New England Patriots: When Is Enough, Enough?
By Brian Miller
Call them the Super Bowl Champions. Call them four time Super Bowl Champions under Bill Belichick. Call them one of the elite teams in the NFL. Call them a lot of things just remember to call them cheaters as well.
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The Patriots could be the best team of the decade…maybe even the best of the last two decades but despite the winning percentages, division titles, playoff wins, and Super Bowls, they are still shadowed by their own coach. A coach who will win at all costs. A coach who apparently spends as much time trying to find ways to circumvent the rule books as he does trying to game plan an opponent. That is when he doesn’t have personal video of the other team.
It all starts with the head coach. Period. The Ted Wells report regarding “deflate-gate” doesn’t indict coach Belichick as being party to any knowledge of the footballs being deflated but as the head coach and his previous admissions of guilt towards trying to get the upper hand by not so admirable ways channels down to his team. It’s a message that it’s o.k. so long as you don’t get caught.
The Patriots have been accused of videotaping walk through practices of two Super Bowl opponents both of whom they beat. It’s suspected that the Rams were also taped. While no one is saying that the Patriots cheated to win this past years Super Bowl, it’s obvious that they cheated to get there. When is enough, enough?
Tom Brady and two members of the equipment staff carried on conversations that lock into Brady’s knowledge of the balls being deflated and why wouldn’t he? He of all people would have noticed the balls were “different” the second he picked one up to throw it. How is it that the Indianapolis Colts thought something was up the first time they played in 2014 and sent a message to the NFL ahead of their playoff game with the Patriots? Because the Patriots cheat.
I love being a Dolphins fan but I would be embarrassed if this was my team. I was embraced over “bully-gate”, have been embarrassed over a lot of things but I have never worried about my team cheating. What makes me shake my head more is that it’s not just this regime of Patriot staff. Remember the snow plow game? You can bet Don Shula does.
Speaking of Shula, an ESPN program regarding Shula’s career highlighted and episode in his life when the Dolphins were visiting the Oakland Raiders and a playbook was left in a locker. Shula told his coach to throw it away immediately. He knew that gaining an unfair advantage was not the way to win and he coached to play to win but at the expense of game integrity. The Dolphins lost that game.
Belichick has an outstanding win loss record in New England and one has the right to ask how he can be so close to perfect every season. Then we see formations that while legal are only legal because they circumvent the rules. Need proof? The NFL has banned the formation the Patriots used last year to beat Baltimore in the playoffs.