Et Tu Mangenius?

1193080546That other New York tabloid, Newsday, has a piece today that claims a Jets employee was removed from Gillette Stadium after videotaping the Patriots sideline from the end zone during a game last year.

What’s most interesting here is that the Patriots were not only aware of the incident, they didn’t do a whole lot about it. Hmmmm.

Let’s look at the facts, such as they are, according to Newsday.

According to league sources familiar with the situation, the Jets were caught using a videotaping device during a game in Foxborough last season that resulted in the removal of a Jets employee. After Gillette Stadium officials saw him using the recorder early in the game, he was told to stop and leave the area. He had been filming from the mezzanine level between the scoreboard and a decorative lighthouse in an end zone. The camera was not confiscated by the Patriots or stadium security.

First of all, I love that the amateur Zapruder’s location was between a scoreboard and a decorative lighthouse. Think they have decorative lighthouses at that hell hole in the Meadowlands? No, sir. They do, however, have a lovely halftime tradition.

But we digress. Later in the story it comes out that the NFL was unaware of the incident and that the Pats didn’t bring it up during their investigation back in September. Curious.

There are two theories we’re working on here. One, Belichick is claiming the moral high ground, so to speak, and following the unwritten coaches code, which says: Thou shalt not drop the dime on another coach, even on a no-good rat. Like Eric Mangini.

Two, Belichick is no dummy. How many people had intimate knowledge of the videotaping operation? Let’s see, his coordinators had to have known, so there would have been Romeo Crennell, Charlie Weis, and Mangini, to name a few.

Let’s say Belichick had escalated things in September. Let’s say Mangini spilled more dirt in retaliation. It could have gone from a bloody battle to an all-out war, if you will allow the over-heated analogy. Rather than risk an escalation, Belichick took his hits and let the matter drop. Right now, we’d say we’re leaning toward Option 2.

So, does this take the heat off the Pats? No. The “everyone does it” defense gets a little old. They cheated. They got caught. This isn’t the Bush administration. You can’t rewrite history because it doesn’t fit your perception of reality.

But it does make the comments of holier-than-thou coaches like Tony Dungy look a little (more) ridiculous. Let those without sin, Tony, and yes we’re talking about fake crowd noise and headset malfunctions. It also reveals Mangini to be a complete hypocrite, which we already knew he was anyway.

Our only hope is that some day, someone who knows where all the bodies are buried (and we’re not talking about Jimmy Hoffa), writes the definitive history of the Jets-Patriots feud. Rivalries ebb and flow in the NFL, but this one has been white-hot ever since old man Leon Hess stole Bill Parcells before the 1997 Super Bowl.

And it’s only Wednesday.