On Thursday's "Dan Patrick Show," Tony Dungy -- a regular on the program -- casually threw out a very disconcerting bit of information about the Patriots' intelligence gathering procedures. He made a point to say that this kind of stuff -- which essentially amounts to spying -- is not confined to New England. He's just "heard" that it might definitively occur within the walls of Gillette Stadium.
Dan Patrick: "Did you think that your locker rooms were being spied on?"
Tony Dungy: "We had a few ex-Patriots that said, 'You better be careful what you do in the locker room and what you say,' and that kind of thing. I think a lot of that is psychological warfare, you know, they want to think certain things and worry about more about what's going on off the field than on it. You can't worry about you just have to play in and you know that there's that kind of thing everywhere."
Whoa. That's...not surprising at all. (But creepy nonetheless.)
Dan Patrick: "Ok, if you thought that they were eavesdropping on you, what did you change when you were in New England with what you would say in the locker room as opposed to another -- if you were in San Diego?
Tony Dungy: "You know, just be careful and, you know, it wasn't that big of a deal but psychologically I think it did have an impact...everybody tries to get an advantage when they can and most people do."
Obviously, Dungy isn't saying how the team would've gone about listening in on their opponent's secret conversations -- for all we know it could be complete bullshit -- but the implication is clear: people who've played for the Patriots think the Patriots spy on other teams. Considering that they've been nabbed for this kind of stuff in the past, the idea that Belichick's regime would ask stadium employees mulling about the visitors' locker room to report back any information they overheard isn't a hard sell.
Peyton Manning in particular seemed a bit suspicious about having detailed talks inside the Pats' Foxboro, Massachusetts, lair.
"Peyton talked to guys who played for the Patriots, some of the guys who came over—whether it’s true or not he treated it as true," Dungy said, adding, "Peyton takes everything to the nth degree."