Radio Communication is the Real Spygate Issue

by Johnny
(Boston, MA)

Good job with the article. You are performing a public service for all REAL football fans.

The allegation most assiduously avoided by the Patriots and the NFL was the one regarding the Patriots use of an alternative radio frequency (compared to the one specified by the NFL) to communicate between the coaches and the quarterback. As “following the money” opened up the Watergate investigation, “following the radio frequency” might be the same in Spygate.

The NFL pre-assigns a private frequency to each team so that the other team cannot hear the communications, but more importantly because they want to monitor such team communications for any other evidence of cheating or unauthorized use of the radio system (eg, only one player, the QB, is permitted to have a receiver in their helmet).

The fact (unsubstantiated, but heavily rumored and traced to individuals close to the Patriot organization) that the Patriots were communicating on another frequency (unavailable to the NFL) was key to the concealment of their scheme for stealing the other teams defensive signals AND communicating them to their QB.

The conspiracy of silence around this allegation, after it was reported several times (including Chris Mortensen of ESPN) even PRIOR TO Spygate, seems to confirm that the NFL was covering up what was really happening. They were in a perfect position to substantiate and follow up on this violation of NFL rules in many games, yet it seems as if the Patriots use of their own frequency was dismissed as a technical snafu or team preference. Also note that the NFL's radio frequency was disabled 20 seconds prior to the the start of each play to prevent last second communications.

This radio communication angle really needs to be explored much more deeply and exposed. It makes the videotaping violations all the more egregious, since the electronics gave the coaches much greater leverage to benefit from their cheating.

When I see many of the silly comments, usually from Pats fans, that say "Everyone was taping or stealing signals", I have to smile at their naivete. Maybe everyone was stealing signals, but everyone wasn't tampering with radio frequencies and it was exactly that violation that placed the Patriots cheating in a unique and much more dishonest context.

Also, who really knows what else was being done with the frequencies if the Patriots had successfully dodged NFL surveillance on the assigned frequency? Of course this is speculative, but could they have been eavesdropping on their opponents electronic communications? I suspect that this is unlikely since the communications would have easily been encrypted, but if they were not properly encrypted, the NFL would have another poorly managed process as a reason for their defensiveness and a possible cover-up.

Until this is fully aired, the public will have no real confidence in what has happened and Senator Specter will be dragged into the cover-up himself.

I know of two national writers who plan to follow up specifically on this aspect of the investigation if it’s not properly addressed. There are eerie parallels between this matter and the baseball steroids scandal where league officials conspire silently with the real offenders in protecting the IMAGE of the game. Somewhere in the process, the INTEGRITY of the game is forgotten and left unprotected.

If someone living in Pennsylvania sees this posting, please forward it to Arlen Specter's congressional office. His site does not accept email submissions from out of state citizens.

You might assume that congressional staffs properly prepare their representatives for public hearings, and already have figured this stuff out. However, if you watched any of the Clemens hearing, you'd see that Senators and reps are busy people and come into such hearings notoriously ill prepared. They frequently overlook the correct and incisive follow up questions.

For more, see Spygate: More Radio Communications Issues and Kraft in Hiding.

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Mar 01, 2008
Great insight
by: shlonger

I've heard blurbs in the past about the Cheatriots and their tampering with the radio frequencies-- but I never heard any full blown stories on it. If in fact there are two national writers prepared to blow the cover off this story-- I can't wait! The Cheatriots need to have some serious actions taken against them. All these years I was amazed at how a mediocre coach, mediocre QB and over-the-hill defenders could dominate in the manner they have. Now I understand.

I am a resident of PA and am proud that Arlen Specter is stepping up to probe into this serious matter. I have a lot of vested interest in this situation and I want to know the truth and I want to see these cheaters get their due.

Mar 02, 2008
Prof. Bud Light
by: Prof. Bud Light

Before CameraGate, none of the posters here could explain video or audio rules. I suspect that is still the case.

Johnny's points are the heart of Mo's main concern. Too much technology.

I don't think the NFL will reduce Coach-QB communication. Afterall, there is a plan to equip a defensive player with communication equipment.

I suppose the idea would be eliminate hand signals, but it opens up a whole other world.

Here some background:

Hand Signal Story.

Several coaches and players contacted for this story said they have never witnessed attempts to work around the 15-second cutoff. A few others, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they found out about such shenanigans from assistant coaches who had left offending teams.

None of these coaches implicated the Patriots.

There are at least four ways to bypass the cutoff system...

A team could reprogram its radio system to remove the cutoff official from the equation, sending signals directly from the coach's headset to the quarterback's helmet. It could modify the equipment in the booth to achieve the same end. It could install a separate communications system, allowing another coach or quarterback to provide last-second updates...a team could interfere with wires between the sideline and the press box.

The coach said he knew of one team that equipped its backup quarterback with a device that allowed the backup to feed information to the starter after the 15-second cutoff.

The backup quarterback he cited is no longer in the league, and the head coach is working as an assistant.

The quarterback's helmet features a receiver and speaker, but no microphone.

For years, coaches have complained, usually in private, about their headsets mysteriously going silent during critical moments of road games. They couldn't prove anything improper, but suspicions lingered when they encountered similar problems in the same venues.

Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio said the Jaguars experienced headset issues during a playoff game in New England.

The Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks have complained...about communication problems at Washington's FedEx Field...Tampa Bay has had headset issues in Philadelphia...

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell reported similar problems at FedEx last season, and Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan experienced headset troubles in his own stadium Sunday.

If one team loses all headset communication during a game, the other team must abandon its system under the so-called "equity rule." The rule, however, does not apply when only coach-to-quarterback communication is lost.

Frequency issues can arise anywhere, but veteran quarterbacks said the technology has become more reliable in recent seasons.

"It would be next to impossible for anybody to listen to what is being said," said Bill Lipscomb, longtime headset guru for the Seahawks.

Mar 25, 2008
by: Anonymous

Everyone's not tampering with radio frequencies? Like Michael Corleone said to Kay, whos' being naive now?

May 03, 2008
by: pittsburghgirl

Just a note to say, "Keep the story going!" I forwarded the story and link to Senator Spector. Many Pittsburghers feel that the Steelers lost in the AFC championship in a 15-1 regular season in which they whipped the Patriots only to find a seemingly psychic Patriot defense in the playoffs. No doubt it was electronic cheating. The question is: Why is the NFL letting them get away with it?

Jan 23, 2009
get real
by: Anonymous

this person has no proof that any of this happened. People speculated that this was happening, had a feeling. So do people that believe in roswell NM, or that we really didnt land on the moon, or that national treasure really exists. I mean get real people. Id be willing to bet, as a GIANTS fan, that the dumbass who wrote this is a POed Eagles fan. POed that the pats have a dynasty and that the eagles have on and off playoff wins. or a clots fan that cant stand the fact that the patriots mauled their MVP QB with a rag tag team. Seriously, the pats should have won the Super Bowl. As shitty as the pats played and how well we played, the pats were still in position to win, and it took two dropped picks, an error on clock keeping, and the most miraculous, LUCKY catch along with bradys broken ankle, to win. seriously, fellow giants fans dont be happy or proud, be thankful

Aug 06, 2009
by: Ricky L

could u post where you obtained this informaton? and the names of the two national writers?

Nov 21, 2010
In Regards to the First Comment
by: Jason D

Did you really just call this a 'full blown story'? This is just drivel being fed to the people that don't like the pats in hopes of making spygate seem like it made a difference. The opening line to this farce of a page says it all."Spygate has evolved into such a huge story, with so many layers, that we can't cover it all on this page" Actually, it isn't evolving and doesn't have any layers. Its just people venting their frustration over something they keep telling themselves is the reason the pats won. The fact that Herm Edwards would wave to the camera, which WAS IN BROAD DAYLIGHT, speaks for itself in terms of the seriousness of the offense

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