Why Tom Brady’s Patriots are the most tainted sports dynasty ever

As previously mentioned, they cheat, and they do it a lot. ESPN’s Don Van Natta and Seth Wickersham took a deep dive into Spygate and discovered that over an eight-year stretch, right up until the moment when the New York Jets set up a sting to catch them, they were secretly recording opponents’ sidelines during games in order to decipher their signals. How often? Forty separate instances between 2000 and 2007, according to ESPN. They also allegedly sent low-level employees into visiting teams’ locker rooms to steal their play sheets, so the Pats would know opposing teams’ first 15-20 plays of the game.

When they got busted, their cozy relationship with Roger Goodell meant that not only weren’t they punished in a manner that might have dissuaded future bad acts; the commissioner tried to bury the scandal, going so far as to destroy the evidence the league had gathered during its brief, three-day investigation—which led to heavy criticism from then-Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)…

Even worse, the Patriots have managed to turn their flagrant rule-flouting into a competitive advantage. Teams remain so worried about the Patriots’ shenanigans that they were pulling out all manner of paranoia-driven security procedures as recently as 2015. In 2010, Peyton Manning fretted that the visiting team’s locker room had been infested with listening devices, and any time there’s a minor mechanical issue, say with a team’s headsets, the default assumption is that Belichick or any number of covert Patriots operatives rewired them so they’d conk out at the worst possible moment.