Polian Satisfied with Goodell's Explanation of Spygate to Competition Committee
INDIANAPOLIS - Bill Polian heard the facts on Thursday.
And as a member of the NFL's Competition Committee, when it came to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's explanation – and presentation of facts – regarding the New England Patriots' "Spygate" incident this past season, Polian said he was very much satisfied.
"I think it's fair to say we were satisfied with the explanation and satisfied with what was done – at least I am, anyway," Polian said Thursday morning.
"It's behind us. It's time to move forward."
Goodell met with the Competition Committee Thursday morning at the NFL Scouting Combine, which is ongoing this week at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. There, he addressed the details of the case of the Patriots and Head Coach Bill Belichick videotaping defensive signals against the New York Jets in the season opener.
Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots forfeited their first-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft.
Other members of the Competition Committee agreed with Polian – that Goodell's explanation of the league's handling of the situation was "thorough, detailed, fair and efficient."
"I view it in our mind as being resolved," said Atlanta Falcons President Rich McKay, co-chair of the Competition Committee. "I view it as something that has happened. It's an incident that was dealt with and dealt with severely in my mind. In my mind, it's yesterday's news. It doesn't mean there aren't discussions ongoing that we read about all the time, but I think this was an investigation where the team admitted something had gone on.
"There was punishment given out and that was the end of it."
Said Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher, Co-Chair of the Committee, "We don't anticipate the Patriots' situation repeating itself because of the clear message the Commissioner sent to the organization and the head coach."
The Competition Committee, which helps oversee league competition and suggests rules changes, likely would not spend significant time on the issue, McKay said.
"We're more focused on are there rules that we need to address . . ." McKay said. "Beyond that, I don't think we're going to get caught up in the rest of what else may be going on around us."
The issue has continued to be newsworthy in recent weeks, with United States Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA) meeting with Goodell regarding the issue and expressing concerns over Goodell's handling of the situation. Specifically, Specter has raised questions about why evidence in the case was destroyed.
"The briefing was thorough," Polian said. "It was detailed. The process of arriving at the discipline was explained to us. That process was fair, detailed, efficient. What was on the tapes was explained to us and what was in the notes was explained to us. The reason that that information was done away with was explained to us. I can only speak for myself, but from my perspective that was a thorough, fair, efficient process with lots of integrity.
"They arrived at a disciplinary action which the Commissioner thought was appropriate and which met with previous precedent, which by the way the Commissioner is often times guided by. . . .
"As a member of the committee, you have to look at the big picture, not the individual issues you might or might not have. The facts are it was dealt with swiftly. It was dealt with justly. It was dealt with efficiently and it was dealt with integrity. What more is there to say?"
Polian said the primary issue regarding the situation was that the Patriots videotaped the opposing coaches, not that they attempted to decipher the opponent's signals.
"If you can decipher the opposing defensive coordinator, or signal-caller's, delivery, then you know what defense is coming, particularly with respect to coverages and blitzes," Polian said. "Then, you have an advantage. Now, that process of discovery has gone on for a long, long time.
"The issue was how it was done, not the fact that it was done."
And Polian said while much of what Goodell told the Committee was information that has been reed in recent months, "there was a level of detail, perhaps, that you (the media) may not have gotten."
"I can only speak for myself, but I was quite satisfied that the answers were forthcoming, correct," Polian said. "From the perspective of someone that knows the game, everything that was done made perfect sense. It was done expeditiously, and it was done with fairness and integrity.
"I don't have any problem with it whatsoever."