Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Party Foul: New Orleans Saints

Violation: ESPN's "Outside the Lines" reported that Saints' GM, Mickey Loomis, had an electronic device that was secretly re-wired to the headsets worn by visiting coaches. This gave him the capacity to eavesdrop, in real time, on opposing coaches, their staff, and all of their conversations from 2002 to 2004.

Explanation: Wow. This may go down as the single worst off-season for any team in NFL history. Actually, maybe the worst in the history of all sports. I especially feel sorry for Drew Brees because A) he's from Texas and B) this occurred before he was even on the team (he joined in 2006). In a nutshell, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana was informed of the allegations and the FBI has decided to move forward with the investigation. If proven to be true, the Saints may potentially face violations of NFL rules as well as it being a federal crime. The 1986 ECPA document, aka Electronic Communications Privacy Act, prohibited any persons from intercepting communications from another using electronic or mechanical devices.

Strictly speaking football, this would have allowed the Saints to know what plays were being called, what schemes were being ran, etc. Add to the fact that Loomis's executive suite was on the ground floor, located next to the Saints' bench and coaching staff? Again, wow.

Punishment: This offense, if true, is much worse than the Patriots' "Spygate" incident -- New England's punishment was a fine of $750,000 ($500,000 against Coach Bill Belichick and $250,000 against the organization) and a forfeiture of their 2008 first round draft pick. After already receiving the NFL's version of SMU's death penalty for their bounty program, I'm curious to see what Goodell will do next. It's safe to say the New Orleans Saints will be irrelevant for the next 3+ years.

On the other hand, if the story is fabricated and proven to be untrue, ESPN should give themselves a fine and fire some people. The guys at the top have been pretty sloppy in recent months to say the least.

Photo content courtesy of www.espn.com

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