Spagnuolo—who served as the linebackers coach during the 2004 season when the Eagles lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX—appeared on 97.5 The Fanatic on Monday and said as much, suggesting late Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson was correct in his assessment, via Rob Tornoe of Philly.com.
In reference to the Patriots' "SpyGate" scandal, Spagnuolo said the following:
"The biggest thing we learned was make sure you have two signal-callers, not one signal-caller, because they may have all your signals.
"I remember through the course of the game Jim [Johnson] saying, 'They're getting our signals. They know when we're blitzing … try to hide it.' I remember distinctly thinking, 'I don't think so Jim, just concentrate on calling the game.' In hindsight, he was right. When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us. … We believe that Tom [Brady] knew when we were pressuring him because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick."
Tornoe recalled details of the SpyGate investigation, noting a camera was confiscated from a Patriots video assistant during a 2007 game against the New York Jets. The league ultimately fined New England head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and took away a 2008 first-round pick from the franchise following the investigation.
According to Tornoe, some Eagles players saw the SpyGate scandal in the years after the Super Bowl loss as an explanation for how New England attacked their rarely used dime formation for touchdowns on three of four drives.
As for Spagnuolo, he went on to become the New York Giants defensive coordinator for two years, the head coach of the St. Louis Rams for three, the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints for one and returned as defensive coordinator for the Giants the last three seasons. He helped the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in his first tenure with the franchise.
This year's iteration of the Patriots will look to win its third Super Bowl in four years Sunday in Minneapolis. Only the Eagles—who have never won a Lombardi Trophy in team history—stand in their way.
New England won the previous Super Bowl between the two teams, 24-21, behind the combined efforts of Brady and Belichick, although to hear Spagnuolo tell it, it had some additional help outside of arguably the best coach-quarterback duo in league history.