Bill Walsh once admitted to headset “gamesmanship” with Bill Parcells

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Setting aside for now the question of whether the NFL may be brushing this whole #HeadsetGate thing under the rug because the NFL doesn’t know how to even begin to go about proving it, it’s clear that benefits can be derived from interfering with coach-to-coach communications — even if the end result is the plug being pulled on both teams’ systems.

In the 1980s, former Giants coach Bill Parcells suspected the 49ers of consistently pulling the plug on the communications early in the game. Under the late Bill Walsh, the offense scripted the first 15 plays, making the ability of the coaches to talk to each other unnecessary. So Parcells finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

“Getting ready to play them again . . . in the playoffs, and I said to Bill [Walsh], ‘These phones go out again to start the game, I’m gonna expose you,'” Parcells explained to NFL Films in the Football Life documentary devoted to Walsh. “He looked at me with a little wink and says, ‘Just a little gamesmanship.'”

At some point in the last 30 years, gamesmanship that coaches dealt with among themselves became multi-million-dollar “independent” investigations. But the rules have always been the rules, and the best way for dealing with infractions of the rules lies somewhere between brushing it off as gamesmanship and spending $5 million in legal fees.

55 responses to “Bill Walsh once admitted to headset “gamesmanship” with Bill Parcells

  1. I forgot to mention he was the guy who signed Lawrence Phillips with his longest rap sheet, and no one else would sign him.

    Classy.

  2. So there has to be a telecommunications company in charge of all of this as far as integrating this whole system, so why not expose them and say it’s on them to prevent this stuff. Let us know the name of the company, because it’s not all on Bose. Maybe then someone will make a system that works and can’t be tampered with.

  3. The difference between now and when jerry rice was using stickum and things like the salary cap violations of the 49rs and Broncos, just to name a very few examples, is the internet

  4. It’s a fact that America hates winners. We live in a society where participation trophies are given out like bubble gum. Everyone blames authority for everything. Everyone’s kids are always right, never at fault. Walsh and Parcells probably loved these little battles. It’s about men being men. Nowadays, if you ain’t whining you ain’t trying….

  5. Everyone cheats. It’s all gamemanship. Why is this so hard for people to understand
    The only reason people go after the Pats is they made a dynasty of it, whereas other teams cheat and still lose.

  6. So the 49ers tampered with headset communications and had their best player using illegal stickum? Hmm it’s almost as if great teams of the past have cheated in the NFL without it becoming a major story, that is amazing.

  7. Not the sainted Bill Walsh! Not only was the GOAT Jerry Rice a stickum junkie but now this!! We need to get to the bottom of this! It’s a national disaster! Dig up Arlen Specter!! Think of the children!!!

    Somewhere in Sports Valhalla Red Auerbach and Bill Veeck are sipping Scotch and smoking cigars while toasting Walsh and chuckling about what passes for an ‘integrity’ crisis in the No Facts League.

  8. None of this will matter to people who hate the Patriots. Best coach, QB, and team in NFL history, or at LEAST in the last 15 years. Success breeds contempt, always has, always will.

  9. to me, the respect is gone for Goodell and the league is out of control. In this example, that wasn’t made public until years later. Constant litigation and fighting battles in the court of public opinion has to stop. Goodell needs to handle his business without turning everything into a public scandal.

  10. Meanwhile Belichick, the Giants’ defensive coordinator at the time, realized what a great advantage it would be to cut the opponent’s comm lines at the game’s most crucial moments. Alas, we have the 2000s Patriots.

  11. What do you mean proving it?
    It didn’t stop them with deflategate!!!
    The proved absolutly nothing yet still stole 1st & 4th round picks & 1 million dollars from the Pats & tried to shaft the best QB in the NFL in the process….
    What the hell does PROOF have to do with anything??!!

  12. Bill Walsh admits to messing with headset signals. Jerry rice admits to using stickum. Joe Montana admits his o line used to cover themselves in silicone until they were caught by the refs. Where are all you hypocrites crying about the patriots?

  13. Nobody wants to hear stories about other teams and their “gamesmanship”. And it doesn’t help the Pats cause by saying this. Also the defense that they all do it isn’t a defense. Because nobody believes that they all don’t do it.

  14. Terrible weather affects telecom. Ask anyone who tried to listen to an AM radio station or has a dish for TV in the type of monsoon that was hitting that stadium last night. Bad weather is bad for RF. This is NOT hard, Mike.

  15. All teams try to cheat in a few ways and give it up when caught. Only the Pats have a guy whose only job is to find new ways to cheat.

  16. Coming to a stadium near you, politically correct football in the No Fun League.

    I was wondering when football was taken over by a bunch of whiney wieners….

  17. And the 49ers paid their players under the table to circumvent the salary cap, yet no one ever criticizes them for any of the rules they broke. Everyone loses their minds about the Patriots and conveniently overlooks all the times other teams blatantly broke the rules

  18. I think there was a code for coaches back then. Now we have a lot of coaches who point the finger at everything but their own failures. The new NFL, the 24 hour media cycle, fans that think their favorite team is their religion and a rogue commissioner. Not a winning combination

  19. There is no way the NFL can prove that the Patriots had the technology to disrupt or ease drop on opposing teams headsets. There is no physical evidence to be found, other than all the claims from other teams who have had the same problem with the headphones when playing in New England.

    The LONG track record of complaints from other NFL teams says Belichick and Brady are cheaters!!!

  20. Belichick probably has a squadron of Drones to spy on opposing teams outdoor practices before game day

  21. I’ve been saying it for years. The Pats are victims of the Internet age. Nothing they’ve done is anything new. Been going on for decades with some of the leagues most legendary teams and people.

  22. ….man, I really miss the days when the NFL had great coaches, great games, and great players. Todays NFL is a shell of itself….constant stupid drama, players that are always afoul of the law, and now coaches whining about other coaches.

  23. @Maksports

    The difference is the electronic age. Back in the eighties any infractions like headsets going out, stickem & silicones jerseys weren’t always revealed to reporters after each game. Teams & coaches USE today’s electronic age to plant all kinds of BS, back then those type of things just weren’t acceptable & weren’t done by coaches complaining to the media about anything the refs didn’t catch. The NFL made it clear back then that league issues stayed in house, not used after games as an excuse. And teams were regularly fined back then for any talk about officiating. It was a different age.

  24. The 24hr News cycle and Internet aren’t really the problem. The problem is there is no Journalistic integrity. They have found this loop hole called the “un-named source” and they use it when ever they can’t find the facts or the facts don’t tell the story they want to tell. They just run the story enough times and it becomes fact instead of opinion.

  25. Where are all the haters calling for the 49ers SB wins to be vacated? Where are the haters calling for Montana to be removed form the HOF?

    Their hypocrisy is duly noted.

  26. fmc651 says:
    Sep 11, 2015 11:23 PM

    Nobody wants to hear stories about other teams and their “gamesmanship”. And it doesn’t help the Pats cause by saying this. Also the defense that they all do it isn’t a defense. Because nobody believes that they all don’t do it.
    —————————-

    I want to hear stories of other teams. Why should the Patriots be the only team in the NFL to get raked over the coals just because some butt-hurt owner or coach can’t accept that they lost a game?

    The Jets are the #2 rules breakers in the NFL, and you never hear anything about that sadsack franchise.

    The #1 reason that the Patriots are so successful, is that they have had the same coach and the same quarterback for 15+ years. They know how to win. Of course they don’t always win, but they don’t constantly whine when they lose.

    All of these other loser teams are constantly replacing coaches and quarterbacks, so there’s no consistency.

  27. I always hated the “if you’re not cheating you’re not trying” babies. I’d be out on the field and blowing past the OT nearly every play. I’d get held, high-low’d, poked in the face, and one guy even did a Suh on my ankle. A lot of you pansies would excuse that kind of cr@p because you were getting your butt’s whipped and needed “an advantage.”

    Football is for real men, and real men don’t need to cheat. Win fair or lose with honor.

  28. How many receivers don’t use stickum, or DL put Vaseline/silicon on their jerseys, or DBs grab the WRs jersey slightly, or OL hold, or teams run pick plays, or DLs try to be slightly ahead of the snap?

    All of that is “cheating” because they are deliberately bypassing the rules.

  29. Guess we can acknowledge that the 4 Lombardi Trophies are Tainted…. Stickum and Headset issues exposed by the guilty party rather than by a bunch of haters slinging mud in hopes it sticks……

  30. If you got to lie about a head set. and about the football. You not the best team out. You got what you got by lieing. You will not make it to the super bowl this year.

  31. Interesting how all the great teams push the limits. San Francisco shown here jamming the headsets and Jerry Rice using stickum a (banned by the NFL) to catch footballs. Over in Big D video taped signals and going over to the opposition locker room to check for play books. Etc etc.

  32. The estimated cost of the Brady investigation and prosecution is $20 million, not $5 million.

    Nor has any event, never mind gamesmanship, been proved in connection with deflategate.

  33. What’s sad about all this is the Greatness of
    the Patriots over the last 15 years has been sullied
    by people who are just so sick of them, they are
    willing to just turn a blind eye when stuff like this
    gets pointed out.

    I can remember hating John Elway for the majority of his career until that moment when he was an old man and he put his body on the line to win a title and got helicoperted diving for a first down against Green bay. That moment I became an Elway fan. I saw how much he wanted it. I was happy for him he got it.

    We are all fortunate to be witnessing the greatest
    Coach QB combo in the history of the sport.

    They are the best there has ever been.

    Nobody. Not ESPN or the league or Don Shula,
    or whiney opposing fans, coaches or players can diminish that.

    They truly are something special. We are all lucky to be watching greatness before our eyes.

    To watch Brady at the top of his game the other night was spectacular. Given all he has been thru emotionally. Dude is the best there ever was.

  34. unbreakable02215 says:
    Sep 12, 2015 1:12 PM
    What’s sad about all this is the Greatness of
    the Patriots over the last 15 years has been sullied
    by people who are just so sick of them, they are
    willing to just turn a blind eye when stuff like this
    gets pointed out.

    I can remember hating John Elway for the majority of his career until that moment when he was an old man and he put his body on the line to win a title and got helicoperted diving for a first down against Green bay. That moment I became an Elway fan. I saw how much he wanted it. I was happy for him he got it.

    We are all fortunate to be witnessing the greatest
    Coach QB combo in the history of the sport.

    They are the best there has ever been.

    Nobody. Not ESPN or the league or Don Shula,
    or whiney opposing fans, coaches or players can diminish that.

    They truly are something special. We are all lucky to be watching greatness before our eyes.

    To watch Brady at the top of his game the other night was spectacular. Given all he has been thru emotionally. Dude is the best there ever was.
    ———
    So true. My only disagreement is about Elway. He was the “Comeback King” which that means he was behind for 3/4s of the game with a couple of picks trying to force a ball in where he shouldn’t. My other gripe with him was that he was a diva who would only play where he wanted. He was pretty good though.

  35. You can actually feel the panic coming from fans of those teams that were once considered great though each of them were dirtier than people want to believe the Patriots are. Romanowski ring a bell? Alzado died from steroids. Tatum?Time marches on folks. There may be a greater dynasty than the Patriots someday, if BB goes to another city, but not bloody likely 🙂

  36. petecarrollempire says:
    Sep 12, 2015 3:02 AM

    There is no way the NFL can prove that the Patriots had the technology to disrupt or ease drop on opposing teams headsets. There is no physical evidence to be found, other than all the claims from other teams who have had the same problem with the headphones when playing in New England.

    The LONG track record of complaints from other NFL teams says Belichick and Brady are cheaters!!!

    —————————————————-

    Ignorance is a funny thing, isn’t it? Ripping people for a long history of rules violations with a name like Pete Carroll Empire is like ripping Capital murder with the name Aaron Hernandez 4eva.

  37. Great Caesar’s Ghost says:
    Sep 12, 2015 10:02 AM
    A championship in the 80s equals about 3 today.
    ——-
    So one from the 30’s =what 8?

    80’s had RAMPANT cocaine use (Dallas), RAMPANT steroids use (steelers and probably everyone else) and RAMPANT use of stickum (Rice) so really, none of those trophies are tainted as well.

    Dude, I’m 60 and have been watching since the GB Dallas Ice Bowl. Those teams couldn’t stay on the field with most D1 colleges today. Jerry Kramer would last about 2 downs against today’s defenses. Bradshaw today would be Tim Tebow.

    Reminds me of the saying, “the older I get, the better I was”

  38. justintuckrule says:
    Sep 12, 2015 2:22 AM
    We owned Walsh in the 80s and own belichick now. That’s owning 2 of the best ever

    ——-

    You beat Walsh with Belichick and Parcells. And if you think they didn’t do this stuff in the 80s you are out of your mind.

  39. Patriots: 5 reports of radio issues in 160+ games.

    Every coach has had it happen to them a couple times a year. It’s common. What is so difficult about this?

  40. This story can’t be true. I read the comments here and the Patriot’s are the only team that has ever cheated in sports history. If you don’t believe me, check out all the things they have been accused of but have never been proven with any facts. Accusations are as good as guilt. Just ask the Patriot haters who comment here.

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