What is going on in Patriot Land? First we had the shocking news last week that All-Pro, stand-up guy and team leader, safety Rodney Harrison was caught using an NFL banned substance, human growth hormone (HGH). Now Coach Bill Belichick - the football "genius" - has been cheating? Possibly for years? He stands accused of having his staff video taping the opposing coaches during games to steal their signals to the defense.
The Harrison situation was disturbing enough. I found myself making excuses for him because I really like the guy. Heck, he broke his arm in Super Bowl 38, and stayed on the field! That is one tough player. But for the last couple seasons, he's been an injured veteran, just trying to heal. This wasn't steroids. And he came clean as soon as investigators asked him about it - there were no claims of not realizing what he was taking or "tainted" substances like so many other NFL players claim when caught with something in their system. Plus there is no testing done for HGH - so its use must be very prevalent. If you could take something to extend your career, keep pulling in money for your family and you wouldn't get caught - that is awfully tempting. If Harrison was on another team - I'd be saying he's a dirty, cheating, scumbag. But he's on my team, and I still like him. For the first time I can understand how San Fransisco Giants fans can still cheer for Barry Bonds.
With all this coming to light just days before the start of the season, plus all the attention about new receiver Randy Moss not playing or practicing in preseason and the surprise of New England's best defensive player, Richard Seymour, being placed on the PUP list (physically unable to perform), which means he is out until at least six weeks of the season - I was concerned heading into the opener Sunday against the Jets.
The Patriots killed the Jets, rather easily. But now all the stuff about cheating and being previously warned about such things... very disturbing. I think this really tarnishes Belichick's reputation and he can't blow this off with some "it is what it is" crap. If this proves to be true, there is no doubt it is cheating. For the first time in this "dynasty" era, it is getting tough to be a Patriots fan.