Already facing an eight-game suspension for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal, New Orleans general manager Mickey Loomis is hardly a sympathetic figure around the NFL, but not everyone is convinced that the latest allegations surrounding the team will stick.
ESPN's John Barr reported on Monday that Loomis had the ability to eavesdrop on opposing coaching staffs during games for three seasons using a small electronic device in his Superdome suite.
In the aftermath of the report, Loomis and the Saints have been steadfast in their denials and even some of the folks in Bristol have expressed skepticism over the allegations.
Citing an anonymous source, the ESPN report describes a listening system installed in the Superdome suite of the GM that was initially put in place by Loomis' predecessor to monitor home team communications but was later re-wired to allow eavesdropping on opponents' coaches. But Loomis claims that all he had in his suite was a monitor for league-issued stats and and earpiece to listen to the local radio broadcast, something that former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian said is common.
"It's very common for most general managers," Polian said on Tuesday's SportsCenter before explaining that there would be nothing to gain anyways. "First of all, you'd have to understand the language that the other team was communicating in. That's very difficult to do. If you don't know their language the likelihood is you couldn't decipher what was being said. If you were incorrect one time, it would never be used again."
ESPN's Adam Schefter also spoke on the difficulty of actually using information obtained by such means during a radio appearance with "Mike And Mike" earlier Tuesday morning. Schefter said that Loomis "isn't the kind of guy that that will listen to a coach's language and decipher exactly what it means and be able to get it to his team's sideline in time."
However, Schefter also said that there are many other things he could have heard like strategies and philosophies.
Shortly after the release of the ESPN report, Loomis and the Saints organization denied the allegations and explained everything that is in his stadium suite.
"This report on ESPN is absolutely false," Loomis wrote. "To think I am sitting in there listening and actually and/or doing something with the offensive and defensive play calls of the opposing teams makes this story and the unnamed sources that provided the false information that much less credible. It just didn’t happen."
The NFL hasn't opened up its own investigation of Loomis. But for now, at least we can enjoy what ProFootballTalk coined as "ESPN-on-ESPN crime."
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