In the NFL, there is something that we in the media like to call "bulletin board material." This is anything that could be used to motivate a team, and it is usually in the form of a slight about the team. Dan Shaughnessy's column earlier this week could be an instance of bulletin board for the Colts. Pep Hamilton's comments Wednesday could be the same for the Patriots.
Hamilton, the Colts offensive coordinator, was asked about his track record against Bill Belichick defenses. Hamilton spent three seasons coaching in the same division as Belichick, the Patriots longtime head coach. Hamilton was with the New York Jets from 2003-2006 as an offensive quality control coach, offensive assistant, quarterbacks coach, and wide receivers coach. Hamilton said on Wednesday:
"I do know for a fact that it was always a 60-minute chess match. It was ever-changing looks and disguises and they always tend to find ways to figure out some of your signals. That's part of it. That's part of it. It's truly an honor to have an opportunity to field a team and compete against the likes of Coach Belichick who will go down as one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Football League."
The part that caught people's attention was the line that the Patriots "always tend to find ways to figure out some of your signals," which he said with a grin. It was a veiled shot at the Patriots, who in 2007 were caught cheating as they were stealing opponent's signals through videotaping that was against NFL rules. The incident (dubbed "Spygate") left a black eye for the league and the Patriots organization and hasn't been forgotten by fans of opposing teams.
It seems that Pep Hamilton hasn't forgotten, either. I honestly don't see a big deal with his comments, but I'm sure that it's not exactly the thing Chuck Pagano wants his assistants saying to the media the week before a big divisional round playoff matchup against a favored Patriots team. The media will take it too far, I'm sure, and it really isn't that big of a deal in my opinion, but it's still probably not what Pagano wants out there.
Additionally, don't neglect the second part of Hamilton's answer, where he talked about his respect for Bill Belichick and lauded him as "one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Football League." Earlier in the press conference he also said that going up against Belichick's defense will "be a tremendous challenge" and that coaching against him "was always truly a chess match."