The Giants’ walkie-talkie scandal (which already has been given a couple of interesting nicknames but none I really like) gives rise to an intriguing question: How did the team happen to have a walkie-talkie on the same frequency as the coach-to-quarterback communication system readily available?
Teams are allowed to have a walkie-talkie on the sideline. It’s used, as one source explained it, to monitor the coach-to-quarterback communications. Per another source, a reminder memo sent to all teams before the 2016 regular season pointed out that the backup quarterback may listen to the communications via the walkie-talkie — but that he may not speak into it.
The same memo made it clear that the coach cannot use the walkie-talkie, in any way.
In this case, the Giants made an abrupt executive decision to let coach Ben McAdoo use the walkie-talkie once the coach-to-quarterback system stopped working. It was a clear violation of the rules.
As of Friday, the Giants were facing only a potential fine. It remains to be seen whether Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy’s comments on the situation cause the league to take a different view of a clear and blatant violation that plenty of teams would be willing to commit if the consequence is the NFL’s equivalent of a parking ticket.
The fact that the Giants quickly confessed may help them avoid a stiffer penalty. Short of the “it wasn’t me” defense, however, there’s nothing they could have done. The video clearly and plainly showed McAdoo using the walkie-talkie.