Ex-Pats employee Walsh sends NFL video of Pats' taping
After brokering a deal to protect himself, former New England Patriots employee Matt Walsh has finally turned over his evidence in the videotaping controversy.
The New York Times reported and the NFL confirmed on Wednesday that Walsh sent eight tapes to the league that show the Patriots recording the play-calling signals of five opponents in six games between 2000 and 2002.
Taping the signals of opposing teams is prohibited by league rules, and the Patriots were already fined $750,000 and docked a first-round draft choice in September for taping the New York Jets. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell left open the possibility that more penalties could be levied.
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A Patriots employee from 1997-2003, Walsh reached an agreement to turn over the tapes in exchange for being indemnified from all future legal fees.
The list of the Walsh tapes indicates that the Patriots taped offensive and defensive coaches in regular-season games against the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers. The team also made video of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2002 AFC Championship Game.
What games are on the tapes?
Here are the games included in the tapes turned over by Matt Walsh to the NFL, according to a letter sent by Walsh's attorney, Michael Levy:
Tape 1: Signals vs. Miami (Sept. 25, 2000)
The tape is labeled Sept. 25, but the actual game was on Sept. 24. That day in Miami, the Patriots lost to the Dolphins, 10-3, and dropped to 0-4. New England also lost its season finale to Miami, 27-24, on Christmas Eve. The Patriots finished 5-11.
Tapes 2-3: Miami defensive and offensive signals (Oct. 7, 2001)
The Patriots lost 30-10 at Miami to drop to 1-3. The Pats gained 149 total yards and fell to 6-14 overall under Belichick. (They're 99-26 since.) In a Dec. 22 rematch, the Pats gained 313 yards and didn't commit a turnover, winning 20-13 to improve to 10-5. Miami had three turnovers.
Tape 4: Buffalo signal camera (Nov. 11, 2001)
The Patriots beat the Bills 21-11 to improve to 5-4. The Patriots were actually outgained in this game, 242-205. In the rematch at Buffalo on Dec. 16, the Pats won, 12-9, and outgained the Bills, 335-310. Since this Nov. 11 tape, New England is 13-1 against Buffalo.
Tape 5: Coaches' signals vs. Cleveland (Dec. 9, 2001)
The Patriots won 27-16. New England barely outgained the Browns, 290-277. The Browns, however, turned the ball over four times. The teams didn't play again until Oct. 26, 2003, when the Pats won 9-3. Starting with that 2001 win, New England is 4-0 against Cleveland.
Tapes 6-7: Signals vs. Pittsburgh (Jan. 27, 2002)
In the AFC Championship Game at Pittsburgh, the Patriots were nine-point underdogs, and Tom Brady was knocked out with an injured leg in the first half. However, Drew Bledsoe came in and led the Pats to a 24-17 win, thanks to a Troy Brown 55-yard TD punt return and a 60-yard return of a blocked FG for a TD. The Patriots intercepted Steelers QB Kordell Stewart three times, and Pittsburgh running backs were held to just 19 yards. Starting with that win, the Patriots are 5-1 against the Steelers, including a 30-14 win in the 2002 season opener.
Tape 8: Third camera vs. San Diego (Sept. 29, 2002)
New England lost at San Diego 21-14, its first loss of the season after a 3-0 start. Despite the loss, the Pats outgained the Chargers, 440-342. New England didn't play San Diego again until Oct. 2, 2005 and lost, 41-17. The Patriots have won all three games against the Chargers since.
-- Brett Edgerton, ESPN Research
Walsh's tapes do not include the video of the St. Louis Rams' walk-through before the 2002 Super Bowl, as reported by the Boston Herald.
"Mr. Walsh has never claimed to have a tape of the walk-through," said Walsh's lawyer Michael Levy, according to the Times. "Mr. Walsh has never been the source of any of the media speculation about such a tape. Mr. Walsh was not the source for the Feb. 2 Boston Herald article."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement that the NFL received a letter Thursday from Levy listing the videotapes Walsh is turning over to the league. "We have not seen the tapes, but there is certification that this is all the videotape materials that he has.
"There are tapes of five opponents in six games between the 2000 and 2002 seasons," the statement said. "The tapes are consistent with the findings of our prior investigation. There are no tapes of any opponent walk-throughs, no Super Bowl tapes, none of that.
"So, again, these are tapes of opponents' coaching signals. It's what we already knew and, as [ESPN] reported back in September, Belichick admitted to the commissioner [Roger Goodell] that he had engaged in this practice dating back to 2000."
Walsh has separate meetings scheduled on Tuesday with the commissioner and Senator Arlen Specter in which he is expected to provide additional details about the taping process.
"We're not going to comment," said Stacey James, the Patriots' vice president for media relations. He added he expected the team will wait to issue a statement until after Walsh meets with Goodell.
Under his agreement with the league, Walsh can retain copies of his videotapes, but he cannot use them without the consent of the NFL.
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
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