Former Eagles coach accuses Pats of cheating in Super Bowl XXIX

Brad Penner / USA Today Sports

It's been over a decade since the Patriots beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXIX, but apparently it's never too late for unfounded conspiracy theories about New England cheating. Ahead of this year's big game, former Eagles linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo is now claiming the Patriots were stealing Philly's signs last time.

Per Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic (transcribed by PatsPulpit), Spagnuolo initially didn't think anything funny was going on but later changed his mind after watching game tape.

I remember through the course of the game Jim [Johnson] saying, ‘They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing … try to hide it,’” Spagnuolo said. “I remember distinctly thinking, ‘I don’t think so Jim, just concentrate on calling the game.’”

“When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us. … We believe that Tom (Brady) knew when we were pressuring him because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick,” Spagnuolo said.

While the Spygate controversy surrounded stealing signals through surreptitiously recorded game tape, the Pats could have been legally "stealing" the Eagles' signs (assuming they were stealing anything) in that Super Bowl. Assuming the team obtained the signs from publicly available All-22 tape and TV broadcasts (where cameras and mics frequently pick up pieces of signs), it's perfectly legal. What's more, it's just possible Tom Brady was better than the Eagles were expecting--Brady is one of the best QBs in league history against the blitz, and has built his reputation as the GOAT on dissecting opposing coverages and quickly distributing the ball.

While it's certainly interesting to hear Spagnuolo voice his complaints, this amounts to nothing more than sour grapes. Without any evidence, and without any way to know if the Pats were actually doing anything illegal in stealing the signs, the story is only useful as conspiracy fodder for Patriots haters.

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