12 September 2007

If you're following football, you may have heard that the Patriots were caught cheating during Sunday's game against the Jets. They're accused of videotaping Jets coaches as they sent plays into their defense using hand signals. Hmmm.

Apparently the use of video is against NFL league rules. An NFL spokesman told ESPN, "The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game." Teams have also been reminded that videotaping of offensive or defensive signals is prohibited. Will the NFL be probing for thought crime too, now?

NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during the game. While the NFL spokesman said teams were reminded about the videotaping rule, it seems like New England coach Bill Belichick told NFL commish Roger Goodell that he has his own "interpretation of the rules." Classic! The same Patriots employee that was caught at the Jets game was also caught videotaping plays during a game against the Green Bay Packers last season.

Stealing plays is a common occurrence - teams use decoy play callers and coaches cover their mouths when talking on a headset - but we've never heard of a team stupid enough to get caught while taping. The NFL has not decided how to punish the Patriots yet, there are talks of taking away several draft picks.

OK, but don't we have guys watching the game upstairs and calling in plays on headsets like its fucking Star Trek? How is this any different?

I've always walked the fence with my feelings about the instant replay thing in sports but I've never been into this "eye in the sky" shit in the NFL. Dudes up in luxury boxes with computers and playbooks calling down last minute plays. It's too sci-fi; too video game; too new millennia...

I think all the action should be on the field; guys all in the element, together; coaches, players, everybody... Not up, up and away calling down secret edicts from the skybox heavens.

And I think with this precedent set; with that sort of "special ops" coaching and play calling, it paves the way for shit like this now; teams surreptitiously filming the other team's hand signals and whatever. There are pro's and con's to the Big Brother approach; the NFL and the teams can't be selective about what they deem unfair.

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