Bill Belichick should not be coaching this Sunday. In the brave new world of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, bad behavior is punishable by taking away the thing NFL folks crave most: the game. He’s suspended Pacman, Tank, MVick and others for their off-field transgressions. But when one of the NFL’s most esteemed coaches committed a clear on-field violation, he botched it.
Goodell charged Belichick $500Gs for breaking a league rule by taping the hand signals of opposing coaches during the Pats’ crushing win over the Jets last Sunday. He also fined the Patriots $250G and either a first-round pick, or a second- and third-rounder, if the Pats don’t make the playoffs. So let’s just chalk is up as a first-rounder.
Belichick was likely busted by his former protege, Jets coach Eric Mangini, who no doubt had knowledge of the longstanding practice. But depending on whom you believe, “the league” may have also had prior knowledge of this sort of behavior. And it may be a widespread practice.
Nonetheless, it’s against the rules. Belichick, from here on, is cheater. And he should have been suspended at least a game (three games would have been a deterrent) before being allowed to return. Cheaters should be forced to miss doing what they do best -play or coach the game.
But Goodell blew it. He says he considered suspended Belichick but decided the penalties were severe enough.
He’s wrong. The double-standard is now there for my conspiracy brothers toponder, chew on and proclaim. For them, Goodell made it easy.