14 thoughts on “The Sign-Stealing Scandal”

  1. As a New England Patriots fan I’ve been through Videogate, Inflategate and finally Kraftgate. That’s when the Pats were No. 1. Now that they are in the dumpster nobody gives a damn. Can you imagine what UM in the Schembechler era might have done? Pulling UM out of the Big10 for the Ivy League? lol

    1. The jokes and jabs about Inflategate had so much staying power, not because of the allegation of cheating, but that the supposed cheating involved reducing the amount of air in the football. If Brady had added air to the football to make it more stiff, the episode wouldn’t have been such an embarrassment.

      1. They hate us cause they ain’t us
        I still say it’s just jealousy because they didn’t think to use the field goal by snowblower play first…

        1. I had to look that one up.

          It wasn’t a “field goal by snowblower.” The closest analogy might be if in a major golf tournament, one of the players in contention for the lead landed a ball in the rough, and the grounds keeper just happened to cut a swath with a lawnmower making it an easier shot.

          Or maybe, the fictitious scene in Caddy Shack where the grounds keeper charged with eliminating the gopher menace just happened to set off explosive charges in the gopher tunnels that tipped a green shot into the hole.

          1. The tractor and sweeper is on display suspended from the ceiling on steel cables at the Patriots Museum in Gillette Stadium. It had been used to keep the 10 yard lines clear during the game. The guy operating it was on prison work release. His comment at the time about potentially breaking the rules was “ What are they gonna do? Put me in jail?” Don Shula of the Miami Dolphins always claimed it was a cheat. Whenever you could get into Shula’s head like that, it was a good thing.

          2. Those were the days when snowball fights would erupt between fans during the game. If the Pats we’re winning, snowball fights would erupt between the fans and the Patriots bench. I remember Tedi Buschi had a pretty good arm back in the day. Watching from the comfort of TV at home ‘natch. 🙂

          3. My favorite “cheat” story is the legendary racing mechanic Smokey Yunick.

            A rule limiting the size of your gas tank meant that someone couldn’t run the race with fewer stops for fuel in the “pits” than other drivers.

            Smokey figured that the black-letter wording of the rule only applied to the tank. It did not say anything about the hose connecting the tank to the carburetor. So he gave his car a really long hose that he coiled like a garden hose.

            He won the race, his car was inspected as customary with the race-winning car, and the rules for next season were changed.

            The other Smokey story is during the late 1970s with the concern about automobile fuel economy and running out of oil (apparently the people anxious about running out of oil gave up on that, now they worry that we won’t run out of oil and will put too much CO2 in the atmosphere).

            He modified a Chevy Citation, which was GM’s first front-drive, transverse engine offering that became the template for just about every GM car since then. Like many GM products, it proved to be pretty junky, but it was at the center of GM’s efforts to meet the CAFE fuel economy standards.

            He took one with the optional 2.8 litre V6 and cut off half the cylinders, making it a 1.4 litre inline 3. He turbocharged it to a high level of boost, but then he added a system to recycle heat from the exhaust to heat the incoming charge. This would greatly reduce the mass flow into the engine without throttling loss.

            What he had was a recipe for an engine that would destroy itself with detonation unless it was given ultra-high octane racing fuel, but he claimed it ran on 87 octane unleaded regular. The car was said to have a lot of power yet get something like 60 MPG, about double the fuel economy of the stock V6 Citation.

            At the time there was a lot of “get-outa-here” about his seemingly outrageous claims, but a couple hundred HP and 60 MPG out of a highly turbocharged 1.4 liter inline 3 appears to be what the car makers are heading towards unless gas engine cars are outlawed completely in favor of electric cars.

            My guess is that what he did over 40 years ago are what automakers are trying to do now, that is, run a very small displacement engine with a high compression ratio and a lot of turbocharging and not have the engine destroy itself. Maybe Smokey applied his race-tuning mojo to at least solve the engine-not-destroying-itself in test setup, which may not have been practical for mass production tolerances and reproducability of settings back in the day.

            But what he was claiming could have been plausible.

  2. Big Ten (soon to be the Big 18) has suspended Harbaugh for the rest of the regular season:


    Personally, I’d love for UM to use lawfare against Purdue, OSU, and any other pearl clutching schools who have stolen signs. The real solution is to use the NFL system of having radio receivers in the QB helmets. Then they have to employ good encryption on the signals!!

    1. If it is a problem use messenger players like they did in the Ye Good Olde Days™. See, problem solved! Complaining about “stealing signals” when everybody in the stadium can see them …childishly naïve IMNSHO.

      What is next? Giving the players encrypted two-way commo and earplugs so the Home Crowd noise doesn’t effect their playing?

      1. One problem with this is that many teams want to use hurry up offense. Also, with the rules that if an offense substitutes, a defense must be allowed to, it all makes life complicated.

        1. And the defenses are getting sneaky with their substitutions. The offense can’t snap the ball until the defensive players have had the opportunity to finish their substitution, so the defensive players deliberately go slow to run out the play clock. This forces the offense to waste a timeout or get a 5 yard delay of game penalty. I’ve seen this happen several times this season. It sucks because it’s the defense that’s delaying the game. I expect the rules to change on this pretty soon.

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