I appreciate your vigorous debate. Here we go on slow Friday:
Kurt Russell

Thanks for the well reasoned response. I was worried it would be more of a flame war. :)

“Maybe it’s like one is something that SHOULD happen and the other is something that COULD happen.”

This is a reasonable distinction, though I think Carrol’s careless clock management is the root problem. They took a TO with the clock already stopped simply because of jubilation after the Kearse catch. To make matters worse, they didn’t have subsequent plays ready after Lynch’s first down run, which burned time and put them in a position where they had to pass at least once if they wanted to have access to all four downs. Once in that position, throwing on second down was defensible.

Ironically, it was Bill not taking the TO that helped put Seattle in that position, so you can’t really discount the “brainfart” without crediting Belichick for aiding it along.

“And you can try and qualify my comparisons for NE/ATL vs SEA, but I could obviously come back with other little details like how hot each team was, rookie development, injuries, etc.”

Sure, but Seattle’s defense literally dropped from top 5 to bottom 5 immediately upon losing Thomas. If you want to take the comment about NE’s LBs with a grain of salt, be my guest, but the other factor cannot be dismissed.

“So when the Pats take down the Rams and Panthers by literally the slimmest of margins — the last-second FG — you think something like stealing their plays didn’t matter?”

If filming was so common that Madden would mention it in a broadcast more than 20 years earlier, I just can’t get worked up about it. Not to mention that even the NFL memo that forbade the practice only outlawed filming from that particular location. It was never about stealing signals, as it was portrayed in the media. I suspect the Patriots still have signal stealing staff planted in stadium seating… as does everyone else.

“And this behavior was obviously illegal because they got punished for it, right?”

Yes, though the punishment was wildly exacerbated due to Bill’s lack of respect for the rule — and for Goodell personally.

“And maybe it’s illegal because it provides some advantage?”

Of course. My understanding is that the primary benefit is that it forced teams to waste an inordinate amount of time creating new verbiage and new signals instead of more valuable game prep. There were occasional times when you cracked the code and the team kept communication the same, but those were rare.

This is why the most common usage of filming was between division foes, and why it really didn’t have much impact on SB38. The two teams hadn’t faced since 2001 and Carolina had a coaching change in the interim.

“let alone the more salacious accusations of deflategate, radio interference, locker room eavesdropping”

As someone who read the entire Wells report and the appeal transcript, I can tell you there is little reason to believe DFG has any substance. I could get into more detail, but the scientific consensus that the deflation was perfectly explained by natural causes dismantles the case right from the start. Sure, maybe they were doing something, but if it was deflation — and this is true even if you take Exponent’s analysis at face value — it was an amount undetectable by human hands.

The rest of the speculation sounds like paranoia to me. It’s easier to believe you’ve been had than to admit the other guy was simply better. FWIW, most people aren’t aware but the Boston Herald printed a complete retraction of the story about NE filming the StL walkthrough prior to SB36. They admitted it was fiction, yet the accusation still gets daily mention in sports media.

I can’t dig it up right now, but Martellus Bennett had a great quote after the AFCCG when discussing NE’s success. He said, “we work really, really hard” and went on to detail a few ways in which team prep was different from other teams that he was on. This is a pretty common occurrence with incoming free agents, they are blown away by how knowledgeable Bill is and how accountable all members of the team are…. and these are people who often have been on successful franchises.

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EDIT TO ADD: When people talk about Bill having the “answers to the test”, they aren’t referring to the play calls, they’re referring to how well scouted the opponent is. That the team has an intimate knowledge of what types of plays they run based on formation and personnel. That Bill will have unique approaches for disrupting the timing and goal of each play.

For instance, the Butler play wasn’t a matter of knowing the play call, it was knowing tendency…. what teams will go to in gotta-have-it moments and specific situations.

IMO, the footage of NE prepping for that specific pick play should cause even the most ardent Belicheat supporter to rethink their position. If you watch any of the background footage, you can see NE’s coaches adjusting their personnel based on the number of receivers Seattle put in the field and even on the live feed you can see Browner giving Butler advice based on what positions the receivers take. None of this had anything whatsoever to do with a stolen call, that play was won during the week.

That said, I must confess to finding a great deal of amusement in morons like Hines Ward thinking that filming defensive signal callers will somehow give advance notice of offensive play calls. Holy crap is that stupid.

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I don’t dispute that Spygate happened, nor do I reject the idea that Bill tries to utilize every hole in the rulebook to his advantage. But the cheating allegations are out of control.

“How else do you excuse a coach with such a killer overall/home record against such a disproportionately bad road one?”

There is no “disproportionately bad” road record. In fact, when you look at all road games, and not just a very small playoff sample size, NE’s relative outperformance of an average team is greater there than at home. It also should be understood that having to play a road playoff game usually means the other team proved to be better over the course of the season. The fact that NE’s road playoff game downturn started before Spygate is evidence against the lack of filming having a material impact.

I think you also too willingly ignore the margin of victory in all the neutral field games. Pretend for a minute that Vinatieri shanked it and Carolina won SB38 in overtime… would that have indicated NE hadn’t cheated? How about if Samuel caught the pick and clinched SB42? Does the fact that they won now mean they *did* cheat?

When the sample you are trying to use is both tiny and subject to wild variations with no change to the base assumptions, it means true conclusions can’t be distinguished from false ones.

Your serve. :)

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