Bill Belichick. Coach of the New England Patriots. Many in the game consider him to be a genius. Others consider him to be an evil genius. Still others disgustedly dismiss Belichick’s seemingly never-ending success to be based on nothing more than cheating.
This Sunday, Houston Texan defensive end Antonio Smith joined the ranks of the latter, accusing Belichick and his Patriots of “spying” on their allegedly never before devised, executed or seen defensive schemes cooked up by coach Gary Kubiak during the week of practice.
Apparently, for Smith, the Patriots reacted to their losing situation in the first half of their game by making offensive adjustments with a suspicious degree of speed and knowledge. And that got us wondering. How does a football coach use illegally gained confidential information to turn a game around in his team’s favor? Keep in mind that halftime in the NFL is about 15-20 minutes. That’s not the full break viewers experience, but it’s the amount of time that teams have off field in their locker rooms.
So Bill, Tom Brady and the rest of the Patriots are losing by 10 points against the 2-9 Houston Texans. In the general scheme of the season, this game is almost irrelevant to the 8-3 Patriots.
But let us imagine that Antonio Smith’s suspicions are correct.
This means that Bill Belichick makes the decision at halftime to pull out all the stops and use illegally acquired video of the Texans’ practices that was apparently compiled by the moles or the sleeper cells Belichick has buried deep into the organizations of all the other NFL teams.
Is this a risky move for Bill? Absolutely. If caught, the Patriots would pay more than a first round draft pick and half a mil as they did when first caught taping signals from the sidelines in what is now known as “Spygate.”
To be specific, videotaping an opposing team’s play signals is not against the rules in the NFL. What is not allowed is videotaping them from the sidelines. The rule was created that year … in 2007. Apparently this rule is in place so that no team can get an upper hand in this practice and prevents one team from being able to videotape another team from BOTH SIDES of the field.
Anyway, despite being a being a practice many, if not most, NFL teams have done through the years, the Patriots were the ones that got caught doing it from the sidelines. (They were ratted out by one-time Belichick protege Eric Mangini, coach of the New York Jets … a team that committed the same infraction at an earlier time.)
As previously mentioned, the Patriots were fined half a million dollars and lost a first round draft pick. Not small potatoes. What would they stand to lose if they were caught again?
I’m guessing the New England Patriots would probably be eliminated from the 2013 schedule altogether. They would probably play their games, but they would forfeit them all in terms of wins or losses.
But Bill is not known as a timid coach. He is not afraid to take risks. So let us consider the possibility that he was willing to take the biggest risk of his career. And here is how it went down:
Belichick notices the Texans are using some defensive schemes the Patriots had not seen before. They are beyond “exotic.” The Texans have never, ever used these schemes prior to Sunday’s game. In fact, no team in the NFL has ever employed these defensive tactics. They are brand new and super secret. For Houston Texan eyes only.
It comes down to losing this game … or taking the gamble on forfeiting the season.
Bill takes the gamble. A call on a burner phone is made. Within minutes, a black SUV with heavily tinted windows pulls up to the employees’ entrance of Reliant Stadium. A “trainer” emerges with a chiropractic TENS machine and brings it to the Patriots locker room. Unknown to anyone outside the Patriots organization, the electrotherapy machine is in truth an HD video projector. Inside the projector is a SD memory card containing every single hour and minute of the Texans’ practice sessions leading up to the game against the Patriots. But queued up at the head is 6 minutes of brand new, top secret defensive schemes that the Texans had prepared for this game and this game only.
Bill pulls a remote control from deep inside a hidden pocket in his “hoodie” and clicks “play.”
The Patriots watch and learn.
They come back out onto the field at Reliant, their brains buzzing with the new information. Tom Brady now knows every single defensive scheme and formation that the Texans can throw at him. He dissects their backfield like a medical examiner working a corpse. There is no hope for the Texans. All their special, secret tools and weapons are completely useless against the onslaught. Tom Brady marches his offensive unit up and down the field, scoring touchdown after touchdown until the score is even too high for Bill Belichick to stomach … and he puts the brakes on. Leaving the Texans quivering on the field like dead chickens. The Patriots win 63 - 17.
That’s what happened.