NFL Scout: Pats Don't Need To Cheat

PI asked NFL expert and former NFL scout Tom Marino if he ever encountered something as brazen as taping signals of the other team using a sideline camera. In 35 years in the league, Marino's seen a lot, and heard a lot more. Find out what Marino had to say about the Patriots situation, why it wouldn't have made a difference Sunday, and what other teams have done in the past.

Tuesday night, Patriots Insider Jon Scott contacted former NFL scout Tom Marino to ask about the Patriots signal-stealing situation. Here are Marino's responses to five questions on the minds of many fans.

Tom, Thanks for taking the time tonight to answer some questions about the whole "camera gate" incident between the Jets and the Patriots. Let us start by asking about the idea of using a video camera to steal signals

1) Have you ever heard of something like the video camera spying scandal the Patriots are accused of?

Tom Marino: I have heard rumors of teams trying to steal signs over the years at both the college and professional level, but it is a very difficult (almost impossible) thing to do. Teams will often change signs each quarter. They might also have more then one person giving signs (ie) Someone giving a front call while another giving the call on the back end.

Sometimes teams will have a coordinator give dummy signs while a lesser assistant gives an actual sign. I've seen some college games, where as many as three back up players will be relaying signals to a starting QB. Teams are not stupid and know they are being watched along the sidelines thus the signals are not easy to steal.

I have been asked over the years to try and get the calls a week prior to us playing a club, but can honestly say I have never been able to do so...

2) Would you say that something like that (stealing signals) actually gives an advantage to a team?

Marino: Absolutely... If I were playing QB [quarterback], I would love to know the coverage I was going to get before hand... but again IF I knew the signs, and who was giving them, I don't have a great deal of time to relay them to the OC [offensive coordinator] to the HC [head coach to the QB... And what if I have the wrong call?

During this whole process teams are also changing sub packages or virtually every down. At times they will have the player (substitute) bring in the call. Keep in mind also that the defense usually waits to see what personnel changes the offense will employ before making their defensive calls. By that time the offensive mike has probably already been turned off.

A couple of questions to be considered: Why wasn't the guy along the sidelines filming from the video booth? He could have had his camera trained on every coach, (better angle) and absolutely nobody would have seen him... Was the guy wearing a headset so he could relay to someone along the Patriots sideline? Or maybe he was talking directly to Bill [Belichick]...

3) What kind of behind-the-scenes fallout do you expect New England's to have to deal with once this all clears?

Marino: In my estimation, the commissioner totally overreacted to the charges. The Patriots flat out kicked the Jets butt, plain and simple. If they were in fact stealing signs, I believe the fallout will come at the top. The camera man certainly didn't do it on his own and believe me when I tell you, only one man makes football decision in Foxboro...

4) can you share any other instances you may have heard of where one team tried something that was in the "grey" area of the rules to get an advantage?

Marino: I've heard over the years of teams putting bugs in the other coaches booth and hacking into their opponents phones, but I have no first hand knowledge of any wrongdoings...

5) What do you think will happen to the Patriots now that they reportedly have been found guilty?

Marino: First I would appeal the charges, but if that fails, I would take the offensive in any appeal. Secondly I would hire Tom Marino to represent the team against the league... [chuckles].

Thanks Tom

Marino: Hope it helps.

 

Tom Marino has over 35 years of experience as a professional scout working for the NFL's Bears, Saints, Rams, Giants and Cowboys along with both the WFL and USFL. As Scout.com's Lead NFL Analyst, he has primary responsibility for network reporting, the NFL Draft, Free Agency databases and rankings.

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