Who ratted out the Patriots' violation?
First people thought Bill Belichick didn’t want to deal with the media, hence why the Patriots canceled their OTAs and media availability scheduled for Thursday. Then we learned of an offseason rule violation, which prompted the league to force the Patriots to cancel not one but two days of voluntary organized team activities. Now we know the culprit behind the violation, and recent history considered, fans aren’t going to like hearing it.
According to Greg Bedard of The Boston Sports Journal (and corroborated by others), Patriots offensive assistant coach Joe Judge was “at the heart” of the recent OTA violation that has caused not only the cancelation of two days of OTAs but also incurred a $50,000 fine for coach Bill Belichick. According to the report, Judge, listed as a Pats special teams coach in the NFLPA filings (but not on the team’s official website) conducted special teams meetings that led to players on both offense and defense being at the facility longer than the agreed upon four hours during OTAs. The violation was reported to the NFLPA. The NFLPA notified the league. The league punished Belichick and the Patriots. The Patriots now have another “scandal” to deal with (but if we’re being honest, it’s pretty low stakes). NFL fans now believe the Patriots are cheating again.
Feels like things have returned to normal. What do they say? “Nature is healing in Foxboro.”
All joking aside…this seems like a trivial matter to merit such a stiff punishment, but the Patriots are no strangers when it comes to the NFL league offices, discipline and more. The loss of the OTAs is no laughing matter but likely won’t affect the team too much come kickoff in September. $50,000 likely won’t be felt in Bill Belichick’s wallet, either.
What’s concerning is Judge, who already was on notice with fans after last season’s offensive ineptitude, allegedly overstepping bounds and causing a problem before minicamp, let alone the season. Many called for Judge’s dismissal after last season, along with Matt Patricia, the chief offensive reverse engineer of 2022. Patricia is now with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Judge seems to have gotten a promotion on the Pats. How this will be handled internally by Belichick and ownership remains to be seen. One can’t believe owner Robert Kraft is too happy to see his team back in the news for the wrong reasons, again.
“No Days Off!”? More like “Two Days Off!” And you can’t imagine Joe Judge’s involvement will sit too well within the ranks of Patriots Nation.
The Patriots now have six of seven scheduled OTA days available to them before minicamp June 12-14.