Back in high school I read a funny book about cheating in baseball titled It Ain't Cheating If You Don't Get Caught. The book contained hilarious stories about players and managers who would steal other team'signals and how they were caught. (And if Mr. Sensitive has a good memory, he might remember that I was asked to quiet down upon discovering this book at the library because I was laughing so hard.)
Baseball only bans the use of electronic devices to steal signals (a rule implemented in 1961). However, the practice of stealing signs and signals is something that still goes on today in the major leagues. That's why you see coaches or managers going through 50 different hand and arm signals between pitches. They're changing up the signals and doing their best to convey the sign to their player but hoping to confuse the other team. The unwritten rule is baseball is this: Steal signals all you want. Just don't use electronic means to do it. And if you do steal signals, don't get caught doing it.
The NFL has similar rules. You can't videotape an opposing team's signals. The unwritten rule is this: Use some binoculars and a pen. Just don't get caught doing it.
So when the New England Patriots were caught stealing signals against the New York Jets last Sunday, I expected some kind of punishment to be meted out by the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell but was more than a little surprised that the NFL came down hard on coach Bill Belichick by fining him $500,000 and penalizing the Patriots $250,000 and a first day draft pick in 2008.
Personally I find the antics of Goodell and hysterical whining of other coaches and players rather amusing
They're all are acting like the lily white reputation of the NFL is on the line with this incident.
Give me a break.
It's not like the Patriots were throwing games or finding some way to pay off the other team. The Patriots were simply trying to get a competitive edge and got caught with their pants down.
Does Goodell really think people are going to stop watching games on Sunday afternoon because one team was a little too blatant and cocky in their signal stealing scam? The NFL has endured plenty of scandalous actions much worse than Belichick's little stunt.
Anyone remember what Michael Vick plead guilty too? What about all the stunts Al Davis and his Raiders supposedly pulled? Do we really want to get into all the incidents surrounding Pacman Jones?
The NFL has survived these other incidents because the game is bigger than a coach or a player. And it's certainly bigger than some guy with a camera pointed at a defensive coach.
I also find it hard to believe that the owners, teams, and coaches who are so indignant about the signal stealing incident have never tried to stealing signals from an opposing team before. Maybe they've never used a camera but to think they don't even try? Yeah, right.
Now teams are claiming the Patriots have been stealing signals for years. If so, why didn't teams make a big deal out of it years ago? Sports writers and columnists are always looking for a breaking story that could make a career. This would have fallen in that category.
Funny how now one thought to raise a stink until the Patriots got caught.
It's not a disgrace that the Patriots have been stealing signals for years. What is a disgrace is that their opponents let this signal stealing allegedly go on for so long without finding a way to steal the Patriots' signals or, at the very least, find a better way to mask their own calls.
Now that the stunt was uncovered, they're running to the teacher complaining that someone knocked out of the lunch line.
Here's my advice to those who are acting like a whiney six year old: Get up and push back. Find some ingenious way to steal the Patriots' signals when you play them next and/or just give them a whooping on the gridiron.
The NFL is supposed to be a game played and coached by the "toughest" men in the world.
Itâ's time to start acting like it.