Lost in the debate regarding whether it’s helpful to have another team’s playbook (it’s amazing to see people argue with a straight face that it isn’t) is whether it’s helpful for Browns coach Mike Pettine to talk on the record about how the Patriots finagled a copy of the Jets’ playbook.
It’s not, based on information we’ve gathered in the wake of Pettine’s disclosure that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady bragged at Wes Welker’s wedding that coach Bill Belichick got a copy of the Jets playbook from Alabama coach Nick Saban, who got it from Jets coach Rex Ryan.
If it’s truly not a big deal for one team to have another team’s playbook, why would Pettine even tell the story? If these playbooks are easily obtained, there would be nothing significant about the Herbal Essences chain of communication that resulted in Pettine blabbing about it.
(Apparently, they’re not hard to get. A PFT reader has sent a copy of what appears to be the Jets defensive playbook. If it’s a forgery, it’s a damn good one.)
Of course it helps to have a team’s playbook. Even if it helps only a little, football coaches want anything and everything they can get, if there’s even a slim chance it will make a difference. The information obtained by the Patriots via the Spygate scandal supposedly had, on a one-to-100 scale, a value of only one — prompting owner Robert Kraft to call Belichick “a real schmuck.”
In the league’s coaching fraternity, Pettine currently is being called even worse. Per a league source, other coaches aren’t happy with Pettine’s decision to say what he said. The thinking is that, regardless of the stuff they say and do privately, they need to send a different message publicly. Even though his Browns don’t play the Jets or the Patriots this year, the source says some coaches could be inclined to run up the score against Pettine in 2014, if they get the chance to do it.
Yes, some coaches are that petty. Ultimately, they’re human beings.
Well, most of them are.