It was early in the New England Patriots’ 2007 season when coach Bill Belichick and the Pats were disciplined for videotaping an opposing team’s defensive signals. The ensuing controversy, which came to be known as “Spygate,” cast a dark shadow over the organization’s reputation…but certainly not over its effectiveness. The Pats went on to finish the season undefeated and nearly won the Super Bowl. Their record in the years following “Spygate” has been even more impressive than the period in which they were believed to be taping other teams’ signals.
In recent days the media has been hyper-focused on “Deflate-gate,” an arguably silly controversy that has offered multiple solutions as to why 11 of the 12 footballs used by the Pats in the first half of their AFC Championship win against the Indianapolis Colts were underinflated, possibly giving them an advantage. However, not unlike “Spygate,” such speculation still cannot diminish the fact that the Pats outscored the Colts 28-0 in the second half with regulation-ready footballs.
No one disputes the tenacity of the New England Patriots. Statistically, they are the most competitive, able and effective team in the NFL. They may very well go on to win the Super Bowl this coming weekend against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks. Even if they do not win, they can always come back and win next year. But after “Spygate,” and now “Deflate-gate,” they may discover that coming back to win in football is much easier than trying to win back your integrity.