Steve Spagnuolo was always suspicious of the Patriots.
Two years before SpyGate came to light, the former Giants defensive coordinator, who at the time was the Eagles linebackers coach in 2004 when they played the Patriots in the Super Bowl, said that the defensive coaching staff became suspicious that the Patriots knew what was coming before each play.
“The biggest thing we learned was make sure you have two signal callers, not one signal caller,” he told Philadelphia radio station 97.5 The Fanatic on Monday. “Because they may have all your signals.”
In 2007 the Patriots were discipline by the league for filming the Jets defensive coaches’ signals from an unauthorized location. It cost them a 2008 first-round draft pick and Bill Belichick was fined $ 500,000 while the team was issued a $ 250,000 fine.
The Patriots also allegedly filmed the St. Louis Rams’ walkthrough practice before Super Bowl XXXVI but Belichick has denied that accusation and they did not receive any further penalties.
New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo talks to reporters after football practice in East Rutherford, N.J.
Spagnuolo said defensive coordinator Jim Johnson raised the issue in the middle of their 24-21 Super Bowl loss in 2005.
“I remember through the course of the game Jim saying, ‘They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing … try to hide it, etc. etc.’ I remember distinctly thinking ‘Jim I don’t think that’s true.’ Now I’m not saying this to him, because I don’t want to upset him. I’m saying it to myself. ‘I don’t think so Jim, just concentrate on calling the game.’ “
Spagnuolo said he confirmed those suspicions when he rewatched the tape from the Super Bowl loss.
“In hindsight, he was right,” Spagnuolo said. “When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us.”
Bill Belichick and Tom Brady talk on the podium after the Patriots defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.
“I’m not crying over spilled milk here – but we believed that Tom knew when we were pressuring, because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick,” Spagnuolo continued. “But, you know, you got to play the game, and they won that particular day.”
It was something Spagnuolo remembered when the 2007 Giants played the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, which the Giants won in a 17-14 shocking upset led by a strong Giants defensive front that gave Brady trouble all game.
“There’s no question I wasn’t going to let that happen in the 2008 Super Bowl after the 2007 season,” he added.