Naive! Cowboys and Broncos Stole Signals Too
by Lloyd Braun
The NFL never would outlaw stealing signals.
It's not against the rules, so dwelling on that shows a misunderstanding on your part.
The violation was using a video camera on the sideline. That's it. Stealing signs wasn't the issue.
I don't know if you know, but teams still videotape.
Goodell has softened his language because it's clear he blew it earlier by making the issue more than it was. A smaller fine and later pick would have sent the same message with all the hysteria.
Note SI 2002, "Our guy keeps a pair of binoculars on their signal-callers every game," says Broncos coach Mike Shanahan. "With any luck, we have their defensive signals figured out by halftime. Sometimes, by the end of the first quarter."
Is that cheating?
Jimmy Johnson, "When I came into the NFL, back in '89, I talked to a Kansas City scout and he said, 'Here's what we do, we videotape the opposing team's signals and then we synch it up with the game film.' So I did it."
Do you want the Cowboys SBs taken away?
Editor's Note: Lloyd, thanks for the comment. You help to document that this is, indeed, a wider problem than just Belichick and the Patriots. Apparently this taping of signals has been somewhat common in the NFL. So, there are really two choices.
One, the NFL could simply make it legal. Or,
Two, the NFL should clearly state that taping opponents signals is illegal. Period. Any time, any place. And, then enforce the rule with vigor -- meaning, ban a violater from the NFL for life.
I do disagree with the tone of your comment which seems to indicate that you don't think this is a big deal. It is.
The reason is that it makes the playing field uneven. It introduces something into the game that doesn't belong.
When betters bet on games (perfectly legal in many cases) -- they are basing their bets on information available to them like talent, injuries, weather, home field, etc.
Same things with fans cheering on their teams -- which team has the best spy operation has not, until now, been part of the discussion.
To allow this sort of surveillance introduces a new element into the game. If allowed, an increasingly important factor to consider will be which team has the best spying capabilities. In view of the money at stake, this would quickly get out of control. You would have all sorts of surveillance going on.
So, that's the issue that the Belichick Spygate Scandal has brought to a head. And, with ever-increasing technological capabilities, the NFL needs to nip this in the bud.
Actually, I think they clumsily tried to do that with the rules in place now. But, obviously, they need to, at least, make it clear that use of technology to spy on your opponents is prohibited.
I have no problem with humans using their natural senses (sight, hearing, whatever) to observe the opponents signals and try to figure them out. Naturally that's part of every sport and always has been. That's fine.
But, the use of technology to do it is wrong and dangerous.
I think that's painfully clear now.
Of course, some may disagree. There's probably people out there who think the free market should reign and whatever any team can do to win -- so be it.
That's a different perspective than mine.