Over the better part of the last two decades, the New England Patriots have been the winningest team in the National Football League. But they've also been infamous for pushing the boundaries of the rules.
From Spygate to Deflategate, the Patriots have developed a well-earned reputation for cheating. Back in 2010, Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported that when Peyton Manning was with the Indianapolis Colts, he and offensive coordinator Clyde Christiansen wouldn't talk about strategy or plays in the visitor's locker room.
They would step out into the hallway for fear that the Patriots had bugged the locker room. It was all hearsay, until former Colts head coach Tony Dungy talked about it on the Dan Patrick Show and confirmed it as the truth.
“I know that that is very true, and, you know, as Peyton talked to guys who played for the Patriots, some of the guys who came over — whether it’s true or not he treated it as true. We didn’t have a lot of strategy discussions inside the locker room there. Peyton takes everything to the nth degree,” Dungy said.
It's important to note that Dungy specified that he didn't know for certain that the Patriots were cheating, or bugging the locker room. But Manning was absolutely unwilling to take the chance. He talked about Dungy's recent comments today after practice.
“I think there’s kind of a rule, when you’re still playing, I think kind of what goes on in the locker room kind of stays in the locker room," Manning said. "When you stop playing, you write a book and you get on commentary and it all kind of seems to be told. I’m still playing, so I don’t really talk about what goes on in the locker room. I won’t write a book, by the way, so you won’t find out what goes on in the locker room, even after I stop playing. Those are kind of some of the things that sort of stay in house.”
Whether or not Manning ever confirms it, with this history in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if the three times Manning has played in Foxboro with the Denver Broncos, he's taken similar precautions. The Sheriff isn't keen on letting chance influence the outcome of a game.
Better safe than sorry.
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