We have few details.
It's all speculation.
But, of course, the 24-hour sports cycle can't stop debating over the potential advantages of eavesdropping on opposing coaches' conversations during the course of the game.
Mickey Loomis, the GM of the New Orleans Saints, a team already embattled with scandal, disruption, and the failure to sign the franchise's most important player, Drew Brees, is embroiled in yet another scandal.
An ESPN "Outside the Lines" report and the U.S. Attorney's Office have implicated Loomis in a multi-year wiretapping scheme that allowed him to listen in on opposing coaches from his seat in a box high above the field. The original purpose was to listen to his own coaches, using a toggle to switch between offensive and defensive signals, but according to the source, this was switched to receive the visiting teams signals instead.
I listened to countless "experts" argue over the potential benefits of being able to hear these conversations. Consistently, the argument was that a GM, who had never been a coach or player, could not decipher another team's proprietary play calls beyond possibly run or pass.
I can't tell if this argument is watered down for the general audience, but it seems completely pointless to me. Take, for example, Jeff Jagodzinski, an offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009. Raheem Morris had him fired the day before the final preseason game, less than 10 days before the regular season opener because he could not get the plays in on time. Or take the Baltimore Ravens last year in the playoffs.
Confusion on the sidelines, mass chaos, missed field goal. All because 40 seconds is not enough time to make up your mind, change it, then change it again. What this tells me is that coaches who write the playbook, who knows everything there is to know about it, have trouble executing calls in the 40 second span between plays. So of course a GM could not have gained anything useful from individual play calls.
However, it is ridiculous to think that play calls are the only thing going over the radio during a game. There must be other things discussed, injuries, strategies, even things as simple as, "we gotta go deep on this series". The potential benefits are too numerous to count.
Given that; let's assume there is some substance to these allegations. I want to assume since it is highly unlikely this will ever be proven, and that's no fun.
The basis of the conversations around this is the lack of proper time to relay information, whether between plays or otherwise. Which I agree, it would be difficult to relay this information, regardless of how beneficial it may be. For all we know, Mickey was just doing this so he didn't sound so stupid around the football guys.
So what, then, would be the benefit for a true football guy, someone who has been called a genius, someone who truly understands the game, if, say, they had a full day to evaluate ill-gotten knowledge? If they had the time to evaluate, visualize application, and then make adjustments to adapt to it? I would imagine the benefit would be considerably higher.
I would imagine game plans could be adjusted to take advantage of this. Possibly even to thwart the Greatest Show on Turf?
I've also heard experts say that they believe this is far worse than the Patriots' "Spy-gate Scandal." I would say the exact opposite. I consider what Bill Belichick did to be far more measured, calculated, and potentially beneficial.
The experts on ESPN said themselves, they don't see a significant advantage gained out of this by Mickey. They question his ability to understand the language, and definitely question his ability to communicate it down to the field in a timely manner. With Belichick's strategy, time is of no issue. He has all night to review, then make changes with his staff in the morning. Go over in a team meeting, and then execute in the game. For an NFL coach, having information like this 24 hours in advance must seem like eons.
So Commissioner Goodell has a serious problem on his hands. Either he can continue to let people think that this is somehow not as bad as what the Patriots did, or come clean and say that he did not properly discipline the Patriots and their coach.
Or, he can just continue to hope that these stay allegations and nothing more.