Paying the price

Patriots' offense probably won't curb cheating in the NFL

In many ways, 'Patriot-gate' is not much different than a player getting busted for using a performance-enhancing drug, such as HGH or steroids. Both offenses assist for the here and now, but also can be damaging for all involved in the long run.

To think that National Football League teams will suddenly stop cheating in order to create an advantage over an opponent is a little naive. Do you actually think that players will ever stop using steroids, or other drugs, in an attempt at glory in the NFL? I didn't think so. The consequences aren't harsh enough.

Exactly how hard the league comes down on New England for its recent acts of videotaping opposing team's coaches giving signals during games probably will determine if other teams will continue to bend the rules, or blatently abuse them, like the Patriots. No one knows for sure if other teams are cheating in order to win games, but, again, don't be so naive.

In the high stakes business of the NFL, the bottom line is winning. Teams spend millions on scouting potential college talent for the NFL draft each season. It seems likely that teams also will do as much as possible and spare no costs when it comes to scouting an upcoming opponent with the best technology available. The Patriots were bold to place an employee with a camera right on the sideline to film New York Jets coaches last Sunday. They allegedly have done it before, and now they finally had their hands slapped by the league.

Brett Favre today addressed media on the subject and said that he spends a lot of time on breaking down film and tendencies, but "the bottom line is you have to play. Third and long, the Chicago Bears play mostly 'Cover 2.' You know that, but you still have to beat 'em, and that's a lot easier said than done."

Favre's remarks no doubt are true, but knowing exactly what is coming instead of guessing are two different things. Favre refrained from pointing any fingers, but he was awfully impressed after watching film of the Vikings-Patriots game last season. New England whipped Minnesota 31-7 in the Metrodome. A few weeks later, the Patriots blanked the Packers, 35-0, at Lambeau Field.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that his team "didn't play very well."

"You still got to play the game," McCarthy said. "It's no different than an offensive coach running the football. Even when they know it's coming, you've got to run the football. It's no different on defense."

McCarthy might be diplomatic in his statement, but it is very possible that the Patriots knew much more about the Packers than many think.

The Patriots were busted. It's as simple as that, but that doesn't mean cheating will come to a halt in the NFL. It will go on, whether we know about it or not, just like steroids, all in the name of winning.

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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