The Replay: Bill Belichick, Chuck Pagano, and Indiana basketball

Mustache-Twirling Edition

Every Friday, we post up The Replay, our weekly look at sports. It’s mostly fouls and airballs.


» Patriot Games: The Deflategate ordeal took some weird turns this week, and now the NFL is one mustache-twirling, back-from-the-dead identical cousin away from becoming a full-blown Univision telenovela. Days after Judge Richard Berman overturned Tom Brady’s NFL suspension, Berman and Patriots owner Robert Kraft were spotted together at a Labor Day party in the Hamptons.

But the meeting was probably a chance coincidence and the party might not have been that weird.


Then, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham and Pulitzer Prize–winner Don Van Natta Jr. unveiled a blockbuster story that connected the dots between two Patriots cheating scandals, Deflategate and Spygate. Citing more than 90 sources, the reporters alleged that employees from the New England organization stole playbooks from opponents (including the Colts), illegally videotaped opposing coaches, and engaged in an array of other Nixonian dirty tricks. Also important: The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell might have looked the other way and/or destroyed evidence. Long story short: The Pats and coach Bill Belichick may have cheated.


The NFL tried to put all of that behind when the Patriots and Steelers kicked off the regular season on Thursday. But, after the Patriots 28-21 win, Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin complained his team’s headsets didn’t work and strongly implied the Patriots were behind the snafu (echoes of such tactics are present in the ESPN report). How this apparent act of open defiance from the Patriots makes Goodell feel is anyone’s guess.


Well played, Belichick.



» Frenemies 4ver: Several reports suggest that Colts coach Chuck Pagano and team general manager Ryan Grigson might not be seeing eye to eye. But they’re, like, ‘Nope, we’re cool, guys.’



» He Scores: IU basketball fans have a new favorite Hoosier—and he’s a Michigan Man. Sort of. Fifth-year transfer Max Bielfeldt, joining the Hoosiers this season after spending his first four years with the Wolverines, reached out to IU great A.J. Guyton with a handwritten letter—in which he promises better from the program—that’s winning the Internet. Go ahead, try to hate:


» Now Read This: Friend of IM Justin Heckert follows up with Eric LeGrand five years after a vicious hit left the former Rutgers standout paralyzed.