Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fennelly: Tony Dungy: Nothing illegal about Colts stealing signs

Tony Dungy is such a newsmaker.

This just in: He stole signs.

But did he cheat?

The Pro Football Hall of Fame coach laughed.

"People, not just us, everybody has stolen signs."

And quite legally, Dungy pointed out. It wasn't cheating.

"It has no connotation of illegality," Dungy said.

This all started the other day, when new Pro Football Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson said that some people will put an asterisk next to the Super Bowl champion Patriots' accomplishments because of SpyGate. Hall of Famer, Deion Sanders, who works with Tomlinson at the NFL Network, returned serve.

"Those same critics, did they say anything about the wins the Indianapolis Colts have?" Sanders said. "You want to talk about that, too. Because they were getting everybody's signals."

Belichick and Dungy, together at last.

So did Tony Dungy cheat?

"People think stealing signs is cheating. I guess it connotes something wrong," Dungy said. "But it's not illegal, at least in how you normally do it, try to pick up on something. That's why you change signals. That's why you change audibles. People will steal your signs. Sure, it's fair. Absolutely.

"Let me start with Deion, and he says we're stealing signs. I guess I'm going to take it back to baseball terms, that the runner on second base steals signs or the person sitting in the dugout watches the third base coach all day and figures out what the bunt sign is.

"Stealing signs? That's just a term for looking at the other team and figuring out what they're doing. Deion, if he played corner, he stole signs, he's listening for the other team's audibles, looking at Peyton Manning's hand signals to Reggie Wayne. Everybody in any sport does that.

"It has no connotation of illegality. Did we steal signs if we could? Yes. Did we listen to the other team's audibles and try to figure out what they mean? Yes. Along with every other person who ever played the game."

Which brings us back to the Patriots, and SpyGate, the allegations, the docked draft pick, all of it.

What's the difference between what they did and other teams did?.

"The Patriots' problem had nothing to do with stealing signals," Dungy said. "Their problem and why they were fined a draft choice is they were illegally taping things, whatever they were videotaping. You can't videotape another team's bench from where they were shooting it.

"The distinction is the rule book, what you can do and what you can't do. And when the rule book says you can't videotape from certain places on the field and you can't videotape a team's bench area. When you do that, that's a violation. It's not semantics. It was against the rules.

Dungy thinks Sanders brought up Dungy's name to jolt everyone.

"I think Deion said that for kind of shock value. Every team in America, including his team, including him, would do the same thing and did the same thing."

Dungy said, "Bruce Arians was Peyton's quarterback coach and he went to Pittsburgh. We expect him to tell them the signals. He's going to say here are what some of their hand signals are, and if you can take advantage, great. That's fine. It's up to us. First play of the game, Peyton gave what used to be the run signal, and Ike Taylor thinks it's a run, and we have an 82-yard touchdown pass.

"Our defensive linemen used to take the VHS of the games home and watch and listen to the whole game, and every now and again they would come back with something. Hey, 'Monday' means the snap count is on one. Now you can get off on the ball a little quicker. One tip like that on one play can make a difference.

"Look at any college game. Whenever a team is in the spread offense or whatever, what do you see on the sideline? You see two or three backup quarterbacks and two or three assistant coaches signaling at the same time and two or three guys holding up posters and cards. Why are they doing that? Because someone is on the other sideline, trying to figure out the signals. So one of then is giving the live signal and six or seven others are giving fake signals so the other guys won't figure it out. There's no rule against that. It isn't stealing in any illegal sense. That's the differences: rules weren't broken."

Comments

Ryan Fitzpatrick played better than you may think

TAMPA — The announcement of which Bucs quarterback will start at Chicago Sunday will have to wait.Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick met with Dirk Koetter Tuesday and were given the news."So we know what we're going to do,'' Koetter said. "Bot...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs’ Gerald McCoy heard apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger mid-hit

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy heard apologizing to Ben Roethlisberger mid-hit

For all of his accomplishments on the field, Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been dogged by unfair criticism throughout his career that he's too nice.One moment during Monday's 30-27 loss to the Steelers isn't going to help him in th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

Dirk Koetter on Bucs QB situation: “We know what we’re going to do.”

TAMPA — Dirk Koetter knows. He met with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick Tuesday and now they know. But he doesn't want the Chicago Bears to know which will quarterback the Bucs Sunday at Soldier Field.So the waiting game continues."So I kno...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

You might have walked away from the game Monday night feeling pretty good about your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure, the first half was about as ugly as it gets. After the Steelers returned Ryan Fitzpatrick’s third interception for a touchdown late...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Eduardo A. Encina joins the Times to cover the Bucs

Eduardo A. Encina joins the Times to cover the Bucs

ST. PETERSBURG — Eduardo A. Encina, an award-winning sportswriter with an extensive background covering Tampa Bay sports, is returning to the Times to cover the Bucs.Encina will join Rick Stroud, Thomas Bassinger and columnists Tom Jones and Ma...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his job?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Did Ryan Fitzpatrick do enough to keep his job?

Rick Stroud and Times sports columnist Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 30-27 loss to the Steelers on Monday Night Football.Ryan Fitzpatrick  had a difficult first half, throwing three interceptions, but  led a second-half comeback that ...
Published: 09/25/18
The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

The magic has worn off. Time for the Bucs to start Jameis Winston

TAMPA — So this will be a fun and interesting week over at One Buc Place.Who's the quarterback?That question will be asked a few times. The likely answer will end up being Ryan Fitzpatrick.But this question will be asked a few dozen times:...
Published: 09/25/18
Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

Winston or Fitzpatrick? Reading between the lines in the Bucs locker room

TAMPA — At some point Tuesday morning, Jameis Winston will walk into the office of head coach Dirk Koetter and get the news.There will likely be hugs and handshakes, but within the first few minutes, Koetter will tell Winston what his role will...
Published: 09/25/18
Why the Bucs kept going to Chris Godwin

Why the Bucs kept going to Chris Godwin

TAMPA  — Chris Godwin's first three quarters Monday night weren't as rough as Ryan Fitzpatrick's, but they were close.Through 45 minutes of Tampa Bay's 30-27 loss to Pittsburgh, Godwin dropped two touchdown passes, had another TD reception...
Published: 09/25/18
Bucs-Steelers report card: There is still work to be done

Bucs-Steelers report card: There is still work to be done

TAMPA — They couldn't stick the landing. The FitzMagic ran out.Monday night against the Steelers, Tony Dungy night, was supposed to be the coming-out party, a new beginning, the Bucs on national TV, showing America that 2-0 was not make believe...
Published: 09/25/18