New England Patriots

Perception of deception. What is your perception of a great accomplishment when you realize that greatness was achieved under dishonourable and deceptive practices? This dilemma – now quickly becoming a stigma – is currently plaguing the New England Patriots.

Let’s document their “deceptions”.

Before their week 15 match up with the Cincinnati Bengals, the Patriots came under scrutiny for videotaping the Bengals sidelines, their coaches, and hand signals during a game. New England claimed that the individual(s) doing the taping were not directly affiliated with the team and they had no involvement with said incident.

When caught by security, the videographer professed he was shooting a documentary “Do Your Job”, for the Pats’ website and offered to delete the footage he recorded. Why? If he didn’t do anything wrong why the need to erase it?

It should be noted that Business Insider reported that “spies” were instructed to turn their Patriots shirts and apparel inside out, to conceal the team logo and/or cover them up with press/ media logos, so the public could not discern that they were employees of the Patriots organization. To add to that, there have been rumors and allegations that freelance videographers were hired by, and are employees of Kraft Productions (owned by Robert Kraft, Patriots owner), which does not bode well.

This would not be a major issue, if an investigation would ensue, and if warranted, a possible punishment could be handed down by the NFL, and we would all move on. Except this is not the first time this has happened with the New England Patriots.

The Patriots allegedly taped the St. Louis, now the Los Angeles Rams, and the Carolina Panthers prior to Super Bowls 36 and 38 respectively, and somehow, between the Patriots and the NFL League Offices, those tapes were burned, destroyed or something to that effect, depending on who you believe.  Then after their 3rd Super Bowl victory (SB 39), the Philadelphia Eagles made similar accusations as well.

In 2007, the NFL fined Pats’ head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and fined the team $250,000, while stripping them of a 1st round draft pick for similar offences. Belichick’s defence was that he “misinterpreted the rules”, which was downright preposterous. This man, who is generally acknowledged as the best coach of this generation, had difficulties with the interpretation of the rules, but not a single one of the other 31 coaches had the same issues?

In 2014, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was accused and then suspended 4 games for illegally deflating footballs, both he and Belichick asserted they had no knowledge of the events. That same coach who knows everything that goes on in the state of Massachusetts, football wise, knows nothing? Really? Every time something nefarious happens Belichick seems to morph into Helen Keller. He becomes blind, deaf and dumb.

So how are you the greatest of all time, much less the greatest of anything, when you have to resort to these measures and engage in these practices?

After the initial accusations which culminated in 2004 – the year New England won their 3rd Super Bowl in four years – they did not win another Super Bowl for 10 years until 2014. This is extremely ironic as that was the year that Brady was found to be using deflated footballs in their AFC Championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts, and who knows how long before then as many had suspected.

Now three of their six Super Bowl victories have come by 3 points, another by 4 and one more in overtime. Considering how close those games were, one could conceivably believe – or it is very plausible – that the Patriots could be 3-3 in those game, not 6-0, making them 3-6 in Super Bowls in the Belichick-Brady era rather than the 6-3 record they currently have.

Should these revelations put New England’s dynasty in question? Of course it should. If you are as great as the masses depict you to be, and are as lauded as this, that and the fifth, then why did they need to resort to all of these iniquitous actions to reach these heights?

What this has done has caused many – and rightfully so – to view the Patriots as cheaters.  And honestly, it’s difficult to argue with that point of view.

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