The Saints’ descent into hell continues. According to an anonymous source who’s spoken with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, New Orleans Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, who’s already been suspended eight games this season due to his participation in a cover-up of the Saints’ bounty scandal, may have been listening in on opposing coaching staffs from the 2002-2004 seasons.
A listening device was allegedly installed in the general manager’s suite in 2000, when Loomis’ predecessor, Randy Mueller, served as Saints GM. At that time, however, the device was programmed to listen in on the Saints coaching staff during games.
After Mueller was fired and Loomis took over, however, he allegedly had the device re-wired to listen in on opposing teams. Which, obviously, has led to this giant clusterfuck of a mess Loomis currently finds himself in.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first:
Whatever Loomis did or didn’t do, it didn’t help the Saints.
They were 12-12 at home during the span of time he allegedly was spying on opposing coaches, and it would be logistically difficult for him to:
– Listen to what opposing coaches were saying.
– Decipher their team-specific terminology — remember, each NFL team has their own language, which to a foreign team executive would sound like Japanese.
– Relay that deciphered terminology from his booth to his own coaches without someone noticing.
It also needs to be noted that Drew Brees and Sean Payton were not on the team during this window of time. (The device was disabled after the Superdome was used to house displaced citizens during Hurrican Katrina.)
Still: this is a massive scandal on top of a massive scandal.
If Loomis could hear everything opposing coaches were saying, he could hear other things besides play calls, such as general strategical directions to other players and coaches (we need to go to “X” player more).
In addition to being a clear violation of NFL rules, it’s also a violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. One sign that Loomis won’t be prosecuted on a state or federal level, however: the statute of limitations on any kind of prosecution for breaking this law is six years.
There’s still a possible open door for a massive civil suit, though. Any team or individual that played in the Superdome from 2002-2004, and was listened in on by Loomis, could theoretically sue the Saints for electronically listening in on a conversation they were having without their knowledge. So, if you asked yourself, “What’s one possible way Bountygate could become worse for New Orleans and their fans?” it’s this: another, completely unrelated scandal that could lead to the team being sued.