'Makeup call' stands out from Tuesday's Patriots stories

OTL: From Spygate to Deflategate (4:13)

Outside the Lines and ESPN The Magazine examine the secret history of what tore the NFL and the Patriots apart. (4:13)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few takeaways from Tuesday:

1. The theory that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's shaky handling of Spygate contributed to such a strong reaction from him with Deflategate makes sense. Comments from anonymous owners in the "Outside the Lines"/ESPN The Magazine investigation were most notable, particularly that one owner viewed it as a "makeup call."

2. The Patriots aren't just in opponents' heads; they are in reporters' heads, too. That was the thought that came to mind when reading the Sports Illustrated piece about how opponents have suspicions about New England -- specifically the section that details how Belichick talks to his staff members on Saturday nights about which players from the opposing team didn't travel to a game at New England ("It’s not clear how Belichick knows ... but he does ... this gives the Patriots a few extra hours to adjust to any roster changes ... others wonder how much of an advantage such knowledge really provides ... it’s quintessential Belichick.) Well, the reason Belichick knows is because it's part of the league's injury-reporting policy. If a player isn't on the flight to a road game, he must be downgraded to out on the injury report because he's physically not with the team. The reason we know this is that the Patriots once had that issue with Richard Seymour in the 2000s and faced repercussions from it. For Patriots beat reporters, that word usually comes down at 8 p.m. ET on Saturdays, and we're conditioned to be available at that time to report any downgraded players.

3. Bill Belichick said he felt it was within the rules to record opposing signals as long as they weren't used in that game. When the league clarified that any taping of signals was prohibited in a 2006 memo, and then did it again in a 2007 memo, the gray area was eliminated (although the actual language in the constitution and bylaws didn't change). Reading about how the Patriots dressed up a video staffer on the sideline with a media credential at that time (which reflects how they knew they were pushing things to limits) was one of the new details revealed in the piece, as well as the role of Ernie Adams.

4. Filming signals wasn't restricted to just the Patriots over the years, and its value was debated in league circles. "I tried it, but I didn't think it helped us," former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson once said during his role as a Fox analyst. "I know for a fact there were various teams doing this. That's why the memo was sent to everybody. That doesn't make Belichick right, but a lot of teams are doing this." Pro Football Hall of Famer John Madden, in his role as a television analyst, had also mentioned it as common practice.

5. Tuesday's stories had me revisiting Belichick's public remarks on Spygate from January.