Given their shoddy track record with the rules, it is difficult to give the New England Patriots the benefit of the doubt.
Apparently, players on opposing teams are not doing so either, and take extra precautions against wandering eyes and ears as a result.
Speaking with his brother Eli Manning on their Monday Night Football simulcast, Hall of Fane quarterback Peyton Manning revealed that his paranoia led he and his receivers to conduct meetings in the showers when playing New England.
“Every time I played against New England, I used to talk to my receivers in the showers,” Manning said. “Don’t talk about a play next to my locker because I know it’s bugged. I know it’s got a hot mic in there. Very strange to see 7 guys hanging out in the shower.”
Former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster co-signed Manning’s suspicions on Twitter.
“Not one lie told,” Foster said accompanied by an eyes emoji.
Not one lie told 👀 https://t.co/sW5BrUlrCx— Ramon Foster (@RamonFoster) September 21, 2021
Foster and Manning’s anxieties stem from Spygate, the 2007 scandal that revealed New England had been illegally videotaping signals for some time.
The Steelers were one of the victims of the plot, as it was later unearthed that the Patriots had two tapes of Pittsburgh from their 2002 meeting in the AFC Championship Game.
Former Steelers Hines Ward, James Harrison and Kordell Stewart have all expressed their suspicion in the past that something was nefarious was going on during those New England games earlier this century.
While the true impact of Spygate is debatable, there is no denying NFL players were still being cautious around the Patriots nearly a decade later.