Doctoring footballs allegedly isn’t the only method NFL teams use to get ahead.
For The Win’s Nina Mandell talked to an NFL player who remained anonymous because he’s still in the league, and he revealed a few things that teams do to skirt the rules. While they’re not necessarily illegal, they certainly don’t protect the “integrity” of the game.
“It’s a billion-dollar industry and not to say there’s a lot of cheaters out there but … I think it’s not necessarily cheating, it’s taking every single advantage you can to win the game,” the player told Mandell. “The majority of NFL games on average are decided by three points or less. If you can find a competitive edge, you’re going to do it.”
One way teams try to get that competitive edge is when they have holes to fill on their practice squad. Instead of finding the best guy for the job, some teams might fill a need with a player from an upcoming opponent’s squad with the idea that the player might be able to give them information about the playbook they’re about to go up against.
But finding shady ways to win isn’t always a one-team job. Mandell’s source claimed that teams sometimes get a little help from outsiders.
“If you watch head coaches or offensive or defensive coordinators when they’re calling plays, they will put a piece of paper or their hands over their mouth because there used to be people who were professional lip-readers who would use binoculars and only watch them and read their lips,” the player said. “And they’d have a walkie talkie or a cell phone and relay that information to the other team so they would know the play call.”
The player also added that the reason the league limited the media’s time at practice to 15 minutes is because “moles” were selling footage to other teams.
The player even claimed he was the victim of some sketchy tactics. He said former New York Jets coach Sal Alosi — who eventually was suspended in 2010 for tripping Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll — used to trap players on the sidelines.
“The sideline is regulated with the yellow line, but there’s nothing that says you can’t push the player further out of bounds past the yellow line, so they would make it difficult back inbound,” the player said.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images