What Is Up With The New England Patriots?
The Patriots Logo
Conflict, Suspicion and Impunity Oh My
Since the early 2000's controversy, conflict and suspicion has been a part of the New England Patriot's legacy. From the "tuck" rule to "spy gate" to their most recent episode "deflate gate" the Pats have been embroiled in one suspicious occurrence after another. For some reason controversy has attached itself to the franchise and will not let go. Teams and players around the league have voiced their opinion concerning the events that have surrounded the team with many of them suggesting the Patriots are openly defying league rules with impunity. In all honestly one has to wonder why this team consistently finds itself in hot water and continuously manages to get out unscathed. Is there more to the picture that we do not see?
Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady
Beginning Of Trouble
All of new England's troubles in the modern era seem to have begun when Tom Brady arrived in 2000. That may be coincidence but it is interesting that their troubles stem from that time forward. When Brady got to the Patriots as a 6th round draft pick Drew Bledsoe was the starting quarterback but due to injury and poor play he was replaced by Brady who eventually took over the starting quarterback position for good. At that point New England's fortunes changed into the quagmire that they are today. Beginning with the infamous "tuck" play against the Oakland Raiders in the 2001 playoffs New England has found itself in one controversial episode after another. On that play Tom Brady was hit by defensive back Charles Woodson of the Raiders who jarred the football loose from Brady as he attempted to pass resulting in what appeared to be a fumble. After reviewing the play the referees overturned their original call declaring that Brady's arm was coming forward when the ball came loose the result was actually an incomplete pass not a fumble. After the play the Patriots scored a tying field and eventually kicked a winning field goal which lead to them playing in and winning the Super Bowl over the Saint Louis Rams that year.
Tom Brady taking over as quarterback on one hand was good for the Patriots but on the other hand it seemed to cast an aura over the team that it has yet to shake. Coincidence? Maybe. Incidents? Absolutely.
Portable Video Camera
Eye Spy In The Sky
Although the tuck play was unrelated directly to the team it still cast a shadow over it. That play has haunted the Patriots ever since it occurred and shows no signs of going away any time soon. "Spy Gate" however was a totally different situation. When the New England Patriots were observed taping the New York Jets defensive coaches during a game in 2007 it was an incident that had direct connection to the team and the Patriots organization. Ant NFL team that taped another team's coaches from their own sideline was in direct violation of league rules punishable by fine, suspension from play, loss of draft pick(s) or any combination of the three. New England received what was essentially a slap on the wrist by being fined $250,000, coach Bill Belichick being fined $500,000 and the team losing a first round draft choice in the upcoming draft but that didn't deter them from nefarious behavior as we witnessed last football season.
The New England Patriots Key Players
If the tuck play and Spy Gate were nipping at the heels of the Patriots "Deflate Gate" bit them. In the 2014 football season New England's playoff victory against the Indianapolis Colts and their eventual Super Bowl win against the Seattle Sea Hawks were marred by the discovery of under-inflated footballs during the Colts game. New England was found to be playing with 11 out of their 12 footballs not meeting NFL regulation inflation levels which appeared to be intentional not incidental. One, two or even three balls under-inflated would not have been considered odd but 11 of 12 indicated deliberate tampering. As it turned out New England was fined once again and their quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for not cooperating with the investigation of the incident not for the incident itself. His suspension was eventually overturned in district court making Brady eligible to play without missing any games. Many people questioned Brady's suspension right out of the gate since it was not he who directly tampered with the footballs but because of his direct connection to them and the need for the league to punish someone he was selected.
Super Bowl XLIX Highlights
The Shadow Knows
It goes without saying the New England Patriots have a checkered past behind them and just recently that past got some additional information. It is now reported that the Patriots taped more than 40 games and/or practices of opposing teams from 2000 to 2007 with the tapes of those recordings being destroyed by the NFL. If this latest allegation proves true the Patriots may go down in history as one of the most notoriously crooked teams to play in the NFL. All of these incidents cast suspicion over the games and championships that the team has won in the past 15 years. But in the middle of all this one has to ask them self why does this team continually feel the need to cheat and why do they continue to get away with just getting a slap on the wrist or no penalty at all? Why do they feel so comfortable cheating? Is it because they have a "special" relationship with the league office? What does owner Robert Kraft have over the NFL that his franchise feels it has impunity to defy the rules of the league? Robert Kraft and current NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are known to be good friends which undoubtedly has accounted for the Patriots light treatment since Goodell has been in office but what about before his tenure? There are a lot of questions that need answering but in all likelihood they won't be and we will continue to see the New England Patriots continue to break the rules and get told to stand in the corner in time out for a few minutes.