With the Patriots in the Super Bowl, all the grievances against them are being aired by old foes.
And former Eagles assistant Steve Spagnuolo has claimed that he believes the Patriots were cheating during Super Bowl XXXIX. Spagnuolo was the linebackers coach for the Eagles at the time, and said the Patriots knew their signals.
He obviously figured out how to prevent in three years later, when he was the defensive coordinator for the Giants and they beat the undefeated Patriots, but he’s still carrying a grudge.
“The biggest thing we learned was make sure you have two signal-callers, not one signal-caller,” Spagnuolo said during an interview with 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (via Newsday). “Because they may have all your signals.”
While it seems forever ago, that came at a time when Spy was the gate of preference after they were caught stealing signals from the Jets. And Spagnuolo said that after the Super Bowl win over the Eagles, he became convinced they were up to something.
“I remember through the course of the game [defensive coordinator Jim Johnson] saying, ‘They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing . . . Try to hide it, etc. etc,’ ” Spagnuolo said. “I remember distinctly thinking, ‘Jim I don’t think that’s true.’ Now I’m not saying this to him, because I don’t want to upset him. I’m saying it to myself. ‘I don’t think so, Jim. Just concentrate on calling the game.’ ’’
But the more he thought about it, he decided Johnson was correct.
“In hindsight, he was right,” he said. “When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us. . . .
“I’m not crying over spilled milk here, but we believed that Tom knew when we were pressuring, because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick. But, you know, you got to play the game, and they won that particular day.”
Spagnuolo said he was careful to apply the lesson in the future. And as long as the Patriots are in the midst of their incredible run of success, Spagnuolo won’t be the last one to accuse them of doing it in an underhanded way.