Aren’t I the one who wrote Why Spygate Is The Most Disgraceful Episode In Recent Sports Media History as well as The Most Miserable 18-1 Season in History?
Yes. I’ll still say that Spygate was the most disgraceful Boston sports media episode this decade. But was it the most significant? No. You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out that one.
Spygate. Ugh. I still shudder when I hear or see that word. The whole episode was more of a national media episode, that is, until the bastard child of Spygate appeared – Tomasegate. When John Tomase reported in the Boston Herald prior to Super Bowl XLII that the Patriots had taped the walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams prior to Super Bowl XXXVI a whole new explosion of screaming jackals on the airwaves and in print came out.
Even though the Tomase story was later retracted and the Herald forced to issue an apology to the Patriots, the damage was already done.
Let’s get this out of the way. Did the Patriots break the rules? Yes. Were they punished? Yes. Did the media go over-the-top in a manner unprecedented in this decade? Absolutely.
If you have the stomach for it, go ahead and re-read the first link above, on why Spygate was just so disgraceful. Looks at how the sensationalistic aspects of the case were emphasized over cold analysis. Look at the willingness to shoot before looking by the media, examine some of the obvious agendas by some of the biggest media outlets and names, as well as the real reason for the hatred aimed at the Patriots.
It still lingers to this day. Just this weekend, I was watching NFL Gameday Morning on the NFL Network, which features Rich Eisen, Marshall Faulk, Steve Mariucci, Warren Sapp and Michael Irvin. With the Pro Bowl announcements coming this week, they were listing out the top 10 players of the decade. Tom Brady came out on top of the list, just ahead of Peyton Manning. When Brady’s name was mentioned, there was an audible groan on the set. They were then reviewing Brady’s accomplishments, and Eisen, I believe, mentioned that Brady had the three Super Bowl titles. One of the rest of the crew, and I couldn’t tell which one, as the screen was showing the Brady graphic and not the panel, snidely said “Yeah, but how many were without asterisks?”
Spygate was media at its worst. The aftereffects are still lingering.