When “Spygate” originally went down, we as New England Patriots players were unaware of anything that was going on.
The story became national news pretty quickly. You'd turn on the television and hear everyone calling us cheaters and saying, “This is the reason why they’ve accomplished what they’ve accomplished.”
It was so blown out of proportion, and it was all speculation at that point.
We were going into our second week of the 2007 season, and Bill Belichick addressed the team to discuss the elephant in the room.
He said, “Look, this is what’s going on, but it’s nothing you guys need to be concerned with. It’s a league issue, and you guys have nothing to do with it."
It was a general statement just notifying the team: "You’re going to be asked about it. I’ll handle the questioning on it."
The fact of the matter was, he wanted to get back to status quo. He reminded us that we had a game that week, and that we had to focus on that.
After that, it was business as usual. “Spygate” wasn’t this overarching theme he addressed constantly throughout the week. Once he said his peace in that first meeting, we were on to the San Diego Chargers (our next opponent), and then the week proceeded as usual.
I think this week's circumstances are completely different from when that development first broke in 2007.
The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing. ... We never saw those guys.
This situation is something in which the film crew for the Patriots' in-house production team was doing their show, "Do Your Job," on an individual scout.
The players and football staff have no understanding of anything the production team is doing on week-to-week basis. We never saw those guys unless they requested an interview with us like any other media outlet.
They weren’t at practice, they were never in meetings. There’s just no communication between them and the players and coaching staff, unless they're doing a story on one of us.
So, this is outside even the realm of football, really.
It's a mishap by the Patriots' production group in that they forgot or didn't acknowledge the rules, and because of the history, everybody immediately draws the conclusion that Bill had something to do with it and this team is somehow benefiting from this.
That's false -- especially when you're talking about the Cincinnati Bengals, who have won one game all year. That's what makes it more comical when you consider the circumstances.
My guess is Bill won't make more than one quick statement to the team about this.
He'll say, “Look, none of you guys have anything to do with it. Even as a team and a coaching staff, we have nothing to do with this. You let me address it in the media, and if you don’t have any common knowledge of it -- which none of us do -- then there’s really no reason to comment on it.”
That’s it. Then it’s back to business, back to the work week and back to getting ready for the Bengals. I don’t think it will be brought up any more than that.
Editor's note: Matt Cassel had a 14-year NFL career that included four seasons with the New England Patriots (2005-2008). He's joining the NBC Sports Boston team for this season. You can find him on game days as part of our Pregame Live and Postgame Live coverage, as well as every week on Tom E. Curran’s Patriots Talk podcast and NBCSportsBoston.com.
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