Loomis’ latest headache… wiretapping?Published 12:01am Sunday, April 29, 2012
As if Saints general manager Mickey Loomis needed anything else on his plate, another potential controversy surrounding his team has fired up in the last week.
This past Monday, an ESPN report cited an anonymous source that said Loomis had a setup in his box that would have allowed him to listen in on opposing coaches’ conversations from 2002 to 2004.
Obviously, this would violate NFL rules, not to mention federal wiretapping laws.
These allegations have not been proven, and I personally feel it’s a bit far-fetched, mostly because I question how much of an advantage this actually would have given the Saints.
As far as I know, Loomis doesn’t have any coaching background. He was in the Seahawks organization for a number of years before taking over in New Orleans in 2002. If he were to overhear “22 slant seven, heavy 14,” or something of the like, just how useful would that coaching jargon be?
Furthermore, let’s assume he actually happened to know the play. There’s 40 seconds on the play clock from the end of the previous down, or 25 seconds after stoppages like time outs or injury delays. Does he call the Saints’ defensive coordinator, who calls a coach on the sideline, who signals to a player, who gets his defense in position? And what if the opposing quarterback calls an audible?
Sure, if Loomis happened to pick up on it being a run or pass play, that would certainly give the Saints’ defense an advantage. But wouldn’t such a system make much more sense if it were set up for the Saints coaches to hear the opposing coaches’ conversations, instead of Loomis?
ACCS football coach David King also questioned how useful the info would hypothetically be to Loomis.
“It’d be different if it were Sean Payton or Drew Brees, but a GM sitting in a booth with CEOs?” King said.
“If you could decipher it and get it down to the coaches, you could gain a certain amount of knowledge. But it wouldn’t be worth most people’s while to get the info, because if anything were changed, it’d be confusing.”
Natchez High School head coach Lance Reed was more sold on the idea of potential advantages this alleged system might have given the Saints, if it indeed existed.
Even taking into account the unlikelihood of Loomis understanding the jargon, Reed said the info could still prove useful if given to the Saints coaches at the half. Coaches could potentially detect patterns in playcalling and adjust the defense, Reed said.
“In the NFL, I believe many of the languages they use are quite similar, so I think if they could get a feel for the plays being used, it could be to some advantage,” Reed said.
The bottom line is, if these allegations prove true, it would be damning to Loomis, who is already suspended for part of the upcoming season for his role in the team’s bounty scandal.
Whether or not people find this ESPN report to be believable, there’s another question altogether that’s begging to be asked: Why are these allegations coming out now, eight years after the fact?
It seems like this could be a case of someone trying to ride the momentum wave of Bountygate, or trying to kick a team while it’s down.