• September 25, 2022

Put Spygate To Rest

With Patriots’ cameraman turned singing canary Matt Walsh’s meetings

with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Senior U.S Senator/disruptor Arlen Specter on Tuesday May 13th, for the second time since the Patriots throttled the Jets in week one of the 2007 NFL season the public had to endure “Spygate” again.

The airwaves were packed with instant messages from “what” Walsh, a glorified former Patriots intern, did or didn’t do during the Rams’ walkthrough for Super Bowl XXXVI.  In the end as expected there was no smoking gun videotape of the event and the NFL swept the whole thing under the rug just as myself and practically everyone else other than “magic bullet” Specter predicted.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said after nearly 3 1/2 hours with the “lawyer'ed up” Walsh that he had learned nothing new from what happened all the way back in September 2007.  You could sense the Commish’s desire to have the entire NFL and world move on from the whole “Spygate” hassle when he said, “Well, I think as I stand before you today, and having met with Matt Walsh and over 50 other people, I don't know where else I would turn”.

Here is where the whole melodrama stands:

NFL Roger Goodell – Simply put the man has moved on.  He is probably kicking himself for making the rookie error of destroying the first set of tapes.  However he did do the world the huge honor of letting the league's entity NFL Network show the tapes on their show Total Access – as a viewer note bring an extra large cup of Peter King's favorite Starbucks Coffee when watching.  In the mean time the Commish will continue to run the greatest sports entity in the world as the billion-dollar league continues getting ready for the 2008 season starting with the owner's meetings in Atlanta Georgia next week.U.S Senator Arlen Specter – Backed by a certain cable giant that just happens to be from Pennsylvania and has a gripe with the NFL, he will continue to fight on while asking for an outside investigation into “Spygate’.  Like so many other people associated with the NFL, I just have one thing to say to him just like Duke said to Apollo Creed in Rocky II, “Let it Go, Let it Go”.  No matter how much you try to make this into the steroids scandal that rocked baseball, plainly put none of your other constituents on the Hill care.  If you think you are saving the honor of the Kordell Stewart led Steelers’ teams that blew it versus the Patriots, you are wrong.  Find another cause like gas prices that are so high people are bringing blades to the pump for protection and I will not even get into the Iraq War that has terminally worn on or any of another topics that deserve your attention.  The NFL is a machine that will continue to roll on and the owners, commissioner, players, and most fans like it that way.

Matt Walsh – You have gotten “what little bit you did have” off of your chest, so go back to Hawaii and enjoy the back nine.  A word of advice when Patriots like Owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady, and head coach Bill Belichick are on your course, make yourself scarce or you might see the wrong end of a nine iron.

 Boston Herald sports writer John Tomase – You did the right thing by having the retraction printed and apologizing for your story that reported the Patriots had taped a pre-Super Bowl walkthrough by the St. Louis Rams. As you said, "First and foremost, this is about a writer breaking one of the cardinal rules of journalism. I failed to keep challenging what I had been told”.  A word of advice, “Work your story until it is complete”, because after all you are a ‘journalist’ and not just another hack blogging around.

I will end this piece and hopefully my coverage “Spygate” similarly to a passage that I wrote way back in September 2007 when the whole fiasco first broke. 

Let me make myself clear that I do not condone cheating and I know that it is against the rules of the NFL to tape signals, but I believe that “Spygate” maybe the most over hyped and over reported story that I have seen around the NFL.  Give me a break if you think the Patriots won all those games and championships by just using spying tactics. If you looked into it, I think every team would have some kind of “cheating” whether it is stealing signals, having a plant on team’s sidelines, former players giving information, false injury reports, etc.  Games are won and lost between the lines and “cheating” cannot replace players making or not making plays.

Sure all of the accusations like fans yelling “Cheaters” every time the Patriots picked at this year’s NFL Draft will tarnish the image of the Patriots dynasty for a short time — You watch by the time NFL kickoff weekend is here all will be forgotten.  But nothing can ever take away the great job that Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick have done in assembling and coaching the Patriots teams to four Super Bowl appearances and three Super Bowl titles.

To those fans that cry foul play, I point to Super Bowl XXXIX where the Patriots beat the Eagles by three points.  The Patriots win was not due to videotaping signals, because several other factors within the lines including McNabb throwing 3 INTs, The Eagles Non-Urgency at the End of the Game, Andy Reid wasting timeouts, LJ Smith’s fumble, Mark Simoneau not covering screen passes, Matt Ware’s troubles as a nickelback, Corey Dillon running wild, and much more (sorry Birds fans) all had a factor in causing the Eagles to come up short.

Accept that you cannot change games that have already been played.  In the immortal words of Colonel Troutman to John Rambo in the movie First Blood, “It’s Over Johnny”.

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for BIGPLAY Football (Magazine, Website, Blog, and Podcast)


Read Previous

Brady Crying About ESPN Coverage

Read Next

Eagles Must Get Trevor Laws Ready