"At one point we had a good drive going against the Patriots," said one Lion who doesn't want his name involved in this mess, but was willing to talk about it. "Mike Martz really had 'em going. They were getting fouled up, lining up wrong, we were moving the ball. Then boom, the headset from the sidelines to the coaches' booth goes out.
"Next possession we were moving the ball again and the same thing happened. You know it only takes two or three plays to mess up a drive."
Matt Millen, the Lions' GM, was talking to Bengals' coach Marvin Lewis at the league meetings. He started telling him the story.
"Yeah, I know," Lewis said. "Headset went out. It happened to me in Foxboro, too."
Marinelli was the defensive line coach in Tampa Bay when the Bucs beat the Patriots in the 2000 regular season opener and did a good job controlling New England's offense. After the game the Patriots' offensive coach, Charlie Weis, was overheard congratulating the Bucs' defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin.
"We knew all your calls, and you still stopped us," Weis said. "I can't believe it."
He couldn't believe it because the Patriots had videotaped all of the defensive signals in their last preseason game, which was against the Bucs.
The stories are all coming out now, but why hadn't all this been reported to the league office before this?
"At the time, you never know for sure," Millen said. "And if you don't know it at the time, then you don't feel right reporting it later."
As a former Patriots employee, Jets coach Eric Mangini must have known what was going on. So why didn't he have some kind of system of dummy calls set up to foul up the video surveillance?
"He did," says a former Patriots employee whose name cannot be used for obvious reasons. "He had three sets of signals being given, one real, two dummy. He had the same thing going when he beat the Patriots last year. But still, it means extra work, changing the way you prepare for a game. It means both clubs are not playing on the same level field, and that's what's wrong about it."
I asked the former Patriot, who knows the organization well, if Mangini could in any way be held responsible for being part of a system that encouraged cheating. He paused for a moment to decide how to get this right.
"You have to understand that organization," he said. "You have to understand how incredibly tight the ring is. Information is not just passed around. Even if you might be aware of something, you're not going to know exactly how everything works. Eric was an employee there. He was not privy to every decision. His own operation was clean. Sure, he knew other stuff was going on, but how was he supposed to handle it?
"The amazing thing is the incredible arrogance they showed, coming into Giants Stadium, facing an organization with all those ex-Patriots employees, and still trying to cheat."
Damning, damning stuff. Beat the hell out of them in November, that's all I have to say Colts fans.