New Spygate Piece Touches On Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl
With some NFL owners viewing the punishment for Deflategate as a make-up call by the league for its handling of Spygate, Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta of ESPN the Magazine took a closer look at the circumstances surrounding the Spygate scandal.
From 2000-07, the Patriots reportedly videotaped the signals of opposing coaches in 40 games. The Eagles’ Super Bowl matchup with New England, of course, fell within that window.
When Spygate broke, some of the Eagles now believed they had an answer for a question that had vexed them since they lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX: How did New England seem completely prepared for the rarely used dime defense the Eagles deployed in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on three of four drives? The Eagles suspected that either practices were filmed or a playbook was stolen. “To this day, some believe that we were robbed by the Patriots not playing by the rules … and knowing our game plan,” a former Eagles football operations staffer says.
The piece also details U.S. Senator Arlen Specter‘s investigation into the alleged improprieties.
Goodell assured Specter that “most teams do not believe there is an advantage” from the taping, a comment contradicted by the outraged public and private remarks of many players and coaches, then and now. “Even if Belichick figured out the signals,” Goodell insisted, “there is not sufficient time to call in the play.”
The senator seethed that Goodell seemed completely uninterested in whether a single game had been compromised. He asked Goodell whether the spying might have tipped the Patriots’ Super Bowl win against the senator’s favorite team, the Eagles. Goodell said that he had spoken with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and then-head coach Andy Reid and that “both said the outcome of the [February] 2005 Super Bowl was legitimate,” an assertion contradicted by the private feelings of many senior members of the team.
The legitimacy of Reid and Lurie’s sentiments are put further into question by former Rams coach Mike Martz’s admission that he was asked by Roger Goodell to write a statement “saying that he was satisfied with the NFL’s Spygate investigation and was certain the Patriots had not cheated and asking everyone to move on — like leaders of the Steelers and Eagles had done.”
“He told me, ‘The league doesn’t need this. We’re asking you to come out with a couple lines exonerating us and saying we did our due diligence,'” says Martz, now 64 years old and out of coaching, during a July interview at his summer cabin in the Idaho mountains…
“Even to this day, I think something happened.”
A fascinating read from start to finish.
Gleichert to practice squad
The Eagles are expected to sign tight end Andrew Gleichert to the practice squad, per sources. The undrafted free agent out of Michigan State spent the offseason with the Eagles before being released on cut-down day. With the practice squad already holding a maximum 10 players, someone will be released to make room for Gleichert. Chris Pantale is the tight end currently on the practice squad.