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Pats coach receives financial slap on wrist
Published on September 14, 2007 By singrdave In Football
Last Sunday the New England Patriots shellacked the New York Jets 38-14 in a very lopsided victory. The Pats handed the Jets a solid loss.

Turns out the reason the Patriots did so darn well against the Jets is that a Patriots official was playing cameraman with several Jets coaches, filming the Jets' play calling and relaying that information to the Patriots coaching staff. Thus the Pats had advance, inside knowledge of what the Jets were going to do that play. And it's cheating. And it's very wrong.



From Yahoo! Sports:
The investigation was first reported by ESPN.com, which said that NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during New England's 38-14 victory Sunday. The employee was accused of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches, who were sending signals out to the players, sources told the Web site.

"The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," the league said in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited.

"We are looking into whether the Patriots violated this rule."


Yesterday the NFL decided how to punish the perpetrators of this crime. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pronounced his judgment Thursday night. The head coach, Bill Belichick, stood the most to gain from this activity, and therefore he bore the brunt of the punishment.

Belichick was personally fined $500,000.
The New England Patriots organization was fined $250,000.
The team will also lose a first-round draft pick in 2008.


While this is the biggest fine ever imposed on a head coach and the first time a first round draft pick has been taken away from an NFL franchise, this isn't enough. The NFL needs to hit Belichick where it hurts -- not the pocketbook, the playing field. Here's why this punishment does not fit the crime.

First of all, hitting Belichick's wallet is not justified. Sure he stood to gain lots through cheating, but not financially. His crime was trying too hard to win, and that's what should have been taken away: the WIN. The NFL should have awarded the win to the Jets, thus robbing Belichick of what wasn't necessarily his in the first place. (Sure the Pats were the far better team and could've won on their own, but that's a moot point now.)

Secondly, Belichick's actions directly affected the outcome of an NFL game. That's more than can be said for Michael Vick, who recently pled guilty for crimes surrounding dog fighting. Vick faces not only jail time but an indefinite suspension from the NFL -- but his actions did not directly affect the outcome of an NFL game like Belichick's did. Belichick, like Vick, should face some sit-down time, away from his team to which he gives his heart and soul. At least four games with no Pats contact would give Bill some cool-down time... and allow him to really think about his actions. (If allowed to contact the team, he could hypothetically call plays from his own living room via phone, etc.)

On paper, losing a draft pick would probably hurt the team in the long run, but the Pats already own San Francisco's 2008 draft pick from an earlier trade -- and that's a better pick than the Pats would have in 2008. The fine money is large, but Belichick makes several million dollars a year. He can pony up half a million if necessary -- take it out of the money he saves by not investing in a wardrobe.

Belichick's a good coach. The Pats are a solid team and did not need to cheat to beat the lowly Jets. (This Sunday's matchup against the San Diego Chargers was going to be a much bigger test.)

The punishment did not fit the crime. And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called it wrong this time.


Comments
on Sep 14, 2007
This is an attempt to get more people interested in football! Yeah, right.
on Sep 14, 2007

I don't necessarily think the punishment was hard enough to prevent similar future behavior by the Patriots or other teams, but I'm not sure exactly what punishment would ever prevent similar behavior in the future.  Taking away the win might have been a good component of a tough enough punishment, but hard to tell for sure.

Some people discussing the event at another site I frequent had suggested that there needed to be a several game suspension for Belichick.  That might have helped too, but then again the team might have gone on a winning streak with someone else at the helm so what would have happened except for some time off for Belichick??

If you enforced a forfiet or several forfiets of games on the Patriots then their opponents unfairly benefit and it affects the competitive balance of the entire NFL.

A mess no matter what is done.

on Sep 14, 2007
I don't necessarily think the punishment was hard enough to prevent similar future behavior by the Patriots or other teams, but I'm not sure exactly what punishment would ever prevent similar behavior in the future.

A radio morning show (WMAL) said that this punishment sets the price for cheating at $750,000 and a draft pick. A deterrent?
on Sep 14, 2007

I disagree with one part.  A coaches wins do directly affect his paycheck, so that is justified (I would have gone more).  But I totally agree that the win should be forfeit!

The Patriots have been a dirty outfit for a long time.  I for one am glad they finally got caught.

on Sep 14, 2007
A coaches wins do directly affect his paycheck, so that is justified (I would have gone more).

I would have hit his pride -- coaches' win-loss records are more important in the long run (and integrity but that's beside the point) than their bank balance.
on Sep 14, 2007

I just heard some duplicituous news.  The Pats have the SF first round draft pick next year, so given they are a much better team and their draft pick would be lower, they really are not losing anything!

Ban the guy!

on Sep 14, 2007
Just punishment:

-Take away the Superbowl rings for all victories since Belichick became coach for anyone proven to have had knowledge of the scheme and not reported it.
-Ban anyone conclusively proven to have had knowledge of the scheme and not reported it.
-Patriots banned from football for the season, all ticketholders reimbursed or good for next season.
on Sep 14, 2007
-Patriots banned from football for the season, all ticketholders reimbursed or good for next season.


Now that would be a statement! And a good one!
on Sep 14, 2007
Reimbursed by the Patriots, by the way. Even road games. With an apology in the envelope with the check.

If you really want to make a statement, ban the franchise. "I'm sorry, guys, but you failed to maintain the franchise minimum integrity standards, so you're out."

Except a replacement franchise would just come up with all the same staff and players... But kicking a team out for a season means no replacement this season, so you just have a bunch of teams with one less game.

on Sep 14, 2007
so you just have a bunch of teams with one less game.


And an automatic win.
on Sep 14, 2007
No, no, you can't count it as a win. It's just a non-game.
on Sep 14, 2007
No, no, you can't count it as a win. It's just a non-game.


No, it is a forfeit. The reprecussions would be great and yes, it would be UNFAIR. just like he did. And instead of the Black Sox being a trivia question, the Pats would now be the new paraiahs.
on Sep 14, 2007
Well, I want it to be fair for the OTHER teams who wouldn't be getting the free win.
on Sep 14, 2007
Well, I want it to be fair for the OTHER teams who wouldn't be getting the free win.


Understood. But then Belichick and the Pats have already ruined that.
on Sep 14, 2007
True enough. Sad, but true.
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