Sneering that Bill Belichick can “someday get a job selling camcorders”, the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers reminds one and all that Jets coach Eric Mangini was once complicit in the very same videotape offenses for which he’s ratted out his old boss.
One source, who was with the Jets during the time Mangini (above) was an assistant to Belichick in New England, is turned off by his self-righteous approach to video spying.
“Here is the sad part,” the ex-Jets source said. “When Mangini was defensive coordinator for the Patriots, they were doing it. It’s like crying wolf. He was a part of that mess. Now he’s on the opposite side. Now he’s saying they can’t do it. Wait a minute. You were part of that staff. He’s on the same team. He didn’t go and tell Bill, ‘We can’t do that.'”
It was foolish for Belichick to continue to try to steal the Jets’ signals once Mangini became their head coach. Obviously, Belichick knew that Mangini knew. And why take that kind of chance when Mangini had inside information and the Jets’ security director is a former FBI special agent? Try it out on anybody but Mangini, who is getting even with Belichick for the condescending way he has treated him the last year.
“I’ll put it this way: That’s not the only team that has ever done that,” one head coach said yesterday. “It’s a bunch of nothing. That stuff goes on everywhere. It ain’t like it’s something new. Are you kidding me? Half the teams do that crap. We’ve never done it here, but I’ve been involved in staffs that have done it.”
The Jets were aware of Belichick’s passion for video espionage long before Mangini came back to the Jets. Crossing the line to find an edge is apparently nothing new for Belichick.
A few years ago, when Herm Edwards was coaching the Jets and Mangini was working for Belichick in New England, the Jets coaching staff noticed a Patriots employee on the sideline pointing a video camera at the Jets coach who was sending in the defensive calls with hand signals.
The Jets coaches reacted by smiling for the Patriots camera and stopped just short of saying, “Hi, Bill.”
“At times, we would wave at the guy that was filming over there,” a Jets source, who is no longer with the team, said yesterday. “We just gave false signals and waved at the camera. I don’t know if they picked up our signals or not. We didn’t really worry about it too much. We didn’t make a big deal out of it. Sometimes we would just send a guy in with the play instead.”
While SI.com claims there’s a chance the NFL might suspend Belichick, Pro Football Talk took a brief respite from the national trashing of the Hooded Casanova, instead asking “do the revelations of stolen defensive signals diminish the reputation and perceived abilities of quarterback Tom Brady?”
How many times have we seen Brady fire the ball to a wide open receiver an instant after Brady got the snap? How, in those cases, did he know so quickly that the guy would be open?
The fact that Brady has been the quarterback since 2001 creates a presumption that he knew or should have known what was going on. The fact that he took less money to stay in New England suggests that he knew (or feared) that he might not be able to replicate his success in a system that doesn’t involve videotaping defensive signals. So unless he comes clean, we think it’s fair to believe that, but for the added benefits that came from knowing what the defense was doing via techniques that crossed the line, he might have performed more like a sixth-round draft pick and less like a future Hall of Famer.
Regardless of whether he opts not to disclose what he knew and when he knew it, we think that Brady will be required to achieve a high level of success under another coach, and possibly with another team, before he is regarded as being truly worthy of Canton.
PFT makes a strong point, and I’ll go a step further. I’m no longer certain of Adam Vinatieri’s Hall Of Fame credentials. If the former New England kicker had prior knowledge the opposition was going to try to block his kicks virtually every time he took the field, can you imagine the massive competitive advantage?