Tomorrow at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, the New England Patriots will begin the regular season against the Pittsburgh Steelers and unfurl their Super Bowl banner. But along with that championship banner, a huge shadow of controversy will hang over the celebration.
A pair of investigations by ESPN and Sports Illustrated portray the Patriots as long-time, inveterate cheaters — shedding new light on the 2007 Spy Gate scandal — when the Pats and their coach Bill Belichick were punished for improperly video-taping opponents.
The articles allege a long pattern of cheating, including spying and stealing playsheets from opposing teams. As one former NFL player put it, "The Patriots live by the saying, if you're not cheating, you're not trying."
- "Kraft was convinced Brady was innocent, but he "reluctantly" accepted the punishment, in large part because he was certain Goodell would reduce, or eliminate, his quarterback's four-game suspension, the way business is often done in the NFL. Kraft had good reason to believe Goodell might honor a quid pro quo: Throughout Goodell's nightmare 2014 season of overturned player discipline penalties, bumbling news conferences and a lack of candor, Kraft had publicly stood by the commissioner — even as he privately signaled deep disappointment in Goodell's performance and fury at the judgment of his top lieutenants, according to sources."