In elementary school we were all taught the consequences of cheating. Cheat on a test and you will fail. Cheat in a relationship and you will get dumped. Cheat in an NFL game and you will be fined $500,000 like Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick (along with the team’s fine of $250,000). A couple of fines and the loss of draft picks are just the beginning of the punishment that I believe the Patriots deserve after their recent game against the Jets.
Two weekends ago I was at Giants Stadium getting pumped up to watch the Jets beat the Patriots in their opening game. Maybe it was wishful thinking; I knew the Jets would get creamed. After four gut-wrenching quarters and an injury to Jets’ quarterback Chad Pennington (seriously Chad, we need to get you a bubble), I was almost ashamed to be wearing green and white. I was completely unaware of the camera being confiscated on the sidelines during the first quarter.
The Patriots’ video assistant had been videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals, and this may not have been the first time. That seems like a probable theory considering that the Green Bay Packers suspected the same cameraman of spying on them last season. The Jets and Patriots met three times last year so the Patriots could have an entire archive of our defensive signals by now. I have to admit, I felt a little relieved when I heard the news. It gave me a tiny glimpse of hope to know that my Jets weren’t so terrible after all. I heard NFL announcers saying what a shame it was to watch the Patriots get caught cheating on a game they would have won anyway. In defense, most Jets vs. Patriots games are so close that you barely have time to pee in between trash talk and touchdowns. If I had known the Patriots were going to rob us of a fair game, I wouldn’t have flown all the way up to New York.
Speaking as a die-hard Jets fan, I don’t think it would be too much to ask of the Patriots to publicly apologize to those of us who left Giants Stadium last week thinking our team lost. Because no matter what the scoreboard read, the Patriots were the ones who really lost that day. They lost their sense of morality, their pride and most of all, their reputation. For decades they’ve been known as one of the smartest teams in the NFL-a team that always seemed to know where their opponent would be. Now, thanks to the underdogs from New York, we found out that they really did know.
Casey Gueren is a freshman majoring in journalism. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and may be found supporting the Jets any given Sunday at the Rat.