Monday, December 02, 2013

Antonio Smith Accuses Patriots of Cheating

After the Houston Texans their 10th straight game, defensive end Antonio Smith indirectly accused the Patriots of somehow knowing something that they shouldn't have been able to know:

"You can tell they changed their scheme in the second half. It's miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing. They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We'd not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn't right.

"Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are among the best at their craft because they work so hard at their craft. But you have to be a descendant of Tones-tradamus (sic) to know what we put in this week to be able to change that fast. I got the only crystal ball in existence. I don't know what it is. Either teams are spying on us or something's going on."

That's supposed to be Nostradamus. Before saying all that, Smith was asked for an example of what the Patriots did:

"I can't tell you an example because it's G-15 classified. It's a defensive thing that we might continue to use... I'm trying to say it without giving it away. When you watch film of the team do something a certain way all the time no matter what team they play - it's been 12 games played and they always did it - and then all of a sudden it's changed? It was pretty clever and pretty suspicious."

I believe "G-15 classified" refers to a scene in Rush Hour.

Smith was asked if the Patriots offense knew what the Texans defense was going to do before they did it:

"I'm saying it seemed like it. You can't never be for sure on anything because I ain't over there in their huddle, in their locker room, but it just felt like it."

It's hard to discuss the validity of Smith's accusations without knowing exactly what he is accusing the Patriots of doing. Nevertheless, this lack of information won't stop people from speculating, and some from concluding, so let's join in the uber-hypothetical fun.

Smith seems to accuse the Pats of knowing something before they could have known it. So that would mean the Pats spied on Houston's practices, or somehow got a tip, or hacked into Wade Philips' GMail account, or planted a bug in Houston's locker room.

It's a weird accusation because the Patriots offense played like crap for half of this game. The adjustments seemed to occur in the third quarter. So did the Patriots get their illicit foreknowledge during halftime? If they knew about Houston's tactics before the game, why wait until halftime to adjust? And if they adjusted to Houston at halftime, what's so alarmingly suspicious about that?

The Texans have been a poor second half team all season. They've had a lead at halftime 5 times this year, and lost EVERY time. They blew three halftime leads in November alone, including a 21-3 lead to the Colts.

At the same time, the Patriots have made some big second half comebacks.

Smith's evidence seems flimsy at best. The Patriots adjusted to something Houston was doing, and hadn't done all season. The Patriots seemed to adjust too quickly than they should have been able to. At least too quickly by Antonio Smith's reckoning. What Houston was doing and how New England adjusted remain a mystery to us.

This won't stop rabid Patriot haters from using this to convince themselves that Belichick cheats and that the continued success of the Patriots is a moral affront to football and to America, and must be stopped at all costs. No matter how many asterisks or worn out SpyGate jokes it takes.

This also probably won't stop the Houston Texans from losing games. Smith comes across as paranoid, emotional, and just tired of losing. I can't say I blame him. Losing 10 in a row, 5 of which you led at halftime, it must wear you down. Then you try something new against a good team, it works for 30 minutes, yet you still lose. You're bound to entertain crazy theories and wild ideas.

Still, there's no crying in football.

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