NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has determined that the New England Patriots broke league rules when an employee was found video taping New York Jets coaches while they gave hand signals to defensive players on the field. The Patriots will have an opportunity to explain their side of the case in a meeting with the League on Friday.
The Commissioner is considering an extremely stern punishment for the cheating offense, including docking the Patriots multiple draft picks in the future. As of Tuesday, the League office had not determined officially what the punishment would be.
Additionally, the Commissioner’s Office is looking into another violation of League rules by the Patriots after it was determined that the team had some irregularities in the communication setup during the game, which included using additional radio frequencies for communication between coaches.
Though the cheating offense was used to beat the New York Jets, it appears the Patriots’ division rival will not benefit at all from the situation. The loss of draft picks for New England helps the rest of the league, but gives no bonus to the Jets who were the victims in this manner. Commissioner Goodell should make a stern example of the Patriots and grant a forfeit of the game. Anything less would simply give other teams the necessary motivation to find ways to bypass the rules if losing draft picks was the only punishment.
And what happens if it’s determined that the Patriots have been cheating the entire time? What if the entire dynasty, the famous Belichick and Brady connection, has been a sham since the beginning? This story has the ramifications to be the biggest sports cheating story since the Chicago Black Sox in the 1919 World Series.
I just hope as a football fan that the NFL can recover from such an egregious violation of League rules.