After being caught spying on opposing coaches, the New England Patriots were fined and were ordered to forfeit future draft choices. The penalties were handed down by new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
During their Week 1 victory over the New York Jets, a video camera was confiscated and was found to be in violation of NFL rules. Itís been reported that the video camera was being used to steal defensive hand signals used by the Jetsí coaches.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Patriots, was personally fined $500,000. Belichick earlier in the week offered an apology for his role in the controversy. The Patriots organization was fined $250,000 in addition to their forfeited drafted pick.
The draft pick will be a first rounder if the Patriots make the playoffs, or second and third rounders if the Patriots miss the playoffs. While the penalty sounds harsh, Goodell has a reputation of dolling out harsh penalties in his short tenure as commissioner.
Goodell has handed down stiff suspensions to from Pacman Jones to Wade Wilson. Jones was suspended for the 2007 season for multiple brushes with the law, despite never being convicted of a crime. Wilson, an assistant coach for the Dallas Cowboys, was suspended five games and one-third of his annual salary for admittedly taking steroids.
The Patriots, who have won three Super Bowl titles under Belichick, comparatively werenít dealt with as harshly as some predicted. In fact, many league pundits were publicly wondering whether Belichick would be suspended or if the Patriots would have been forced to forfeit their contest against the Jets.
On the field, the Patriots were dominant in their Week 1 victory over the Jets. Quarterback Tom Brady had three touchdown passes, while new wide receiver Randy Moss totaled nine catches, 183 yards and a touchdown reception. Moss joined the Patriots in the offseason in a trade with the Oakland Raiders.
In Week 2, the Patriots take on the San Diego Chargers. Last year in the playoffs, the Patriots eliminated the Chargers. The Chargers travel to Foxboro to take on the Patriots in what is being billed as one of the best matchups of the regular season and a possible playoff preview.
The Chargers will try to use their aggressive pass rush to get at Brady to disrupt his timing with Moss. Belichick and the Patriots will have to make offensive adjustments when needed and this time, those adjustments will have to be made without the help of spying video cameras.