NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled late yesterday that the New England Patriots had violated professional football league rules by videotaping New York Jets coaches sending signals to players in a Sunday game, ESPN reported. Goodell reportedly is considering stiff sanctions—including docking the team several draft picks.
There’s a name for this kind of “spying,” said John Clayton on ESPN.com. “It's cheating and could affect the outcome of games.” NFL security caught a Patriots official videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals. “Any good coach with knowledge of the defensive play calls from the sideline can adjust his blocking schemes and come up with the appropriate counter measures.”
“There’s something to be said for grabbing every competitive advantage you can to win,” said Eric Wilbur in The Boston Globe. And, yes, that includes stealing signals, “within reason.” But if it turns out that Patriots coach Bill Belichick had his flunkies do what they’re accused of doing, that’s “crossing the line.” Admit it, Patriots fans, if the Colts, Steelers, or Chargers did this to us, we’d be “livid.”
There’s only one way to make this right, said Steve Serby in the New York Post. “Play the game over.” The Patriots creamed the Jets on Sunday, but if they did it by cheating they don’t deserve the win. If the Patriots refuse a do-over, “they forfeit the game.” That’s exactly the kind of stern message Goodell is looking to send.