Yesterday I received an Email from Terry Erwin of IHS Data Logic Services. His Email was simple and to the point. “Ever wonder if secret coaching has been going on?” Up until yesterday I really hadn’t given it much thought. I mean, sure I had thought about it in terms of passing along information through a trusted vine of grapes but nothing really in depth.
Erwin mentioned Skype and that got me thinking about this a bit more. What is really keeping coaches, trainers, agents, or whoever from communicating with each other during this lockout? While the notion may sound a bit conspiratorial it’s not without precedence in terms of teams finding ways to break NFL rules by communicating with agents about prospective free agents prior to the start of league years. Earlier this year, the Miami Dolphins had contact between Chad Henne and new OC Brian Daboll during a period of time that the league prohibits player/coach meetings. The Dolphins were fined and it was laid to rest.
I find it very hard to believe that an NFL coach or a trainer or anyone could not simply go home, fire up the old CPU and Skype a member of his team. Go over questions with the playbook, find out how things at player only practices are going and so forth. For that matter, why couldn’t player “A” simply send out an Email from a secret “hotmail” account to a coach who at home uses the name “Imnotlosingmyjobbecauseofthisdamnlockout@Gmail.com” for his personal messages?
The reality is that in an era of mass communication that borders on insanity where “tweets” are part of the normal vernacular and you really don’t exist if you’re not on Facebook…or so I’ve been told, it simply seems impossible to mediate or for that matter investigate if need be. The reality is we do not know how many coaches, trainers, etc…, have reached out to players, agents, etc…, until some player, agent, coach, etc…, decides to open his or her mouth and say that they were contacted or had talks with those “etc..’s”. (yes, I know that’s not a word…I made it up)
It’s kind of like that broken vase that simply was never explained to mom and dad until you were long moved out of the house and married and suddenly it becomes a topic of conversation that ends with “…and that vase you had when I was 16…yeah that was a result of the party I threw while you were out of town”. Maybe someday someone will open up their mouths and spill the beans. Until then, really, all we can do is assume that someone, somewhere, at sometime, made contact with someone else when they weren’t supposed to. I mean if Bill Belichick got away with videotaping for so many years, do you think that no one has bothered to “Skype” in a quarterback for a little one on one playbook 101?