I don't know what the heck just happened today. ESPN dug up the corpse of SpyGate to head into the NFL's opening week, and Sports Illustrated followed with a terrible article of their own. At least ESPN's feigned professionalism. Sports Illustrated offered a tabloid hit piece.
I'm not even going to offer this article the same response I gave ESPN. I'm just going to highlight the absurd claims in the article because it's so stupid.
1. "One longtime head coach said he ran fake plays in his Saturday walkthroughs at Gillette Stadium because he thought the Patriots might be spying on his team. Another team has taken things further: It fled Gillette and found a different place to practice, and on game day it piled trunks of equipment against the double doors in the back of the visitors' locker room so nobody could get in."
2. "Teams wonder why ball boys in Foxborough seem to stand closer to opposing coaches than they do anywhere else."
3. "At least five teams have swept their hotels, locker rooms or coaches' booths in New England for listening devices, sometimes hiring outside professionals. None have been found."
4. "Another AFC team has brought its own sports drinks because the ones the Patriots supply are often late, warm or both."
5. "A representative of a third team says the Pats provided headset gear that looked 'like it had been run over by a lawn mower. Frayed wires, the speaker is all chopped up. . . .' [Patriots PR head Stacey James] says that it is league policy for all headset batteries to be changed 30 minutes before a game, and that the team has 'always complied with that.' He adds, 'We've never been cited by the league for doing anything wrong as it pertains to communication device violations.'"
6. "...sometimes, at Saturday-night meetings, Belichick tells his staff which players on the opposing team were not on the flight to New England, a source with knowledge of the meetings tells SI. It's not clear how Belichick knows. But he does."
The article reaches out to a group of league executives, owners, coaches, players, and more that likely mirror a less-impressive pool than the ESPN report. It highlights Ernie Adams and Senator Arlen Specter. It raises questions about the Patriots and the Rams walkthrough.
They also delve into the magically fumble rate argument that popped up after DeflateGate, where the Patriots somehow fumble at an impossibly low rate. This has been debunked thoroughly.
But no one should let facts get in the way of a good paranoia piece.