Former Steelers Barrett Brooks' new allegations and the Patriots' legacy of Spygate

Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers / Nick Laham/GettyImages
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Steelers fans had much to cheer about while Ben Roethlisberger ran the Steelers machine for 18 seasons. Yet, the only hurdle Big Ben never managed was beating Tom Brady in the playoffs. Big Ben only faced Tom Brady twice in the playoffs, once in his rookie season in 2004 and again in 2016. Both times in the AFC championship game, and both times Tom Brady won.

Ben’s losses to Brady leave Steelers fans with a slightly empty feeling inside, the one in which we would have loved to see Ben outduel Brady in the playoffs just once. Well, new fuel has been added to the fire regarding the Patriot’s Spygate scandal, which leads to speculation that perhaps the Patriots did manage to rob Big Ben of that elusive victory over Brady in his rookie season.  

The latest accusation that the Patriots were cheating and stealing signs from other teams came from former Steelers tackle Barrett Brooks, who played for them in 2004 and 2005. This is significant in that the Patriots Spygate Scandal never broke until 2007, which leads to speculation that the Patriots were cheating much longer than anyone suspected.

What was Spygate?

Spygate was the term coined when Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella was caught videotaping hand signals from the Jet’s defensive coordinator in 2007. Jets head coach Eric Mangini, the Patriots' defensive coordinator when the Jets hired him as head coach, knew the Patriots taped defensive signals.

To confuse the Patriots, he would have three Jets coaches signal at the same time. Plus Jets’ Security was instructed to remove any unauthorized cameramen on the field. Shortly after, Matt Estrella was caught filming signals.

Officially per the NFL investigation, the Patriots taping only went back to 2006, or at least the only ones the Patriots had in their possession when NFL executives confiscated and destroyed them when they paid a visit to the Patriots Facility after the scandal broke. However, Roger Goodell confided to Sen. Arlen Specter in a more private conversation that the Patriots' taping went back to at least 2000. In 2015, ESPN released a bombshell report on Spygate in great detail; you can still read it online.