The New England Patriots Cheat Because They are so SMART

New England Patriots

He lived a good and long life.

He has said his goodbyes to his family. The medical staff has made him as comfortable as possible.

Besides waiting for his call to leave this mortal coil, there’s only one thing left for him to.

A soft and squishy sports reporter pushes his way through grieving family members and past machines monitoring vital signs. The reporter positions a chair as close to the bed as possible and then prepares to write down everything he hears.

Then, for the next several days, Bill Belichick recounts to the pasty sports reporter a litany of infractions, violations, and outright rule breaking that occurred while he was the head coach of the New England Patriots (and maybe if you ever had Patriots tickets you might of witnessed a few of these transgressions).

A week later, after Belichick is done detailing all of his transgressions, the girlfriend-less reporter realizes that the 2001-2014 Patriots did everything they could, including cheating, to gain a competitive advantage.

I know what you’re thinking…

…I’m just jealous.

…I’m just a hater.

Yes, I’m a lifelong Seattle Seahawks fans but this article has nothing to do with Super Bowl XLIX. Burning Malcolm Butler in effigy and spending three days in the fetal position questioning my existence did but not this article.

Go ahead and call me jealous…
Call me a hater…

…but that doesn’t change my perception, which is shared by countless other NFL fans, of the New England Patriots’ dynasty. That perception is their four Super Bowl victories in 14 seasons are tarnished, blemished, and stained by the specter of dishonesty.

Can we say “Spygate?”

Can we say “Deflategate?”

I think the Patriots cheat(ed) not because of a deficiency of character but because they’re so frickin’ smart.

They don’t cheat out of malice but out of genius.

Ever since Belichick became head coach in 2000 the Patriots have been the most intelligent franchise in professional sport.

You see that every time they play the Bills, Dolphins, and Jets.

AFC EAST – From 2001-2014

Buffalo Bills – 89-135, no playoff appearances
Miami Dolphins – 104-120, two playoff appearances
New York Jets – 108-116, six playoff appearances
We’ve all seen a bunch of NFL games. We know that a lot of them hinge on one play.
Sometimes that play occurs at the end of the game, like in Super Bowl XLIX, and sometimes it occurs during the first drive, like it did in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Either way, the difference between winning and losing in the NFL is thin as a razor’s edge.

So…

…if the NFL is going to wield wimpy fines (the Pats are valued at $2.6 billion) and take away draft picks (which the Pats don’t seem to need) then why not do everything you can (including cheating) to win Super Bowls?

>>Obviously, Tom Brady has been suspended for four games but does anyone think the Pats won’t finish the season 12-4. Even if they start the season 2-2, they’ll still going to the postseason with double-digit victories—they have before.<<

I think, and I’m not alone, that the Patriots should be put on double-secret probation. The next time they’re caught cheating someone should be banned from the game for life.

That sounds harsh, especially if you think the Patriots’ cheating is innocuous, but nothing is more sacrosanct than the integrity of the game.

Rules are rules and they must be enforced. If you don’t like a rule, or you think a certain rule is “stupid” (like the tuck rule) then change it. Until then, it’s part of the game.

By the way, the tuck rule was eliminated on March 20, 2013.

Patriots Accomplishments (2001-2014)

>>Four Super Bowl victories
>>Six AFC Championships
>>Played in nine AFC Championship Games
>>12 division titles
>>12 playoff appearances
>>9 first round byes
>>13 seasons of double-digit victories
>>21-8 in postseason
>>170 -54 in regular season

Now, no self-respecting football fan believes the Patriots won the 2014 AFC Championship 45-7 because footballs were underinflated.

Don’t let that score influence you.

Furthermore, don’t let the fact that the Patriots winning percentage after “Spygate” was better than their winning percentage before “Spygate.”

None of that matters.

What matters is the answer to this question: “Did breaking the rules result in a victory?” If the Patriots answer “yes” to that question then they’ve successfully compromised the integrity of the game and failed as sportsmen.

The Patriots were lucky that the 2015 AFC Championship Game was a blowout. Football fans think they cheated even though they won by five touchdowns; imagine the outcry if they had won by a field goal?

The belief that the Patriot’s high intelligence and the NFL’s paltry fines result in mass cheating is further bolstered by the franchise’s annual roster.

While past dynasties have been riddled with future hall of famers, the Pats dynasty has not. With the exception of Brady, the team has not fielded a surefire, first ballot hall of famer.

There might be hall of fame speeches in the future for players like Wes Welker, Richard Seymour, Rodney Harrison, and Adam Vinatieri but none of those players are slam dunks.

The Pats have been a championship caliber team for a decade and a half because they draft and sign smart, flexible, and coachable players.

The Pats win on efficiency, execution, and intelligence…

…and cheating.

When your roster isn’t packed with hall of fame talent you need to do something to get an edge.

Even when the Patriots were dominate they weren’t that dominate. Remember, they won four Super Bowls by a combined 13 points.

There is some wiggle room in all this.

You can, with some wit and cleverness, explain away “Spygate” and “Deflategate.”

Perhaps videotaping opponents as they signaled plays was a legitimate misinterpretation of the rules by Belichick. Perhaps weather caused the balls to be under-inflated and Tom Brady smashed his cell phone because he was upset over roaming charges.

On top of it all, NFL fans outside of the New England area hate the Patriots.

Belichick’s boorish behavior with the press has been interpreted to mean he’s a “grade A” jerk.

The fact that Brady won the life lottery (professional athlete, model for a wife) does not endear him to the average fan.

And people generally don’t like winners—unless, it’s their favorite team that’s doing all the winning.

You can say the Patriots didn’t “cheat” just like you can say they should have lost all four of the Super Bowls they won.

New England Patriots Four Super Bowl Victories

Super Bowl XXXVI (2001) 20-18 over the St. Louis Rams
Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) 32-29 over the Carolina Panthers
Super Bowl XXXIX (2004) 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles
Super Bowl XLIX (2014) 28-24 over the Seattle Seahawks
The Patriots’ super accomplishments should not be taken away. Someday, however we’ll learn that the real achievement wasn’t winning 4 in 14 seasons but hiding all the cheating.

When we finally learn what went on behind the scenes, I don’t think we’ll rush to persecute Belichick, I think we’ll rush to hail him as a genius—at least more of a genius then he already is.

Sorry Chowder Heads, but cheating will always be linked to the Patriots and the Belichick era.

We might be able to overlook one incidence, but not two.

Where there’s smoke their fire and where there’s the Patriots there’s cheating.