Domestic Spying

I’ve got more questions about the Patriots spy scandal than I do answers.

  • Will the Pats do measurably worse now that the league is going to be watching for them videotaping their opponents defensive calls?
  • Are the great halftime coaches really just users of illegal spy techniques, as is the logical progression of Brian Dawkins’ thoughts? Or is it just the Pats?
  • Unlike some commentators, I consider $750,000 in fines and a first round draft pick a light penalty. With Belichick’s ability to pick talent, losing the draft pick is much less to pay than losing his coaching for, say, the first quarter of the season. Is the light penalty just an attempt to scare everyone else spying as well to cut it out? Because it sure seems designed to bracket further inquiry, rather than make the Pats pay.
  • What’s up with Eric Magini’s silence on the issue? Magini’s not the only former Pats Defensive Coordinator who has to compete against Belichick now–though he is the one with the crappiest relationship, as far as I know. But Mangini’s silence sure suggests Mangini learned of the spying practice when he was in New England.

So those are my questions. As to great commentary about the spy scandal, for once Governor Richardson is right on the money:

Democratic Presidential candidate Governor Bill Richardson,campaigning today in Iowa, issued the following statement regarding therecent "spying" incident involving the National Football League’s NewEngland Patriots:

"The President has been allowed to spy onAmericans without a warrant, and our U.S. Senate is letting itcontinue. You know something is wrong when the New England Patriotsface stiffer penalties for spying on innocent Americans than DickCheney and George Bush."

Other than that, I’m just wondering if, for the second weekend in a row, Michigan will be treated to the spectacle of the Lions outperforming the Wolverines…

80 replies
  1. radiofreewill says:

    If only the ’league’ would fine Bush, too – say Cheney and a first round AG pick!

    I think the Irish are even bigger and slower than Michigan, but it’ll probably be close.

  2. SaltinWound says:

    The Patriot coach’s apology seemed a lot like McConnell’s to me–it’s this new kind of angry non-apology admission of wrongdoing without taking responsibility. My nine year old daughter tries it sometimes too.

  3. zAmboni says:

    I thought the spying incident was quite overblown. I agree that the Pats should get fined and draft picks taken away mainly because they were stupid and had got caught before. (Unless the rules have changed) I thought that teams basically had cameras in the stands and elsewhere that took pictures of the opponent’s pre-snap positioning, they would sometimes take them down to the field and also use them at halftime. I also thought that teams had dedicated people on the sidelines to watch signals.

    I just don’t see how they can get better information from a guy with a hand held camera than from other football espionage techniques they have perfected in the past.

    I predict a UM win…basically because I think that ND sucks worse than the maize and blue. Scary thing is that even after how horrible UM looked in the past two games they still could sweep through their big 10 games and land in the Rose Bowl.

  4. emptywheel says:


    Agree, I guess about UM. But how intolerable will PAC10 resident bmaz be if UM really does make a shot at the Big 10?

    As to the â€getting caught†business–that seems to be the unspoken assumption. Perhaps the Pats are more systemic about these things (as they are about most things), but that most everyone is spying in some way, though they may not pull out their camcorder to do so. So this is an attempt to look harsh, but not to push too hard so that people realized everyone is spying.

    Then again, you coudl say the same is true with domestic wiretapping. It’s happening with NSA, sure. But AT&Ts also spying on you, and if people realized the extent to which their privacy was the wholly owned subsidiary of their telephone company, they might not like it.

  5. joejoejoe says:

    I’ll root for the Genocide State Atrociteers before I root for Notre Dame. Go Atrociteers Maize and Blue!

    As for the Pats cheating scandal if you videotaped signals from the stands it would be almost impossible to get caught. The Pats are being punished justly for breaking a rule but I don’t see any cause for moral outrage. Every team steals signals. The Patriots were just brazen about it. As in politics, the big crime often goes undetected (for a time) because of the the brazen nature of it leaves everyone in shock. Other NFL teams have accused the Pats of this for years but it’s taken years for the NFL to do anything about it. Meanwhile, the Pats keep going to the playoffs and winning Super Bowls.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Considering that I’ve viewed the Patriots as the â€GOP of the NFL,†ever since they came from obscurity to win the Super Bowl in the same year as we got stuck with the â€Patriot Act,†I guess I’m not surprised about this scandal!

    Since the Patriots are a huge favorite to go to the Super Bowl again this year, it will be interesting to see if â€the market†thinks they have used secret surveillance to get a competitive advantage all these years. I’ll be watching to see if the odds change, based on â€in the know†betters!

    Also, as a proud Democrat and a Raider fan, my life would be complete if it could be proven that some of the secret Karl Rove e-mails involved arranging a particular interpretation of â€the Tuck Rule!â€

    Any chance you could get on that, emptywheel?

  7. hayduke says:

    Well, you neglect to mention a Spartan team at 2-0. Now sequeway back a couple weeks ago when you wrote of the coming pro season…. I stood up as a Lions fan. Stupid and baseless in reality, true, but none the less a fan.

    In that spirit: Go Lions, beat Minnesota…

    There I said it. Not too convincing I do admit.

    As for the corn with the blues. Gadzooks they jumped all over Lloyd pretty hard considering his long term record. Well this week I am rooting for a tie between two of my least favorite programs of college ball….

    Keep up the brilliant work on the political front. Of note today in the NYTIMES was Krugman’s excellent piece, and one lil paragraph about Greenspan being totally out of touch re interest rates and nasty nasty mortgages. To think this guy was in charge for what (?) twenty years and he made that admission. And the Times relegates it to a article ending piece in the middle of business section. Damn poor reporting, or reporters who don’t know a damn….

    what do you think?

  8. emptywheel says:

    And may your Lions do well. I figure if the Lions start to succeed maybe it’ll rub off on the auto industry.

  9. drational says:

    Belichick insists that the new surveillance protocols approved by the elected board of the Patriot’s Franchise had nothing to do with their prior 3 Superbowl victories. Those were achieved by old-fashioned, boots-on-the ground intelligence. Meanwhile, Patriot’s waterboy, Jack Goldsmith, has just gone on record noting his longstanding objection to the program. When queried why he did not make his objections known earlier, he replied, â€Just read the bookâ€.

  10. Neil says:

    I thought the penalty was stiff. $0.5 million is to be paid by Belichik and Belichik alone. It is sometimes the case the team is allowed to pay the fine. Not here. The team must pay $.25 million. If Bill makes as much as $5 million annualy that’s still a significant chunk of his income. Allow me to remind you, he has alimony payments.

    The first round draft choice is the biggest hit because it will affect the quality of play on the field. How many years of losing basketball did the Celtics suffer for lack of Len Bias and/or Tim Duncan?

    Why didn’t Belichick get Addington, Yoo and Goldsmith to write a legal opinion get out of jail free card about taping on the sidelines for use in the next game (as opposed to the current one) ?

    Not that I condone the Patriots rule-breaking but if illegally studying your opponents defensive play calls gave you a clear advantage, the Patriots would have been undeafeted in many seasons and have two more Super Bowl rings.

    I did not know about the indident at the Packes game. That should have put Belichik on notice.

  11. Jodi says:

    I think the same thing happened once before when they had radios in the Quarterbacks helmets. I read that somewhere. They stopped doing it because it became a high tech war on protecting the signals, and deciphering the signals. When I get a chance I will ask.

    That is a shame because that would look to be to be a nice profit center with the money at stake.

    : )

  12. Jodi says:

    Let me come back on that.

    We can beat you on the field, and we can beat you on the RF spectrum!
    Thought not necessarily in that order.

    Nice slogan.

  13. Neil says:

    they do have radios in NFL Quarterbacks’ helmets. they will soon have radios in the defensive play callers’ helmets.

  14. emptywheel says:


    He had fancy NFL-issue slob’s clothes on on Sunday. I think the NFL invented the line just for Belichick, thinking they could tap into the blogger fashion market.

  15. Neil says:

    Go Michigan beat the Fighting Irish – yea they’re cute but they’re belligerent. Amherst scrimmages Williams in their last pre-season tune-up. (Who thought it was a good idea to have a pre-season scrimmage against the archrival? Crazy)

    What’s the line on the Pats/Chargers game?

  16. William Ockham says:

    Belichick can thank Charles Barkley for the IRS ruling that fines like that are deductible business expenses.

  17. looseheadprop says:

    You had me going there for a minute.
    From the title I thought this had something to do with the Patriot Act and domestice spying.

    Football, oh yeah

  18. emptywheel says:


    Don’t miss the Richardson bit in the middle. I think it was a good use of a teaching opportunity.


    Yeah, I saw that (which is odd, because I’ve lost track of Amherst sports, unless a blog commenter reminds me). Weird.

  19. scribe says:

    Back to the German case – Time magazine has finally put up, what I was reading and getting over a week ago, from German media.…..ansuspects

    Ironic, no, that Schaeuble and Chertoff have this deep personal relationship. Schaeuble was the minister catching all sorts of flak from all quarters over the â€chaos†and â€unprofessionalism†in his ministry. Chertoff runs DHS. Birds of a feather….

    Stupid though, that they talk about the Nazi past, but make no mention of the Stasi past. Every week or so, there’s another story in the news over there about some government functionary or another losing their job because their secret Stasi-informer past has come out. It seems (I haven’t read too deeply on this) there’s a de-Stasification law over there, which limits (sort of a glass ceiling, maybe) how far a former Stasi employee or informer can go in the government employment. IF anything, the Stasi were worse than the Nazis when it comes to informing on the co-workers, friends and neighbors. No small irony that Merkel grew up in the old DDR, under the Stasi.

    Oh, and the Pats got off lightly.

  20. John B. says:

    hand signals by guys on the sidelines at a public event with 60,000+ spectators and another 3 million watching the game on tv and they say a guy is stealing the signs???It’s hard to get outrages over that…
    so which coach needs this win more? Carr or Weis? If Carr loses three in a row at home I think he’s toast…he already loos a little crunchy around the edges…

  21. emptywheel says:

    I already thought Carr was on his way out, and I quite like him (I only ever taught one football student, who was a decent but unexceptional student, but I’ve had friends teach some of the superstars and they were very good students. I’ll take some losses if we can keep a coach who recruits students who can do well in school and on the field.

  22. phred says:

    Neil, if Belichick has alimony payments, does that mean he cheated on his wife too? (snark

    By the way, your comment was the first I heard that he pulled this on my Packers… Let me at ’im, I’ll tear ’im apart, tear ’im apart… (Cowardly Lion — get it? Lions, and Vikings, and Packers, oh my..)

    And not that I follow college ball, but GO BADGERS. There, that oughta put bmaz in a good mood.

  23. MarkH says:

    Gonzales goes, the Pats get a slap on the wrist. Oh woe to Patriotism. Where is the blind patriotism of the past before Al Gore invented the Internet which obviously lets emptywheel â€spy†on the government.

    Something is wrong when there’s more justice in football than in government.

    1st and goal!

  24. oldtree says:

    We wouldn’t believe that corporate gladitorial combat was going to be punishing someone would we? They have to remove the dog killer, but they aren’t going to penalize anyone making them money on a grandiose scale. They can always get a new quarterback. You have to sweep large scale dirty tricks under the rug. Kinda like baseball, â€bring the kids and bring your drugs†night. We know none of those football giants have been doing roid’s. It’s â€weight trainingâ€
    ever wonder who’s values we have aspired to in an â€american†sort of way? I don’t see any that remain from they days I was taught to respect the rule of law

  25. Tortoise says:

    For some context re other sports penalties: Yesterday, the McLaren Formula 1 motor racing team was fined $100 million dollars and stripped of all team points for the year (for the manufacturers competition, not the drivers) for receiving confidential technical information from a Ferrari employee.

  26. Ishmael says:

    Belichick had to be disciplined by the league, because there was no way for the other team to make him pay for such bad sportsmanship – which I think this is, I don’t think the signal stealing affected the game, it was an in-your-face to the other team. In baseball, if the other team thinks the second baseman or shortstop is trying to steal signals on the pitcher and the catcher, said second baseman or shortstop will get some chin music the next time he comes up to the plate. Even though the signals are coded and made in full view of the world, it’s considered unsporting to try and steal them. Belichick, on the other hand, didn’t risk being tackled or taught a lesson in the pile after the whistle because he is safe on the sidelines. Kind of like another Chief Executive who feels immune for his arrogant actions.

  27. Ishmael says:

    Oh, and for all you Michiganders out there –

    â€Rally sons of Notre Dame:
    Sing her glory and sound her fame,
    Raise her Gold and Blue
    And cheer with voices true:
    Rah, rah, for Notre Dame
    We will fight in evry game,
    Strong of heart and true to her name
    We will ne’er forget her
    And will cheer her ever
    Loyal to Notre Dame

    Cheer, cheer for old Notre Dame,
    Wake up the echoes cheering her name,
    Send a volley cheer on high,
    Shake down the thunder from the sky.
    What though the odds be great or small
    Old Notre Dame will win over all,
    While her loyal sons are marching
    Onward to victory.â€

  28. randiego says:

    let’s see, I’m pretty sure the Chargers have won the last three regular season games against the Pats, only to give away the big one earlier this year. major choke job.

    Let’s hope that regular season record continues this week. No Rodney Harrison back there, and LT is ready to go. No predictions here, my boys are going to have to prove to me that they can win a big game.

    Regarding the tuck rule, I have only one thing to say to crybaby Raider fans.

    Holy Roller.

  29. Sparkles the Iguana says:


    AP article: â€Snacks Take Big Bite Out of DOJ Budgetâ€

    (I’m sure it’s ok….I’m sure that’s money the U.S. Attorneys offices and all the corruption investigations don’t need, at all….I’m sure all the USAs are fully behind the idea of a $4 meatball)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Tortoise – You are in my wheelhouse with F1. Agreed that was one whale of a fine. Not that the top teams in F1 can’t handle it. and losing the Constructors points is a big deal in F1; yet it doesn’t quite jive that Alonso and Hamilton lose no points if the violations were heinous enough for the team to be docked. I thought that both McLaren drivers, Alonso and Hamilton, should have been reduced to the same number of points as the top Ferrari driver Raikkonen. I would bet that would be the result if Schumacher were still there.

    Randiego – Good one on the Holy Roller.

    Phred – I am going to have to report you to your in-laws; but really, the Badgers rarely cross our radar screen out here. He heh. Go Pack!

  31. Jim Lynch says:

    Cowboy QB coach Wade Wilson was suspended for 5 games (and essentially 1/3 his salary) for purchasing banned drugs that he and he alone ingested a few years ago. He believes either Belichek got off easy, or he punishment was unfairly stringent. I tend to agree with him.

  32. Jim Lynch says:

    Cowboy QB coach Wade Wilson was suspended for 5 games (and essentially 1/3 his salary) for purchasing banned drugs that he and he alone ingested a few years ago. He believes either Belichek got off easy, or he punishment was unfairly stringent. I tend to agree with him.

  33. Jim Lynch says:

    Cowboy QB coach Wade Wilson was suspended for 5 games (and essentially 1/3 his salary) for purchasing banned drugs that he and he alone ingested a few years ago. He believes either Belichek got off easy, or he punishment was unfairly stringent. I tend to agree with him.

  34. Neil says:

    Neil, if Belichick has alimony payments, does that mean he cheated on his wife too?
    Posted by: phred | September 14, 2007 at 16:58

    Well, ummm… yeah. That’s what I heard. (no snark)

    About the taping of the Packers:

    USA TODAY By Tom Pedulla

    Teams were reminded before the start of the season that all use of sideline video equipment is strictly prohibited. Other teams have said the Patriots’ actions raised suspicions in the past. Green Bay Packers president Bob Harlan, for instance, has said that a Patriots employee was ordered to stop filming during a game at Lambeau Field last Nov. 19 in which New England blanked the Packers 35-0.

  35. emptywheel says:


    Well, Belichick lost Harrison to the same drugs, so…

    Anyway, I do agree, it seems like it’s a light punishment.

  36. phred says:

    Neil — thanks for the additional info, man now I’ve gotten even more reason to hate the Pats… I happen to live in Patriots’ territory (and cannot find words to express how glad I was the Pack beat them in the Super Bowl). As you might imagine, the endless crowing about greatest-football-team-ever wears a bit thin on a person from Titletown’s neck of the woods. But now to find that Belichick cheats both on his wife and on the field… what a scumbag.

    bmaz — that’s the beauty of the Badgers, they tunnel under ground, keeps ’em off radar screens… ’course in their dark comfy burrows they often take a nap Go Pack!

  37. scarecrow says:

    A few observations from a baseball fan of 55 years:

    So, Jackie Robinson is on second based and he’s looking in at the catcher to see if he can steal the signs on the next pitch. Penalty?

    Vin Scully was know for decades to be adept at reading lips, which helped explain when he could tell his radio listeners what the pitcher and catcher were saying to the pitching coach during those visits to the mound. Penalty?

    Every time the catcher goes out to discuss possible pitches with his pitcher, the pitcher holds his glove up over his face to prevent opposing teams and their announcers from reading their lips. Penalty?

    What is this about?

  38. Anonymous says:

    Scarecrow – Sorry about that, couldn’t pass it up. I have been intentionally playing bad cop all day with our new found journalist friend on the â€It’s All Zapruder’s Fault†thread two down from here. I thought the HackWhoWrote Rosen was establishing to much of a happy happy front while avoiding the serious ills with the White House Press Corps that have really done a disservice to the public during the Bush Administration. As to the Patriots deal, I don’t think it was all that earth shattering; but the league has come down very hard on players recently and if they sluffed off on management, it would have caused real problems with the NFLPA. If you really look at it, the penalties won’t hurt the Pats very much. They still have a first round choice from some team not likely to do well; all they lose is theirs which will undoubtedly be at the end of the first round.

  39. phred says:

    bmaz, don’t want to intrude on your sorting out the intracies of football and baseball with scarecrow (please, carry on…), but I wanted to congratulate you on your bad cop. I backed off a bit to give our hack a chance to defend (or in the hack’s parlance, explain) themselves (especially since I was the one that called him/her a hack in the first place), but when all was said and done it seemed like a pretty wasted effort. I’m not sure our hack really grasps the disservice of all these damn photo ops. And I do find the whole concept of the body watch appalling. Now, back to sports…

  40. radiofreewill says:

    In NASCAR, with its bootlegging roots, it’s â€You’re not trying, if you’re not cheating.†It’s honorable, until you get caught, and then you pay a â€not clever enough†penalty and get back in the game…just like being a NEOCON.

    Football, otoh, has no such history of celebrating cheating – it’s roots are centuries deep in brutal, but fair, play. It’s honorable to not cheat. Belichek was fined for playing football like a NASCAR Neocon.

    Which, in football, means a cheat without the glow.

  41. William Ockham says:

    I’m still a bit confused about this. Why did they need a video camera to steal signs? Surely two guys, one pair of binoculars, a pen, and a clipboard would be enough to do this. What am I missing?

  42. Anonymous says:

    As a UO Duck, I need Michigan to win all of its games for us to have a good finish in the BCS ratings. If Michigan can’t even beat the Irish, who cares about how great Dixon looked last week?

  43. Neil says:

    WO,To conceal defensive play calling, teams usually have up to three people each signaling the defensive set, coverage, line stunts and blitzes. To break the code, you have to watch the defense on the game film and connect it back to the play callers.

    Belichik’s â€defense†was that the rule – narrowly read – prohibited taping of defensive signal calling for the game in progress. He claimed that he was taping defensive signal calling for the next game against the Jets. Roger Goodal was not impressed.

    To all, if $750K and a first round draft pick is a light fine for the transgression, what would you consider proportional?

    PS. Tiki Barber agrees with me. He thinks it was a â€harsh†fine. Barber quoted Belichick’s salary at $3-4 million.

  44. Anonymous says:

    WO – I don’t think you are missing anything; and that is the fascinating part of the whole story. I think it was just kind of Nixonian paranoid overkill.

  45. Jodi says:


    do they still have the radios? Why then the need for other signals?

    I don’t pay a lot of attention to football.

  46. Jodi says:

    Ok, the Quarterbacks have radios, but I’m not sure who else. The defense may get radios next year.

    They were accused of jamming the helmet communications of another team too.

    So what do the hand signals do? Is this a guy thing?

  47. Felonious says:

    Interesting on the subject of Mangini and the busting of the Patriots video operation. I was shown a still taken from a dvr of the game between the Jets and the Patriots in which the CBS picture captured someone on the Jets sideline with a Jets shirt on videotaping across the field in the area where the Patriots coaches would be giving their defense signals. In fact, the rule-breaking such as it was was trivial because the rule was arbitrary and Belichick has been taping games for forty years. He has extensive video archives and he uses them much better than the NSA ever could. This is just another attempt by the league strong-arms to level the field. Who cares about Michigan, go Big Red.

  48. radiofreewill says:

    Half a million stitches on that scarlet ’C’ to go with those Super Bowl rings…

    Winning isn’t everything. We also get graded on how we play the game.

    Goopers take heed!

  49. Patrick says:

    I am impressed with the press/politico’s on EW’s blog for dexterity and insightful ’takes’ on a sports subject. Stealing signs is no different than a coach betting on his own games because it busts the basic integrity and trust in the game. That is why the NFL will hammer down on this. They could care less about Belichick or the Pats or if signs do or don’t get stolen during games. What lights up the direct connection to the cortex of the NFL brain is public perception and trust. The NFL has to use both punishment and technology to stuff this malicious genie back in its bottle because I’m a fool to watch or wager a game down to a half point if I think the coach is betting the game or if I think signals are being stolen by one team and not the other.

  50. scarecrow says:

    I am inspired by the notion that, as a matter of manly honor, there’s no â€cheating†in football. Guys don’t pretend to get clipped, no one ever throws an elbow when the refs are looking away, nothing happens in those pile-ons, and those late hits were just natural manly exuberance. And since it’s such an honorable game, and everyone plays by the rules, we really don’t need seven referees/judges/linesmen et watch every single play. They’re just for show.

  51. katie Jensen says:

    Well, guys, I think it’s time for this big picture gal to bring it all home.

    Hence, we need checks and balances in gov’t.

    We need a constitution and rules to follow,

    We need folks to enforce those rules and to uphold that constitution.

    And when we fail to do these fundamental things…the game just isn’t as meaningful, competitive, fair or fun. It may still be very lucrative to some, but it loses â€it’s essence.†America has lost â€it’s essence.â€

    Happy football weekend from a minor leaguer, â€beginnerâ€â€¦husker fan.

  52. Anonymous says:

    I think a proportional fine is demonstrated by the reference to the F1 racing fine for McLaren. McLaren was caught with the Ferarri tech data for one of the Ferrari cars. The prize for winning the points cup in F1 is about $75 million this year. F1 organizers fined McLaren $100 million for the infraction.

    So, Forbes says that the Pats had revenues of $250 million in 2005. I think that if the league were serious, they would fine the pats a much larger percentage of their revenues. As other posters have noted, who cares about a single draft pick? Now, a $50 million fine to punish a method of cheating entrenched in the institution- that would make other teams take notice.

  53. Anonymous says:

    tekel – There are such fundamental differences between F1 and the NFL that the comparison is not really a good one beyond the sheer â€whoa†factor. Initially, it is hard for most in the US to realize, but F! is far bigger than the NFL. Secondly, the way income is derived and spread out is far different in F!. The NFL controls everything down to marketing rights revenues; in F!, the teams themselves are much more responsible for their own success or failure. To a smaller F! team, say for instance spyker, Toro Rosa or Super Aguri, the 100 million fine could be a very serious, almost grave penalty. To Mercedes McLaren or Ferrari, not so much; will be no harder on them than the Pats penalty is. Furthermore, the 100 million fine will not be a cash out of pocket deal (although, again, McLaren could handle it); instead it will be mostly a loss of income matter that will spread the pain out a bit. Lastly, the most important thing in F! is the team winning the driver’s championship. As it currently stands, the top two drivers are Lewis Hamilton with 92 points and Fernando Alonso with 89 points; both are McLaren drivers. The third and fourth spots in the current standings are Kimi Raikkonen with 74 points and Fellipe Massa with 69 points; both Ferrari drivers. McLaren was stripped of all of it’s constructors points which means it will not collect the 75 -100 million prize for that; that is the â€fineâ€. However, either Hamilton or Alonso will undoubtedly win the driver’s championship; since both drive for Mercedes McLaren, the whole world will know the manufacturer that won. The bottom line is that if F1 wanted to really hammer McLaren, they would have docked the driver’s points as well, or at a minimum, removed points to put them on an even plane for the rest of the season with the Ferrari boys; i.e. cut both Hamilton and Alonso back to the same point total so far as Raikkonen (74 points). This actually would have been justified as Fernando Alonso is, himself, implicated in the purloined technical specs behind the scandal.

  54. radiofreewill says:

    CNN is saying Mukasey is a favorite for AG, not the favorite.

    Petraeus talking about his personal presidential ambitions, and active-duty Gen. Pace writing a ’character reference’ letter for convicted felon Libby, make them both suspect of political partiality in their professional judgment.

    I don’t have confidence that the military can speak truth to power if that truth is different than Bush’s opinion.

  55. Anonymous says:

    radiofreewill – If what LHP has reported about Mukasey is true, and I have found her take on the east coast personalities pretty darn accurate so far, I find it unlikely he will be the choice. I’ll further add that, if he is as bright as LHP indicates, I don’t know why he would want the job nor give up his position on the bench to do so. Petraeus has been a political operative for Bush since just prior to the 2004 general election when he penned an op-ed vouching for the Administrations policies and successes in Iraq. It, of course, was egregiously deceptive.

  56. Wangsternator says:

    I’ve read & watched some of the coverage from Boston online about this. They mentioned two things I didn’t read or hear elsewhere: 1) allegedly there are about 10 other teams which have been doing exactly the same thing for some time 2) this was some sort of calculated payback on Mangini’s part. Given the bad blood between him & his former boss, I guess it’s possible, but that must be some bad blood.

    Also there’s alot of piling on occuring now. Several teams have mentioned the mysterious failure of their radio communications with the quarterback at suspicious points in games, hinting that the Pats have some sort of jamming technology at Gillette Stadium. Whatever, I’m sure Costas & Olbermann will have a good ole snarkfest on tomorrow night’s telecast.

  57. masaccio says:

    Well, the opera of the day is Madama Butterfly, which is much better than listening to the play-by-play of the Notre Dame game.

  58. Wangsternator says:

    I’ve read & watched some of the coverage from Boston online about this. They mentioned two things I didn’t read or hear elsewhere: 1) allegedly there are about 10 other teams which have been doing exactly the same thing for some time 2) this was some sort of calculated payback on Mangini’s part. Given the bad blood between him & his former boss, I guess it’s possible, but that must be some bad blood.

    Also there’s alot of piling on occuring now. Several teams have mentioned the mysterious failure of their radio communications with the quarterback at suspicious points in games, hinting that the Pats have some sort of jamming technology at Gillette Stadium. Whatever, I’m sure Costas & Olbermann will have a good ole snarkfest on tomorrow night’s telecast.

  59. zAmboni says:

    Whelp, I guess Michigan did find a team more horrible than they are. I just watched Michigan’s four down linemen meet at the QB while the ND offensive line was spinning around looking for someone to block.

    It is early in the second quarter, plenty of time for the UM defense to blow the game.

  60. emptywheel says:


    That was my assumption, which is why I asked the question about Mangini–that this is common practice, and the Mangini only exposed the Pats to do some damage to them. I wonder if he waited to see if he’d get shellacked or not first.

    If I had to guess 10 teams that are doing this (using my assumption about â€great half time coachesâ€) I’d say:

    Shanahan-Broncos (because Shanahan never met a dirty trick he didn’t love)

    Magini-Jets (because the acorn doesn’t fall far from the crooked oak)

    Dungy-Colts (and I say this ONLY bc Colts tied their first halves last year, and only won in the second half)



    Jeff Fisher-Titans (just because he’s kind of playful that way)

    Gruden-Bucs (Gruden’s kind of a bad boy anyway.)

    Del Rio-Jags (Don’t know why–maybe it’s the sexy pants)

    Okay, I couldn’t think of 10. other suggestions?

  61. emptywheel says:


    Ack, you’re right. But then maybe the Lions will surprise and STILL outperform the Wolverines.

  62. masaccio says:

    Rats, the opera’s over (Cio-Cio San killed herself again, I keep hoping she’ll kill that jerk Pinkerton just once), but the poor Irish still have to get through another half.

  63. zAmboni says:


    The Lions looked good last week. Yea I know it was against the Raiders, but when Oakland came back, the Lions marched back and scored right back on them…previous years’ teams would have just folded at that point. I haven’t been following sports that much lately so I am still having a wait and see attitude with what the Lions can do.

  64. emptywheel says:

    Yeah, thought of both of them. On Crennel, I just figured if he was cheating, wouldn’t he be having better results?

    On Billick…I hate Billick, really I do. But it just didn’t seem like his game.

    And given all the NASCAR discussions, what about Gibbs?

  65. Anonymous says:

    EW – Hail to the victors!

    massacio – Ouch. Ty Willingham never looked this bad, and they ran him off. Sure don’t hear the same calls for Weis’s head. And I ask this honestly, is there evidence that Weis is not a good recruiter (other than the obvious)?

  66. masaccio says:

    I have to say this is the worst offensive line I have seen in years. I think Ron Powlus’ first year was the last time we looked so terrible. We’ve had some injuries, and these guys didn’t get a lot of playing time last year, so I hope for significant improvement. The defensive secondary looks faster than last year, but are reacting badly. The defensive line and linebackers look good. Skill positions are a bit weak. I’m not worried about next year, at least, but we have to get there.

  67. Anonymous says:

    massacio – I may not be a ND fan, but college football needs them to do a lot better than this. I will say this, Kevin White was here at ASU before ND. I met him a couple of times socially and he is a hell of a nice guy, pretty bright and was very well though of here. We considered it a huge loss when he left.

  68. 4jkb4ia says:

    This was a great thread, although it answered none of the questions
    Excellent one-liner from Richardson.

    Last night, when we were waiting for Star Trek, the announcer said that Nebraska would have to play Missouri WITH RESPECT. In the very recent past you would go to those games to see Nebraska. (Not that I have ever seen a Mizzou football game)

    Because I could not resist: 5.5. The toaster is being prepared.

  69. phred says:

    4jkb4ia — I’ve been keeping an eye out for your numerical updates, nice to see you back. I hope to see you post 6.5 tonight

  70. Wangsternator says:

    I think one of the reasons Mangini has remained mum is that, according to the Boston press, the whole videotaping bit was his bailiwick when he was on the Pats staff. So I suspect he’s just pleased as punch to keep quiet, sit back, & let the momentum of events carry the scandal on its own. Also the camera was confiscated early in the first quarter when the ultimate shellacking his team suffered was not yet apparent.

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