#2 Spygate

Number Two?

Really?

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.

  • Rich

    Any show with Michael Irvin is unwatchable but he wouldn’t have made that comment-if anything he has been gracious to the Pats. Faulk must have-he was a pretty vocal critic when the story broke back then.

    • Bruce

      I thought it might be either Faulk or Sapp.

    • Classless

      Of course it was Faulk. His precious Rams lost to the Pats. Give a dumb athlete an excuse, and he’ll use it until it’s beaten deader than a horse.

  • http://3rdstringqb.blogspot.com Pip

    This will linger forever. Tomase, his buddy Mazz, and The Herald should all have been burned at the stake for what they did to the PAtriots and Patriots’ fans. This was journalism at it’s worst, and even though the Media learned it’s lesson, ESPN never once apologized for the way it covered the story, and it never will.

    50 years from now people will still think the Patriots had a tape of the Rams walkthrough. I had to explain this whole story to a local yesterday.

    The only things left are either the 2004 Red Sox and Garnett + Allen coming to town. My money is on the Sox.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    Spygate was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me…..I USED to listen to ALOT of sportstalk radio and I USED to read just about everything the local/national sportswriters wrote……”Spygate” opened my eyes. It really exposed the sports media as a bunch of drama queens. Always looking for the soap opera side of the story and it’s only gotten worse. SEE: “The Randy Moss dogs it” stories…….very seldom listen to sportstalk radio anymore and the only sportswriter I read now Mike Reiss…..

    • dave

      at least you learned not to listen to these bozos on the sports talk radio circuit. I don’t know how anyone can. It is all about $… sensationalism sells whether it’s true or not. SPORTS TALK SHOWS SSUUCCKK!!!! All Of Them!!!! TURN THEM OFF and they will go away.

  • http://www.jarredalexandrov.com Jarred Alexandrov

    It says a lot that even by basically fabricating a story that was HUGE both locally and nationally the Boston Herald will probably be out of business in five years.

    And seriously, thank God for Mike Reiss. The best JOURNALIST in Boston.

  • Classless

    I’m sorry, Bruce, but this story has to be #1. Once it broke, it wasn’t just a week long or even month long story; it had legs all the way up until Brady blew out his knee. The story caused people in the media (supposedly objective and having ethics) to openly root against the Patriots, fabricate lies and not suffer any consequences for them (Rams walkthrough lie), and gave a team it’s own sports news ticker that wasn’t in any way related to the play on the field.

    I may be dramatic, but creating stories that commit libel have thrown people in jail. In this case, those fabricators were lauded and still remain employed. Combine all those factors in with 24/7 internet coverage and I don’t see how any story is bigger.

  • Tom

    People from The Herald should be burned at the stake? Thrown in jail? The media aren’t the only ones who are over the top.

  • http://www.jonvssports.blogspot.com Jon

    2 years later and Deof still sucks at life.

  • Tony

    This was the media at its worst, by far.

    What kills me is that they are STILL bringing this non-issue up as they now evaluate the “best of” lists as the decade draws to a close. Skip Clueless just referenced it on ESPN the other day when he picked the Lakers over the Pats as team of the decade (an otherwise justifiable pick without bringing up the Spygate nonsense).

    This nonsense will never end, and what’s worse, the average fan is left with the quite incorrect impression that the Pats are the only successful team to have ever done anything like that. My God, the Broncos cheating on the salary cap and winning two Super Bowls remains a COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN story. The Steelers popping steroids like M&M’s back in the 70′s? Completely forgotten. The Raiders (admittedly) bugging the other team’s lockerroom at the Oakland Coliseum? Completely forgotten. Jimmy Johnson saying that his Cowboys also taped signals, and even stole opposing team’s old gameplans? Completely forgotten.

    No folks, thanks to the media, only your New England Patriots ever broke a rule, and only your New England Patriots have “tainted” championships.

    I’ll never forgive those jackals for what they did with this non-story, and it WAS a non-story. Not a single former NFL coach believes the Patriots gained any kind of advantage from their taping practices—go back and look at all of the interviews with guys like Vermeil, Johnson, and others at the time. Even Don Shula, back in the beginning, said it was no big deal—then the Pats began threatening his precious ’72 Dolphins’ perfect record, and he changed his tune. But back in September of 2007, he was among the many former coaches who believed it was all much ado about nothing.

    I’m still holding my breath for that media story about what an insane conflict of interest and unfair competitive advantage the Colts had during most of this decade by having both their coach (Dungy) and GM wielding powerful positions on the NFL’s all-powerful Competition Committee…..still waiting……still waiting….not holding my breath anymore.

    • Classless

      The Lakers are a valid pick for team of the decade BUT…if Skip Ball-less is going to throw mud with a “spygate” comment, then I guess I’ll retort with a “Kobe is a rapist” comment. Which is worse?

      • Tony

        And I’d also reply with the officiating ALWAYS taking the strangest, pro-Lakers turn at the most important moment in every close playoff series they played during the decade. The highway robbery that was the 2002 Western Conference Finals which was taken from a better Sacramento team remains the officiating low point of the entire decade….I mention this because Skip Clueless also mentioned the “Tuck Rule Fiasco” as a reason to vote against the Patriots as team of the decade. I’d like to force Skip to watch tapes of that 7-game officiating embarrassment that was the ’02 Western Conference Finals as punishment for bringing up both the Tuck Rule and Spygate.

%d bloggers like this: