Bart Scott spent several hours in studio Wednesday night, and the conversation turned inevitably to the New England Patriots, as new cheating allegations have surfaced against the NFL’s most polarizing franchise.
Yes, it appears Spygate and Deflategate are only part of the Patriots’ rule-bending – or rule-breaking – past.
“That’s what the public doesn’t realize,” Scott said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “They are rule benders and they push the limits and they’re so smug about it as well. It’s not just about the deflated footballs. It’s about the integrity of the game. You get caught. Okay, you got away with it. You continue to try to find new ways to find a competitive advantage, but you’re pushing the limits and you’re cheating. The thing they pulled off against the Ravens was wrong and they got it from Nick Saban.”
Scott, of course, is referring to a controversial play the Patriots ran in the playoffs last year. Facing a tough Baltimore pass rush, New England countered by replacing an offensive lineman with another position player and waited until the very last second to declare him an eligible receiver, thereby preventing the Ravens from making adjustments.
“It was legal,” Scott said, “but in the fairness of sportsmanship, it was bending the rules, it was pushing the rules and then they were so smug about it afterwards.”
But what fit he Ravens had done that against the Patriots? Would Scott, a former Raven, be as angry about it?
“It has nothing to do with that,” he said. “I want to be beat straight up. I don’t want you to steal my signals, I don’t want you to tape my practices. That’s going too far. And if you let stuff like that go on, you talk about fans and people wanting to make sure that everything’s on the up-and-up . . . all those things (open up) Pandora’s box for all those interpretations.”
From taping signals to stealing play sheets, the latest allegations against the Patriots are another black eye for a franchise that’s already been pummeled. Even if some of the infractions were minor, paranoia grows.
“For the Colts to know that, that means (the Patriots) used it against the Ravens,” Scott said, referring to the deflated footballs. “So if the Ravens reported it to the Colts because Chuck Pagano used to be with the Ravens, I don’t think they report that to the Colts if (the Patriots) don’t make those remarks – those smug remarks at the press conference about know the rules. So if they don’t say that, I don’t think they pass that information along.”
Scott wasn’t a fan of the Patriots’ know-the-rules comment.
“Oh, really?” he asked. “Well, let’s not cheat. Why you guys don’t have more fumbles than anybody in the NFL? Because you got under-inflated footballs and you can hold on to the football?”
Scott, 35, played for the Ravens from 2002 to 2008 and the Jets from 2009 to 2012. So basically, he played against the Patriots during their entire rule-bending era.
Was he paranoid when he lined up to play them?
“We didn’t think about that,” Scott said. “We always thought that if we did our job, it didn’t matter what they knew or what they did. It didn’t matter if we executed. That was just kind of the bravado of Rex Ryan. But you know what? When you have to face that and the fire alarm’s being pulled the night before, they pull every trick in the book. Not saying that they need it, but I think you have a group of insecure people. I think Bill Belichick is insecure, and I think Tom Brady is insecure. Sometimes you just need to know that you feel like you got something to lean on – and it could not even mean anything – but you feel better when you got a tip. Between Spygate and Delfategate, they didn’t win any championships in between. I can imagine that they were feeling the anxiety that, ‘Hey, we might not win another one.’
“They used the deflated footballs as an advantage psychologically,” Scott continued. “It affects them psychologically. It feels like you have an advantage. If you feel like you got a tip from a coach during the week, you lean on that. And it may not ever show up, right? It may not ever show up. But it makes you have a level of confidence when you play the football game that, hey, we know something.”