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Did Patriots Scam the NFL with DeflateGate? (And what we can learn from this)

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Yes that title was specifically constructed with my recent Friday scam-investigating articles in mind. Sorry, but I hope you'll forgive me when we get to the learning section.

When I started this website in May of 2006, I wrote:

"You can expect Lazy Man and Money to be about 85% money, 5% technology (hey, I'm a software guy), 2% health, 5% random soapboxing, and 3% "zany"-ness. Maybe we'll up that zany as time goes on."

I'm going to cash in my random soapboxing and zaniness credits with this article. I hope to do it in a way that is educational and fosters critical thinking. From a money perspective, you can't put a price on that. I'd also argue that it is more important than how much air is in a football

I should start with the fact that I grew up in the Boston suburbs and am a Patriots fan to the level that many friends suggested that I name my child Grogan. With that disclosure out in the open, let me say that logic is always my guiding force... that is the closest I can come when people scream, "He's biased!" There is nothing else for me to offer other than asking you to objectively look at the information yourself.

So let's dig in...

What do we know?

We know that there was a complaint about air pressure in the footballs that the Patriots used last week. We know that the NFL is investigating it. We know that they were re-inflated at half time

Is there a competitive advantage to using under-inflated footballs?

That is a smart question to ask, because if there is no advantage it is much ado about nothing.

ESPN's Sport Science is the only resource I know of covering the topic from a scientific point of view. Their analysis (in my opinion) seems to conclude it is a disadvantage as the ball travels slower through the air potentially allowing a defender to get an extra inch in their reach to knock the ball down. Sports are often a game of inches so it shouldn't be discounted.

The video also stresses the point that ball inflation, like everything about the ball, is a matter of personal preference of the quarterbacks.

Is this another of "Beli-cheat's" schemes?

Friends of mine emailed me early on to say that they hope the NFL lays the hammer down hard on the Patriots. Much of America seems to agree from the polls I've seen.

It's interesting to me that most of the discussion initially jumped on Bill Belichick. Some reputable journalists who have covered the Patriots for years (Tom Curran, I'm looking at you), jumped to the conclusion that the Patriots should fire Bill Belichick. (At least that's what I read from multiple sources. I can't find the primary source anymore. Maybe it has been retracted).

Later in the week, former quarterbacks and coaches pointed out that the coach is never involved in the ball preparation routine. Belichick had a press conference that he didn't know anything. Suddenly, people turned their attention to the quarterback, Tom Brady.

It's a good thing we didn't rush to fire Belichick.

What we Learned From Tom Brady's Conference

Everyone expected Tom Brady to fall on the sword... except that it didn't happen. The most telling thing to me that he said that the NFL didn't contact him as part of the investigation. This tells me either one of two things is true:

1. The NFL doesn't think Brady is a prime suspect.
2. Tom Brady told an obvious and easily provable lie and the NFL should immediate call him out on it saying, "Ummm, we talked to Brady on Tuesday. Tom lied in the conference."

When the NFL released its statement, they didn't say #2 happened, so logically I'm going to assume #1 until the NFL tells us otherwise.

Why Is DeflateGate Such a Huge Story?

This is the most puzzling thing for me. Most people say that whether it is an advantage isn't the big deal. The big deal is that it appears that the Patriots might have cheated.

I'm not condoning cheating, but let's treat all teams and players fairly. Many players on the Carolina Panthers used steroids in their 2004 Super Bowl season. We saw first-hand the difference that can make on a baseball field. So there's obvious cheating and a clear advantage, but story headline major news networks.

When Aaron Rodgers tells Phil Simmms that he likes an overflated ball and that the officials may help with it we ignore the he's confessed to cheating and conspiring with officials.

I didn't see the Browns texting scandal make every network.

The Vikings and Panthers were caught red-handed cheating by warming balls on the sidelines earlier this year.

This is the equivalent of giving someone life in prison for going 66 mph in a 65 zone and turning a blind eye to others going 80 mph. I don't see how you can selectively pass judgment and blow it to extreme levels.

What we can learn from this...

Many people didn't like the Tom Brady conference. They didn't get what they wanted and what they were expecting. However if you take a step back, Brady said three things that I thought were pretty smart:

1. Don't deal other people's belief systems
2. Control what you can control
3. Focus on the future

I think #1 was the biggest thing. People are going to believe what they want. You can give them information, but that's it.

I wish I had some kind of great conclusion, but other than asking for people to be logical and rational, I've got nothing.

P.S.

I've learned that "zaniness" is a word due to Firefox's spell checker. Nearly ten years after starting this blog, I can always point to that as something I've learned, right?

Posted on January 24, 2015.

This post deals with:

... and focuses on:

Sports

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28 Responses to “Did Patriots Scam the NFL with DeflateGate? (And what we can learn from this)”

  1. Rich DeLong says:

    Stick to writing something about anything except your favorite teams cheating.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Sorry, you must have confused me for a Carolina Panther’s fan ;-).

      Mark McGwire was one of my favorite baseball players growing up. I have no problems with saying that he cheated. It’s clear, it’s proven, it even makes sense.

      In this case, there’s nothing clear, dozens of real scientists (which obviously excludes Seattle’s Bill Nye) say that atmospheric conditions who cause everyone to play with below regulation footballs, and it doesn’t make sense at all.

  2. kevin says:

    I think the issue is that the Patriots have a history of cheating (especially in big games). Its easy to dismiss something minor, but if that something minor comes along the line of other cheating scandals one starts to wonder about the integrity of the organization. I think that is why people are making such a big deal about this.

    • Lazy Man says:

      What’s the history of cheating? I hope it isn’t Spygate. That didn’t happen in a big game of any kind. It wasn’t covert, it was open… and lots of teams did it. The coach of perhaps their their biggest rival when they were winning Super Bowls, Bill Cowher said,

      “Stealing someone’s signals was a part of the game and everybody attempted to do that. We had people that always tried to steal signals. What happened when we lost that game is they outplayed us. It had nothing to do with stealing signals or cheating or anything else.”

      It’s everyone admitting that they have all gone 5mph over the speed limit to get to work faster and then complaining to the boss when the other guy gets the promotion because he worked smarter and harder. If that happened at any workplace in America, I think people would be floored.

      I go back to what I pointed out in the article. The Panthers cheated in a huge way with steroids. They hid it. It was clearly an obvious advantage… and it got them to the Super Bowl (NFL games don’t bigger). That’s a huge history or cheating and there’s no PantherSteroidGate.

      I think it is about jealousy. I grew in Boston and as a Red Sox fan, I can hate when the Yankees succeed as they often have done throughout my life. I’m certainly not going to blow the Jason Grimsley steroid issue as a reason for why they won in the late 90’s, early 2000’s.

  3. Kevin says:

    Yes, Spygate constitutes a history of cheating for the Patriots. True, a few other teams have been caught doing it, but not to the degree and amount the Patriots did (such as sneaking into practice facilities). There is evidence your “That didn’t happen in a big game of any kind” claim is false. While the only game the Patriots were prosecuted for was a regular season game-there was plenty of evidence it occurred in other games (such as Two tapes from the January 27, 2002, AFC Championship Games, and another from super boxl XXXVI). Even without additional evidence, would you really believe someone caught doing someone had never done it before? It would seem more likely that was just the first time caught.

    Yes, Bill Cower a sportcaster in whose best it is not to upset any potential viewers and thus is biased made that statement. Here’s an article where John Harbaugh says those Patriots’ teams have an asterisk, and also why he won’t speak out against other teams for cheating http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/05/01/john-harbaugh-patriots-titles-have-asterisks-are-stained/ .

    I don’t understand the comparison with travelling to work? One involves cheating, one involves disobeying the law. Your Panthers comparison is an association fallacy. One was an institution, the other was individual players. Also, for the sake of the argument I’ll give you that point–OK Panthers have a history of cheating too, and I will be more upset if they are caught cheating again too, but they didn’t yet.

    I’m sure to some extent it is about jealosy, but its also about–you were caught cheating (multiple times now) how many more times have you cheated that you weren’t caught, and would the outcomes of some games be different?

    • Lazy Man says:

      The Patriots didn’t sneak into practice facilities as anything related to SpyGate. That would be scandalous and I can see why you’d call it a history of cheating. That would covert an invasion of privacy. However, none of that was ever found.

      They videotaped the opposing coach from a platform openly, in a place where the coach had no expectation to privacy.

      It wasn’t the first time that they taped people openly. It was a regular practice, but since everyone else was doing it the Patriots thought nothing of it.

      Bill Cowher would certainly upset millions of his Steeler fans by volunteering the information. He could have just said nothing. If he’s saying that his Steelers were cheating “we had people that were always trying to steal signals”, that certainly goes beyond “not trying to upset viewers.” You are implying that he’s creating a lie about admitting to cheating, which is a pretty outlandish theory.

      Do you mean the same John Harbaugh who said a couple of days ago:

      “He’s been a great mentor, a great friend. I have the utmost respect for him. Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of our generation, without question. He’s the toughest guy we have to go against every single year, game plan-wise, and trying to beat his team. They have a great team, they’re where they deserve to be, they’re where they belong and I just consider him my friend.”

      You have to wonder which quote was made with which meds.

      The driving analogy was meant to show a breaking of rules. If you want to be specfic, then cheating the rules of the road to go faster than one should to gain an unfair advantage of showing up to work early. The point is that you ask your boss to take away a promotion to a co-worker because of a minor, inconsequential technicality, that everyone else was doing anyway. Again, this speaks the videotaping from a location during games, not sneaking into practice facilities that didn’t happen.

      You make a good point about the Panther’s being an association fallacy. However, you can’t honestly be more upset about the Patriots videotaping in plain view than you are about the number of players doing steroids. It’s not even close the level of advantage, cheating, or covertness.

      You seem to come back to being caught multiple times now, but there seems to be videotaping in open view like a lot of teams were doing.

      You can’t degrade any discussion to, “how many more times have you cheated that you weren’t caught?” as we can play that game with NFL franchise. You also can’t play the “would the outcomes of some games be different” because that’s piling an a Butterfly Effect to something that you can’t show in the first place.

      Again, I was a McGwire fan (actually still like him), but I can admit that he cheated based on the objective information we have. Can’t do the same with the Patriots. The information just doesn’t seem to be there.

  4. Kevin says:

    The sneaking into a practice was just an allegation not proven, but that’s sort of my point. When they are found and admit to cheating one can’t help but wonder why would they stop there? If you are going to cheat and risk your reputation why not keep pushing the boundary and try to gain an even greater edge. Are there more things they did we don’t know about?

    I think it needs to be said that stealing signals is not cheating, and that is what teams, including Bill Cowher, try to do and are open about. That is why coaches cover their mouths when reading plays or Oregon uses big confusing posters to call in plays-so teams can’t legally steal their plays. What is illegal is videotaping signals which the Patriots, and a select other few teams did. While ignorance isn’t an excuse I can see some leniency if that’s the defense, but now that they are caught again it makes the ignorance argument harder too believe.

    I still don’t think the driving example has merit because driving and work performance aren’t linked. If you asked you boss to demote someone because of a minor technicality, like signing a document without actually reading it because 99.99% of the time it won’t matter, then I think asking for the demotion is ok. Just like getting upset at the minor technicality of deflating balls even though 99.99% of the time it won’t effect the outcome is rational too.

    I am upset about steroids, and every time I see someone caught I assume they’ve used them many more times than just the once. I’m not sure what you do about it though. Banning someone for life for testing positive seems excessive in light of tests only being around 90% accurate. I’d hate for 10% of players to be unduly banned from sports. Just because we can’t fix one thing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to fix others though.

    Why can’t you discuss the repercussions of specific actions-even if you’ll never be sure of the actual effect? Personal descisions: taking a new job, moving to a new city, education, etc and macro things like government spending are all analyzed extensively even though they have far reaching butterfly effects that you can’t quantify and know for sure whether a specific action actually caused the effect.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I think you made my point with the sneaking into practices. It was an overblown allegation due to the jealousy… never shown to have any evidence behind it. Yet you used it to create a “history of cheating.” That’s what I mean by people not acting rationally or objectively to what actually occurred.

      Again, what the Patriots did was in plain view, not covertly at all… just like other teams did. Why would someone assume that there’s something secret going on that they don’t know about it. It’s taking the person going 66mph in a 65mph zone and presuming that he’s serial killer. Well, if he can break law, why can’t he break another? What else don’t we know about the guy?

      It’s as if we took someone going 66mph in a 65mph zone and used that forward allegations of drunk driving. Then we’ve presumed them to be guilty of that drunk driving and used that to allege that they are the main suspect in a serial killings.

      It’s madness.

      If stealing signals is not cheating, then you can’t say the Patriots cheated. They video-taped signals. Videotaping is legal. Every one of the 80,000 people in the stadium can video-tape. If the Patriots video-taped a brick wall, would you say that they were cheating? If stealing signals is not cheating using a video-camera to steal signals can’t be cheating either. It’s like saying that casino allows people to count cards and work as a group to manipulate the games, but if someone were to disclose bringing a video-camera in to do the same thing, the casino has a problem with it. If anything, you have excuse the person being open and punish all the people being covert.

      Kevin said, “but now that they are caught again it makes the ignorance argument harder too believe.”

      But who is caught again with what? There’s no one caught. It’s again allegations. You’ve used the earlier allegations to make them guilty of this one.

      I still like the driving analogy. Driving gets you to work early which may be a competitive advantage… same as videotaping signals. Teams change signals and all that.

      It’s just not very useful to go down the butterfly effect chain of events. If you can show obvious, direct causation that’s worth discussing. Otherwise we can spend the next 6 hours pontificating whether my third grade teachers use of the smart vs. intelligent to describe me is the difference between me homeless or President of the United States. I don’t know how to have a useful discussion on a thousand “what-ifs” all dependent on each other. What if the person who decided a baseball was its size decided it to be a little bigger or smaller? Thousands of swings would have different results in any given season. Are any of the same teams still World Champions?

  5. Kevin says:

    “If stealing signals is not cheating, then you can’t say the Patriots cheated.”–No, you are using an association fallacy again. For example: killing people isn’t necessarily illegal. If you kill someone in war or in self defense no crime as been committed, but that doesn’t mean someone else who kills someone, didn’t commit a crime, for example a murderer.

    The Patriots have a history of cheating. I’m not saying it, the NFL said it. That is an undisputed fact. The Patriots paid the largest fine in league history and lost a first round pick because of it, so it is very difficult to suggest it was a minor cheating violation.

    I agree discussing the butterfly effect isn’t generally productive, but sports really don’t have any productive value to begin with. Part of the fun is imagining what might happen or what might have happened-perhaps that’s your answer. Jealous people like to wonder what might have happened if the Patriots hadn’t cheated.

    All of these reasons-jealousy, history of cheating, etc aren’t mutually exclusive pertaining too why DeflateGate is a big story either, and there’s probably a compounding effect all of the different reasons have on each other.

    • Lazy Man says:

      Stealing signals is stealing signals. It isn’t a case where stealing signals one way is okay, but another way is altruistic like defending yourself or your country. A better analogy would be saying that murdering someone with a hammer is different than murdering someone with a gun. The gun may be a more effective way to murder than the hammer, but the crime is the same.

      I don’t believe that the NFL has said that the Patriots have a history of cheating. If they have, then I need to see the quote to see exactly who said it and what is being referred to. Please supply a link, because that’s one article I’m really looking forward to reading.

      It was the largest fine in league history because the people called for it. It was the only way to appease the jealousy of the masses.

      There’s nothing that can really be done about jealousy. They need to get over it. It looks really petty to make up false stories of a team breaking into practices just because you are jealous. Again as a Red Sox fan, went through it with the Yankees. You know what works, outplay and outcoach the other team.

      And again, no history of cheating, one actions which other teams are doing. Perhaps it would be more productive fishing out all those other teams.

      • Lazy Man says:

        Interesting how one can say that the Patriots have a history of cheating and the following articles can be written which say:

        “At a time of deep personal pain, as he was grieving the death of his wife Myra, who passed away on Wednesday, Kraft was singled out as one of the main reasons the 2011 football season was saved.”

        and

        “While helping establish a culture that has turned the Patriots into one of the league’s model franchises, he has annually been heavily involved in NFL business, serving on the league’s broadcast, NFL Network, finance, compensation and executive committees.”

        It certainly doesn’t seem to be the thing that the NFL would have declared a franchise with a history of cheating.

  6. Kevin says:

    “It isn’t a case where stealing signals one way is okay” is wrong. The exact rule the patriots broke was “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.” They also say all video for coaching purposes must be shot from locations “enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead.” source http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3018338

    You may not like the rule, but it is a rule and they broke it (you even admitted in your first post they broke a rule) so I’m not sure why you are arguing. From our posts we both seem to have a different definition of history. A common definition I found is “the aggregate of past events”. Since cheating was a past event I don’t think you can shoot down my claim that the Patriots have a history of cheating. You can try to defend your Patriots by saying other teams did it too, but what other teams? You refuse to believe any other allegations except for the one formally brought by the NFL. So it would stand a similar burden of proof must be used when evaluating other teams. No other teams have been found by the NFL as spying, so according to your earlier logic any allegation is just jealous people trying to perpetuate a bad image.

    I tried to meet you halfway in my last post saying people make a big deal out of this second scandal not just because of past history, but perhaps due to jealousy and a whole host of other reasons as well. Do you disagree with that statement? If so why?

    • Lazy Man says:

      Yes, I don’t like the rule, but I acknowledge it is a rule… just like the rule that one shouldn’t go 66 mph in a 65 mph zone. I’m simply saying that anyone taking the Patriots to task for breaking the rule should look at whether they’ve done anything like that. Ever go 21 mph in a school zone? You are breaking the rules of the road.

      So yes, the Patriots have broken a minor technicality, like lots of other teams, and we all do. I have not met one person who would be clean.

      I’m okay with the “aggregate of past events” as a history, but there is only incident. Categorizing that one event as a “history of cheating” is like categorizing the going 21mph in a school zone into a “history of reckless driving.”

      Well we knows the Steelers stole signals too. They admitted to it. So we can start there. Admitting it isn’t just an allegation brought by a 3rd party and it doesn’t need formal charges brought by the NFL.

      The Patriots haven’t been found by the NFL as spying either. Spying is “secretly collecting information.” The Patriots weren’t doing anything in secret.

      I think I missed the “whole host of other reasons as well” in your last post. I only saw the jealousy and a history of cheating as well as an assumption that they are guilty this time around, when clearly the top people in the organization are putting their Hall of Fame reputation on the line saying they know nothing about it.

  7. Kevin says:

    Since “minor technicality” is subjective you are not wrong in your 2nd paragraph. Just know that many people–including the NFL–disagree with you and feel it is a legit violation of NFL rules (why else would they be penalized a 1st round draft pick and half a million dollars), and we are not wrong either. I am trying to be constructive and give you reasons why “deflategate” is making headlines. If you aren’t open to other peoples reasons you should not have posted a sub-heading “Why is DeflateGate such a Huge Story”

    Stealing signals isn’t illegal!! Video taping them is. So no, the Steelers did not admit to that and thus do not constitute an example of cheating.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I explained why it was penalized as harsh as it was… public perception. We saw how the NFL is inconsistent in its punishments with Ray Rice this year. First it’s two games. Then everyone complains and it becomes an indefinite suspension. There have been players who have done the same as Rice and got minimal suspensions. The difference is the TMZ tape and public outcry. So when you say that the NFL agrees because of the penalty levied, I’d say that is not accurate at all.

      I agree that other people have considered it to be a great offense, but that goes back whether they’ve been objectively looking at the situation. As we already have covered, they aren’t. I appreciate discussion, but I’d like to see the reasoning behind it. Now that I see that the reasoning is unfounded allegations from others and presuming this as the third guilty offense, I have a better understanding.

      I realize that the technicality is subjective, but no one with any perspective could call taping gravely illegal while understanding that taping from many areas is legal and claiming that stealing signals is legal. Penalizing a team for where it is video taping from or because they don’t have proper enclosure is similar to an equipment misunderstanding.

      What’s really weird is that Brandon Browner’s comments yesterday about hitting the Seattle’s players injuries is 100 times worse to me than SpyGate or DeflateGate. That’s close to BountyGate and very little has been talked about it.

  8. kevin says:

    You explained why YOU think it was a harsh penalty. Plenty of other people have their own opinion. Personally, I think its because the NFL had a lot of evidence it happened in other games, although not enough to say for certain it happened in a specific game–just that it happened additional times–of course this is my opinion, just like you have yours.

    Its interesting that you think other people criticizing the Patriots are the ones not being objective, when you stated in the article you are biased. I can’t summarize my entire reason for thinking the Patriots cheated over the web, but it can largely be summarized in the wikipedia spygate entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_New_England_Patriots_videotaping_controversy . I think Matt Waslsh’ testimony is very incriminating, as is the fact that the NFL destroyed all the evidence. Plenty of the allegations were not unfounded.

    Agree to disagree on the third paragraph (although I never used the word gravely)–it shouldn’t surprise you that I don’t consider myself to be without any perspective, so I guess we disagree there too.

    I do think the Seattle issue is worse than anything the patriots did, and was dissapointed it wasn’t covered more by the media, but again that wasn’t a repeated history, which was my original claim.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I know that people have their own opinions. I was trying to get them to give the basis for their opinions. A terrorist could have the opinion that it’s okay to crash a plane into a building in the United States. I think it’s worth finding out if his belief is based on a foundation of sound information. This, to me, is more useful than just saying, “everyone has their own opinion.”

      When I state my bias in the article, it’s just being transparent. Should I hide the fact that I’ve watched every game of the 1990 season when they were terrible (1-15) and had a real scandal (sexual harassment of Lisa Olson) that was newsworthy. That was something to be embarrassed about.

      I know you didn’t say gravely, but I thought it was a fair categorization of your view due to the penalty levied. If you don’t think was gravely illegal, then my argument is even stronger.

      I decided to ask Google for the definition of cheating and it came back with “act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage.” Stealing signals would be the only way to gain an advantage from taping the signals. And if stealing signals as you say isn’t cheating, then clearly videotaping them isn’t either. It’s a violation of the rules, just like if Marshawn Lynch wears golden shoes when the league says no. A violation of the rules isn’t necessarily cheating. I don’t even think they acted dishonestly as they were out in the open and transparent about it. They clearly thought what they were doing was legal. If they wanted to be dishonest, there were a thousand different ways they could hide cameras that would be hard to detect.

      The Matt Walsh stuff doesn’t look good, but by your logic, because the NFL didn’t find anything worth fining the Patriots for it must not have been an issue. And with the NFL destroying evidence, it gives you even more reason to point the figure at them. As Patriots owner Kraft said yesterday, the NFL has really handled this poorly leaking out different kinds of contradictory information to reporters and not being open and transparent with what it is known. At minimum, it should be able to give us the logs of the readings of the footballs at various times.

  9. Kevin says:

    Using your definition, the stealing signals part isn’t unfair, everyone does it and not against the rules, thus not cheating. The video taping is unfair, its against the rules and is used to gain an advantage (you seem to argue its not an advantage, but the bottom line is it could give them an advantage–why else would they do it?).

    Marshawn Lynch’s behavior, while against the rules making it perhaps dishonest doesn’t fit the other criteria–gaining an advantage, thus not cheating.

    I do find culpability with a lot of things the NFL does, that doesn’t mean no other parties are culpable too.

    • Lazy Man says:

      I think successfully stealing signals is an advantage. However, you said that isn’t illegal. So I would say that it is fair to gain an advantage by stealing signals. Otherwise, we have to punish the Steelers and other teams as well.

      So the question is whether videotaping is illegal. It is, as you pointed out. Is there an advantage to videotaping? I don’t think so. Videotapes don’t play on the field. They don’t coach from the sidelines. So the advantage comes from the stealing signals which we determined was legal, not from the videotaping. Thus the illegal act doesn’t provide an advantage. That’s why I said they could have a stenographer or person with a photographic memory there. If we say that the end result (stealing signals) is fine, I just don’t see how we can care about the method being used… as long as it wasn’t secretive or covert such as bugging an opposing sideline.

  10. Kevin says:

    If videotaping can’t yield an advantage then why would the Patriots do it in the first place?

    • Lazy Man says:

      If the Patriots thought what they were doing was illegal why would they do it in front of 80,000 witnesses when they could have hidden cameras? It’s the equivalent of sending in 15 guys on offense and expecting to get away with it.

      I think we can agree that videotaping a brick wall poses no advantage. I think we can agree that stealing someone’s signals is an advantage. If you say that stealing someone’s signals (that thing that is an advantage) is fine, then I don’t see why have a problem with videotaping (that thing that is not an advantage of itself).

      Add in the fact that it’s legal under certain circumstances (depending on the kind of enclosure, location, phase of the moon (j/k)). Then add that any definition of “Spy” means “secretly”, which wasn’t done, and you’ve got about 700 valid explanations about why it was meaningless, except that it was excessively punished by the NFL.

      • Lazy Man says:

        Here’s an example of how bad the media has unfairly jumped on the Patriots. The Washington Post, a seemingly reputable organization, has published this article about the Patriots possibly tampering with Blount when he was with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

        The article devotes only 8 words to the most important fact: “any other NFL team could have signed him.” Pittsburgh chose of their own free will to get rid of him. 30 other teams could have claimed him off waivers. Every team passed. He chose to sign back with a team he had success with last year when an offer was extended to him.

        It’s simply absurd how people needlessly look to hammer the Patriots even when things are 100% legal and impossible for them circumvent. This is why if anything is 0.00001% off, even if it isn’t proven, it’s headline news on all three major networks.

  11. Kevin says:

    Perhaps the Patriots didn’t think it was illegal, which is why they did it, either way they did it. I believe we are passed that though and the fact they illegally did something is not in question.

    So all that’s left to fulfill your definition of cheating is can they benefit from it?

    You still didn’t answer my question “If videotaping can’t yield an advantage then why would the Patriots do it in the first place?” If you can give me a satisfactory answer I will cede that you are right and no cheating took place.

    • Lazy Man says:

      If someone didn’t do it intentionally, it’s hard to say they cheated. I had a friend in college who pulled out his book and started flipping through the pages. He had 3 finals that day and two of them were open book and he got it wrong. The test administrator did the right thing and pulled him out of the class to talk to him. The friend later told me that he was reminded it was a closed book test, he admitted to the mix-up, and went back to finish the test without any penalty.

      I don’t think anyone thought he was a cheater. There was no intention of it. Yes, everyone would admit that something that wasn’t allow did occur, but I think everyone would agree that because he wasn’t try to hide it in any way, he shouldn’t be labeled a cheater. It was really up to the administrator to promptly stop the misunderstanding and continue on.

      It sounds like this is an ignorance makes it okay excuse. It is another layer as to why “cheating” is clearly not accurate for what occurred.

      My answer to your question of “If videotaping can’t yield an advantage then why would the Patriots do it in the first place?”

      was:

      “I think we can agree that videotaping a brick wall poses no advantage. I think we can agree that stealing someone’s signals is an advantage. If you say that stealing someone’s signals (that thing that is an advantage) is fine, then I don’t see why have a problem with videotaping (that thing that is not an advantage of itself).”

      I’ll try to be more clear, the advantage is clearly in stealing the signals, not videotaping, which you said multiple times is not illegal.

  12. Kevin says:

    Your definition of cheating makes no mention of intentionally–“act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage”. Why introduce that definition if you have no plans of using it?

    If videotaping doesn’t help facilitate the stealing of signals then why did the Patriots do it? You didn’t really answer the question. Sure they could have hired a stenographer etc. or just tried to steal them without a video, but they didn’t. Why’d they do what they did if it didn’t help them?

    • Lazy Man says:

      It wasn’t my definition of cheating, it’s what I found when I searched Google. I did use that definition in detail.

      I added the point about intentionality ON TOP of that definition, because I feel that cheating implies doing it on purpose. That’s why I had the long explanation of my friend who deemed to not have cheated because there was no intention behind it.

      I didn’t say that videotaping didn’t help facilitate the stealing of signals. Not sure why you are going there. I think you are combining the two of them into one thing instead of looking at them separately as I suggest.

      Why does any team steal signals? It may help them, but it might not if teams change them. The advantage comes from the legal act (according to you) of stealing signals. I’ll add a third time, if they taped a brick wall, it would still be illegal, but there’d obviously be no advantage to it. Thus the advantage is not tied to the act of videotaping at all, but in stealing the signals.

  13. Kevin says:

    Why would you look at the 2 things separate? That’s not how the world works. Things don’t get evaluated in a vacuum.

    Since it sounds like you agree videotaping helps facilitate stealing signals you would agree it does indeed give them an advantage, and we have arrived at the two criteria (according to your googled definition of cheating) necessary for cheating. Its been a long ride, and even if your not ready to make the next logical admission, my arguments are complete.

    • Lazy Man says:

      It makes sense to break something down for the purpose of evaluating it.

      I said that stealing signals might give an advantage. It also might not as a teams can (and do) change them. However, since you claimed that’s legal the very thing that could possibly give an advantage is deemed not cheating.

      I say the same thing, it’s been a long ride, and even if your not ready to make the next logical admission, my arguments are complete.

      I’ll add in that I didn’t see the Falcons pumping in noise headline any major news network. That is straight out cheating. It isn’t going against the means (videotaping) of a legal act (stealing signals). It isn’t unknowingly breaking the rules like SpyGate. It is purposeful.

      Trent Dilfer actually put it perfectly here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqkOBYbUBJw. Way to call out the Seahawks for Adderall and running extra practices that break the rules. Way to call out the 49er dynasty for illegally stashing players on IR.

      There’s a lot of talk about the integrity of the game, but the NFL itself has no integrity for leaking information to reporters and not logging the pressure before the game. The NFL has no integrity for not giving us the full details on the footballs’ gauge from the beginning. It’s not come out that only one football was significantly deflated and the rest were just a tick below the minimum which is where they started… totally attributable to the temperature change.

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