As Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed that he had talked with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell about the allegations regarding his team and the video capture of hand signals going from the bench to players on the field, the issue continued to be as engrossing as a spy thriller.
All that’s missing is the romantic subplot.
“Someone said, ‘If you’re not cheating, you’re not trying.’ Someone was just joking in the dining hall that maybe that’s how they won all those Super Bowls,” Denver safety Nick Ferguson said. “I don’t know. I’m just here to see what you guys report.”
And those of us in the laptop-and-notepad set went right for the one Broncos player who might understand the situation best — tight end Daniel Graham, a veteran of five campaigns with the New Englanders.
“He would be the person to ask about that,” Ferguson said.
So the horde collectively swarmed around Graham. The affable Coloradoan — or is it Coloradan? — however, kept his mouth shut. Unlike the brothers Gibb, Graham wouldn’t go back to Massachusetts.
“I’m not sure about what was going on when I was up there, but I’m here in Denver now, so it’s nothing I have to worry about,” Graham said. “It’s something I’m not even worried about. I don’t have to deal with that. If they were doing that, they have to deal with it.”
Broncos sssistant head coach/defense Jim Bates said that he takes steps to avoid any interception of signals.
“Well, it’s notorious that it goes on in the league, either people stealing from the sidelines or they’ve got a coach assigned as far as trying to steal signals,” he said. “We’re awfully guarded. We’re really guarded, as far as people stealing signals.”
That means occasionally using dummy signals to deceive any potential poachers.
“Oh yes, it’s part of it,” he said. “You use two or three different guys as far as giving signals, and we try to disguise as much as possible so people can’t get our signals.”
Of course, there’s an easy solution to all this — to have one defensive player wear a radio receiver, thus balancing the edge the offense has by having its quarterback equipped (which is symbolized by the green dot on the back of the helmet).
“I think it would neutralize the game for us, as far as us giving some heads up,” he said. “Because they can talk to the quarterback, the offensive coordinator or whoever is talking to the quarterback, they can give him some added advice that we cannot give our defense.
“So it’s definitely an advantage for the offense and we should have that. We should have the headsets or the communication skills that they have on offense.”
That would be the easy solution. But few spy novels have such an obvious resolution.