Two weeks ago, the head coach of the NY Jets, Eric Mangini accused the New Patriots of spying on his defensive coaches with a camera by recording their signals, and brought down a whole slew of trouble for a team that is headed by a coach that has been heralded as the best of the decade so far.

 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell investigated the accusations, and found the Patriots guilty of "spying," and punished the team with fines to coach Bill Belichick ($500,000), owner Bob Kraft (250,000), and will take 1-3 draft picks next April.

 

So you're probably wondering what the Sinista1 has to say about all this. Well, the rules were instituted in the past, and Belichick claims he misinterpreted the ruling, but we will never know if he did or didn't. However, the NFL made sure this past weekend that the remaining 31 teams understood by sending out a memo with the rules, and what the penalties will be if caught.

 

The Pats will pay for their crime, but will still come out winners in the end. With the way they demolished the Jets and the San Diego Chargers (AFC opponents), the Pats will probably be picking somewhere around the 30s. They also have San Fran's first round pick, which is probably the one Goodell will take come next year.

 

But the question still remains as the Patriots have now had to give up past game films to the NFL for investigation. Did the Patriots benefit from the use of video taping defensive signals? Statistically one would have to say it is possible after laying it all out, and before I go into my stats rant I would like to thank Doug Drinen for his Pro Football Reference.com, and the boys over at Footballguys.com for such great reference sites.

 

Here are the statistics to form your own opinion, and be the judge.

 

2000: Bill Belichick arrived as head coach, and in his first season with the team the Patriots went 5-11. They were ranked 25th in offense, and 17th in defense out of 31 teams. The first half of the season they had a 2-6 record, and finished the second half of the season 3-5 losing to AFC East opponents the Jets and the Miami Dolphins twice.

 

2001: This was the Patriots amazing Super Bowl year. They finished the season 11-5, ranked 6th in offense and defense. The first half of the season they posted a 4-4 record while finishing the second half of the season 7-1. This is the season where the streak of "not losing to teams twice in the regular season" (NLTTT) began, and let's remember that the Patriots had played the Rams earlier in the season losing 24-17. Could this have been the year (even though it was legal) the coaching staff decided to study signals of opposing teams?

 

2002: The Patriots had a season marred with injuries, missing the playoffs with a 9-7 record. They were ranked 10th in offense and 17th in defense out of 32 teams. The first half of the season the Pats were 4-3, while they finished the second half with a 6-3 record. The streak remained intact, while the Patriots remained a threat in the NFL with 18 interceptions and 33 sacks. It was the second year in a row where the Patriots had an “uncanny” knack of knowing where the ball was going to be.

 

2003: The second most dominant team in Patriots history finished the season 14-2 ranking 12th in offense and 1st in defense. The first half of the season the Patriots were 6-2 while going perfect for the second half of the season with eight wins, sweeping their AFC East opponents. The Pats finished the season with 29 INT's 40 sacks and 119 passes defended, while keeping the "NLTTT" streak intact. The post-season ended with their second Super Bowl win after beating the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts in dominating defensive performances.

 

2004: The dominance continued with the Pats repeating a 14-2 season ranking 4th in offense and 2nd in defense. The first half of the season the Pats were 6-1 and the second half they were 8-1 sweeping the Colts, Buffalo Bills and Jet,s while beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoffs after losing to them in the regular season. While the "NLTTT" streak remained intact, the Pats added another Super Bowl win to their resume in back to back seasons.

 

2005: Was the Duane Starks ERA, and an injury plagued season. The Pats finished 10-6 ranking 10th in offense and 17th in defense. Once again with a soft first half showing the Pats split before the bye with a 3-3 record while finishing the second half  7-3. While the streak remained intact with them sweeping the Bills and Jets, they lost to the Denver Broncos in the post season. They finished the season with 10 INT's and 32 sacks.

 

2006: The Pats were just shy of returning to defensive greatness finishing the season 12-4 ranked 7th in offense and 2nd in defense. The first half of the season they boasted a 6-1 record while posting a 6-3 record for the second half of the season. Statistically they had 22 INT's, 71 passes defended and 43 sacks. They swept the Bills, but split with the Jets in the regular season. In the post season they met up with the Jets again and beat them soundly 37-16. Could this be when Mangini's suspicions began?

 

Only those behind the scenes know for sure, but there are some uncanny events like the stats I gave above that may or may not prove the crime. But, of all teams to bring this to the NFL's attention it would have to be an AFC East opponent, and a head coach that was once part of the Patriots coaching staff. So some could say the Mangini broke an unwritten rule by "ratting" out something he was part of two seasons ago, while also possibly trying to give his organization an edge over a divisional rival.

 

As with any conspiracy; teams, players and coaches are now coming out of the woodwork claiming that they knew something was fishy, but let's look at those who are complaining: Dave Wannstedt former coach of the Miami Dolphins with an 80-82 lifetime coaching record in the NFL (Ahem…), the Green Bay Packers ('97 was their last NFC title), and the funniest of all… The Philadelphia Eagles, who were trying to say they would have to go back to their Super Bowl loss to think if anything fishy was going on. Why would they tape a Super Bowl game for further reference, and could they really process the info that fast enough for real time game play?

Videogate in the NFL is like steroids in the MLB. Most of the teams are or were doing it before the rule was instituted this past season. To possibly prove that statement, the league had a vote for defensive signals to be broadcast through the helmets of the defensive captains, but the coaches voted it down 22-10. The Patriots were in the majority, while the Jets were in the minority, and one could ask… Was Mangini's actions a sneaky way to prove a point to make a change in the game?

Who knows, but in my opinion after being at the game this past Sunday night, Belichick is still loved by the people of New England, and they may just know who the real "rat" was in this story. I just hope Mangini can pull his team out of an 0-2 spiral, because I don't see him getting a job outside of the Meadowlands anytime soon, and the Soprano's isn't on HBO anymore either.

Sinista1 can be heard on "Krashing into the Bigfield" Saturday afternoons (12PM-2PM) on WXBR 1460 AM out of the Boston area, and live stream at WXBR 1460.com