Shortly after the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl to the New York Giants Sunday night, a new controversy broke out over cheating by the Patriots and their coach, Bill Belichick. Belichick allegedly blackmailed referees in an effort to influence the game.
The Patriots have already had quite a bit of controversy this year, including at least two incidents involving cheating. Back in September they were caught videotaping signals from opposing coaches. Belichick was fined $500K (ouch!) and the team another $250K, plus they lost a draft pick (maybe a bigger ouch). Then yesterday allegations came out that the Pats had illegally videotaped the Rams walkthrough before the 2002 Super Bowl.
Both of those incidents pale when compared to the latest incident. According to sources, Belichick and his staff arranged for prostitutes to be sent to each of the Super Bowl officiating crew over the past couple of weeks. They also videotaped the referees during the throes of passion. Belichick reportedly intended to show the pictures to each of the refs during the pre-game warm-up.
The plan fell apart when Belichick showed a picture to Field Judge Long Dong Silver. Silver joined the NFL refereeing corp after a career in the porn industry. He snatched the picture out of Belichick's hand and called his wife over, then showed Belichick that Silver's wife in the picture with the prostitute.
Silver then razzed Belichick with the classic "Got any naked pictures of your wife? [No.] Want some?" routine. While the officials did not turn the incident on the Patriots and made sure the game was called fairly, the failed blackmail may have damaged the team's confidence.
Senator Arlen Specter has promised a full investigation.