Taping is legal, kiddies
by Prof. Bud Light
Prof. Bud Light
Wow, some real grade school analysis here.
Stealing Signs 101.
Strange that someone would write so much about the illegal stealing of signs when...stealing signs is not illegal.
From SI in 2002.
Lipreading is a feverish topic in the NFL these days. Coaches are covering their mouths when they send in plays because they're suspicious that thieves are watching. The coaches look like they had onions for lunch or just graduated from the Istanbul Spy Institute. "We hear rumors all the time about opposing
coaches hiring guys to read our lips," says Cardinals offensive coordinator Rich Olson.
It's no rumor, pal. "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."
Ok, take out your notebooks and cross out everywhere you thought that stealing signs is illegal. Wow, you guys are misinformed.
Espn's John Clayton. 2006
Teams are always trying to steal signs and signals off other teams. That's just football."
Extra Credit research. Read the following and write an essay on how it relates to Spygate.
Now on to taping. Do you understand that teams videotape? I bet you don't.
For example, Jet's coach Eric Mangini says the Jets have regularly shot tape from both end zones at home and on the road since Mangini's arrival last season. They also give permission to do likewise to any visiting team at Giants Stadium, Mangini said.
“We do it every (game), regardless of playoff (or) preseason, just like we do it every day in practice," Mangini said. “It's not really that big a deal.
In fact NFL's Greg Aiello on the Jets taping from the Patriots mezzanine:
"It is not uncommon for visiting team video crews to request permission to shoot coaching video from both upper end zone positions," spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email.
"Home clubs must provide visiting clubs with equal vantage points for the taping of games.
Teams typically shoot coaching video from one upper 50-yard line location and one upper end zone location, but there are no restrictions on shooting from both upper end zone positions as long as the opportunity is provided to both teams. No permission is needed from the league office."
How does this relate to P 105 of the Operations Manual you quote? Hmm, good question, young people.
Extra Credit assignment: Write an essay on how taping from a stadium location is less cheating than taping out in the open on the sidelines?
Finally, you note that Belichick references the Constitution and By-laws but you didn't mention them.
"Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game."
There was an emphasis on in-game use of tape. Since the Patriots never used them during the game, he felt it was fine. Also note that the above implies you are free to tape a game you are not involved in.
Class dismissed. Editor's Note:
Thanks Professor Light. Appreciate your guidance. However, you miss the entire point. You talk much about "stealing" signs by observing them. All of us agree that is totally fine.
You also talk about videotaping opposing team play. Again, we all agree that is perfectly fine.
The issue is -- taping opposing team signals. That is illegal as well it should be for the hundreds of reasons discussed on this site already.
So, please, report back to us when you can explain why taping signals (as Belichick did) is perfectly fine to do.