LANGUAGE ADVISORY: The following transcript contains the word “Expletive”. If the use of the word “Expletive” offends you, or if it makes you think of words you would rather not think about, then we recommend you do not read it.
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INTRODUCTION: Recently, a researcher for the BTSC Investigative Center of Inside Football Stuff You Wouldn’t Otherwise Know in a Million Years if You’re Lucky (hereafter referred to as BTSCICIFSYWOKMYYL) discovered a videotape of what appears to be a staff meeting of the New England Patriots. The meeting apparently took place July 27, 2001 beginning at 10 a.m. Present at the meeting are a bossy guy wearing a hoody and a bunch of nondescript overweight men, sitting around a conference table. We at BTSCICIFSYWOKMYYL feel there is no reason not to suspect this group is the braintrust of the Patriots: head coach Bill Belichick, several members of his coaching staff and Football Research Director Ernie Adams. We offer the following transcript of a portion of that meeting, so that all of our faithful readers might gain some insight into the so-called “Spygate Affair”, which we here at BTSCICIFSYWOKMYYL like to refer to as the Montezuma’s Revenge of football scandals. It was tough to swallow, hard to digest and keeps running.
Bill Belichick: “… and so gentlemen that brings us to the final item on the agenda, namely the practice begun last year of taping other teams’ offensive and defensive signals. If you recall, it was Ernie who suggested that we might build up a database and construct a signal and play profile of opposing teams. It seemed to me at the time it would be an interesting exercise that might serve some future but unknown philanthropic purpose, perhaps aiding the understanding of the game for future generations of Patriots fans, indeed millions of NFL fans around the world. Of course, we suspected it would have no value whatsoever in our performance on the field, or affect in any way the delicate competitive balance upon which our league is founded. (NOTE: At this point BB is seen turning toward the camera and mouthing a comment to, presumably, the cameraman. BTSCICIFSYWOKMYYL hired a prominent lip reader/body language analyst/freelance barista to determine that BB is saying: "Is the (expletive) camera working?” At that point the camera moves up and down, and BB continues). “Well, here we are a year later and I’d like all of us to contribute to an evaluation of the taping program to date, and a recommendation as to whether it should be continued. Ernie, why don’t you take the floor."
Ernie Adams: “Thank you Bill. First, I’d like to summarize the data we have compiled, what we have learned from it, and then present a cost/labor analysis of the resources used to implement and execute the program. To date we have compiled 248 hours of raw videotape of opposing teams’ sideline activities. This may seem like a lot but you have to realize we used a number of cameras and in many cases taped practises as well as games. We then blended this raw sideline footage with game tape in order to synchronize signals with actual plays. We then edited this blended package to a specific montage of still shots that shows the signal and the opposing team’s immediate response to it. We then put together a 90-minute docudrama with music by Led Zeppelin, CCR, Earth Wind and Fire, Cat Stevens and the Carpenters, among others, just in case we decide someday to enter the Cannes Film Festival, which as some of you may not know is in France where they don’t wear bikini tops, even the women. Copies of the soundtrack are available in my office. All of these tapes are available for viewing in the spare room down the hall that Charlie once used for his personal Lambada classes. What did you lose Charlie, 15 pounds or so? You look great.”
Charlie Weiss: “Thanks Ernie but actually I’ve gained 24 pounds over the past six months. I’m just carrying it a lot better and I really feel light on my feet. I wish Bledsoe could move around as well as I can now. (Room erupts in laughter). Anyway, that kid Brady joined the lessons too and he was amazing, really smooth. Says he’s nuts about Brazil.”
EA: “Well, thank you for the room, Charlie. Let’s hope we never have to find out if Brady can play quarterback as well as he can dance (General room laughter). Now, getting back to the taping program (Adams turns to the camera at this time and raises his voice). After a thorough review of all the tapes it’s absolutely clear that they have no practical use whatsoever. Not only do they show nothing we don’t already know, even if they did show us something we didn’t know there is simply not enough time to analyse it and react in such a way as to promptly pass along this previously unknown knowledge to the players on the field who don’t know it yet, even if there was something useful we learned, which we didn’t. Does anybody disagree?"
Eric Mangini: “Ummm … could you run that by me again Ernie?”
BB: “Shut up Eric.”
EM: “Well it’s just that I was watching one of the films last night and I thought, ‘Wow, that’s cool (expletive) and might be useful if ... "
BB: “Thank you Eric, aren’t you just the super little genius today.”
(At this point BB is looking at Mangini, twitching his head toward the camera. Mangini turns toward the camera and you can literally see the light go on upstairs. Well, not literally but people say that all the time and you get what they mean.)
EM: “Ohhhhh … Oh yeah. Well, what I meant was I saw the Cannes Film Festival edition of Ernie's tapes and thought “Wow, that’s a cool soundtrack and it might be useful if ... if I ever bring a girl back to my apartment.”
(Room erupts in laughter and BB rolls his eyes)
EA: “Anyway, where was I … Ah yes, the cost/labor analysis. After going through all the associated costs of this new program I’ve arrived at these totals. Including cameramen, security, cost of film, cameras and other equipment, man-hours of everyone involved from field security to the film viewing time of the coaching staff, the final figures are 1,135 man-hours of labor and a total cost of $175,000.”
Romeo Crennel: “Holy (expletive). Man, that’s about the same price as a nice split-level bungalow in Cleveland.”
BB “Romeo, what’s that got to do with anything? There’s no such thing as a nice split-level bungalow in Cleveland. I should know. There’s no such thing as a nice anything in Cleveland. The last thing you want to do is think anything about Cleveland. Don’t go there.”
RC: “But they've got a really great rock and roll hall of fame there. And I lived there last year, remember?"
BB: “I didn’t mean don’t go to Cleveland you (expletive) idiot. I meant don’t bring up Cleveland during a staff meeting.”
RC: “You’re giving me permission to go back to Cleveland?”
BB: “Why would I care if you go to Cleveland? Of course you can go to Cleveland. And Eric can go to New York and Rob or Rex or Buddy Jr. over there whatever his name is can go to Oakland and Charlie can Lambada his way down to Notre Dame and teach it to their next (expletive) quarterback. (Belichick’s voice has been been getting louder and at this point he stands up, stares around the room and pounds on the table) You can all take a flying (expletive) this weekend for all I care. Just be back on Monday so we can review film … game film that is. And practise film. Of our practises. Not any other kind of film. And for sure not any of that useless film of the other teams’ signals.”
(Nobody in the room says anything for about a minute. Belichick then sits down and eventually cracks a small smile that the lip reader/body language analyst/freelance barista said could be described as “smug”. Everyone else in the room starts to chuckle ... except Mangini, who seems confused.)
EM: “You know coach, there was this one sideline film where I saw the DC give a hand wiggle and raise his fingers and the Mike started sliding down the line and it was a pretty good indicator that they … “
BB: “Shut up Eric … Now, Ernie where were you?”
EA: “Just summing up Bill. I’d like to recommend that we continue the taping program for another year and perhaps an indefinite period into the future. It’s clear that the NFL would only approve of this practice if in fact it provided no aid whatsoever to our game preparation or execution on the field. After a year of study we can conclude that this in fact is the case. It is totally worthless. That’s why we should continue doing it. If it did serve a purpose in any specific way that improved our team or have an impact during a game, then of course we would stop doing it. From a personal standpoint I find it interesting. After staring at this film for literally hundreds of hours in slow-motion, reverse and even while standing on my head, cross-referencing various hand signs with historical references such as those found in rare tracts about the Knights Templar and the Seventh Day Adventists, I’m starting to understand things in a way that …”
BB: “Umm, thank you Ernie … So, is anyone opposed to continuing the taping of sideline signals?”
CW: “You mean I don’t get my Lambada room back?”
BB: “Sorry Charlie but sometimes (At this point BB turns to the camera briefly and raises his voice) we have to make sacrifices for the pursuit of knowledge, in whatever arcane or seemingly useless form it may take at the present time. Gathering information is a noble cause, in and of itself … Now, from a practical perspective I would add that we strongly suspect other teams are gathering similar information. The only way we can be sure that their information is also totally useless is to do an even better job of gathering and analyzing said useless information. As long as all teams are equal in their acquisition of worthless material, then no one will have a competitive disadvantage. It’s just like the nuclear arms race, but opposite.”
(At this point Rob Ryan excuses himself from the room and can be heard retching in the hallway)
BB: “On that note gentlemen, I think we’ll adjourn. See you Monday … except you Eric. I want to see you in my office.”
(BB turns to the cameraman and slides his hand across his throat, which according to the lip readerlbody language analyst/freelance barista is a sign to stop filming. However, it is possible to hear BB make a comment to EM just before the tape ends)
BB: “Now, what was that you were saying about the DC and the hand wiggle and the fingers and the Mike backer? Are you sure the DC wasn’t just waving at our camera and raised only one finger?”
FINAL NOTE: We leave it up to you to interpret this rare look inside command central of, arguably, not only the greatest team in football history or even in sports history, but any dynasty anywhere in recent memory. Of course, other people's memories may be more or less recent, as in longer or shorter, but that is neither here nor there.