National Obsession With Belichick, Patriots Continues

Even when the Patriots are not playing in the Super Bowl, the nation (well, the media at least) is still obsessed with them. Yesterday was a double-dose of Patriots with the whole country talking about Peter King’s Sports Illustrated fawning and ingratiating column on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (The Man Of The Hour)

Of the ten page column, in which there are plenty of topics worthy of further discussion, focus has fallen on two paragraphs on page eight:

Goodell didn’t make friends in New England in 2007 when he fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 and docked the Pats a first-round draft pick for secretly videotaping an opposing team’s coaching signals. Owner Robert Kraft thought the penalty too severe. Goodell told Kraft that, as part of the disciplinary action, Belichick would have to make a verbal apology in front of the press that week. Instead the coach issued a printed statement and refused to answer any questions on the topic. “I was given assurances that [Belichick] would tell his side of the story,” Goodell says. “He went out and stonewalled the press. I feel like I was deceived.”

Belichick responds, “I did not make any assurances about thoroughly discussing the subject publicly. I said I would address it following the league’s review. I then did that in a way I thought was appropriate. I don’t think that was deceptive.”

This relaunched discussion of the Spygate scandal, especially on local sports radio stations. Then just a few hours later, word came out that Bill Belichick wins coach of year for the 2010 season.

As for the other links from this morning, they’re pretty thin outside of the usual Super Bowl-focused stuff. Here’s six:

Inside the Patriots: In Bill, Patriot Nation can still trust - Jonathan Comey says that the coach is still at the top of his game.

Should sportswriters be allowed to gamble on sports? - Sean Kerrigan in the Phoenix talks to Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan among other on the topic.

Celtics had a productive trip, with just one stumble - Julian Benbow has the Celtics returning home after a 3-1 West coast swing.

Lavarnway welcome, along with 19 others - Peter Abraham’s Red Sox notebook looks at spring training invitations handed out by the Red Sox.

10 Questions — No. 8: Sox closer in Sept? - Gordon Edes examines whether Jonathan Papelbon will still be the Red Sox closer at the end of 2011.

Nathan Horton heard from - Rich Thompson has the Bruins winger finally getting back in the scoring sheet.

  • tl;dr

    If BB didn't do what the Commish expected of him, why didn't he pick up the phone/send an email/write a letter/visit him in person/send someone else to see him in person or send a homing pigeon telling him to get his tuckas back in front of a microphone to answer more questions about it instead of doing nothing and complaining 4 years later?

    And they weren't "secretly" taping the game. The cameramen were on the sidelines in the open.

  • Tony

    I'm still waiting for someone, ANYONE, in the media to ask Goodell if he thinks that salary cap cheating is a severe rules violation and what he thinks the penalty for that should be. Afterall, since videotaping a guy flapping his arms in full view of 70,000 people is considered a grand felony and a crime against football humanity by Goodell, then what could the penalty for cap cheating possibly be? His predecessor, as we all know by now, pretty much slapped Denver and SF on the wrists for their multiple cap violations. Goodell hit the Patriots over the head, repeatedly, with a sledgehammer for their signal stealing (by the way, what's the penalty for being caught stealing signals with a notepad and binoculars, which all teams still try to do?).

    This guy is a joke. The owners may like him because he makes them money, but a lot of fans, and not just those in New England, are fed up with him.

    Of course, the local media is loving the fact that this camera-conscious idiot brought up the subject again.

  • Rod Rust

    Two comments: One, there's a really poor editing job on the story. How do you simply jump from "Owner Robert Kraft thought the penalty too severe" to "Goodell told Kraft that, as part of the disciplinary action, Belichick would have to make a verbal apology in front of the press that week." It's like stream of consciousness.

    Two, Peter King semi-retracted the first scoop from the story – about how none of Ben Roethlisberger's teammates stuck up for him – after Goodell claimed to be misquoted. And we know that Peter King has problems with getting quotes accurately – just ask Wade Philips. And given that according to the story, Goodell didn't talk to Belichick, why would he have any expectation that Belichick would discuss his side of the story with the media? Not to mention that his side of the story might have included the fact that the tapes destroyed by the NFL included footage showing that other teams taped defensive signals. All in all, this just doesn't hang together.

  • Jon

    Poor Goodell. Awwwwwww… It's not bad enough you pillory people for minor rule violations, you demand public embarrassment. Maybe he should spend more time trying to prevent a lockout next year and less time whining that Bill didn't want to play this idiiotic game of Hateriot's nation.

    • tl;dr

      Kraft demands public embarrassment too. It's going to cost him Logan Mankins.

      • Tony

        Logan Mankins' big mouth is going to cost the Patriots Logan Mankins. Nothing else.

        • tl;dr

          So after the two sides reached an agreement on a new contract and then Bob Kraft added a condition that Mankins publicly apologize which cause Mankins to hold out DIDN'T cost Kraft Mankins?

        • ScottB

          They had reached an agreement on a new contract, did they? I'd be interested in seeing a link to that story. I'll wait here until you get back.

        • Tony

          You're making a huge assumption there.

          Kraft steadfastly rebuked the story that the two sides had an agreement. The "public apology" snafu and the "we had a deal in place" story has come 100% from Mankins' camp, and Mankins' camp only.

          I'm not calling Mankins a liar, but shouldn't we at least find out if there actually WAS a deal in place before we go jumping to conclusions about this whole "public apology" stuff being the deal breaker?

          And also, Mankins, way back when, is the one who first shot his mouth off, called Kraft a liar and BB a liar (in so many words). He made this public and, like it or not, we all know that the Patriots do not like it when players take their contract talks to the media.

          They'll survive without him if he leaves.

          They need a pass rush; they can get by with mediocre guards if they fix the pass rush (see: Pittsburgh, pretty much every year since Alan Faneca was allowed to leave).

        • tl;dr

          How does getting a pass rush help your offensive line? That makes no sense. The reason the Steelers can get by with mediocre guards is because Worthlessberger can scramble and run on broken plays. Brady, no so much (as you saw in the Jets playoff game and pretty much his whole career).

  • http://www.patriotsdaily.com/ Tyler

    To King's credit, he waited to let Belichick give his side of the story. Two points though:

    First: for the last time, stop calling it "Spy"gate. There was no espionage involved; all of the filming was in plain view. Call it Cameragate, or more appropriately SidelineCameragate, since the placement of the camera was technically the only infarction and not the actual recording of signals (which every, and I mean EVERY team does without cameras through their advanced scouts).

    Second: so Goodell told Kraft he expected Belichick to ‘come clean’ in the form of an apology? Setting aside the debatable immorality of Belichick's misdemeanor – which pales in comparison with the gamesmanship practiced by revered figures such as George Halas, George Allen and Paul Brown – why didn’t Goodell just directly ask Belichick to apologize? Unless I’m mistaken the two cooperated in person throughout the Cameragate investigation, with Belichick admitting how long the filming had been going on. What I believe Goodell MEANT to say (I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt) was that he and Belichick didn’t agree that an apology was necessary.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Goodell is the worst kind of leader: one who commands, but who commands no respect. He's a reactionary determined to SHOW THEM WHO'S BOSS, regardless of whether the action is consistent or reasoned. He's like the head of the PTA, but in charge of a major sport. It would be laughable but for the fact that this is a multibillion dollar industry we're talking about.

    In other words, I look forward to seeing the Patriots go for another Super Bowl title…. when and if football resumes in 2015.

    • Jon

      Has the ownership of major league sports always been this awful?
      Bettman, Stearn, Goodell, Selig… ugh.
      I'm curious if previous eras had this issue. I get the impression that baseball has been awfully run for a while now, and Stearn has been with the NBA for a while. But NFL, I always thought, had a great ownership (unless you're Al Davis).

  • agnus

    to tyler – I've always wondered whether teams are allowed to tape coaches from above (from the designated place in the stadium where they are allowed to record the game), or is it against the rules even then. so was the violation just the fact that it was on the sideline or are you not supposed to record coaches signaling plays at all?

    whatever the answer – I've always been baffled by the media coverage of this – which always seemed like a technicality rather than overt cheating, and which hardly seems worth the time since teams must switch up signals often. coverage has never focused on what the rules actually were…….

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