What's Worse, Patriots' Spygate or Saints' Bountygate and Who's Gonna Pay More?

Aaron DodgeAnalyst IMarch 3, 2012

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 31: Will Smith #91 of the New Orleans Saints sacks Ben Roethlisberger #7of the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Louisiana Superdome on October 31, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images)
Matthew Sharpe/Getty Images

I find that this argument comes down to a set of basic priorities, and you would clearly have no value of player safety if news of what Gregg Williams and the New Orleans Saints defense engaged in doesn't bother you.

It's despicable to think that there are coaches currently employed by the league that actively instructed their players, and payed them, to permanently end another player's game. It's a competition of a physical nature, but intentional cheap shots and motivated injuries have never been a part of the true integrity of the game.

Arguing that "It's the way the game used to be" is a weak excuse; players like Patriots Darryl Stingley were permanently paralyzed under those rules.

There's just no excuse for the actions and behaviors involved with this scandal. 

In 2007, New England had their first-rounder taken away for blatantly filming signals for file footage. The rules stated very clearly on Page 105 of the 2007 NFL Game Operations Manual,

"No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game...All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead."

Belichick admitted to incorrectly interpreting this rule. He believed that he could still record the signals and gameplay if he didn't have any mechanism in which to use the tapes during the game, thus eliminating the advantage.

The team engaged in the operation so blatantly because the intent wasn't malicious. There was at no point any effort to hide what they were doing, and it took Eric Mangini who had intimate knowledge of the operation to blow it up. The Jets were later caught doing the exact same thing.


A Denver coach was caught in 2010 doing it.

Mangini is said to reportedly regret the Spygate outcome.

"How it could have been different, how different decisions and events could have taken place, I’m not sure how it would have played out differently. I just didn’t want it to play out the way it did.”

I'd argue the Sal Alosi sideline incident where the New York Jet's coach was caught on camera tripping a player is on par with this most-recent Saints incident.

The Patriots filming incident isn't a good thing, it was far from it. But it is also far from endangering the lives and careers of athletes for monetary reward purposes.

New England forfeited a first-round pick that season, and Bill Belichick and the team were fined heavily. New Orleans can expect a full investigation first, and while it's early on, the initial facts point to a grim future for the Saints. 

It's likely this embarrassment will cost them a future first-round selection and could cost them a selection this season (the Patriots have the Saints first-round draft pick this season). The fines to head coach Sean Payton, and now Rams' defensive coordinator Williams along with the team itself ought to be stiff as well.

Interested in reading more by this featured columnist? Check out more of Aaron Dodge's work on Bleacher Report.

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