During their season-opening game Sept. 9, 2007 the Patriots were caught filming the signals of Jets coaches, a violation of league rules. On Sept. 13, Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000, and took away a first-round draft choice, a penalty intended to send a chilling message through the league. The Patriots then submitted all information they had illegally obtained, and the N.F.L. destroyed it Sept. 20 in Foxborough, Mass., where the Patriots are based, by two league vice presidents, Jeff Pash and Ray Anderson.Destroyed it! Destroyed all evidence?Goodell said that he destroyed the evidence, in part, because there was no use for it. The Patriots had already admitted wrongdoing and accepted their punishment.At a news conference two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell said that the league collected six tapes, some from the 2007 preseason and the rest “primarily” from late 2006. He also said that the league confiscated some notes. Goodell said that the notes dated back to 2002.Goodell said Belichick probably had been videotaping opponents’ signals his entire career as a head coach, perhaps dating to his five-year stint with the Browns in the early 1990s.Goodell said Belichick told him he believed the taping was legal; Goodell said he did not concur.“He thought that it was permissible to use electronic equipment as long as the information wasn’t used in the same game,” Goodell said. “That’s not my reading of the rules, and that is why I disciplined him so aggressively.”Goodell was asked how far Belichick’s actions may date. "He said that's always been his interpretation since he's been the head coach," the commissioner said. "We are going to agree to disagree on the facts."Belichick has lead the Patriots to four Super Bowls, with three victories, since becoming coach in 2000.It also doesn’t matter if Matt Walsh, a former Patriots employee has what he claims to be tapes that could prove damaging to the Patriots, including one of the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. Goodell noted that "we were the ones that disclosed" the Patriots' illegal taping of the New York Jets' defensive signals in Week 1 of last season. Further, Goodell said, they had an admission by Belichick.
"I have nothing to hide," Goodell said. Goodell destroyed the New England Patriots Spygate tapes because
a) Belichek admited to cheating and
b) he was afraid the tapes would fall into the hands of other teams.c) The issue is not stealing signals. That is allowed, "and it is done quite widely," commissioner Roger Goodell had said. The issue, rather, is the method of acquiring the signals. "I'm not sure that there is a coach in the league that doesn't expect that their signals are being intercepted by opposing teams," It is why, as Goodell pointed out, coaches cover their mouths when barking instructions. It is why teams use complicated hand signals and often have someone send fake signals to confuse opponents.At least one former player feels the Patriots' practices had an affect on the outcome of a game he played in. Willie Gary, who played in seven games for the 2001 Rams, was one of four plaintiffs named in a lawsuit filed against the Patriots, owner Robert Kraft, and Belichick in New Orleans Federal Court yesterday that seeks more than $100 million in damages.The lawsuit contends, "The ticket purchasers and attendees of the game were damaged by watching and paying for a game tainted by the defendants' illegal activities," and "all Rams employees were damaged by having played in a Super Bowl game tainted by the defendants' illegal activity and by the loss of the game also caused by the defendants' illegal activity."The lawsuit seeks damages on behalf of Gary, two fans who attended the Super Bowl, and a Rams season ticket-holder. They won’t win!Why? Why won’t they win? Why doesn’t it matter if the Patriots were caught cheating?The commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are protecting the league, not the patriots. There's a whole lot more at stake here than just the court of public opinion and the patsies. This is a huge cash cow that can't afford to be crushed by a cheating scandal. The pats get off light for the BULLSHIT because it's better for the league. It's the same reason why the Steelers aren't going to go after the Pats.
The NFL has adopted a sit down, shut up, and let it all blow over mentality with this.