Michael Rosenberg, SI.com – Did the Patriots really illegally deflate footballs in the AFC Championship Game, as the NFL is investigating? Well, put it this way: There have been a lot of unbelievable NFL stories this season.
This is not one of them.
This? This is totally believable. Around the NFL, people wait for stories like this to come out of New England. They wonder when Bill Belichick‘s team will get nailed again. This is not as simple as saying, “Hey, they got caught for SpyGate!” It runs deeper than that.
The Patriots are suspected of cutting so many corners, their home field should be an oval. It starts in the parking lot, extends to the locker room, goes right to the field of play, and makes opponents look all over Gillette Stadium, wondering what Belichick will pull next. …
And if any coach would try it, it’s Belichick. He has earned his reputation for doing anything to gain an advantage. There are well-founded whispers in the NFL that the underlings who supply towels in the visiting locker room sometimes run back to the home locker room to share what they heard.
The Patriots supposedly stopped videotaping opponents’ defensive signals when they got caught in 2007, but opponents wonder if they are still stealing them. Smart opposing coaches put locks on every entryway to the locker room, so nobody from the Patriots can walk in, “accidentally” grab a play sheet or two and “inadvertently” bring it back to the New England coaches.
Even before the ball-deflating allegations, Belichick skirted the rules in the playoffs. Just last week, he declared certain players “ineligible” and gained a bunch of yards with that formation in a tight win over the Ravens. He confidently said afterward that it was all legal. The NFL concurred.
Well, look closer. This is a pretty good window into how Belichick operates. …
They switched their eligible receivers and gave Baltimore no time to adjust. The league officiating office might have sniffed this out with a few days’ notice, but Belichick counted on his ability to confuse and probably intimidate [referee Bill] Vinovich. …
Belichick prides himself on being a football historian, and a lot of this is only “legal” if you come from the old-time “if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying” school of ethics. That doesn’t make it right, or fair.
How ingrained is the culture? On one end of Gillette Stadium is a lighthouse, the stadium’s signature architectural feature. But if you sit behind the opposite end zone and look at the lighthouse, you will notice something else: An enormous television beyond the lighthouse, in the parking lot.
Officially, this allows people in the parking lot to watch TV. Is it a coincidence that you can see that TV from the Patriots’ sideline, but not from the opposing sideline, making it easier for the Patriots to watch replays and decide whether to throw the challenge flag?
Belichick can get away with a lot in the moment. The code of silence in New England is legendary, and almost comical — Sunday night, a few players were wary of talking to me about getting together and drinking kava, a drink that is symbolic in Polynesian cultures. The drink is non-alcoholic, and it has nothing to do with football, but players understand: In New England, you don’t say nothin’ about nothin’. …
Are the Patriots favored sons? When defensive players get flagged for a helmet-to-knee hit on Tom Brady, Brady has been known to remind them: ‘They made that —-ing rule for me!’ And it’s true: After safety Bernard Pollard injured Brady in 2006, the NFL did change its rules to protect its star quarterbacks.
These are your AFC champions: incredibly talented, expertly coached and very comfortable crossing lines that other franchises wouldn’t dare cross.
It’s over. This whole Patriots run of success is over.
The organization was built on a foundation of deceit and Bill Belichick has sat upon a throne of lies, but after 15 years of unprecedented excellence, they’ve finally been exposed. The Patriots under Belichick are the Nixon White House, and this Michael Rosenberg is both Woodward and Bernstein.
I don’t know how he knows, but he knows. Rosenberg has gotten to the bottom of the whole sordid mess:
He found the Patriots’ special unit of highly trained towel boy spies. He probably even knows how Belichick buys them from human traffickers and tells the kids they need to bring him intel on when the Jets plan to run the read option if they ever want to see their parents again.
He caught onto the way Belichick pulled the Jedi mind trick on poor, hapless ref Bill Vinovich to confuse him into allowing this obvious cheating tactic in the Ravens game. The subtle nuance of the way he said, “This is not the formation you’re looking for …” escaped millions watching on TV, but not Michael Rosenberg. And even though Vinovich gave Baltimore time to line up and literally told them not to cover Shane Vereen doesn’t mean he wasn’t intimidated. After all, the trick only works on the simple-minded.
He’s exposed the diabolical way Belichick and Mr. Kraft conspired with the architects of Gillette Stadium (opened in 2002) and CBS Scene (opened in 2007) to cleverly place a poorly angled video board an inconvenient 200+ yards away from the Patriots sideline to give them a distinct advantage over the coaches sitting in the booth in front of high definition replay monitors.
He cracked the code of silence on that whole kava cover up because obviously if Patriots players don’t want to get together with Michael Rosenberg over a nice symbolic, non-alcoholic, Polynesian drink, it has to be because they’re hiding something, and not just because he’s a dink.
But most tellingly, he somehow managed to get to the bottom of the whole “Tom Brady” rule conspiracy — he said the Patriots got the NFL to change the way quarterbacks are protected when Bernard Pollard went helmet-to-helmet on Brady back in 2006. Now granted, the league changed the rules after Carson Palmer got knocked out of the playoffs in the 2005 season, and Pollard hit Brady in the knee in 2008. But why bother checking facts? Never let the truth get in the way of a good hatchet piece.
So to Spygate and Deflategate, we can add towel boygate, ineligible receivergate, CBSSceneTVgate, Kavagate and Carson Palmer‘s rule is really Tom Brady rulegate. Bill Belichick‘s Patriots are a spying, ball-deflating band of cheating liars and lying cheats. And thanks to the dogged pursuit of the truth by the intrepid reporter Michael Rosenberg, they’ve been exposed at last.
Because when you’re a trolling click-baiting fraud like this guy, some stories are just too good to fact check.