Wednesday, September 12, 2007

CameraGate? SpyGate? Patriot Games? [J. Mark English]

Call it what you want, but the New England Patriots being caught cheating is bizarre. Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy, has more:

For the past 24 hours, since CameraGate was exposed, I've been trying to think of a good excuse for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. There has to be a good excuse, right? So why couldn't I think of one? How could I save them from America's scorn? How could I remove those three asterisks from the Super Bowl titles? Even when I channeled my inner O.J. and decided, "If Belichick did cheat in the Jets game, it's only because he loved the Jets too much," it didn't quite work.

The truth is, there's probably no saving the Pats. Everyone outside New England was searching for a legitimate reason to hate them for the past four years, and now they have an excellent one. Spying on opponent's signals is just plain seedy. It's one step above playing footsie with someone in an airport men's room. It's a disgrace. It's embarrassing. Even though everyone probably cheats in the NFL to some degree, the 2007 Patriots have been caught twice in a month -- once because their defensive leader (Rodney Harrison) admitted to buying HGH, once because they videotaped defensive calls at the Meadowlands. We're on a blistering pace of 17 bastardizations of the sport this season.

Just know that every Pats fan is horrified -- not as horrified as Michael Myers' mother in the "Halloween" remake when she finds out little Michael butchered his family, but definitely more horrified that 50 Cent during Britney's drunken stripper routine at the VMAs on Sunday night. Since I had trouble sorting out my thoughts on the month when the Patriots officially became the Cobra Kai, I decided to e-mail another sportswriter and Patriots fan -- Aaron Schatz, the creator of and author of the 2007 Pro Football Prospectus -- so we could sort through this stuff and search for some mutant form of peace.

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