This is beginning to get downright annoying now.

In a story from the next installment of ESPN The Magazine, Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham break down the issues between the NFL and the New England Patriots.

Just days after Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension was overturned, Spygate has return to the forefront with a scathing piece from an ESPN Outside the Lines report.

Using interviews with more than 90 sources around the NFL, those in the know say that the Patriots signal stealing (Spygate) lasted “at least 40 games over a period of several seasons from 2000 to 2007,” and that the league never fully investigated all the accusations against the team.

According to the report, the taping of opponents signals got so bad that the Patriots had diagrams of the stolen signals that they could use during games.

As much as the Patriots tried to keep the circle of those who knew about the taping small, sometimes the team would add recently cut players from upcoming opponents and pay them only to help decipher signals, former Patriots staffers say. In 2005, for instance, they signed a defensive player from a team they were going to play in the upcoming season. Before that game, the player was led to a room where Adams was waiting. They closed the door, and Adams played a compilation tape that matched the signals to the plays from the player’s former team, and asked how many were accurate. “He had about 50 percent of them right,” the player says now.

We now know why the Patriots love to sign veteran players or recently released players, keep them around for a few weeks and then jettison them away when they’re done.

The report also says that other teams were furious about the Patriots cheating, but coaches and execs around the league were convinced that a prolonged scandal could badly damage the league.

By Glenn Erby


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