With Tom Brady defeating the NFL in his Deflategate court case last week and having his four-game suspension overturned, football fans can finally move on from hearing about scandals involving the New England Patriots again, right? Well, not quite.
On Tuesday morning, ESPN.com published "Spygate to Deflategate: Inside what split the NFL and Patriots Apart" as an investigative report that will appear in the September 28 issue of ESPN The Magazine. The Magazine and Outside the Lines conducted interviews with upwards of 90 people – ranging from league officials to owners, team execs, coaches and both current and former Patriots players and staff, to name a few – and they concluded that Spygate was the center of an extensive secret history between commissioner Roger Goodell's NFL and Robert Kraft's Patriots.
The report reveals new findings about the Patriots having cheated extensively for nearly eight seasons and Goodell allegedly covering up the scope of their shady ways.
Some of the report's chilling findings include:
- The Patriots recorded opposing coaches' signals for at least 40 games from 2000-07.
- During the Spygate investigation, which was triggered after the New York Jets accused the Patriots of video-taping their defensive coaches' signals during a September 2007 game, Goodell ordered league execs to stomp eight videotapes of evidence into pieces and shred hand-written notes, never attempting to quantify the number of games at which the Pats videotaped opposing coaches' signals.
- One senior exec, whose team lost a Super Bowl to the Patriots, even told ESPN: "Goodell didn't want anybody to know that his gold franchise had won Super Bowls by cheating. If that gets out, that hurts your business."
- Low-level Patriots employees were used to sneak into visiting locker rooms and steal play sheets of opposing squads during pre-game warm-ups during the team's early Super Bowl runs.
- Some NFL owners believe that the original four-game Deflategate suspension of Brady, fining the Patriots $1 million and forcing them to forfeit their 2016 first-round draft pick and 2017 fourth-round pick was all simply a "makeup call" over Goodell dropping the ball so badly and even helping to cover up the scope of Spygate.
As bad as the Patriots look with these unearthed revelations, Goodell appears even worse. Will these new findings threaten his job? It's crazy to think these details emerge two days before the NFL season kicks off on Thursday, September 10, with the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.