Spygate, Spygate, Spygate. Now Commish Roger Goodell is upping the talk about cheating. Talking about "enacting easier-to-impose cheating penalties as a deterrent for future SpyGate scandals, The Washington Post reported Thursday." Credit to ESPN for the quoted text.

What future Spygate scandals is he expecting? As far as we know, the Patriots naughty but charismatic head man Bill Belichick is the only bad boy engaging in such practices. At least, he's the only one who's been disciplined. And from listening to radio sports shows we've heard from current and former NFL people that this kind of thing has been going on for years, and it doesn't really make a difference.

So it looks like words and rules are being bandied about to deal with the embarrsment caused by one guy. A guy who generated an incalculable amount of positive attention and money for the NFL by creating a juggernaut that couldn't lose (except that it did).

How many Pats games were bumped into a prime spot this past season? Every game was a ratings bonanza. Boffo bucks and a huge audience. The NFL couldn't get enough. And Spygate was pushed to the back burner.

Then, after a conversation with Arlen Specter, Spygate is back. Because there may have been some funny business going on when the Pats defeated the Eagles in that Super Bowl. It couldn't have been that the Pats were the better team that day, could it? They had won a Super Bowl or two by then, hadn't they?

Not that the NFL or Goodell feel that there is a problem. Just that there was some less than sportsman-like behavior going on. And Goodell has that reputation as the disciplinarian who is going to clean up the NFL. Time to act!

I expect that we'll be seeing a warmer, fuzzier Belichick this year. Maybe he'll even shake hands with the opposing coach. A man full of contrition and one ready to make amends. You buying any of this?

According to ESPN, Goodell wrote "too often, competitive violations have gone unpunished because conclusive proof of the violation was lacking." And he had the tapes destroyed, didn't he? I guess we know why this evidence is lacking!

Now the Rams, Panthers, Jets, Steelers and Eagles can rest easy. Except for the fact that these rules don't really mean a thing. The damage is done and there will be new ways to "outflank" your opponent down the road. That's been part of the game since the beginning, and a smart guy like Belichick will be just as canny as his coaching brethren in figuring out how to outflank the other guy. That's how you win. The Patriots have three trophies to prove it.

Originally Posted on on March 7th.

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