Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New England Patriots Accused Of Stealing Signals From Jets - ESPN and Other Sources

I personally think Commissioner Goodell should take the game away from the Patriots. That's terrible. It also cloud's the whole "Bill Belichek's a Genius" talk. Here's John Clayton ...

According to league sources, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has determined that the New England Patriots violated league rules when it videotaped defensive signals by New York Jets coaches during the Patriots' 38-14 win Sunday. There will be a hearing with the Patriots -- mostly likely by phone by the end of the week -- and then a ruling by the commissioner that could cost New England draft picks. Here are some questions and answers on the incident:

What is the commissioner's stance?
Such spying is a serious infraction. It's cheating and could affect the outcome of games. Goodell established a strict player conduct policy, and he wants coaches and team employees to also live up to a high standard.

What rules did the Patriots allegedly violate?
The "Game Operations Manual" states that "no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game." The manual states that "all video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead." NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from a New England video assistant on the Patriots' sideline when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Taping any signals is prohibited. The toughest part usually is finding evidence to support an allegation.

What could the punishment be?
Goodell must come down hard on this one because he clearly has evidence. ESPN has reported that Goodell is considering severe sanctions, including the possibility of docking the Patriots "multiple draft picks." That could mean a combination of a second-rounder and something else, maybe a fifth-rounder. The commissioner could push the penalty over two years, but he can't treat this lightly by just taking away a second-day draft choice. The Patriots are good. They had only two draft choices -- a first- and a second-round pick -- make the team this season. Fining them just a fourth-round choice wouldn't hurt them much.

What advantage could a coach get by stealing defensive signals?
Any good coach with knowledge of the defensive play calls from the sideline can adjust his blocking schemes and come up with the appropriate counter measures. You've seen quarterbacks and coaches study photos of defensive alignments after each possession. If there is a way to pick up defensive signals, a quarterback can make the right audibles and get out of a bad play. Knowledge is everything.

Belichick is the best in the business at taking information and turning it into strategy. He's the best coach in football at knowing the strength and the weakness of a player and putting him in a position to succeed. Give him a signal or two and he will know how to burn a team with a big play at the right time. A coach that smart is always looking for an edge.

Why will owners be upset about this?
First, many owners may feel Belichick beat them by cheating. That may be hard to take, but that's life. What is going to upset them even more is this incident could cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars. This incident will probably lead to having a defensive player on the field with a radio helmet to receive defensive signals from the sideline. Using hand signals to relay defensive calls is an outdated concept. The offense can use modern technology. Why can't defenders? It's going to cost money to equip defenders. Thanks to this incident, owners may have to start paying for that advancement next year.

What will be Belichick's defense?
That's hard to say because there won't be an open hearing. In fact, the hearing is supposed to be done by phone as early as late this week. The commissioner doesn't have to supply details of the Patriots' position. He just has to render a decision. Bringing Belichick to New York would be a circus. There is no reason to have a circus involving this one. The video either says the Patriots were spying or not. Goodell will listen to Belichick's defense and then deliver his penalty.

What will be the longterm effect on Belichick and the Patriots?
Although this is embarrassing, you can't take away what this franchise can do. They may have the best team in football. Robert Kraft is one of the league's best owners. The team has three Super Bowl rings and a great chance to get a fourth. Other great organizations have paid penalties for violating league rules. The Broncos lost a draft choice for violating the salary cap with John Elway. The Steelers once had to forfeit a third-round draft choice for working out in shoulder pads in the offseason. The Patriots may lose a draft choice or two. And whether or not the Patriots videotaped the Jets' defensive signals, Belichick won't be any less of a coach.

John Clayton is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

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Venessa Hudgens! Vanessa Hudgens! Who's Vanessa Hudgens?

Ok. I've never heard of Vanessa Hudgens until Techorati introduced me to her and (of course) some kind of sex-related content. So, ever the student of Internet Marketing, I decided to dig in and see what the fuss was all about with the idea that I could learn a thing or three.

Who's Vanessa Hudgens?

Well, she's...

Vanessa Anne Hudgens, (also known simply as) Vanessa Hudgens, (born December 14, 1988 in Salinas, California) is an American actress and singer. She made her screen debut in 2003 and appeared in the Hollywood films Thirteen and Thunderbirds, before reaching fame in the 2006 hit Disney Channel film, High School Musical. Hudgens also began a music career and released her debut album, entitled V, in 2006. In 2007, Hudgens became the spokesperson for Neutrogena.[1]...

According to a Wikiepedia entry -- at least the part that doesn't look doctored, if you know what I mean.

And ShowBuzz says "Hudgens portrayed Gabriella, the brainy love interest of Zac Efron's basketball star in the first two "High School Musical" made-for-cable movies. The two are said to be dating in real life.

"High School Musical 2" attracted more than 17 million viewers for its Disney Channel premiere in August, the most-watched television program of the summer."

Wow! 17 million viewers!

But a look at the blogs reveals a lot more juicy stuff.

TMZ.com reports that she took nude photos a while back and they surfaced on the Internet. Apparently, TMZ liked her body so much the labeled the report under the tag "Hot Bodies." Meanwhile, a new report claims that Vanessa sent nude photos of herself to some guy named Zac Efron

For all the huff, Vanessa's MySpace page contains no visible appology, but a lot of fan sympathy.

Ok, for me, this is a story of a desire for Internet visibility. Yep. That's right. It should come as no surprise that with this stunt Vanessa's broken out of her teen-pop-culture roots, right as she's turned 18 years old. Think about it.

Now, she can secretly approve the "leak" of nude photos of herself, then sit back and watch as her Internet traffic numbers rise up -- which if you look at the Alexa graph and focus on September, has happened.

Vanessa's the latest in a long line of young women who've bared it all online and reaped the rewards, from Paris Hilton and Britney Spears (who really just bared the beaver) and a certain Louisville Cheerleader. The list goes on, and it will keep going on.

What's interesting to see is the number of teenage copycats on YouTube who dance wiggling their butt to the camcorder, or showing other parts on more risque sites, or those that join the i-Friends network, then spam the hell out of people who want nothing to do with their webcam activities.

I'm serious about this.

What Vanessa, Paris, and other pop-teen stars are doing is saying to their fans -- girls -- it's ok to show off before the camera and tease society for attention and in some cases profit. You'd have to be naive to say I'm making this up. Heck, you're reading about Vanessa to start with, right?

This is Internet Marketing at it's pure form best -- controversial, viral, unfortunate, and culture changing. It's too late to say we don't want this to happen -- we not only allowed it, we created the technology to cause it. Blogs, websites, YouTube, Blip.tv, and other systems have raised the bar of what can be shown quickly and publicly. The "me" culture has morphed into the attention culture, and we're all a part of it.

We're either making content, or consuming content, and the content we want most is generally that showing someone else doing something..sexy.

But now that I know who Vanessa Hudgens is, I'll tell you what -- she can sing!