New England Patriots Cheating History

25
NE
TL;DR:

• the PATRIOTS are TOUCH BELOW AVERAGE NFL cheaters!

• they have a CheatScore of 25?

• they've executed 7 real cheats! ?

• share page: http://YourTeamCheats.com/NE?

 

All New England Patriots Cheats:

Spygate (2007) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: The Patriots were disciplined for videotaping their September 9, 2007 regular-season 38-14 road victory against the New York Jets from the wrong location. The Patriots filmed from an unapproved sideline location instead of from an approved indoor location.

Coincidentally, the Jets had engaged in the same filming activity during their November 12, 2006 regular season game against the Patriots in Foxborough. During that game, a Jets cameraman was caught filming the game and Patriots signals and removed from the stadium. A year later, as a form of payback, the Jets flagged the Patriots for the same activity.

Videotaping your opponents offensive and defensive signals during a game is not prohibited by the league, even today. However, there are places in the stadium where you are allowed and not allowed to film from. According to the 2007 NFL Game Operations Manual, legal game videotaping locations "must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."

VICTIM: New York Jets (and Roger Goodell's ego)

PUNISHED? Yes

PUNISHMENT: As punishment for filming the game from the wrong location, NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell fined Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000, fined the Patriots $250,000, and docked the team their original first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Why was the Spygate penalty so high? Small picture: because Goodell was really pissed-off that he told Belichick to do something and Belichick ignored him. Since it was his first year as commissioner, he really, really wanted people to respect his authoritah!

Big picture: because parity across all 32 NFL teams is in the best interest of the league. The Patriots dominating the league in the salary-cap era was disruptive to these franchises, a threat to ratings and, ultimately, to league advertising revenues. Docking the Patriots a first-rounder was a concrete way for Goodell and the other 31 owners to try and restore parity. A similar dynamic played out 8-years later with the irrationally large Deflategate penalty.

Do you still think Spygate was the biggest cheating scandal in NFL history? Then this page is for you.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: All Blowed Up!Everyone Was Doing It!Goalie for the Dart Team!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 5.0

PEDSgate (5x since 2007) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are used by players to illegally improve athletic performance above what legal training and preparation can do.

Players who illegally improve their performance unfairly penalize players who follow the rules. They not only put those players at risk for physical injury, but they also affect their economic livelihood by impacting their perceived value and their ability to secure appropriately-valued playing contracts.

SEVERITY = 0.5 video cameras per punished incident. Includes all documented infractions from 1960 to present with this Wikipedia page as the primary source.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? Yes

PUNISHMENT: Each player was suspended for four games for violating the league's PEDs policy.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Repeat The Cheat!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 5.0

IRgate (1986) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: In 1986, the New England Patriots lost a 3rd-round draft pick for the illegal use of the injured reserve list.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? Yes

PUNISHMENT: The Patriots lost a 3rd-round pick for the illegal use of injured reserve list.

SHARE:

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 3.0

Snowplowgate (1982) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: On December 12, 1982, the Dolphins and Patriots played the "Snowplow Game" in the middle of a New England blizzard. Conditions were so bad that the teams combined to attempt just 11 passes, while rushing got them a combined 375 yards and zero touchdowns. Through the first three and a half quarters, the two teams only attempted two field goals: both unsuccessful.

With just over four minutes left in the game and the Patriots about to attempt another field goal, the stadium snowplow operator Mark Henderson -- who by mutual agreement had been clearing off the yard markers throughout the game -- veered from his line cleaning duties and cleared a spot on the field for New England kicker John Smith.

Dolphins coach DD Don Shula* went apeshit on the sidelines, but Smith made the kick and the refs allowed it. The Pats won 3-0.

A little known fact about the game from participant and Patriots Hall of Famer John Hannah: "The Dolphins were also offered the use of the snowplow by the head referee to clear the field for their final kick, but with complete indignation and certainty the game would be nullified for the unfair use of it by the Patriots, Coach Shula* adamantly refused to stoop to such tactics" and chose to play as the field lay.

As the Dolphins drove down the field for a potential game-tying field goal, Henderson drove the snowplow with them, remaining at the ready for the call from the referee to clear a spot for Dolphins kicker Uwe Von Schamann. On fourth down, however, Shula* decided to go for it and failed, effectively securing the game for the Patriots.

The act wasn't a breach of NFL rules as there was no rule in place forbidding it. A year later, however, the NFL banned the use of snowplows on the field during games. In a 2007 interview for an NFL Network segment about the game, Shula* recalled protesting what he perceived as an "unfair" act, to which Commissioner Pete Rozelle responded that without a rule explicitly barring such use of the plow, the act wasn't illegal.

VICTIM: Miami Dolphins (Only because they refused the same snow-clearing for their own field goal attempt)

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: The head referee offered the exact snow-clearing advantage to Shula* and the Dolphins on their final field goal attempt. Commissioner Pete Rozelle also confirmed that there was no rule broken.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: All Blowed Up!Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 2.0

IRgate (2013) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Reported Micheal David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com: "Two former Patriots say the team put false information about them on official injury reports."

"Brandon Spikes and Aqib Talib have both said since leaving New England in free agency that when they were on the Patriots last year, the team gave them injury designations that weren’t accurate. Spikes ended last season on injured reserve with a knee injury, and there were reports that Patriots coach Bill Belichick actually put Spikes on IR because Spikes had shown up late to practice. Spikes seemed to confirm that in an interview on WGR in Buffalo."

Said Talib: "The Patriots have their way of reporting stuff, but I haven’t had a hip problem since Tampa, the injury I had was actually a quad injury. It was reported as a hip injury, but that’s how they do things."

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: This could just be the bitching of two disgruntled ex-employees or it may really be "how they do things" up in Foxborough. We'll assume that it is somewhere in the middle. The league never investigated the claims and the Patriots were never penalized for the accusations leveled by Talib and Spikes.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Avoid Media Scrutiny!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 2.0

Walkthroughgate (2002) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: In 2008, the local Boston tabloid, The Boston Herald reported -- citing an unnamed and unverified source -- that the Patriots had videotaped the St. Louis Rams' February 2002 walkthrough practice prior to Super Bowl XXXVI. The allegation was vehemently denied by head coach Belichick and the Patriots. The Boston Herald later acknowledged its error saying "we now know that this report was false." The paper issued a front page apology for running the story without sufficiently verifying its source or the charges (page scan for posterity.)

NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell, after meeting with Patriots video man Matt Walsh and 50 other people, cleared the Patriots of any wrongdoing saying "we were able to verify that there was no Rams walkthrough tape" and "No one asked him [Matt Walsh] to tape the walkthrough. He's not aware of anybody else who may have taped the walkthrough. He had not seen such a tape. He does not know of anybody who says there is a tape."

VICTIM: New England Patriots

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: When you are consistently outplayed and outcoached by the same team year-after-year (or worse, lose to them in a Super Bowl) you WANT to believe -- you NEED to believe -- that the only reason you can't match up is because of some mysterious Patriots' black magic voodoo cheating.

To keep your sanity, you make up fairy tales to soothe yourself. I get that, I really do. I used to feel the same way about the New York Yankees when they were good. I sympathize.

Unfortunately for you, though, your tidy little bedtime story is a lie. Find yourself a good therapist to help you deal with your issues instead. Get well soon.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: All Blowed Up!Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Deflategate (2015) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Immediately after the Indianapolis Colts were blown out (again) by the Patriots, this time in the 2015 AFC Championship game, Colts reporter Bob Kravitz broke a story that the NFL was investigating the Patriots for using underinflated footballs in the game.

Soon afterwards, Chris Mortensen hastily reported, based upon a now-discredited leak from the league, that 11 of the Patriots' 12 game footballs were deflated 2 PSI below the 12.5 PSI minimum legal requirement (Mortensen finally removed his inaccurate tweet on August 4, 2015 -- 195 days after he posted it.)

Two weeks later, on the morning of the Super Bowl, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport corrected this information, reporting that just one of the 11 footballs was 2 PSI under the limit, while many were "just a few ticks under the [12.5 PSI] minimum."

According to ProFootballTalk, the one football that was 2 PSI under the limit was the ball intercepted by D’Qwell Jackson and taken to the Colts sideline and ultimately submitted to the NFL to launch an investigation. The NFL chose not to investigate whether the Colts intentionally manipulated that football before submitting it.

107 days later, NFL independent investigator special prosecutor Ted Wells gave up his search for concrete evidence and guessed that there was at least a 51% chance that the Patriots might have been involved in the deflation of the game footballs.

Facts, schmacts, who needs them? Do you just know in your hairy beer-gut that a team with the Patriots' spotty cheating history absolutely did this? This page is just for you. I think you'll like it.

UPDATE 1: On May 14, 2015 council for the New England Patriots issued a comprehensive rebuttal to the Wells Report. One significant point was that the Colts broke a written league rule when they tested the air pressure of the intercepted football during the game. The Wells Report never flagged that as an issue.

UPDATE 2: On May 21, Sally Jenkins of The Washington Post published the best Deflategate analysis to date showing how Goodell took an insignificant rule infraction and trumped it up to a franchise-smearing scandal to save his own hide.

Jenkins wrote:

"NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell predetermined guilt in DeflateGate; that’s clear now. He has smeared Tom Brady and the New England Patriots without proper evidence or a competent investigation and turned an unimportant misdemeanor into a damaging scandal as part of a personal power play to shore up his flagging authority. In other cases, he just looked inept. In this one, he looks devious."

UPDATE 3: On June 12, The New York Times published an op-ed titled "Deflating 'Deflategate'" which summarized an analysis of the Wells Report done by an independent think tank called the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The AEI "On the Wells report" concluded:

"When we analyzed the data provided in the Wells report, we found that the Patriots balls declined by about the expected amount [ed. note: based on the Ideal Gas Law], while the Colts balls declined by less. In fact, the pressure of the Colts balls was statistically significantly higher than expected."
"This implies that the Colts balls sat in the warm room where they were to be measured — and thus increased in pressure — for almost the entirety of halftime before being measured."
"Logistically, the greater change in pressure in the Patriots footballs can be explained by the fact that sufficient time may have passed between halftime testing of the two teams’ balls for the Colts balls to warm significantly, effectively inflating them."

In early August, after all of the facts had been revealed, the league office leaks discredited and the not-really-independent Wells Report fully debunked by truly independent third party research organizations, ESPN's Skip Bayless had this to say:

VICTIM: New England Patriots (This was nothing more than an NFL orchestrated hit-job on its premier franchise and GOAT QB)

PUNISHED? Yes

PUNISHMENT: After 107 days, 12 hours, 8 minutes and 7 seconds, NFL independent investigator special prosecutor Ted Wells speculated (after giving his "independent" report to the league to edit) that someone on the Patriots was "more probable than not" involved in the possible deflation of game football used in the first half of the AFC Championship game vs. the Colts, and quarterback Tom Brady was probably "at least generally aware" of this.

Wells reported that the Colts and the NFL had setup a premeditated sting operation on the Patriots which allowed the league time to test all 11 of the Patriots game footballs at halftime, but only left enough time to test 4 of the Colts balls. Interesting enough, one official found that 3 out of 4 of the Colts footballs were also underinflated to an illegal PSI, even though they had known about the sting beforehand.

On May 11, 2015, the NFL suspended Patriot quarterback Tom Brady for four games for failing to cooperate with the investigation (by not turning over contents of his personal phone) and for being "at least generally aware" of the "more probable than not" ball deflation that the Well report felt wasn't caused by the cold weather. The team was also fined one million dollars and docked their 2016 first round and 2017 fourth round picks.

Patriots' owner Robert Kraft responded to the announcement by expressing his and the team's full support of Brady and condemning the "one-sided report" and its "dismissal of the scientific evidence."

Brady announced his appeal of his suspension on May 14, 2015. Goodell, after decided that he would OBVIOUSLY be the best person to impartially handle the appeal of his completely fabricated case, upheld the suspension on July 28, 2015. On July 29 the NFLPA filed an appeal on behalf of Tom Brady in federal court.

UPDATE: On September 3, 2015, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman issued a ruling that overturned the NFL’s four game suspension of quarterback Tom Brady. Berman's decision was premised upon several significant legal deficiencies in the NFL's case, including (A) inadequate notice to Brady of both his potential discipline (four-game suspension) and his alleged misconduct; (B) denial of the opportunity for Brady to examine one of two lead investigators, namely NFL Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jeff Pash; and (C) denial of equal access to investigative files, including witness interview notes.

NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell (ego-bruised and unwilling to give up on his petty witch-hunt) filed paperwork to appeal Berman's decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

In this case, unlike many other ball-manipulation cheats, the team did not admit to cheating and there was absolutely no shred of evidence showing non-weather manipulation.

SUMMARY: After the release of Tom Brady's appeal transcript on August 4, 2015 and Judge Berman's ruling on September 3, 2015, it became clearly that the NFL simply lied, twisted, misrepresented and leveraged its profound ignorance to try to smear the reputation of one of its all-time great players for a yet-undisclosed reason. There is no evidence of cheating by Brady or the Patriots. There is, however, numerous examples of disgusting behavior by Goodell and the league office.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: All Blowed Up!Everyone Was Doing It!Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Formationgate (2015) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: After their January 10, 2015 AFC Divisional Game against the New England Patriots in Foxborough, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh -- clearly upset that his team had just blown two separate 14-point leads to the eventual 2015 Super Bowl Champions -- claimed that the Patriots' substitutions and declarations of eligible/ineligible receivers were "deceptive," a thinly-veiled euphemism for cheating.

When asked about the charges, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick -- looking utterly stunned that a fellow NFL coach could be so ignorant of the game rules -- stated that the formations were completely legal. After a thorough review of the game, the NFL confirmed that the plays were completely legal.

From CBS Boston's Michael Hurley's excellent coverage of the incident:

"Despite John Harbaugh’s complaints, the Patriots did not run a hurry-up on the drive when they swapped out a lineman for a running back or tight end. Instead, Josh Kline jogged to the sidelines, and Danny Amendola jogged on. Shane Vereen approached the referee, declared himself ineligible, the referees announced it, the Patriots huddled and then went to the line."

"The ineligible receiver had been announced; the Ravens weren’t smart enough to leave him alone. Instead, they left Michael Hoomanawanui (a very eligible receiver) wide open. The play was so successful that the Patriots ran it two more times — once with Hoomanawanui as the ineligible guy, and once more with Vereen."

"The second time that Vereen was used as the ineligible receiver, Referee Bill Vinovich actually announced, “Number 34 has been declared ineligible. Do not cover number 34.” The referee actually told the defense which player they shouldn't cover and the Ravens still covered him! And this is all Bill Belichick’s fault. Because Spygate. Good stuff."

To date, coach Harbaugh has not filed a grievance with the league about the Patriots other "deceptive" plays from the game, including:

  • a number of "play-action" passes where the Patriots deceptively faked a run and then actually threw the ball
  • a handful of quarterback pump fakes where Brady tried to trick the defense that he was throwing to one receiver while actually intending to throw to an entirely different one
  • an uncountable number of plays where Patriots wide receivers head bobbed left when they fully intended to go right
  • and don't even get him started about that Edelman catch and pass, there's no way that was legal!

2015 UPDATE: After their 2014 playoff loss to the Patriots, the Ravens pissed and moaned about New England's "deceptive" play calling, and even petitioned to have the NFL change the rules. However, in their September 20, 2015 game against the Oakland Raiders (which they also lost) the Ravens used a strikingly similar "deceptive" play. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

VICTIM: Baltimore Ravens

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: There was no punishment because the Patriots' substitutions were completely legal. Belichick was simply playing chess while Harbaugh was playing checkers.

After the season concluded, the league members considered a proposal from the Ravens to simplifying the "eligible/ineligible" rule so Harbaugh and the Ravens could better understand it.

In March 2015 the NFL competition committee did in fact vote to dumb-down the rule for Harbaugh, the Ravens and the other teams who had a hard time with the original version. An anonymous league source said that they even wrote a summary in crayon for them, using pictures and cartoon characters for some of the bigger words and more complicated concepts. Despite all this, rumor has it that Harbaugh still has no idea what the rule says.

If this rule change doesn't stop the Patriots from winning, the league will increase enforcement of this one instead.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Tuckgate (2001) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: The "Tuck Rule" was in place three years before the Raiders vs. Patriots playoff game on January 19, 2002. It was enforced against the Patriots earlier in the same season in a game against the Jets. Other notable instances were in Redskins vs. Broncos (2005) and Chiefs vs. Ravens (2011).

According to Wikipedia:

The tuck rule was called in Week 2 of an NFL regular season match-up on September 23, 2001, between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets. In the waning minutes of the second quarter, Patriots' defensive end Anthony Pleasant apparently forced Jets quarterback Vinny Testaverde to fumble the ball. Patriots' defensive end Richard Seymour made a recovery. The call was overturned upon review and ruled an incomplete with the tuck rule cited. The Jets would go on to tie the game with a field goal on that drive and then eventually win in overtime.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick referred to this game after the subsequent Tuck Rule Game, telling ESPN, "I knew what the ruling should have been because we had dealt with that play a little bit earlier in the year on the other side of it."

The rule was in the books from 1999 until 2013.:
NFL Rule 3, Section 22, Article 2, Note 2. When [an offensive] player is holding the ball to pass it forward, any intentional forward movement of his arm starts a forward pass, even if the player loses possession of the ball as he is attempting to tuck it back toward his body. Also, if the player has tucked the ball into his body and then loses possession, it is a fumble.

The NFL competition committee repealed the rule with a 29-1 vote in March 2013. The Steelers voted against repeal and the Redskins and Patriots abstained from the vote. Said Patriots owner Robert Kraft about the rule: "I love the tuck rule, and forever will."

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: Not a cheat.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Tampergate (2015: Revis) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: The New York Jets, in a humorous display of ignorance as to what Tampering actually is, filed a claim against the New England Patriots and owner Robert Kraft for comments he made about losing cornerback Darrelle Revis. The NFL ruled in April of 2015 that the Patriots did not tamper. The Jets, however, were fined $100,000 as punishment for their actual tampering with Revis.

The charge was believed by most respectable NFL personnel to be a petty and misguided response to the Patriots' legitimate tampering charge against Jets owner Woody Johnson, who unwisely made a textbook tampering statement about wanting to reacquire Revis.

Kraft said, about losing Revis in free agency to the Jets: "We thought we made a very competitive offer. I speak as a fan of the New England Patriots — we wanted to keep him. We wanted him in our system, and we have certain disciplines. We had hoped it worked out. It didn'€™t." When Kraft made his statement, Revis was at least 3-years away from hitting the market again, having just two-weeks prior signed a 5-year / $70 million / $39 million guaranteed contract (yikes) with the Jets.

For comparison, Johnson offered this subtle statement about his desire to bring back Revis: "Darrelle is a great player. I’d love for Darrelle to come back." When Woody said this, Revis was only 3-months away from becoming one of 2015's hottest free agents.

The actual NFL tampering rule gives this as an example of a prohibited tampering quote (PDF, see page 3 "Public/Private Statements"): "He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights."

VICTIM: New England Patriots (This was just pure Jets stupid)

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: Tampering rules prohibit: "any public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’€™s player to that player’€™s agent or representative, or to a member of the news media." Woody tampered, admitted he made a mistake, and was punished for it. Kraft did not tamper and was therefore not punished.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Headsetgate (2015) flagto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: The New England Patriots

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: On September 10, 2015, after losing to the New England Patriots in the kickoff to the 2015 NFL season, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin passive-aggressively accused the Patriots of cheating by screwing up his (NFL supplied, managed and operated) coach-to-coach headsets.

Said Tomlin when asked about the malfunction: "That's always the case [when playing in Gillette]." The Steelers' official website went even further, saying:

"This is the kind of stuff that happens to the visiting team in Gillette Stadium all the time. From the start of the game through the opening 14 minutes of the first quarter, the Steelers’ coaches’ headsets were receiving the Patriots Radio Network broadcast of the game. The broadcast was so loud that the Steelers coaches were unable to communicate, and the NFL rule is that if one team’s headsets are not working the other team is supposed to be forced to take their headsets off. It’s what the NFL calls the Equity Rule. Strangely enough, whenever an NFL representative proceeded to the New England sideline to shut down their headsets, the Steelers headsets cleared. Then as the representative walked away from the New England sideline, the Steelers’ headsets again started to receive the Patriots game broadcast."

In an shockingly out-of-character defense of the Patriots, the NFL immediately released a statement saying that, despite Tomlin's accusation, the Patriots had nothing to do with the malfunction. NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora's statement:

"In the first quarter of tonight’s game, the Pittsburgh coaches experienced interference in their headsets caused by a stadium power infrastructure issue, which was exacerbated by the inclement weather. The coaches’ communications equipment, including the headsets, is provided by the NFL for both clubs use on game day. Once the power issue was addressed, the equipment functioned properly with no additional issues."

Two days later, the NFL went further and completely cleared the Patriots of any involvement, saying the issue was "entirely attributable to an electrical issue made worse by the inclement weather."

In honor of this latest false accusation, the Commish has commissioned an official hat for Coach Tomlin:

VICTIM: New England Patriots

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: Nothing to see here. This was simply another false accusation of cheating by a team looking for an excuse for a loss to the Patriots.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED: Falsely Accused!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

 

Leaguewide Cheats:

Tampergate (ongoing) flagsto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Tampering with free agents is rampant, it's laughable and it is against the rules (PDF). It's so bad across every team in the league that the NFL had to create a three-day legal tampering period. However, tampering still regularly occurs long before that annual three-day window opens. On March 9, 2015 the league once again felt compelled to warn all 32 teams about not tampering.

Why is tampering considered a problem? Because tampering with players still under contract makes it difficult for clubs to re-sign their own talent. It also puts those few teams that actually follow NFL guidelines at a distinct disadvantage. In many cases, contract agreements are in place days before any negotiations are allowed to begin.

This isn't fair, it isn't legal, and it is blatant cheating by the teams who engage in the practice.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No but...

PUNISHMENT: NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell is doing all he can to curtail and punish the "commonplace" practice, although it admits that there is so much tampering that it is hard to police it all.

The CheatPoints earned for this leaguewide cheat is for all of this team's tampering incidents that have gone undiscovered or unproven. If specific instances are discovered, they are punished on top of this leaguewide penalty.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 4.0

Headsetgate (ongoing) flagsto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: it's a common complaint around the NFL. In late, close games, the helmet communicators of visiting teams suddenly "malfunction" and stop working. It has been accepted as standard practice in the league. Are you on the road and the game is close? Then you are going to have problems with your headset.

In recent years, the Patriots have accused the Colts of doing it and the Jaguars have made the same charge of the Patriots. The Redskins accused the Buccaneers of disabling their headsets, and Tampa Bay accused Dallas. The Giants openly bragged about doing it way back in 1956. The charges go on and on and on.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

SHARE:

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 4.0

Spygate (until 2006) flagsto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Stealing your opponent's signals has always been common and never been illegal.

Said former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher, "We had people that always tried to steal signals. Stealing someone's signals was a part of the game, and everyone attempted to do that." Admitted former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson: "When I came into the NFL, back in 1989, I talked to a Kansas City scout and he said, 'Here's what we do, we videotape the opposing team's signals and then we sync it up with the game film.' So I did it." Bragged, former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan: "Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game, with any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter."

NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Rodger Goodell confirmed this himself in 2008, saying that the issue was not stealing signals, that is allowed "and it is done quite widely." The issue is where and how you record them. If you chose to videotape them, then (after 2006) you have to do that from a league approved location. If you hire lip readers, they can do it from your coaches lap, if you want.

After 2006, examples of allowed videotaping locations are: the luxury boxes, media booths and other enclosed spaces. Expressly prohibited locations are the sidelines, the field, locker rooms, the coaches booth or any other place accessible to team coaches and staff. The point of the rule is to not allow the footage to be useful in the current game.

Prior to the September 6, 2006 memo and, 2007 follow up, from NFL head of football operations Ray Anderson, there was no league restriction on filming location, which is the reason the memo was sent.

Many NFL head coaches have downplayed the significance of the practice, saying that attempting to decipher opponent's signals was a long standing practice and entirely common throughout the league.

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: NFL commissioner and former Jets public relations intern Rodger Goodell suggested that the responsibility was on teams to conceal their messages, not on the ones trying to steal them. During his news conference before the 2007 Super Bowl he said that any coach who did not expect signals to be stolen was "stupid."

Prior to 2006, every NFL team is assumed to have done it, but none of them broke a rule. You can't punish something that is not prohibited. Filming from the sidelines was not prohibited until 2006 and filming your opponent's signals from approved locations has never been prohibited, even today.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

Scrapsgate (ongoing) flagsto top ⤴home ⇐awards ⤵

TEAM: All 32 NFL Teams

SEVERITY:scale

SUMMARY: Sign an opponent's recently-cut player to your practice squad to get intel on their plays, signals and tactics. This is not illegal and is a leaguewide practice.

Said one player, who chose to remain anonymous as he was still in the league as of 2015, "If teams have an opening at a certain position, they might not be looking for perhaps the best player to fill it on their practice squad. Instead, they might go for someone who has access to the opposing team’s playbook."

“Let’s say we’re playing the Jaguars in seven days and you want to know more about their playbook. From time to time teams will sign people off of practice squads. You don’t have to put them on active roster so if there’s a need for more depth at linebacker and you’re playing Jacksonville, there would be more of a chance to sign a linebacker off the team you’re about to play’s practice squad and hoping that the person you’re about to sign will divulge information about the playbook.”

VICTIM: The entire league

PUNISHED? No

PUNISHMENT: Not illegal.

SHARE:

AWARDS EARNED:Everyone Was Doing It!

CHEATPOINTS EARNED:+ 0.0

awardEARNED: "All Blowed Up!"

CRITERIA: Be involved in a scandal that is blown way out of proportion by the media and fans of other teams!
EARNED FOR:Deflategate (2015)  Spygate (2007)  Walkthroughgate (2002)  Snowplowgate (1982) 

awardEARNED: "Avoid Media Scrutiny!"

CRITERIA: Successfully attract less than 5% of the typical Patriots "cheating" scandal coverage!
EARNED FOR:IRgate (2013) 

awardEARNED: "Everyone Was Doing It!"

CRITERIA: Successfully "cheat" in a way that many other teams have (bonus points for not getting caught)!
EARNED FOR:Spygate (until 2006)  Tampergate (ongoing)  Spygate (2007)  Deflategate (2015)  Scrapsgate (ongoing) 

awardEARNED: "Falsely Accused!"

CRITERIA: Be the innocent target of a illegitimate cheating accusation!
EARNED FOR:Walkthroughgate (2002)  Formationgate (2015)  Headsetgate (2015)  Deflategate (2015)  Tuckgate (2001)  Tampergate (2015: Revis)  Snowplowgate (1982) 

awardEARNED: "Goalie for the Dart Team!"

CRITERIA: Execute a cheat that requires significant anti-intellect to attempt, let alone thinking you'll get away with it!
EARNED FOR:Spygate (2007) 

awardEARNED: "Repeat The Cheat!"

CRITERIA: Successfully repeat the same cheat multiple times!
EARNED FOR:PEDSgate (5x since 2007) 

Is there a New England Patriots cheating scandal that I'm missing? Do I have a fact wrong? A broken link? Email me with your comment and supporting link and I'll fix or add it.

Want to share this page with a troll? Here's the link: http://YourTeamCheats.com/NE