First and foremost, I don't condone what the Patriots did.
The Wyatt Earp of sports commissioners, Roger Goodell, found New England guilty of videotaping the defensive signals of the New York Jets during the first half of last week's lopsided victory at The Meadowlands, and it apparently was not the first time.
The same cameraman (video assistant Matt Estrella) was caught shooting unauthorized video on the sideline at Green Bay last year.
The fine is a moot point -- we're talking about millionaires here. The loss of a first-round draft pick, however, is deserved and just punishment for a team that builds through its drafts.
This is where the story should end. The talk of this tainting the Patriots' legacy makes no sense to me.
While there's proof of New England breaking the rules, there's no concrete proof of how it specifically helped the Patriots win.
That is a fact. You can argue that the videotape gave the Patriots a competitive advantage, which is plausible, but it's an assumption. When
you assume, it makes an ... well, you know the rest. Why build arguments on assumptions?
Too often in our society we do this and it really grinds my gears. As far as I'm concerned, the players still had to execute and make plays.
Most NFL teams have complex terminology coupled with deceptive hand signals for this very reason (see Peyton Manning and his false audibles).
You can videotape all you want, but there's no guarantee you'll catch what you need, especially over the course of a three-hour football game.
I repeat: Videotaping the Jets signals was wrong.
But I don't believe coaches win games or championships. Players do. Coaches help, but if you don't have the players, the schemes don't work.
To taint the legacy of the Patriots' players would be unfair and unjust.
Videotape didn't help Adam Vinatieri hit those game-winning field goals in the Super Bowls.
Was it videotape that helped Randy Moss catch a touchdown on three defenders last week? I'd say no. I'd say it was Moss' speed and Tom Brady's perfect throw.
Say what you will about Patriots coach Bill Belichick, but those players won three titles.
I'm sure in the end, people who hated the Patriots before this will hate them even more, but after they open this season 7-3 or 8-2 are you still going to question if it's them or the videotape?
It would be a waste of time without actual details.
Until you have those, you don't have much of an argument.