Amongst the batch of tapes
that former Patriots employee Matt Walsh turned over to the NFL this week were videos
of Miami Dolphins games from 2000 and 2001. One of the tapes reportedly
captures offensive signals from the October 7, 2000 game that the Dolphins won
The capture of the Dolphins’
offensive signals indicates that the Patriots’ video taping practices extended
beyond the taping of defensive signals.
According to Walsh’s
attorney Michael Levy, the film showed Dolphin "offensive coaches
signaling Miami's offensive players, followed by
a shot from the end zone camera of Miami's
offensive play, followed by a shot of Miami's
offensive coaches signaling Miami's offensive
players for the next play, then edited to be followed by a shot of the
offensive play." Scoreboard shots are interposed along the way.
For now, the Dolphins are deferring
to the league. Said Dolphins Vice President of Media Relations Harvey Greene,
“We look at it as a league matter and feel comfortable they will handle it
The Patriots have also
declined comment at this time, but may issue a statement once the findings are
Dave Wannstedt, currently
the head coach at the University
of Pittsburgh, was the
Dolphins head coach in 2000. Just how much Wannstedt knew of the Patriots active
taping practices at that time is not clear. Messages left by Phins.com with
Wannstedt had not been returned at the time of this column. His entire coaching
staff and almost all of the football operations staff are no longer with the
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello
said the league is currently in the process of reviewing the Dolphin tapes to
determine what damage, if any, was done to the competitive nature of the games
beyond what has already been disclosed by the Patriots regarding their taping
practices dating back to 2000.
NFL commissioner Roger
Goodell has said that he would consider imposing additional penalties on the
Patriots if the scope of the disclosures from Walsh extends beyond what has already
been disclosed by the team.
Last year, Greene told
Phins.com that the Dolphins actively take steps to deter unwanted eyes from
“We wouldn’t want to disclose to other teams
what we do (because) it is a competitive disadvantage,” said Greene.
According to Greene, the Dolphins
actively employ several “self scouting” techniques as a preventive measure. Understandably,
Greene would not disclose specifics regarding other countermeasures the Dolphin
use. Common techniques in the game include using two coaches or players to send
in hand signals to the players on the field (one guy gives the real signal; the
other guy is a decoy). Another common technique is to use dummy colors or
numbers to fool the other team, especially in situations where a former Dolphin
coach or player has recently joined the opposition.
Interestingly, the Dolphins’
countermeasures may have helped. According to ESPN’s Matt Mosely, the Patriots
went 31-9 against the teams that were filmed on the tapes Walsh handed over (Bills,
Dolphins, Browns, Chargers and Steelers). Of the nine loses the Patriots
suffered, six were to the Dolphins. The Patriots won nine games against the
Dolphins during that timeframe.
This is not the first time
the Patriots have been accused of stealing Miami’s signals. In 1997, the Patriots were
accused of stealing signs from Dan Marino in a playoff game that the Dolphins