story on Pats has compelling, but inaccurate, anecdote


As PFT Live producer Rob “Stats” Guerrera said before Tuesday’s show, “You know it’s a crazy day when you haven’t gotten a chance to read both Patriots cheating stories.”

Lost in the wake of the 10,000-word ESPN odyssey regarding the depths of the Spygate rabbit hole was a story that focused primarily on the steps taken by other teams to avoid being on the wrong end of New England cheating. Contained in that story was a compelling anecdote.

Compelling, but inaccurate.

“[E]very Friday teams must announce which injured players are doubtful, questionable or probable to play that Sunday,” the report explains. “Teams usually take 53 players to the game and announce, 90 minutes before kickoff, which seven are inactive. But sometimes, at Saturday-night meetings, Belichick tells his staff which players on the opposing team were not on the flight to New England, a source with knowledge of the meetings tells SI. It’s not clear how Belichick knows. But he does.”

Here’s how he knows: By league rule, injured players who don’t make the trip must be downgraded to out. It happens all the time, and it’s one of the benefits of being the home team. Since the home team doesn’t travel, its questionable or doubtful players can remain questionable or doubtful until 90 minutes before kickoff. Road teams don’t have that luxury; it an injured player doesn’t make the trip to the site of the game, he’s definitely not playing — and the team definitely has an obligation to immediately let the league, the opponent, and the media know.

That’s how Belichick knows. It’s how the coach of any home team knows that players from the visiting team didn’t make the trip.

The report suggests that Belichick has spies in every NFL city, or at a minimum at every NFL airport. On one hand, it deepens his mystique. On the other hand, it unfairly adds to the perception that Belichick is an evil genius with tentacles stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Either way, it’s not accurate.

103 responses to “ story on Pats has compelling, but inaccurate, anecdote

  1. Loving this more and more. The Patriots have the whole league paranoid. It’s hilarious. I now believe Pats fans should embrace the cheater rhetoric. It has great mental advantages.

    This is the best news ever.


  2. Looking through the Super Bowl XLIX box score here and having trouble finding how many tackles the camera and 0.2 PSI had. Neither had any catches, interceptions, or touchdowns either. Funny, it looks football players actually win football games.

  3. Both the SI story and OTL story are completely flawed. The lead writer for the OTL story contridicts himself in the article compared to what he said on a radio program last year.

  4. There is likely a similar explanation to virtually every shadow the Patriots’ opponents conjure up to explain why the Patriots keep winning.

  5. Every major airport?

    Instead, how about just Logan? Always good to see a lawyer do their best to confuse a situation with facts not in evidence…

  6. He is an evil genius defntly…
    He never whines…nvr says smone did something againzt rules as he knows rules (& also loopholes)…
    Doesnt go gaga on the best of wins or breakdwn in the worst of thm

    No meltdowns n resides rentfree in all the opponents heads!

    Evn aftr a horrible loss to jets in playoffs doesnt whine or throw any1 under the bus…

  7. Authentic journalism is predicated on facts, data, EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE. These twin stories out of ESPN and SI are pure speculation.

    If you on want to write speculatively, journalism is not your metier. Philosophy and theology are.

  8. Patriots have earned urban legend status. I picture 31 franchises sitting around campfires telling stories of the Boogeyman Belichick all of them letting out shrieks at every tale. With piss running down their legs and Irsay facedown with a pant leg on fire.

  9. Accuracy has nothing to do with this witch hunt. Unbelievable the depths some are going to. Almost seems orchestrated in a way. Nah… Nobody in the front office would do anything like that.

  10. I would say this is more typical then cheating.
    Most of the league is stupid, at least half the teams.
    So you can either blame yourself for being fired after 2-3 years of blame the big bad cheating monster…

  11. We shouldn’t let facts get in the way of the media trying to smear the Patriots once again at the request of the league office. Hasn’t even been a full week since Berman ruled in favor of Brady.

  12. .
    Goodell has a degree in PR. It’s what he does. Did anyone besides me think that the convergence of the baseless ESPN report, the bogus Sports Illustrated article, and Goodell’s appearance on ESPN was just pure happenstance?

    Goodell was not going to leave a negative storyline out there to percolate. He was not going to allow Thursdays opener to focus on his incompetence. All he has to do is fabricate some red meat to placate the Patriots haters in the country. The media will handle the distribution duties.

    Also note that since the allegations come from nameless sources, they can never be vetted. Therefore they will be accepted by the media as totally accurate.

  13. Even if he did have somebody watch the airport(s) there is nothing illegal, immoral, or unethical about it.

    I can see a bus stop from where I sit typing this, there is one dude posted up drinking from a bag and one little old lady sitting as far away from him as possible. Look at me Bellichicking away without fear of repercussion.

  14. I had a friend in high school who weighed 195lbs and could bench press 415lbs for sets of 5-6. EVERYONE was convinced he was on steroids. He wasn’t. He was just stronger than everyone else. Just because it’s not the norm doesn’t make it impossible.

  15. The stooges at espn who shill for the corrupt NFL office of Goodell couldn’t care less about truth. That would interfere with their smear campaign. Works great on the imbeciles who take every rumor as gospel but fails miserably in a courtroom where one has to produce PROOF.

  16. It’s getting ridiculous. The NFL PR machine has taken over both ESPN and SI. They’re very skilled, and the most frustrating part is they make anyone who doubts their “reports” look like they’re wearing tinfoil hats.

    Yet, anyone who digs deep enough can see right through it. Everything that these guys come up with is either found to not be credible or accurate, or at the worst, is also done by several (most) other teams.

    Filming opponent signals was not illegal before 2007, despite what Pats haters may try to make you think.

    Patriots personnel did not steal game sheets from other teams (think about how stupid this one is… if teams are dumb enough to leave their whole game plan out in the open unattended, they deserve to have them stolen). It’s ludicrous and inaccurate.

    Belichick “somehow knows” which players will be inactive on Sunday. It’s Belichick, so, he must be cheating to find out. Definitely not public information or anything like that. Cheating.

    Please. Don’t fall for the NFL’s traps.

  17. Belichick and the Pats own so much real estate in the heads of the other 31 teams, from the ownership to the coaching staffs to the players to the fans, it’s not even funny. Except it’s hysterically funny.

  18. Dyed in the wool Patriots fan here. This entire thing, and I mean everything has become laughable. I can’t imagine what living in a complete state of paranoia must be like, and I hope I never do.

  19. The league is updated on the weekend on an as needed basis…no timetable is defined. The author overlooks the possibility Belichik announces at the meeting before the league office was notified.

  20. Pile it on. I know a smear campaign when I see it. Cowards unwilling to state their names while lying through their teeth.

    Lots of lies and hearsay reported as fact. Pats are gonna be on a mission this year.

    Believe what you want, but how about some proof?

  21. I’m not surprised that these stories contain inaccurate anecdotes. That’s pretty much par for the course for today’s media. I could defend the Patriots by pointing out their higher winning percentage since spygate but why bother, people will do anything to rationalize whey their teams failed.

    Less than 48 hours until the fourth banner is raised. The drive for five is upon us.

  22. SI and ESPN just takes advantage of the mob mentality mouth breathers who will believe anything written about the Patriots. Sports journalism is dead. Bfady, Belichick and the Patriots own so much real estate in all of your brains. Can’t wait for them to put up 70 on Thursday.

  23. Regarding this reopening of an 8 year old wound, I say so what? This all happened before they got caught, and to a degree it gives the impression the Patriots spied significantly less than previous thought. I always assumed that when it came out the Pats stole signals, they were doing it every single game until after Week 1 2007 (when they were caught), the report says they only did it 40 times in 7 years (2000-2006). So that’s 127 games (112 regular season games plus 14 postseason games and the 2007 opener), they only did it 1/3rd of the time. Then there’s the report about stealing the play sheet that showed the first 10-15 scripted offensive plays. From what I’ve seen in my time playing sports, if things go bad early, many coaches will scrap the scripted plays and work with what they feel fits the situation. Even with all of that stuff, so what? It clearly gave no decisive advantage to the Patriots, 2007-2014 they have the highest win percentage in the NFL and go to another 3 Super Bowls. If not for amazing catches by Tyree and a drop by Welker, the Patriots likely win all 3 and the whole spygate argument is destroyed. They’re still as great of a team after spygate as they were before it, and they’ll probably continue to be for another 3-4 years at least.

  24. Roger and his minions at Pravda don’t care if the story is accurate. They are determined to crush the Pats by rehashing a decade old news story and twisting the facts because the Pats had the gal to question the judgement of their Supreme Leader.

    Let this be a warning to any other infidel that considers crossing General Secretary Goodell!

  25. the hoodie is the master he is in everyones head not just oppossing coaches players and front office people but reporters and tv people haha pats going back 2 back again this year long live the pats dynasty

  26. Wow. Imagine the guy who supplied this quote to SI without understanding what the injury list is.

    Kinda embarrassing.

  27. Thank you Mike for passing this along. The Patriots will once again play sound football and let the opponent wonder what happened. While I am an avid Pats fan, the NFL is really turning me off with this BS.

  28. I wonder if it was Mangini.

    What the hell, let’s treat speculation as if it were information.


  29. I’m not putting much stock on anything I am reading. ESPN and the league had years to amend the record but opted not to do so until they were humiliated publicly for hunting Tom Brady too aggressively. Now after 8 years we are dumping into the public domain all these new details about Spygate … BS. Besides, I didn’t sense there were any game changers in anything I read. Sure, some reporters like Gary Tanguay are simple minded organisms that are easily swayed by every breaking leak that has come out about the Patriots over the past 9 months. So what? This mob – driven social phenomenon separates the real journalists from the paramecia.

  30. I don’t like this version. I kinda like the one with the spies, please go that route. The Patriots are like an organization that my favorite author Tom Clancy if still with us would have loved to right about.
    Spies, espionage, subterfuge, deception, secretive, fills you with paranoia, makes you loose your mind.
    They may just be smarter than everyone else.
    Ignorance breads superstition and here could very well be a case of higher intelligence eliciting paranoia.

  31. They’re trying to make him out to be the boogeyman. . . . . . and i think that’s just how he likes it. If for no other reason than to show players that he is not to be f*cked with.

    As opposed to a “be yourself” and “let your inner light shine!” guy like Pete Carroll?

    Well . . . . . you saw what happened at the end of Superbowl 49 . . . . and how Kam decided to honor his recently signed contract.

  32. Are we supposed to assume that it is a coincidence that two anti-Patriots stories are published on the same day?

    The league office continues their jihad and ESPN (as always) is the first to sign up.

  33. “Either way, it’s not accurate.”

    I feel quite certain that an overwhelming majority of fans of other teams really don’t care if it’s “accurate.” The simple “rule of thumb,” when the topic is the New England Patriots, is to just throw as much at the wall as possible and see how much sticks… then run with that as a “factual” story.

    This is why fans of the Patriots are viewed by many as being obnoxious; because of the constant hate that winners garner from fans of people who’s teams have been beaten in BIG games for over a decade; continuously.

  34. “and the team definitely has an obligation to immediately let the league, the opponent, and the media know.”

    That’s an opinion, not a fact. The obligation to report is 90min prior to kick off.

  35. I was really hoping BB had a spotter at the airport in Providence. I hadn’t even considered he might have spotters at every NFL airport. Turns out it’s just a side-effect of the rule to help the gamblers. I’m disappointed.

  36. ESPN and SI “independently” break the 11 of 12 footballs story, both citing unnamed nfl sources.

    ESPN and SI “independently” break the Spygate-gate story and once again cite unnamed nfl sources.

    You would think with the amount of unamed sources that ESPN covered ISIS hostage negotiations. And to go right back to the well after being so spectacularly used to smear the same team. Just a complete middle finger to journalistic standards

  37. All of these myths and stories forget one key tidbit of information….what team has been the best road team over the past 7 years since Spygate?? Yup…the New England a Patriots. Wonder how that could be if all of the myths that are being published (employees stealing play sheets, bugs in locker room, needing to lock the locker room, heck…even Gatorade came up) are actually true????

    Let’s not forget Willie McGinnis, Rodney Harrison, Troy Brown and Teddy Bruschi all went on the air and proclaimed none of this occurred. Guess it is easier to believe the myths, lies, and inaccurate statements to justify why your team can’t beat the Patriots….everyone needs an excuse instead of realizing that team was out played, out coached or simply out performed…..

  38. I heard sometimes on plays, Tom Brady fakes like he’s going to hand the ball off to his running back, but then he keeps it himself, and throws it instead!! Can you believe this team?! Just deception and lies everywhere!! Why isn’t this tomfoolery being reported 24/7? And don’t give me that “every team does that. It’s called ‘play action’ ” homer excuse.

    But seriously folks, how much real estate does Belichick and the Pats own in everyone else’s head? Gawd I love this championship winning team. Let all the hate flow out like a cascading waterfall of unicorn tears so I can bask in the Pats awesomeness every time I hear this pathetic nonsense.

  39. Actually, he would just need to know a few contacts within airlines. Even if they fly private, there has to be a passenger manifest and it’s very likely many airline employees can access many flights on their internal database. Instead of knowing around 30 people in different 30 cities, you’d really only need to know about 5-6 people regardless of their city. It’s not that far fetched.

  40. The whole thing has to be taken with a truckload of salt. Given all the false statements published so far we should expect much actual light to be shed on espn’s latest offering.

  41. Whether the perception is accurate or not is less important than the fact that other teams might think it is accurate because they will waste time and resources to deal with it.

  42. One thing ole Bill is good at is using an ‘us against the world’ mentality to rally the troops and win games emotionally….

    Goodells scorched earth plan will end in him handing another Lombardi to the Kraft Family come February.

    And New England will Celebrate…

    And the rest of the league will continue with the lunchroom gossip…

  43. Looks like S.I. is trying to compete with ESPN for the “just throw it out there whether its true or not” headlines. Are these reporters that stupid, or do they have an agenda. Keep em straight Mike Florio.

  44. Lord William Belichick Balish. Sigil: Severed head of a colonial American. Words: We’re on to Cincinnati.

  45. Michael Rosenberg who has a byline on this story also wrote a piece five months ago with a bogus story that the Patriots built a giant screen in the parking lot that was viewable by the Patriots sidelines so that Belichick could watch replays before the opposing coach. The problem is that every credible reporter who has been on the field in Gillette has disputed this because the big screen in the parking lot is not viewable from anywhere on the field or sidelines.

  46. ESPN is obviously biased to the Patriots
    Anyone from the New England Area can’t stand to watch ESPN.
    And this makes sense this is why Chris Mortenson still haven’t apologized! ESPN has an agenda.PERIOD.
    Kiss the rings💍💍💍💍haters😂😭😂

  47. And somehow Belichick magically knows what the temperature will be and if there will be rain, snow, etc. It’s like he’s some kind of witch….

  48. Belichick has satellites in stationary orbit over every NFL city. A command circuit was surgically implanted into his brain so he can summon images and data from any of his satellites at any time. Infrared, x-ray, and ultra-violet radiation sensors enable him to see through roofs and walls into the very souls of opponents.

    Even Irsay can not hide…

  49. He’s in the heads of every opponent, the league office, and almost every media outlet. Perennial domination will do that.

  50. Mike: Why would SI feel any need to be accurate or truthful with their “reporting”?

    This is the era of just throw out rumors and see what sticks.

    SI and ESPN are trampling on what was once a good reputation for sports coverage. They seemingly cant wait to publish anything that comes out of the NFL front office.

  51. it doesn’t matter what the facts are, the dirty league office in conjunction with their tools have already made their headlines and the “fans” who read no deeper than the first two lines already believe what they want to believe.

    Someday, after Godell is fired, when the truth comes out how he was sucking up to owners, including Kraft, and pushed unethical agendas, people may look back and see how they were snookered. Especially as the list of teams he raked over the coals gets longer.

    For now, everyone thinks what they want to make them feel better about their teams, IMO the Dolphin fans are by far the most deep into believing they were cheated. Too funny, but too sad.

  52. So comical how ESPN and, to a lesser extent, it’s slowly morphing into obscurity print relation, SI are trying to save themselves from the eyes and ears of the questioning public by burying the Patriots under old ‘new’ stories that have been rehashed time and again.
    Partisan hacks carrying the wood for the NFL and trying to save the quickly distinguishing fire of outrage against the Patriots as truth pours more and more water on this fable. What’s next? News footage of the ball boys letting air out of a Seahawks supporters handicapped van at the airport during Superbowl week?

  53. Doesn’t matter, cheaters cheat, its what they do.
    My question is…..Do the Patriots still get the calls and have rules invented on the field? I would like to see them on a level field for once.

  54. As a lifelong New England Patriots fan I absolutely love this man…greatest coach of all time.

    Keep crying haters…all of New England is laughing at YOU!

  55. My favorite part of the ESPN report was when it implied that the Patriots needed spies and stolen play sheets to know not to kick the ball off to Marshall Faulk…

  56. What a great cosmic coincidence that SI and ESPN have stories about the Patriots cheating released within hours of each other, especially considering 2 of the NFL’s biggest water carriers in the press are Mort and Peter King. It cannot be any clearer that NFL is butthurt about losing the Brady case.

  57. Well, there is research that suggests people aren’t good at recognizing when others are much smarter than them and instead are only able to identify people that are slightly smarter than them. What this tells me is that Bill Belichick is far smarter than your average ESPN clown. Since they can’t tell, they ascribe his genius to “witchcraft” like powers or cheating. Really, they’re just stupid.

  58. I think one of the reasons the Patriots have been so successful is not only due to Belichick and Brady, but the fact that every other team spends more time focusing on the Patriots than they do their own team.

    They are so concerned about looking for hidden cameras or microphone, making sure the drinks aren’t spiked, and cleaning out their trash cans that they don’t focus on the game itself.

  59. welltobefair says:
    Sep 8, 2015 11:14 PM

    … Filming opponent signals was not illegal before 2007, despite what Pats haters may try to make you think.


    Filming opponents signals was not made illegal in 2007 either. Filming opponents signals is not illegal to this day. What changed in 2007 was WHERE you could film from, not what you could film.

    When is that fact going to be accurately reported by ANYONE?

  60. We here in the 5 States (well 4.25) have gone through this off season pissed off… and with all of this … we have stood on the wall (internet mostly for me) defending our football team and taking the rhetoric personally… I am exhausted…

    From now on I am embracing the hate because it has reached an absurd level of ridiculousness and now shows the perversions of other teams fans, players, owners, and executives which is in my mind nothing more than abject paranoia , is .. well … frankly … hilarious…

    America… Your New England Patriots!!!
    We are on their drive for five… and the their fans. Here to torchah you all season!!!

    BTW … Boy would it be sweet to win it all again !!!

  61. whispersd says:
    Sep 9, 2015 12:03 AM
    Wow. Imagine the guy who supplied this quote to SI without understanding what the injury list is.
    Kinda embarrassing.


    Not really, since the sources are never actually, you know, named.

  62. Between ESPIN and the NFL on Park Ave, one would get the impression Belichick is running around with his head cut off, spying, taping, stealing, reading others teams notes, memorizing other teams game plans, sitting in NFL airports (are there really such things? Does Roger fly the planes too?) watching who is getting on the planes, bugging locker rooms, when the FACT is, he is busy COACHING, watching, learning, hiring, firing, not just reading the rule book, KNOWING the rules, putting a class team together EVERY year, playing chess in a room full of checker players. The other thing he does really well is get everyone pizzed off (including a media), paranoid, and heads spinning. ESPIN sounds like a bunch of has been cry babies unable and unwilling to stop doing the NFL on Park Ave. bidding and report on the FACTS of football.

  63. Florio, what are you doing?? It’s taken years for Belichick to be get this far inside the heads of the other coaches and now ESPN, too. If you print stuff like this, they will know that it’s not sleight of hand and that Belichick doesn’t have a direct line to NSA headquarters and the Patriots haven’t been lacing anyone’s Gatorade with sleeping pills. I prefer it when the league is mesmerized and thinks that Belichick has mastered the dark side. If they find out that he’s really just smarter than everybody else, then they’ll spend time thinking about playing football instead of chasing ghosts.

  64. I didn’t read the SI article but it doesn’t seem to be any big deal even if it was true. On the other hand, the ESPN article written the same day about the spygate cover-up seems very serious.

  65. I’m totally ashamed that the league allows and actually encourages the spread of lies and propaganda against 1 of it’s 32 teams.
    It tarnishes the reputation of the NFL as a whole, just ask any non-rabid football fan. They think the whole league is cheating!

  66. I fail to see how someone saying there was a communications issue at Gillette in a game that happened several years before is “compelling”.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.