Way back is September, when Spygate first broke, I was the ringleader of sorts to a crack commando unit of Patriots conspiracy theorists, who believed we had proof that the Jets were doing the same “spying” on the Patriots in the same game.
We probably went a little overboard with the whole thing, but we were convinced that there was a cameraman in a Jets shirt on the grassy knoll of the Meadowlands shooting the Pats coaches. We had co-conspirators doing screen grabs of hi-def footage, creating websites and emailing every major news sources.
Maybe we were on to something, or maybe we were just in denial that our team had been caught red-handed, but the frenzy went on for about a week until the Pats throttled the Chargers in Week Two, and we all turned our attention to the first-ever undefeated regular season in NFL history.
But in that week, a collection of Pats fans across the country united to try and get the story out.
Below is an email I sent out to any football-covering website or writer whose email address I could find. Yes, it’s a bit comical to look back at, and I’m somewhat embarrassed by it now, but I felt it needed to be included here, at least for comedic effect. I’ve purposely deleted the pictures so no one will accuse me of trying to reignite the ire of Pats fans.
This is not going to go away. Maybe you've already gotten an email about this from some angry Pats fans. They've been getting word out to everyone they can, but the media seems content to only crucify the Patriots for "Tapegate". But there is absolutely something here that needs to be investigated further. We want to know who this guy is:
He appears throughout the game on the Jets sideline, often shooting video while the Patriots are on defense. He is not wearing a black vest that is mandatory by NFL rules for all videographers (even if he works for some Jets Insider show). In fact, it looks very much like he could be wearing the same shirt as Eric Mangini...
Notice our cameraman just to the right of the score standing amongst the Jets sideline. (Why he doesn't seem the least bit concerned that he just missed Randy Moss making a nice grab; seems odd if he were to be a member of the media...)
The picture below, taken just a second before, shows both Mangini and the Camera Man in what look to be very, very similar shirts. All we want to know is who this guy is. It looks very much like he's a Jets employee on the sidelines shooting video. This is illegal. This is what the Patriots were busted for. It doesn't matter what he was shooting. If he's a Jets employee with a video camera on the sidelines, he is in violation of the same rules. Something is not right here! Please someone stand up for us!
Okay, I know. Pretty bad. But I’m a passionate fan, and at the time I truly believed my team had been wronged.
Anyway, my point for bringing this back up, and at the risk of making myself look a little looney, is that of all the emails that were sent out only one person replied:
John Tomase of the Boston Herald.
His response was:
Hey Mike—I've been trying to get to the bottom of this. Contrary to what a lot of people think, I don't have it in for the Patriots. If we could prove that this guy was illegally filming for the Jets, that would be a huge story and there isn't a journalist alive who doesn't like those.
I'll keep digging. John
Looking back on this whole Spygate episode (which will hopefully end on Tuesday), it’s interesting that Tomase was digging from the very start, and not just for an anti-Patriots skew. Clearly this is a reporter who was so eagerly looking for scoops, that he was even willing to listen to a bunch of crazed Pats fans.
I never heard another word from Tomase, and we slowly let the whole “Jets were taping too!” thing go. The NFL punished the Pats, and most of us believed that Spygate, or “Tapegate” as we were calling it then, was over.
Then, on the day before the Super Bowl, Tomase dropped the walkthrough taping bomb, and has been public enemy No. 1A for Patriots Nation ever since. It’s gotten so bad that the “comments” section of his Point Afterblog had to be disabled.
Spygate has been at the center of the sporting universe for over eight months now, all because a former Pats video employee (and current Assistant Golf Pro, who I refuse to call by name since he’s only looking for his 15-minutes of fame) hinted he had more dirt on the team.
When the story first broke, it might’ve seemed to the A.G.P. that he had something “embarrassing” on the Pats and the NFL.
But as we learned this week, he didn’t.
The majority opinion in the media is that Spygate will finally come to an anti-climactic end on Tuesday, unless your name is Mike Fish of ESPN. Perhaps the A.G.P. could drop a bombshell when he talks with Goodell on Tuesday, but without proof to back it up, it will be hard for the Commish to hand down any further punishment.
Now all eyes turn to Tomase. The AGP’s lawyer denies that he was Tomase’s source. So if he wasn’t, who was?
Tomase has some questions to answer, and that could happen in a court of law should the Patriots decide to sue the Herald for defamation.
I don’t believe Tomase ever had an axe to grind against the Patriots. He was just going after the big story wherever it led him, and he lost sight of what responsible journalism is. That’s right, a blogger criticizing a member of the “real” media for irresponsibility—take that Buzz Bissinger!
Tomase and the Herald’s fate will be written sometime after the A.G.P. and the Commish sit down. Patriots Nation can continue to hate on him, and I will continue my boycott of his Point After blog until he comes clean (or is fired), but he is not a Patriots hater.
Running the walk-thru story the day before the Super Bowl was bad timing but I’m sure he felt if he didn’t run it, someone else would’ve. We know now that was probably incorrect, but at the time it must’ve looked like his chance to make a national media splash.
Patriots fans can hate him for bad timing, for irresponsible journalism, or for just looking so hate-able, but he wasn’t out to get the Pats from the start. And who knows, maybe he actually does have another source that can produce the Rams walkthrough tape…GULP…
Did I mention the Jets were spying too?
For more attempted insight take a Hit from my Blog.