Just two days before the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots open their season, the franchise has come under greater scrutiny for the depth of its cheating scandals.

ESPN The Magazine released a story Tuesday that suggested that the NFL’s harsh treatment of the team during Deflategate was a result of the league’s easy treatment of the Patriots in the 2007 Spygate scandal.

According to the story, Deflategate didn’t begin with last January’s AFC championship game – a 45-7 victory for the Patriots over the Indianapolis Colts that was immediately followed by accusations that the Patriots deflated the balls used in the game.

“It began in 2007, with Spygate,” according to the story.

ESPN The Magazine and Outside the Lines interviewed more than 90 people – including league owners, league officials and current and former Patriots – and reviewed “previously undisclosed private notes from key meetings” from the Spygate scandal in which the Patriots, and Coach Bill Belichick, were caught videotaping opposing coach’s signals from the sidelines. The punishment at the time was a $500,000 fine for Belichick, $250,000 fine for the Patriots and a loss of a first-round draft pick.

Some owners apparently weren’t pleased, especially since the Patriots have long had a history of suspicious behavior. In fact, Sports Illustrated also released a lengthy story on Tuesday detailing many instances of how other teams thought the Patriots cheated and how they took extra precautions whenever they went into Gillette Stadium.

According to ESPN The Magazine, “It was, one owner says, time for ‘a makeup call.'”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined the Patriots $1 million and took away a first and fourth-round draft pick. In addition, he suspended quarterback Tom Brady for the first four games of this season – only to have a federal judge vacate that suspension last week.

According to the ESPN/OTL report, the Patriots began videotaping opposing coaches in 2000 and included up to 40 games. The report also notes league officials found the tapes and notes but destroyed them on Goodell’s orders: “League executives stomped the tapes into pieces and shredded the papers inside a Gillette Stadium conference room.”

The story offered many behind-the-scenes details of the Spygate investigation that had not been previously released.

The ESPN story, as well as Sports Illustrated’s, also details that the Patriots have been accused of using low-level team personnel to steal game plans from visitor’s locker rooms, of bugging visitor’s locker rooms and meeting rooms and of interrupting the head sets used by visiting coaching staffs.

In a statement, Goodell denied any connection between the two scandals: “I am not aware of any connection between the Spygate procedures and these procedures here. There is no connection in my mind between these two incidents.”

The Patriots also released a statement saying the team had never “filmed or recorded another team’s practice or walkthrough.”

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