by Locker Room contributor
2004 AFC Championship: Patriots 41, Steelers 27
2001 AFC Championship: Patriots 24, Steelers 17
1996 AFC Division Championship: Patriots 28, Steelers 3
Speaking to reporters in Pittsburgh, (Steelers receiver Hines) Ward wondered if the Patriots
were cheating when they pulled off a 24-17 upset in the AFC title game
in January 2002, or again three years later when they thrashed the
Steelers, 41-27, for the conference championship.
?Oh, they knew,? Ward said. ?They were calling our stuff out. They
knew, especially that first championship game here at Heinz Field. They
knew a lot of our calls. There?s no question some of their players were
calling out some of our stuff.
?You would hope that during their run, when they were winning all
their Super Bowls, all that stuff wasn?t going on. You look back in the
past and we played them in the championship games, and you kind of
wonder. It seemed like they were a step ahead of us at all times, but
those games are behind us.”
Nothing like a fine whine to drown the sorrows of your losses.
“I’ve always thought that they (the Pats) lived by ‘if you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.” — LaDanian Tomlinson
Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969-79, said stealing signs is nothing new.
“Well, I mean, we all did it, and that was part of it, getting
signals,” he said. “Every coach in the world is always pushing to get a
competitive advantage, that’s always been happening.
“And if they are giving away cues, or clues, or whatever tendencies
that you could pick up, you take them, and you play against them.
“Part of it is a player giving away a play. Part of it can be the
snap count, part of it can be signals that they’re signaling in, or you
hear the things they yell. That’s always been, happening from Day 1 of
The difference now, he said, “is it’s become so sophisticated
compared to when I coached. They not only have the tape after the game,
but they have all the computer stuff to edit it. They know so much more
about each other than we ever did.”
Other than that, he said, nothing has really changed.
“It did happen when I was coaching, before I was coaching, and after
I was coaching,” Madden said. “The difference here is using videotape.”
The difference also is that the “genius” was stupid enough to videotape against one of his former assistant coaches and got caught.