Many people know, whether they are football fans or not, that there is a certain air of uncertainty and controversy that surrounds the New England Patriots. The team has seen success unlike any other in the NFL over the past decade, and as a result many criticize them and look for ways to point fingers at them. There have been many accusations over the years of the Patriots being involved in cheating scandals in order to be so successful. Almost anyone involved to some degree in the world of football is probably familiar with the terms “Spygate” and “Deflategate”. With others aside, these two proposed scandals have been the most blown up and focused on by the media and other organizations.
There has been a lot of mystery and cloudiness surrounding these two scandals, and although nothing has been terribly concrete or clear, things have been blown up to an overwhelming level. Despite the lack of concrete evidence in either of these cases, many have been quick to jump on the hate wagon and deem the Patriots as cheaters, rather than a dynasty of success and incredible accomplishments. The question still remains, were these scandals legitimate, or was it all blown out of proportion?
One article in particular hopes to make that argument. Barry Petchesky takes a relatively in-depth look at the Spygate controversy in his article and believes that the league swept things under the rug and kept the depth of the issue hidden. Even his title blatantly implies this: “The Patriots Were Huge Cheaters And Roger Goodell Covered It Up”. Near the beginning of his article, Petchesky claims to have over 90 sources on his side, and references them throughout his writing. He throws a lot at the Patriots, and continually points to what he believes is hard evidence against them. However, I believe he has many fatal errors in his arguments. Petchesky does a terrible job of arguing against the Patriots, and here is why.
As mentioned previously, Barry Petchesky claims to cite over 90 sources in his article, mentioning former Patriots coaches and staff who he attempts to use to his advantage in his arguments against the team. However, he does so in a very unprofessional and unbelievable way. Throughout the article, Petchesky hardly names any of his supposed sources, simply brushing it aside with vague statements like, “a former Patriots coach says,” or “a low-level Patriots employee”. Petchesky quickly removes his own credibility on the issue by skipping out on important details within his sources. Even the quotes or statements from these supposed staff were short and vague, being followed up by a thorough assumption or paraphrase by the writer himself. This does little to cement credibility or prove a point within an argument, either for or against someone.
Throughout his article, Petchesky also makes vague attempts at stating facts that aren’t really true. He goes on about how the Patriots were involved in videotaping other teams in the Spygate scandal, and talks about how they were stealing plays from opposing teams. He even references a “secret library” being created by the aforementioned “former Patriots coach” and used for gaining an advantage over other teams. Previous investigations of the Spygate controversy show something different. In reality, there are certain rules about filming other teams that are already in place. Filming in and of itself is not unusual or illegal, but the location instead determines that. After being challenged by a comment below his article, Petchesky even bring this up: “filming opposing teams’ sidelines was only legal from designated areas in the stadium, and the Patriots’ tapes were filmed from outside those areas. So argue over how big a violation it was, but it was technically illegal the whole time.” In an attempt to cover himself up, Petchesky even admits that this was not as big of a violation as most think, but tries to cover that fact up and continue to press the fact that it was an violation nonetheless.
Despite what most think, although they did violate league conduct, the Patriots did not blatantly cheat. In an attempt to gain an advantage, as any other team would do as well, the Patriots worked closely along the league’s guidelines, and simply ended up just outside the rules by filming from a slightly incorrect location. Without much surprise, the issue was very much blown out of proportion and became much bigger of an issue than it should have been.
Another issue with Petchesky’s article, and the arguments he presents, is the assumptions he makes in regards to the Patriots organization. Early in his article he mentions the Patriots defense of the Spygate issue, citing that they had claimed they did not know of the strict regulations as far as the designated locations of filming, and that they believed they had made an honest mistake. He then goes on to vaguely explain why he believes the Patriots “track record” shows otherwise, but only continues to use unclear sources and very blurry statements about what really happened within the Patriots organization. It seems that Petchesky does not look at the facts or consider if the Patriots really did make an honest mistake or not. What if, in the end, New England had really not known of the issue with the rulebook, and everything was then blown out of proportion from what was really a simple misunderstanding?
There will always be an degree of mystery that surrounds the New England Patriots. Some will call it excellent coaching, others will call it cheating. Today, it is difficult to find an unbiased position and know who you can trust. Barry Petchesky’s article seems biased against the Patriots, but many would say that mine is biased for them, because of my rooting support of the team. I think in the end what it comes down to is looking at the facts, not the opinions. Much of my criticism against Petchesky’s article is simply because of his lack of facts. He makes a lot of claims, but does not back them up well. Blurry facts, unclear sources, and a whole lot of bias are what caused the destruction of his credibility. I’ll respect someone who goes against my team in an honorable way and with real facts and evidence, but I have yet to see someone really do that. Barry Petchesky definitely does not. But you know what they say…haters gon’ hate, winners gon’ win.