During the walk-through, the Rams had also practiced some of their newly designed red zone plays. When they ran the same plays late in the Super Bowl's fourth quarter, the Patriots' defense was in position on nearly every down. On one new play, quarterback Kurt Warner rolled to his right and turned to throw to Marshall Faulk in the flat, where three Patriots defenders were waiting. On the sideline, Rams coach Mike Martz was stunned. He was famous for his imaginative, unpredictable plays, and now it was as if the Patriots knew what was coming on plays that had never been run before. The Patriots' game plan had called for a defender to hit Faulk on every down, as a means of eliminating him, but one coach who worked with an assistant on that 2001 Patriots team says that the ex-Pats assistant coach once bragged that New England knew exactly what the Rams would call in the red zone. "He'd say, 'A little birdie told us,'" the coach says now.
Let's say Kroenke knows even more, because at this point, there may well be an "even more" still lurking. He threatens to drop that other shoe ... or sue, the league, Goodell, AND Kraft and the Patriots, knowing Goodell once was, until Deflategate, Kraft's fair-haired boy who shielded Kraft and the Pats during Deflategate.
Kroenke's price for silence? A guaranteed 75 percent of owners supporting his move to LA, no matter what.
Meanwhile, back to the 2002 Super Bowl ...
The Super Bowl against the Patriots had derailed Martz's career as much as it made Belichick's. Martz's offense, dubbed "The Greatest Show on Turf" in 1999, was never the same, and in 2006, he was fired as the Rams' coach.
And, as far as a classic good vs evil narrative ...
Wouldn't you love to see the lawsuit styled "Warner v Belichick"? I know I would.
As much as the Patriots tried to keep the circle of those who knew about the taping small, sometimes the team would add recently cut players from upcoming opponents and pay them only to help decipher signals, former Patriots staffers say. In 2005, for instance, they signed a defensive player from a team they were going to play in the upcoming season. Before that game, the player was led to a room where Adams was waiting. They closed the door, and Adams played a compilation tape that matched the signals to the plays from the player's former team, and asked how many were accurate. "He had about 50 percent of them right," the player says now.
A former member of the NFL competition committee says the committee spent much of 2001-06 "discussing ways in which the Patriots cheated," even if nothing could be proved. It reached a level of paranoia in which conspiracy theories ran wild and nothing -- the notion of bugging locker rooms or of Brady having a second frequency in his helmet to help decipher the defense -- was out of the realm of possibility.