ESPN and also Sports Illustrated released pieces today rehashing long-discredited accusations of cheating by the New England Patriots, this in the wake of Roger Goodell's complete discrediting at the hands of Judge Richard Berman. Goodel's discrediting by Berman showed how unfit for his office he is for it showcased his megalomania and complete ignorance of the game over which this ex-PR flack for the league office presides.
The ESPN and SI pieces rehash the mythology of cheating allegations made against the Patriots - that the Patriots stole playsheets and rigged transmitters in opponent locker rooms etc. - never mind that the security details of visiting teams control those areas, not the Patriots, and that Spygate was not about any violation of NFL rules, it was about the dishonesty and ignorance of Roger Goodell. It is noteworthy that the only real source for ESPN's story (it cites unnamed sources - and I will call out ESPN that these unnamed sources were made up by the writers) is long-discredited former assistant Matt Walsh, who was fired by the Patriots and was exposed as not credible by the league when it turned to him for what it thought would be a smoking gun of Patriots cheating - and merely got more sideline videotapes. Walsh does not give information in good faith.
The piece's conclusion rehashes the excuses about the Brady verdict - "It didn't matter that Berman only ruled on whether the league had followed the Collective Bargaining Agreement, not on Brady's guilt or innocence." False - Berman got the league to admit it never had any evidence against the Patriots - all it had were inferences from text messages, inferences that were never relevant to anything. In short Berman proved Brady (and by extension the Patriots) were innocent. "It didn't matter that the Patriots had accepted the league's punishment in May." Again false - Goodell lied to Bob Kraft in May (and lied to and about Tom Brady from the beginning) and it showed in Kraft's training camp presser where he admitted being wrong in trusting the league. The reason for the lying stems from Goodell's fundamental dishonesty, shown ironically in an overlooked angle - the effort to pry away trade secrets.
The ESPN piece has earned more notoriety for questions about a 2008 statement from ex-Rams coach Mike Martz. Among the allegations made against the Patriots is they were able to key on Rams back Marshall Faulk in the Superbowl XXXVI win. What the piece ignores is the real reason the Patriots are winners - the Rams were about trying to beat toughness, thoroughness, and situational football with athleticism and talent - and it failed. The reality is the Rams thought they were innovative and creative and they were not; they relied on athleticism, not smart play; if anything the Rams may have been tipping their own plays the way they leaned on Marshall Faulk. What Belichick did was expose that football is not about athleticism - and also that Tom Brady is the superior quarterback.
The simple fact is there never was any cheating by the Patriots. The facts have long proven this. The league needs to face that other teams need to define their game up, stop dumbing it down and stop punishing success.