ESPN report: Patriots stole play sheets from locker rooms

Tom Brady Speaks Following Deflategate Ruling

The New England Patriots were looking forward to the season after finally putting the Deflategate scandal in their rearview mirror when Tom Brady won his appeal and had his suspension listed.

But like Lee Corso on many Saturday mornings, ESPN said "not so fast."

During SportsCenter on Tuesday morning, Outside The Line's Bob Ley had a report from Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham that accused the New England Patriots of stealing play sheets from opponent's locker rooms, among many things, during the Spygate-era. Now the petty theft of play sheets wasn't the focal point of the report, but it is possibly the most shocking and definitely new information.

We all know the Patriots were accused of filming practices, but breaking into opponent's locker rooms?

According to the report, the team would send "low-level" employees into the locker room during pre-game warm-ups to life the play sheets. Low-level employees also took the blame for Deflategate and Tom Brady denied any knowledge of what they were doing.

The report included some retold testimonies from former opponents who said the Patriots were surprisingly knowledgeable about their plays, including plays that were new and previously unused. And what is more shocking is that this seemed to be relatively common knowledge in the NFL, and that teams were aware of what was going on and would intentionally leave dummy play sheets out to throw the Patriots off the scent and feed them false information.

It doesn't stop there either, the Patriots would go a step further and would send these same "low-level" employees to the visiting team's hotel room to try and obtain information like playbooks for scouting reports.

In ESPN's report, they claim that the NFL found "a library of scouting material containing video tapes of opponents' signals, with detailed notes matching signals to plays for many teams going back seven seasons" during their Spygate conversation. It further alleges that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell tried to cover up this information to the best of his ability.

Now with NFL teams embracing technology you have to envision the Patriots hiring hackers to try and steal playbooks. Any team playing the Patriots might need to come up with some code to encrypt playbooks, digitally and on paper.

The Patriots have responded in a statement denying the allegations.

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