Belichick, Pioli, Break Silence on Spygate

Mike Reiss has the big scoop tonight, with Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli each breaking their silence on the whole Spygate scandal, and strongly denying that any opponent walk-throughs were ever taped.

Pioli also says that Matt Walsh was fired from the club because he was caught secretly tape-recording conversations, something that Walsh’s lawyer denies.

  • Jason

    Great job by Mike Reiss to get this story. Lot of juicy quotes…on the record, Mr Tomase!

  • Vern

    And in related news, the Herald adds this bit of CYA in their blog…

    “The Herald reported on Feb. 2 that a Patriots employee filmed the Rams’ final walkthrough, but that it was unclear if the coaches ever saw the material.”

    http://www.bostonherald.com/blogs/sports/patriots/index.php/2008/02/18/belichick-denies-taping/

  • Rick

    yeah, and then Mike Florio of PRO FOOTBALL TALK.COM claims Belichick said “too much” before that he complained he “wouldn’t adress” the issue….Belichick will never win with the media>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    POSTED 9:42 a.m. EST, February 18, 2008

    BELICHICK SPEAKS OUT ON SPYGATE

    In the same Boston Globe article in which Pats V.P. of player personnel gives the team’s take on the termination of Matt Walsh, coach Bill Belichick talks for the first time since September 2007 about the Spygate situation.

    As to Walsh, Belichick says that he “couldn’t pick Matt Walsh out of a lineup.”

    As to the notion that the Pats spied on the Rams before Super Bowl XXXVI, Belichick had this to say: “In my entire coaching career, I’ve never seen another team’s practice film prior to playing that team. I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any other team’s walkthrough. We don’t even film our own. We don’t even want to see ourselves do anything, that’s the pace that it’s at. Regardless, I’ve never been a part of that.

    It’s as broad a denial as Belichick can issue, but we’re confused as to why he’d even mention that the Pats don’t tape their own walk-through practices. Of course a team won’t tape it’s own walk-through — there’s no benefit to it from the standpoint of assessing or grading players because they’re, you know, walking. For an opponent, however, access to the walk-through practice would have tremendous value from the standpoint of deciphering the game plan.

    Frankly, including the “we don’t even tape our own walk-throughs” angle in his argument makes us wonder whether the normally tight-lipped Belichick is going a bit too far.

    Meanwhile, Belichick went back to Spygate I (i.e., the taping of defensive coaching signals) and tried to defend practices that the league already has deemed to be a violation worthy of a $500,000 fine to Belichick, a $250,000 fine to the team, and the loss of a first-round draft pick.

    Belichick explained that he merely misinterpreted the rule.

    “My interpretation was that you can’t utilize anything to assist you during that game,” Belichick said. “What our camera guys do is clearly not allowed to be used during the game and has never been used during that game that it was shot.”

    Belichick also had this to say about the taping of defensive coaching signals:

    “On the tape of the signaling that we talk about, that film usually wasn’t even completed until Thursday or Friday of the following week. It was that low of a priority. In other words, the video guys had so much other stuff to do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday getting ready for the other game, that a lot of times that film wasn’t even processed until later in the week.”

    Again, Belichick could be going too far. Why on earth would the video staff prepare, for example, video taken on Sunday of the Jets’ defensive coaching signals for the following week’s game? The value in making the tape arises when they prepare to play the Jets again that year — or when they face teams coached by members of the current Jets defensive staff in future seasons.

    Moreover, we’re confused about why Belichick would even dredge up Spygate I. Here’s what Belichick had to say on the topic:

    “I wasn’t comfortable talking about it earlier in the year because my No. 1 job is to win football games. The more distractions there are, I think the harder it is to prepare. I thought the more conversation about this would just take away from what my primary job and our primary job is, which is to win football games.

    “I felt like now, the season has been over for a couple weeks, there are certainly a lot of questions out there about it, I thought this would be the timely point to address it as opposed to during the season, at any point. Of course, it came up a number of times.”

    But, right now, the only question that anyone still cares about arising from the five-month-old incident is what tapes or other materials Belichick gave to the league, and why the stuff was promptly destroyed.

    Belichick didn’t address any of those issues on Sunday. It’s unclear whether he ever will in a setting other than a Congressional hearing room. Or a courtroom.

  • EJ

    I like the way pioli and bill did this, waiting until the end of the season is def the way to go. Reiss is my fav read regarding all things pats. By the way this is first thing I’ve read since the big game, I’m still sore.

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