Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: The New England Patriots are being accused of cheating.
As the Patriots prepare to face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on Sunday, many are looking back to the last time these two met on the big stage in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
Steve Spagnuolo, who was the linebackers coach under then-Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson in 2005, spoke to 97.5 The Fanatic’s “The Morning Show” on Monday, and claimed the Patriots somehow knew Philadelphia’s defensive signals in the 24-21 win in Jacksonville.
“Here’s what I remember distinctly — At the time, I was up in the box, and Jim was down on the field,” Spagnuolo said. “And I remember through the course of the game, Jim saying, ‘They’re getting our signals. They know when we’re blitzing. They’re getting our signals. Try to hide it, etc. etc.’
“And I remember distinctly thinking, ‘Jim, I don’t think that’s true.’ Now I’m not saying this to him because I don’t want to upset him. I’m saying it to myself. ‘I don’t think so Jim, just concentrate on calling the game.'”
The Patriots held off the Eagles, and after watching the tape of the game, Spagnuolo agreed with Johnson that New England had their signals.
“In hindsight he was right,” Spagnuolo said. ” When you go back and look at that tape, it was evident to us — and I’m not crying over spilled milk here — but we believed that Tom (Brady) knew when we were pressuring because he certainly got the ball out pretty quick. But, you know, you got to play the game, and they won that particular day. But there’s no question I wasn’t going to let that happen in the 2008 Super Bowl after the 2007 season.”
Spagnuolo later was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants team that beat the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, and he made sure New England couldn’t steal his signals in that game.
“I’ll tell you, the biggest thing we learned was make sure you have two signal callers, not one signal caller, because they may have all your signals,” Spagnuolo said. “We made sure we had two signal callers, and we were protecting against that.”
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images