Sep 12, 2007

Patriots accused of cheating

Stealing signs is a grand sports tradition, like singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" in the 7th-inning stretch, or tearing down goalposts after an upset, or doping in the Tour de France.

When you steal signs ineptly and with videotape, though, watch out:
NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella on the New England sidelines when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Sources say the visual evidence confirmed the suspicion.

Goodell is considering severe sanctions, including the possibility of docking the Patriots "multiple draft picks" because it is the competitive violation in the wake of a stern warning to all teams since he became commissioner, the sources said. The Patriots have been suspected in previous incidents.

The Patriots will be allowed an opportunity to present their case by Friday, sources said, most likely via the telephone.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Tuesday that no official decision has been made and that the club has not been notified.

The league also was reviewing a possible violation into the number of radio frequencies the Patriots were using during Sunday's game, sources said. The team did not have a satisfactory explanation when asked about possible irregularities in its communication setup during the game.
Did they cheat? And, if so, did cheating give them a real advantage? Hard to say. Takes a bit of the luster off the smashing of the Jets, though.

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