- Jan 4, 2002
To the best of my memory, this is a brief recap of events: there's Spygate 1 (w/Jets), Spygate 2 (w/star witness Matt Walsh), and Spygate 3 (the Bengals bungle).Which, of course, is absurd given that Spygate was a violation regarding the location of the cameraman, not that filming was per se a rules violation. But that basic fucking distinction was completely ignored by the NFL and media once things spiraled out of control because they worried they'd look weak and foolish if they admitted that maybe they overreacted.
Goodell could have very easily achieved his objective and also extinguished the lingering stink of the incident if they had quickly, and assertively, clarified that the penalty was stiff *not* because of any competitive advantage the filming may have given the Patriots, but because it was sending a message that repeat rule breakers, regardless of the underlying offense, would be dealt with harshly. Instead they kind of ducked and smirked and then had that stupid press conference where they played the tapes and then destroyed the, which again reinforced the idea that the issue was the tapes themselves and not the violation of the rule regarding location of filming.
Spygate 1: Goodell issues the severe penalty as the big, bad sheriff, All "ill-gotten" materials on signals kept by the Patriots destroyed. Hue and cry ensues around NFL that the destruction was done to cover up the full extent of the Patriots perfidity. Someone in NFL HQ leaks some very limited footage to Jay Glazer at Fox which is shown on tv. I am not 100% certain, but I believe this Glazer footage includes Herm Edwards coaching the Jets and waving to the "spy" camera.
Spygate 2: Rumors and "journalism" of Pats taping the Rams SB walkthrough, Sen. Specter leaning on the NFL, and the emergence of Matt Walsh and non-destroyed tapes. After special immunity granted, Walsh turns over tapes and meets with NFL. Walsh tells the world that the SB walkthrough taping did not occur, and his tapes really add nothing beyond Spygate 1. Totally ignored in this process is that star witness Walsh confirms BB's statements that the Patriots never used the Spygate tapes during the same game the tapes were made. The Commish holds a press conference and announces there's no new news, but in a nod to transparency and the criticism arising from Spygate 1 he does let the Walsh tapes play on the monitors behind him at his press conference.
Spygate 3: Kraft Sports & Entertainment shoots the Patriots in the foot. NFL takes away 2020 third round draft pick.