An ESPN Outside the Lines report is revisiting the New England Patriots first cheating accusations from Spygate.
The piece used interviews with more than 90 sources around the NFL- which includes staffers, execs, former players and more – who claimed the Patriots stole signals from other teams in “at least 40 games over a period of several seasons from 2000 to 2007.”
According to the report, the Patriots had diagrams of the stolen signals that they could use during games.
As much as the Patriots tried to keep the circle of those who knew about the taping small, sometimes the team would add recently cut players from upcoming opponents and pay them only to help decipher signals, former Patriots staffers say. In 2005, for instance, they signed a defensive player from a team they were going to play in the upcoming season. Before that game, the player was led to a room where Adams was waiting. They closed the door, and Adams played a compilation tape that matched the signals to the plays from the player’s former team, and asked how many were accurate. “He had about 50 percent of them right,” the player says now.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was asked if there was any connection between “spygate” and “deflategate” Tuesday morning on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike,” he gave this response.
“I am not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and these procedures here. There is no connection in my mind between these two incidents.”
This is the Patriots statement on the accusations:
“The New England Patriots have never filmed or recorded another team’s practice or walkthrough,” the statement reads. “The first time we ever heard of such an accusation came in 2008, the day before Super Bowl XLII, when the Boston Herald reported an allegation from a disgruntled former employee. That report created a media firestorm that extended globally and was discussed incessantly for months. It took four months before that newspaper retracted its story and offered the team a front and back page apology for the damage done. Clearly, the damage has been irreparable. As recently as last month, over seven years after the retraction and apology was issued, ESPN issued the following apology to the Patriots for continuing to perpetuate the myth: ‘On two occasions in recent weeks, SportsCenter incorrectly cited a 2002 report regarding the New England Patriots and Super Bowl XXXVI. That story was found to be false, and should not have been part of our reporting. We apologize to the Patriots organization.’
“This type of reporting over the past seven years has led to additional unfounded, unwarranted and, quite frankly, unbelievable allegations by former players, coaches and executives. None of which have ever been substantiated, but many of which continue to be propagated. The New England Patriots are led by an owner whose well-documented efforts on league-wide initiatives – from TV contracts to preventing a work stoppage – have earned him the reputation as one of the best in the NFL. For the past 16 years, the Patriots have been led by one of the league’s all-time greatest coaches and one of its all-time greatest quarterbacks. It is disappointing that some choose to believe in myths, conjecture and rumors rather than giving credit for the team’s successes to Coach Belichick, his staff and the players for their hard work, attention to detail, methodical weekly preparation, diligence and overall performance.”