What should have been an enjoyable week for the New England Patriots turned into one of the most embarrassing weeks in the history of the franchise. The Patriots trounced the New York Jets 38-14 last Sunday, as Randy Moss made his Patriots debut historic, and Ellis Hobbs ran into the record books with his 108-yard kickoff return. The players and fans seemed to bask in the debate about just how good this team will be this season.
But the enjoyment of that win faded quickly as news broke that the Patriots were under investigation by the league for the improper use of a video camera on the sideline. Now head coach Bill Belichick faces a $500,000 fine and the team must forfeit next year's first round draft pick (if they make the playoffs). Game 1 of the 2007 season seemed like something out of a dream. The week that followed seemed like a nightmare.
People talked about the Jets game for a couple of days. Since then everyone -- including former and future opponents -- has been talking about the controversy. Let's take a look at the top 10 quotes of the week, and translate what they were really saying:
10. "They told me afterward [about the record]. I'm very proud of that. But if I had thought about it, I never would have taken it out."
~ Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs, on his NFL-record 108-yard kickoff return against the Jets
Translation: "If I had known I was that deep in the end zone, I never would have run it out. If I had been tackled at the 10-yard line, coach would have killed me. But now that I've done it, I'll never take a knee again."
9. "I'll leave that up to you guys. That's what the talk shows and the game shows are for: To tell people all the nonsense that y'all believe in."
~ Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss, when asked if his performance last week was a statement
Translation: "I am just so happy I've got the greatest quarterback of all time throwing me the ball instead of the schmucks I've been playing with all these years. The greatest wide receiver of all time deserves the greatest quarterback throwing him the ball."
8. "Are there any questions about the Chargers? Do you want to talk about the football game?"
~ Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
Translation: "Is this all we're going to talk about this week? There's a big game coming up, you know. Pats-Bolts. You know? Hello?"
7. "I think the Patriots live by the saying, 'If you're not cheating, you're not trying.'"
~ Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson
Translation: "Please don't write that down. I don't want that on the Patriots' bulletin board. Please? Please don't write that down. I'm beggin' you."
6. "Oh, they knew [what plays we were running]. They were calling our stuff out. They knew, especially that first championship game here at Heinz Field. They knew a lot of our calls. There's no question some of their players were calling out some of our stuff."
~ Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward
Translation: "[Sob.] This is more emotional than when Jerome Bettis retired. [Sniff.] They cheated! Cheated! [Wail.] They cheated us out of a championship!"
5. "Those are guys I talk about to our team of the way you do things, the way you represent the NFL." We've got two [former Patriots] on our team, Adam [Vinatieri] and Dan Klecko, that are the same way. They're going to be linked now with negative, and that's too bad."
~ Colts head coach Tony Dungy
Translation: "I must choose my words carefully. I don't want those cheaters to use my words against me."
4. "With tonight's resolution, I will not be offering any further comments on this matter. We are moving on with our preparations for Sunday's game."
~ Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, in a written statement
Translation: "If one of you punks asks me about this I will shove that microphone right up your "
|New England Patriots head football coach Bill Belichick walks away from the podium after refusing to answer questions on accusations the Patriots illegally filmed New York Jets defensive signals from coaches on the sideline during the Patriots season opening victory against the Jets, during a media availability in Foxborough, Mass., Thursday morning, Sept. 13, 2007. The NFL is investigating those charges. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)|
3. "[Coach Belichick] has apologized for his actions. I accept his apology and look forward to working with him as we move forward."
~ Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a written statement
Translation: "Please don't leave, Bill. I can't have another high-profile coach fleeing this team. Who on earth would I hire? There's nothing but loser coaches like Norv Turner out there who just get hired again and again."
2. "I specifically considered whether to impose a suspension on Coach Belichick. I have determined not to do so, largely because I believe that the discipline I am imposing of a maximum fine and forfeiture of a first-round draft choice, or multiple draft choices, is in fact more significant and long-lasting, and therefore more effective, than a suspension."
~ NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
Translation: "I am the great and powerful Wizard of Oz. I mean, Commissioner of the NFL. The rules are meant to be followed, not broken. I will fine and suspend every player and coach in this league if I must!"
1. "We support the commissioner and his findings."
~ The New York Jets, in a prepared statement
Translation: "Nah nah nah nah nah, you got caught!"
The San Diego Chargers beat the defending NFC Champion Bears 14-3 and march into Foxborough with a swagger, determined to avenge last year's home playoff loss. With all of the focus on the controversy this week, you'd never know that two teams who are a combined 30-8 since the beginning of last season were squaring off in a primetime Sunday night showdown. Maybe next week everyone will get back to talking about the games.
Darren is a regular contributor to Patriots Insider. You can find him in the forums under the name: DestinationSuperBowl. You can also find archives of his columns on the Insiders by searching for "Darren Kelly"
Over / Under Jets - Patriots