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04-24-2012, 10:11 AM #1
Remember when it seemed like the Saints knew exactly what the Lions were going to do?
I am sorry, I think the GM needs to be fired and I think their drafts should be wiped out for the next 3 years. To hell with them. They need to suffer.
Extra money to injure other players and then they knew what those players would be doing? Lawsuits galore. Used to like this team.
REMEMBER HOW MUCH BETTER THIS TEAM WAS AT HOME? I GUESS IT WASN'T PLAYING INDOORS.
The New Orleans Saints suffered another public relations black eye Monday when an ESPN report alleged that already embattled General Manager Mickey Loomis listened in on opposing coaches' communications during games from his Superdome suite between 2002 and 2004. The club vociferously disputed the allegations which Loomis termed as "absolutely false."
G. Andrew Boyd, Times-Picayune archive
New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis has denied the newest allegations that surface as the team is still battling the fallout from the bounty scandal.
The network said Loomis had Superdome lines rewired when he became the Saints' general manager, a move that enabled him to listen to the chatter among opposing coaches rather than that among Saints coaches, as the lines originally did under General Manager Randy Mueller. If true, the eavesdropping would appear to be a clear violation of NFL rules.
The Saints furiously denied the charge, while the league, already investigating the Saints for a bounty scandal that also unfolded during Loomis' tenure, said it was unaware of the allegations.
ESPN began its printed report with the news that U.S. Attorney Jim Letten had been informed of the matter last week, and the network hinted that Loomis' alleged activity could have been in violation of both state and federal law. Within less than 30 minutes, however, even the network reported the statute of limitations at both levels had already expired, making the entire potentially criminal issue moot.
Letten confirmed that his office became aware of the matter last Friday under circumstances he declined to discuss.
Although the potential impact of the story appeared to dim quickly, its existence comes as Loomis and the club are reeling from the bounty scandal that supposedly existed on defense from 2009 to 2011. As a result of that matter, the NFL has already smashed the Saints with the strictest batch of punishments ever imposed on coaches and executives and with additional penalties expected soon against current or former defensive players.
In the case of the bounties, the Saints have adopted a largely passive stance but the team quickly took a much more aggressive route Monday on the latest allegations.
In an e-mail to The Times-Picayune and other news organizations, Loomis said the whole thing, "didn't happen."
"This report on ESPN is absolutely false," Loomis wrote. "I have a monitor in front of me in my booth that provides the league issued stats for the game. I have a small tv with the network broadcast and I have an earpiece to listen to the WWL-AM radio game broadcast.
"To think I am sitting in there listening and actually and or doing something with the offensive and defensive play calls of the opposing teams makes this story and the unnamed sources that provided the false information that much more less credible...it just didn't happen."
Saints vice president Greg Bensel hinted the franchise will explore its options.
"This report is 1000 % false - completely inaccurate - we asked ESPN to provide us evidence to support their allegations and they refused," he wrote in an e-mail. "The team and Mickey are seeking all legal recourse regarding these false allegations."
Club officials indicated that Saints owner Tom Benson is standing by embattled general manager.
ESPN's report relied on anonymous sources. Loomis reportedly took a line that already existed in his suite prior to his promotion to general manager in 2002 and switched it from tracking talk among Saints coaches to talk among opposing coaches. That switch lasted until Hurricane Katrina tore up much of the Superdome's infrastructure in 2005.
Superdome executives said the news came as a complete surprise to them, and Doug Thornton, a senior vice president with SMG, the company that runs the stadium for the state, declined comment on the technical aspects of the matter. SMG is not privy to whatever sources ESPN used and the company began its own investigation into the matter Monday, Thornton said, and consequently he could not provide authoritative answers.
Nevertheless, the Superdome remains one of the premier sporting venues in the United States, and during the time period in question hosted a BCS national championship game, Sugar Bowls, Bayou Classics, Louisiana high school football championships and other marquee events, virtually all of which involve principal actors using the same booth Loomis does. When asked directly if any team involved in any of those games had ever voiced a concern their internal conversations had ever been compromised, or expressed surprise they overheard discussions of an opponent on their own headset, Thornton said no. The matter had never been raised by any football team playing in the Superdome, he said.
It remained unclear Monday just what sort of wiring work would have to be done to pull off the switch ESPN says Loomis did. Again, Thornton said he could not offer definitive answers on technical questions because the issue had just come to SMG's attention and a check of all work performed years ago had not been completed. Yet when asked Thornton acknowledged it did not appear any occupant of Loomis' booth had ever asked about extra phone jacks, or that a Superdome crew had ever uncovered any unexplained phone wires or outlets in the various coaching suites. As part of the Dome's post-Katrina renovations the coaches' booths and Loomis' suite, along with the press box, were moved from the 300 level to the 700 level.
ESPN reported that Rick Mueller, the brother of Loomis' predecessor as general manager in New Orleans, Randy Mueller, sat with Loomis in the booth during games and did not recall him extensively using a headset or earpiece, or signaling to other Saints coaches. Thornton said he has also sat in the booth with Loomis during games before and after Katrina and his recollection matches Mueller's, who was in the team's personnel department.
On the competitive front, too, questions about the report were raised almost immediately, many of them by ESPN's own experts. The team's home record during the three seasons in question was 12-12.
Redskins officials rejected a request to speak with Jim Haslett, who was the Saints' head coach during the time in question and who is now Washington's defensive coordinator, but Haslett did release a statement late Monday.
"At no time during my tenure as head coach with the New Orleans Saints did Mickey (Loomis) and I discuss monitoring opposing team coaches communication, nor did I have any knowledge of this," Haslett was quoted as saying. "To my knowledge this concept was never discussed or utilized."
Furthermore, ESPN reported Haslet's defensive coordinator in New Orleans, Rick Venturi, said he never got any intelligence delivered during a game that could have come from eavesdropping on opposing coaches' discussions.
Former Colts general manager Bill Polian offered Loomis more support when he repeatedly said on the air the allegations bear no resemblance to the Mickey Loomis with whom he has dealt with in the NFL, and then cast more doubt on any competitive advantage for New Orleans.
"There's something missing here," Polian said.
What was missing, he continued, was any reasonable explanation for how Loomis could have benefited from such a scheme, which Polian said is quite different from learning an opponents' coaching hand signals, which, once known, are readily interpreted by an entire sideline.
In the case of listening in on headphones, though, Loomis would have to have a good grasp of the complex lingo each franchise wraps around its playbook. In other words, Loomis would have to be fluent in 32 football languages to derive any benefit from what he overheard, according to Polian.
In addition, Loomis would have only split seconds to somehow transmit that information to the Saints' coaching staff.
Still, however dubious some of the allegations seemed and however forceful the club's denial, the story arose against a backdrop of seemingly perpetual turmoil for the Saints. The team is already coping with the full-season suspension of Coach Sean Payton and an eight-game suspension of Loomis and six-game suspension of interim head coach Joe Vitt that will begin with the 2012 regular season. The club has also been stripped of its second-round pick in this week's NFL draft as a result of the bounty scandal and will lose another draft pick next year on top of the $500,000 fine imposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Before Monday's bombshell, it appeared the next major bruise to the Saints' public image would come when Goodell metes out punishment to the between 22 and 27 defenders the NFL says were "willing and enthusiastic participants" in the under-the-table bounties that the league said were paid for plays that deliberately hurt opponents.
Goodell has already rejected appeals from Payton, Loomis and the Saints tied to his earlier punishments, speculation was rife Monday afternoon that the new allegations would make it very difficult for the commissioner to perhaps reconsider the penalties once the 2012 season began. Furthermore, should any of the electronic shenanigans in the Superdome prove to be true, it seems likely Goodell could increase the unprecedented penalties already imposed.AAT: VICTOR MARTINEZ
SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT A CLEAN BLOCK IS? BECAUSE THE NCAA SURE DOESN'T KNOW!
04-24-2012, 10:33 AM #2
I was talking to someone at work about this and he said he heard an interview with a former coach that said unless the Saints had the playbooks for every team they played they would not know what was being called, but still even just hearing what they are talking about would be a HUGE advantage IMO.
What would it take to 'prove' this? ONE maintenance guy saying he re wired something? I am no Saints appologist, but this is sounding like a witch hunt.
Would anybody be really surprised to hear ESPN fabricated the whole story to bolster ratings? Could they not just redact the statement ...conviently AFTER the draft....saying their 'sources' were incorrect?
I doubt we hear anything on this soon.....maybe 30-40 years from now someone that works for ESPN will write a tell all book talking about the BS 'stories' they made up to bolster ratings. It would not surprise me AT ALL."Yeah You're right man...that is enough."
04-24-2012, 11:23 AM #3
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This is a borderline federal felony. There's no way ESPN would just manufacture a story like this without having a reliable source.Every time you play a hand of you poker you wanna run through a mental check list. Head Position Hand Position Neck Position Breathing Posture. More than 25 items. It's a lot. And that why I've come up with a handy mnemonic device. Just one word: HPHPNPBPECMSPAMDCPAFTSTTL. It's easy.
04-24-2012, 11:59 AM #4
A few things...
First this allegedly happened early last decade. I wanna say like '03-'05 or something.
Second, during the time period involved, the Saints had a very similar home and away record, and really weren't a great team.
So *IF* they were only doing it during the alleged time it doesn't appear to have dramatically helped the on the field product of the time. Now having said that, if a team was doing this, why would they suddenly decide to stop? I suppose it's possible that the owner or president found out about it and put a stop to it. But frankly there are now some real questions about the honesty of the front office and coaching staff of the Saints. Because of their prior activity and attempted cover up I think it's fair to question what else might they be willing to do?
I do not find it far fetched to believe that the GM might really have done this. I suspect that he may have done it and NOT relayed the info to the field. Rather, it may have been nothing more than intelligence gathering. I suspect you could get many tidbit of good information from listening in to the conversations of the coaches.
For instance, you could glean a lot of 'on the field' stuff to help your team in the future. You can see if offenses are reading defensive sets a certain way and use that info to change sets for next games. You could see if defenses are noticing patterns in your play calling and use that to help mix up next game. You could hear if the other team is trying to change up because of what one specific player is doing against them, and use that to design plays to defeat the change up.
Not only this, but I can see lots and lots of personal info that you might be able to get. I'm sure there are lots of candid talk during a game which would help you understand how a team values it's talent. This could give you an edge in trades, FA signings, and even the draft. You could also, I'm sure, over hear candid evaluation of your players, helping you make better decisions in who you want to keep or let go.
There are all sorts of ways that this info could help beyond the actually play on the field that day.
I'm still not sure if I believe this or not, but given the questionable front office activity already, I wouldn't be shocked. And given that this "intelligence" could be helpful in many ways off the field, I don't think the lackluster on the field performance during this time is proof that it didn't happen.
One last point. I happened to catch Dan Patrick who seemed to elude that if the Saints front office really didn't do this, he would expect to see a lawsuit against ESPN from them for slander. Couldn't disagree more. First, ESPN is reporting what they've heard from 'sources.' As long as they aren't making it up, they really can't be sued I don't think. If they are reporting what others are saying to them, they aren't being slanderous. Second, even if you could sue them, these suits, in my understanding, are pretty hard to win. And if you win, you don't gain a whole lot. And if you lose, that seems to provide proof to the general public that the allegations are true. Sueing would be a stupid thing for them to do.
04-24-2012, 12:18 PM #5
The NFL is a HUGE business and I am surprised it took this long for a team to come under some scrutiny......the New England thing went away pretty quickly....surprise, surprise when ESPN is located in Bristol."Yeah You're right man...that is enough."
04-24-2012, 12:44 PM #6
Yeah, MCS, read the article, this happened long ago.2003 Tigers = 2010 Tigers
2012 AAT: Josue Carreno 0-2, 3.30 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 2.4 BB/9, 7.8 K/9
04-24-2012, 02:41 PM #7
Basically all in all I just see this as a time for the media and people in general to pile on to the Saints cause its an easy time to do so. If this was something that was working so well then why did they suck *** as a football team back then? And why not still be doing this then? Why stop after Katrina?
Hell people don't just believe everything that you read. I mean I could say I saw Loomis having sex with underage girls while doing piles of coke. Does that make it true because I said it? Maybe if I go to ESPN and they background check me out they will believe me.
Then as for what Sonics is saying in his title. Guess the Packers were cheating as well when they were walking up and down the field on us as well. Nah couldn't be that are D looked like crap it had to be the other teams were cheating.
04-24-2012, 02:43 PM #8
04-24-2012, 06:36 PM #9
yeah, i know it was a while ago, but if they did it once.............they might try it again, don't you think?
and if it turned out ESPN fabricated this, I can pretty much guarantee you that the NFL would sue the absolute **** out of ESPN and you would probably never see another NFL game on ESPN after this season. Hell, if ESPN made this up, you might not see another NFL HIGHLIGHT on ESPN.AAT: VICTOR MARTINEZ
SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT A CLEAN BLOCK IS? BECAUSE THE NCAA SURE DOESN'T KNOW!
04-24-2012, 07:33 PM #10
In the 3 years that the "Tap was active", they went 12-12 at home and 13-11 away. The only difference that ESPN has shown so far was how much better they played in the 2nd half of the games. And it was 2002-2004 I believe and whoever is saying it happened said they took out the Tap when they were cleaning up after Hurricane Katrina.VT B.R.B. "We only part to meet again"
AAT: RHP Will Clinard
04-25-2012, 07:04 AM #11
04-25-2012, 10:57 AM #12MotownSports Fan
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04-25-2012, 11:43 AM #13
Again, I'm not sure if it's true or not, but I'm comfortable assuming that this isn't just an off the wall story with only some random crazy guy as a source.
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