Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Are The New York Jets Cheaters Now?

Surrounding the hype of the rematch between the New York Jets and the New England Patriots is another interesting controversial issue.

First, to recap :

After helping Bill Belichick and the Patriots win three Super Bowls as a defensive assistant, Eric Mangini left to become coach of the Jets. The relationship between the two has been frosty since.

Things got even chillier after a Patriots video assistant was caught taping from the sidelines during their game against the Jets in Week 1, a move some speculated fueled New England's drive to perfection. The NFL punished the Patriots by taking away their first-round draft pick, fined them $250,000 and fined Belichick another $500,000.

A league rule prohibits teams from using a video camera on the sidelines for any purpose. So, the Patriots were cheating, exposed by Mangini, and now hated by millions of Americans. (It is interesting to note that ever since the Patriots were caught cheating, Belichick decided to try to destroy every team he played. What would have happened if Mangini never exposed Belichick? Would Belichick had that same mentality? Perhaps exposing the Patriots was ultimately a negative act, but let's not get into the "what if" scenario).

Anyway, now, the interesting part:

The Jets were caught videotaping at Gillette Stadium last season and the Patriots had that New York employee removed from the area, according to published reports Wednesday. Jets coach Eric Mangini said his team received permission to film behind both end zones during the playoff game in January.

"We taped the game is what we taped, and we taped end-zone copy of the game, and we tape a double-end zone, which is standard operating procedure for us," Mangini said Wednesday. "We request that every single road game, and it's usually granted if physically it's possible. And when people request it from us, we do the same thing: We grant it."

Mangini maintained the Jets did nothing wrong and had filmed at New England during the regular season without incident. It was nothing like what the Patriots did earlier this season, when a New England employee was caught taping New York's defensive signals and punished by the league.

"We do it every time we go on the road," Mangini repeated. "We ask for permission to do it. It's within the league rules, and when people ask us to do it, we grant it, as well." Indeed, what the Jets did was not illegal. In the Jets' case, they were filming from the end zone. The Jets film from both end zones during practice, a common procedure used by NFL teams.

Like coach like assistant right? However, I find it funny how the Jets were exposed for recording teams, illegal or not, and can only manage a 3-10 record. If you're going to do something like that, at least have it payoff.

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