Loss of first round pick and fines. I just want equal treatment for everyone including the hapless Buffalo Bills.

  49. Ryan, the supposed defensive genius, claims he still doesn’t know Pats RB Dion Lewis name is and said the Pats should have ran the ball. Is that why the Pats gained so many yards and scored so many points b/c Ryan thought they’d run the ball!?? I thought he was prepared for this game for months and went home early all week? What a clown.

  50. crybabysayscheatertoomuch says:
    Sep 21, 2015 9:39 AM
    Roger? Kensil? Anyone? C’mon man, I thought you guys were all about “integrity of the game”?

    From Mort to kravitz to Carter, Brunelle and Bettis, it was a lie from day one.

    Nice try boys, better luck next time. Maybe if you have actual evidence you might fare better.

    How many blown calls by refs did we see across the league yesterday? How many episodes of “cheating” did we see?

    Time to grow up Haternation. This is a big boy sport. Not peewee soccer.
    ________________________________________

    dammm sonnnn!!!!!! got em…..

    actually had me pumped up lol

  51. Camera-gate , deflate-gate, headset-gate, shoelace-gate , nose pick-gate. I look forward to the next excuse-gate the other lying and crying fanbases come up with. All this article does is attempts to prolong and validate a mythical scandal about air.

    BTW, what are TB12 ‘s stats since the footballs are not a couple of ticks under 12.5?

    Patriot Domination is the culprit and cause of these fairy tale scandals.

  52. Not a Bills fan, but I’m not so sure the Bills actually violated the rule. I know better than to assume guilt based on media reports. Yeah, they blew the stupid horn on plays where the Patriots went no-huddle and were standing at the line, but (when the cameras allowed) you could see that the horn was killed as soon as the center touched the ball. Most of the time, the cameras were focused elsewhere (or they were showing a replay) and you couldn’t tell exactly when he touched it versus when the horn stopped.

    Still, the general reaction has been informative. Seems like most fans are willing to acknowledge that this is, at best, a minor violation and move on. That’s how it should be, and making such distinctions is what we should be “teaching the children”, rather than mindlessly repeating some moronic “cheating is cheating” mantra.

Leave a Reply