Throughout the New England Patriots’ impressive stay atop as the standard-bearer in the NFL over nearly the last two decades, it has drawn plenty of hatred from fans. That stems far beyond just winning, with the team being inked to several scandals that have questioned their integrity. That is now once again the case with another potential situation falling into that pattern. With that in mind, head coach Bill Belichick‘s response to it could tick fans off even further.
Patriots’ hatred rooted in cheating allegations
Over the years, the disdain towards New England has continued to stay at a steady pace.
These emotions are well beyond the football field rooted in the team’s other situations concerning possibly cheating. That initially began after an investigation back in the 2007 season involving an incident where the NFL disciplined the Patriots for videotaping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals in an unapproved spot in a situation that resulted in a $500,000 fine and lost their 2008 first-round pick.
Things took off to the next level five months later that truly earned the situation the “Spygate” name following a report that New England had also videotaped the then-St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough before Super Bowl XXXVI in February 2002. These allegations were denied by Bill Belichick but gained further steam in the public eye after the team’s former video assistant, Matt Walsh, had confirmed that he was present during the Rams’ walkthrough. However, no video evidence didn’t allow for the league to further punish the Patriots.
Lastly, New England was involved in another cheating scandal, which was deemed “Deflategate” that involved several footballs from the AFC championship game between the Patriots and Indianapolis Colts in 2015 were found to be tampered with and deflated below regulation rules. The NFL put forth a league investigation that pointed to quarterback Tom Brady being heavily involved resulting in a four-game ban on Brady, which has only further cemented the hatred towards him and the franchise entirely over the years.
Bill Belichick’s response to latest cheating allegations
The Patriots are involved in another situation regarding possible cheating with reports that a videographer had taken video of the field and the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline this past Sunday, a week before the two teams faced each other. New England has voiced that the advance scout was in the press box due to filming for a series on employees that is featured on the team’s website.
However, a Bengals team employee spotted the Patriots filming the Bengals’ sideline for the entire first quarter, which is footage that has been turned over to the NFL. In light of that, Belichick distanced himself by referencing Spygate as a reason why the team has steered clear of that type of activity, according to Ben Baby of ESPN.
“We’re competitive and we’ll try to be competitive in every area,” Belichick said during a conference call with Cincinnati media Tuesday morning. “But we don’t knowingly, intentionally want to do anything that’s across the line.
“But since that’s [Spygate] happened, I’d say we’ve tried to keep a good distance behind the line and not maybe take it as far as we would might have in the past. But it’s never really fundamentally changed there.”
Despite Belichick’s comments, it has become quite challenging to take him or Patriots for their words, given their long history of being involved in various cheating scandals throughout the years.
What lies ahead of Patriots
Beyond this new situation being another potential stain on the Patriots’ resume, it’s another matter that remains out of their hands.
The NFL will be conducting a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the issues. The Patriots have already voiced that they will be in full compliance with the league in whatever is needed to get through it all.
New England has found themselves in a spot where it once again becomes difficult to shake away at the notion that cheating is part of their legacy. The franchise has experienced tremendous unparalleled success over the last two decades, but that has come with a strong connection with breaking the rules to garner it.
Ultimately, it’s just more fuel to fire for the hatred toward Belichick, Brady, and the entire franchise.