ESPN currently is making a big deal about the allegation that Saints G.M. Mickey Loomis was eavesdropping on the communications in which opposing coaches engaged during games. At first blush, however, the notion that Loomis would find value in hearing the play calls and other communications between the opponents’ coaches makes no sense.
As ESPN’s Bill Polian (pictured) said when asked to explain the edge that the Saints obtained doing this, “There’s something missing here. I don’t know what kind of competitive advantage you could get. Mickey would have to know the verbiage of every other opposing team in order to translate, and then he would have to do it instantly and find some way to communicate with his coaching staff, and get it down to the field in time to be useful. That would be very difficult to do, in my opinion.”
Polian’s right, and he has no natural incentive to help the team that beat his Colts for a Super Bowl that culminated a season in which bounties allegedly were used. If Loomis knew what the opposing coaches were saying, there would have been no way to translate that information into something that could be used to the Saints’ benefit.
Even if the conversations were being taped and later given to the coaching staff, there’s no way to take that information and turn it into anything that could be used in a future game.
That doesn’t mean the situation shouldn’t be fully investigated. But it would be ludicrous for Loomis to engage in a blatant violation of federal law if there was nothing to be gained by doing so.
UPDATE 4:34 p.m. ET: As ESPN’s Adam Schefter also pointed out on the air, Loomis isn’t “an Xs and Os evaluator, so it would be difficult for him to get that information down to somebody in a timely fashion when that’s not the language he’s accustomed to speaking. He’s accustomed to dealing with agents, doing contracts, managing the cap, finagling the roster, not dealing with play calls and Xs and Os.”