Now that some of the dust has settled, I'd like to weigh in my opinion on this huge NFL scandal. Although the fines have been handed out and the Pats' success this season has proven that talented teams win (nothing new here), I believe this scandal has only reached the tip of a giant iceberg. Believe me when I say the NFL is literally reeling from this entire fiasco.
But that's a story for another day.. the jury is still out on that stuff.. about how the NFL "destroyed" all records of cheating material before even allowing us to hear about it. You can read all the conspiracy theories on the internet. To me there is only one thing that matters, because I love this game and I believe in this game. The question that most people have today is whether or not this cheating could have affected the New England's tremendous success over the past 4-5 years.
I have read all the theories about whether or not illegally taping opposing team signals can or cannot give a significant advantage to the perpetrating team. There appears to be a consensus, that, since you only play teams at most once or twice per year, taping their signals shouldn't help you all that much. And teams probably change their signals from game to game, you'd have to be stupid not to. You're standing across the field in plain sight of the other guys. Most teams have designated staff to keep an eye on their opponents' signals.
The fact is though, New England Patriots -- or "America's Team" did cheat. That much we do know. NFL rules forbid filming the opponents' sideline or recording opponents' signal calling. The question that I have for those who believe that Belichick's cheating brought them no decided advantage is this.
Why would you blatantly break the rules -- why go out of your way and risk suspensions, shame and fines, unless it gave you some kind of advantage? It's like a terrorist standing before a judge and saying "I wasn't actually planning to do anything on the plane.. I just wanted to see if I could pull it off...". Uh-huh. Let's think about this for a moment. Bill Belichick is no idiot. He knows about the above facts/arguments that I have pointed out. And he knows just as well the risks and consequences of cheating. So why then, if it brings the team no significant advantage, would you bother? Why throw away all the honor and respect you've gained over 5 seasons of *great* success if it doesn't even help you?
Why would a team with so much success over the past 5 seasons, a team that won 3 Superbowl Championships in 5 years, with stifling defense and a QB that some consider to be one of the best of all time -- why take such a huge risk of casting doubt over all the achievements and accolades this team has accomplished -- unless it didn't give you a considerable edge over your opponents?
My answer to this question is that if Bill Belichick believed that it'd be worth the risk, then you better believe it gave them a substantial, if not *MONUMENTAL* advantage.