Just days after Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension was overturned, new attention is being given on the earlier Patriots cheating scandal, known as Spygate.
An ESPN Outside the Lines report, citing interviews with more than 90 sources around the NFL, says that the Spygate cheating lasted “at least 40 games over a period of several seasons from 2000 to 2007,” and that the league never fully investigated all the accusations against the team.
According to the report, the taping of opponents’ signals reached the point where the Patriots had diagrams of the stolen signals that they could use during games.
The report also says that other teams were much more upset about the Patriots’ cheating than they let on, because NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell convinced the rest of the league not to press the issue. Former Rams coach Mike Martz, whose team lost to the Patriots in Belichick’s first Super Bowl, said he was pressured by a “panicked” Goodell to issue a statement saying he was satisfied by the league’s investigation of the Patriots. Martz said he agreed to go along with Goodell’s request to issue a statement backing the league not because he was completely satisfied by the investigation, but because Goodell convinced Martz that a prolonged scandal could badly damage the league.
Anyone who thought the Deflategate ruling was going to end any talk of the Patriots cheating is sorely mistaken. Both Deflategate and Spygate are stories that will have legs.