Thursday, September 13, 2007

Vanderbilt Hotline: I'll Be Brief, Edition

OK, we will have a proper Ole Miss preview later today or tomorrow. In the meantime, here are a few articles I wanted to draw your attention to.

Mo Patton writes that Chris and Mackenize split snaps in practice yesterday, showing that his prognosis has improved significantly from early this week. As Patton points out in his second Tennessean article of the day, left tackle Chris Williams will certainly be a security blanket for whomever lines up under center.

I think Bill Belichick is an ass-clown, that he should be suspended for a game, and that the Pats should have to forfeit a meaningful draft pick. If the NFL wants to prevent this from happening in the future, they have to come down hard on the Patriots. For course, I am a Jets homer, so my take should be taken with a grain of salt.

Got thoughts on this? On Saturday's game, let's hear'em.


Boyer in the District said...

The Hoodie (Belichek) SUCKS. This is an absolute disgrace - why there's not more of an uproar over this is beyond me.

Unknown said...

it's a pity that the Big Guy hasnt been around the site in awhile, i'm sure he could deliver some uber-biased patriot testimony to elicit a good, bile-filled diatribe from either stanimal, boyer, or bobby.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts?

Ole Miss will again be lit up like a road flare.

31-17 final/

Boyer in the District said...

Oh, Arkansas will win Saturday, too. Just so everyone knows.

Unknown said...

I was reading today that there were suspicions of the Patriots cheating during their 3 point Super Bowl win over the Eagles a few years ago. Apparently, film shows that same Pats employee taping during the first half of the Super Bowl and Pats players reportedly bragged to Eagles players in the second half that they knew their signs.

I agree with the previous comment. This is an absolute disgrace that I actually find worse than taking steroids. At a minimum, the Pats should be forced to forfeit the game against the Jets, be docked several draft picks, and Belichick should be suspended.

Boyer in the District said...

And you know with Roger Goodell, that's not too far fetched.

Stanimal said...

It certainly begs the question as to how long this has been going on. But another thing to consider is whether or not they are the only team that does it and they just got caught.

The Patriots are a damn good team even without the cheating, but there is little doubt that it gives them a big advantage. This might be the most egregious instance of cheating that I can remember in the NFL.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Y'all are ridiculous. Anyone who thinks this doesn't happen all over the NFL (not to mention the MLB, the king of professional sports "cheating") is insane.

If Goodell wants to make sure it doesn't happen anywhere, fine - suspend him two games (but no draft pick loss). But realistically this is no more of a "disgrace" than stealing signals from the opposing team's dugout (which happens all the time at every level of baseball).

If everyone does it (which they do) and always has (which they have), isn't it just part of the game?

(Note that this is not an argument transferable to steroids...)

Bobby O'Shea said...

Surprise, surprise, I am going to disagree with Seamus on this one.

While sign stealing in baseball is bad, I can't help but think that stealing plays and defensive sets (particularly when the QB has an earpiece and is getting information from the booth) is worse.

Calling "audibles" because you see something in the way the defense is lining up is one thing, but being able to call audibles because you have intercepted a signal, to me, seems much more egregious.

While people love to make the analogy that football is war, I think a line has to be drawn when it comes to "intelligence gathering" a la play-call stealing or and tapping headsets.

To your point that this has probably gone on before and that the Pats aren't the only teams to do it, I say, maybe. But I also say, who cares. They got caught.

What they did is against the leagues rules, and a complete violation of the spirit of the game. The only way to stop this kind of conduct, whether it be from Homeless Billy or any other coaching staff in the league is to come down extremely hard on this one. If you get 4 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy for gaining an unfair, competitive advantage, shouldn’t the penalty be the same for coaching staffs gaining an unfair advantage that, arguable, has more impact on the outcome of the game than whether a safety is juicing (yeah, the Pats got one of those too)? I’d throw in a draft pick since this not just a player, but an entire organization that is either implicit or complicitly sanctioning such conduct.

Finally, can we all agree that New England isn't nearly as "classy" an organization as they claim to be? Their coach looks like he sleeps under a bridge, their quarterback indiscriminately spreads his seed, and one of their defensive leaders is currently serving a 4 game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy...oh yeah, and they film their opponents sidelines to steal play-calls.

You stay classy New England.

Boyer in the District said...

If we're going to hold every professional sports league to the same standards, then HGH should be allowed through 2004 in the NFL and NBA, and every team should be allotted a few 100 grr to hire photographers and sign stealers.

Then again...if you're not cheating, you're not trying, and it's only cheating if you get caught.

Tough luck, Hoodie.

Seamus O'Toole said...

I'd turn that on its head:

If you're not doing a good enough job of avoiding being cheated, you're not trying hard enough.

The Jets have themselves to blame for not mixing up their signals. We mixed up our signals in HIGH SCHOOL football to avoid having them stolen -- these guys do this professionally and it's an embarrassment to the Jets that they couldn't do it well enough, knowing as they do that this happens all over the league.

It's also worth mentioning that Randy Moss was double and triple covered on several of his catches. Give me a break -- how much of a "competitive advantage" are we really talking about?

Bobby O'Shea said...

The Jets embarassing themselves on Sunday is not in dispute here, but to say that there isn't a competitive advantage gained from filming the opposing side's signal calls is an insult to the intellegence of everyone reading this blog

Seamus O'Toole said...

I never asked whether there is one, but how much of one is there.

Get it straight, O'Shea.

Boyer in the District said...

And Seamus, lets not forget, I'm a genius.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I think the advantage is unknowable...but the reason the rule is in place is to create, at least during the game, a level playing field.

Seamus O'Toole said...

Why is my intelligence being insulted by being explained the rationale behind a rule in football?

There's also rules against holding, but ask any NFL offensive lineman or wide receiver whether they do it when they can and they'll say yes. Ask any ref whether you could technically call holding on virtually every play and they'll say yes. The best blockers are smart about how they do it -- they stay inside the opposing player's frame and keep them in tight so that it's less likely to be called. Part of being a good defender is not letting the blocker get that good inside position on you. So there you have it: People who are trying to cheat and those who are trying to avoid being cheated. Part of the game.

Of course, when you get caught holding there is a penalty, and that's appropriate. I never said there shouldn't be a penalty here. I'm lambasting everyone who's going nuts and calling this a monumental "disgrace," etc. etc. I suppose the penalty should fit the crime, yes, but the question is the magnitude of the crime. Y'all are saying it's so bad they should lose draft picks. I'm saying maybe a two-game suspension, max. And that's my whole point: I just don't see this as being nearly as big a deal as y'all do.

And as it turns out...I'm right.

Bobby O'Shea said...

I don't know that I see holding and filming your oppositions play calls as the same thing.

Holding is cheating or gaining an unfair advantage within the context of the game. I can't help but think that filming the opposing sidelines is falls outside that standard. To put it another way, holding is part of the game...filming the opposition during the game is not.

It is for that reason that I, and others, think this is a bigger deal than you do. In the interest of full disclosure, I wouldn't be nearly this passionate had it not happened to the Jets and been perpetrated by the Patriots and Homeless Billy. Still, that doesn't make me wrong.

What makes me upset about this, is that the Patriots conduct falls well outside the bounds and customs of the game. Picking up signs from the sidelines is one think, but dedicating a camera to that end is something else all together.

I think Howard Bryant's column on gives this good context and is worth a read.

To change the subject completely: Greg Oden is expected to miss the entire 2007-08 season due to microscopic knee surgery. Can anyone think of a time when a player so well thought of, and whose entre into the game was so anticipated didn't suit up? While it was for completely different reason, J.D. Drew's saga comes to mind.

Unknown said...

I don't understand why people keep saying that everybody else is doing it. I haven't seen any proof of that and no other team has been under suspicion of videotaping. To say that "everybody does it" so the Pats can do it is ludicrous. Not only is that pure speculation and a poor excuse from the Pats franchise, it does not mean that the Pats shouldn't be punished for blatantly cheating.

I've read several articles today with quotes from players after previous games against the Pats saying to the effect of "It was almost like they knew what we were going to do before we did it."

Quotes like that prove that the Pats in fact DID have a substantial competitive advantage in stealing signs.

Furthermore, all 3 of the Pats Super Bowl wins were by 3 points. In games that close, 1 or 2 plays decide who the Super Bowl Champion is. If the advantage is enough to affect one play, they have cheated to win the Super Bowl.

Bobby O'Shea said...

Looks like Alex wants to ratchett up the hyperbole another notice...and I gotta tell you, I LIKE IT.

Seamus O'Toole said...

1) I made an analogy between holding and stealing signals, and never said they are "the same thing." They are not. One deserves a much harsher penalty. Why am I having to repeat myself on that? See above.

2) Quoting O'Shea: "Picking up signs from the sidelines is one think, but dedicating a camera to that end is something else all together."

What does "something else all together" mean? I agree that the two are different. One deserves a penalty (the video-taping) whereas one is nearly impossible to prove and therefore does not deserve a penalty.

3) Quoting Alex:

"I don't understand why people keep saying that everybody else is doing it. I haven't seen any proof of that and no other team has been under suspicion of videotaping. To say that "everybody does it" so the Pats can do it is ludicrous. Not only is that pure speculation and a poor excuse from the Pats franchise, it does not mean that the Pats shouldn't be punished for blatantly cheating."

First of all, the notion that "everyone is doing it" is not made up. Players and coaches alike have said this is commonplace. To get just a small sampling, see Bobby Petrino's or Tom Coughlin's or Sean Salisbury's comments on the matter. It's part of the game. Get over it.

(Also, just note: Part of the reason coaches are staying away from public comments about it right now is that they all have their own ways of doing it.)

Second of all, no one (here at least) is saying "everyone does it so the Pats should be able to do it." No one is trying to justify stealing signals and getting away scot-free if you're caught -- the Pats should be punished. PROPORTIONATELY.

Finally, the league rules are ambiguous about signal stealing anyway, so everyone who's throwing out these "it mars the essential integrity of the game" arguments is acting without much backing from the actual rules -- just trying to appeal to people's emotions by giving them an excuse to think the Patriots aren't really that good after all.

Bottom Line: If the NFL REALLY wants to crack down on this, they'll allow speakers in defensive players' helmets. Usually the middle linebacker calls the huddle -- give him a speaker and let the game be played. Otherwise they ought to get out of their tower and stop pretending to have some moral authority over the way the game is played.

Boyer in the District said...

I've gotta side with Bobby on this - and sure, I'll disclose - I'm a Packer fan. Doesn't matter. I'd be just as irate at the Packers organization if this happened in their shop.

The point is, what the Pats were doing is blantently outside the context of the game of football. It's one thing to scout the other team, to look over film, to talk to other's quite another to have a SPY on ths sideilnes with something other than his own two eyes.

The bottom line is it's a disgrace because they got CAUGHT, just like it's a disgrace that Barriod and Sammy "when I'm in trouble I forget English" Sosa are still sniffing a baseball field.

I'll say it again - if you're not cheating, you're not trying, and it's only cheating if you get caught.


Anonymous said...

None of this matters anyway.

Randy Moss + Tom Brady + Madhouse Maroney + A. Thomas = Competitive Advantage Over All Teams, Let Alone A Solid But Fatally Flawed Jets Team

And that's the good word from the DOC.

Stanimal said...

Boyer couldn't be more right on the money.

Seamus O'Toole said...

In a place deep down in the core of his conscience, where Bobby O'Shea's ability to be rational transcends his being a Jets fan, he knows that I'm right...and it's eating away at him.