ESPN report on Patriots' Spygate scandal re-opens old Eagles wounds
With Deflategate behind them, it was time for the Patriots to move on. An entirely new NFL season is just a week away, bringing with it a slew of narrative threads to replace the various chapters of the ongoing "Cheating Patriots" saga.
Until this morning, when ESPN put up a story from their magazine that breathed life back into the Spygate storyline of 2007, connecting it to the more recent Deflategate controversy.
If Roger Goodell and the NFL's response to accusations that Tom Brady and the Patriots had deflated footballs prior to their 2015 AFC Championship game against the Colts seemed overzealous, that's because, according to the article, it was serving as Goodell's "makeup call" after going soft on New England for 2007's "Spygate" scandal (in which Bill Belichick and the Patriots came under fire for organizing the filming of opposing team's practices).
ESPN backs up 15 years and goes over the whole sequence of events, allowing for teams on the losing end of prominent games against New England to reexamine things, such as the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX:
When Spygate broke, some of the Eagles now believed they had an answer for a question that had vexed them since they lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX: How did New England seem completely prepared for the rarely used dime defense the Eagles deployed in the second quarter, scoring touchdowns on three of four drives? The Eagles suspected that either practices were filmed or a playbook was stolen.
"To this day, some believe that we were robbed by the Patriots not playing by the rules ... and knowing our game plan," a former Eagles football operations staffer says.
It wasn't long before Patriot advocates began mounting their own defenses, and Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN, was desperate to go first: