BOSTON (CBS) — The New England Patriots were punished five years ago for videotaping opposing teams’ coaching signals, an act which many former and current NFL coaches have admitted was a common practice. The team was fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, and the Patriots had to sacrifice a first-round draft pick. That was supposed to be the end of it.
But for some folks, the incident affectionately known as “Spygate” just won’t die.
The New York Post reported Sunday, the day of the first Jets-Patriots matchup of the season, that one author “alleges the Patriots’ videotaping was much more vital to their three Super Bowl victories than the NFL let on, and that getting exposed by the Jets hasn’t kept Belichick from continuing to engage in misconduct to this day.”
The author’s source for this scoop? Twisting numbers and a strong hunch.
Some of the “evidence” for this author include the Patriots having an exceptional record at home since opening Gillette Stadium in 2002. The author, Bryan O’Leary, believes that Patriots assistant Ernie Adams illegally communicates with Tom Brady during home games using a second, undetectable radio signal.
The Post reporter, Bart Hubbuch, says that the Patriots’ home record since ’02 (77-16) and since ’07 (34-7) “are such huge statistical outliers in the NFL’s salary-cap era of parity that O’Leary says they can’t be attributed just to Belichick’s coaching skills and Brady’s quarterbacking.”
Left out of the story is the Patriots’ road records: 58-26 since ’02 and 30-14 since ’07. It’s no statistical anomaly for a team with a good record to play better at home, and the Patriots’ road record indicates they most certainly are a good team. Also, in that span, the Patriots twice had better road records than home records, which means they must have taken brief breaks from their rampant cheating at home, apparently. And in terms of actual anomalies, the 2-6 road record from the 2009 season is the only season since’ 02 in which the Patriots finished a season with a losing record on the road.
O’Leary, by the way, grew up a Steelers fan. The Post reports he spent $30,000 to self-publish his book. It seems safe to assume he won’t be making back much of that money from sales in New England.