Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith suggested that the New England Patriots may be spying again after New England rallied for a 34-31 victory over Houston on Sunday. In 2007, the Patriots had to give up a first-round draft pick and the NFL fined head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the organization $250,000 after an assistant was caught videotaping opponents like the New York Jets. The NFL seized and destroyed all of the “spygate” tapes.
“I’m very suspicious,” Smith said after the game. “I just think it will be a big coincidence if that just happened by chance. I don’t know for sure, but I just know it was something that we practiced this week.”
Smith said he did not want to give a specific example of plays to not tip off future opponents but emphasized he was deeply suspicious because the Patriots made adjustments they had never done before.
He mentioned that he could tell “they changed their scheme in the second half” and adjusted to things Houston had never done before in previous games.
“It’s miraculous they changed some things on offense that keyed on what we put on this week to stop what they were doing,” he said, according to the Houston Chronicle. “They did things they never did all year before. It was a specific thing that was important to what we were going to do today, as to how we were going to call the defense. We’d not ever did it before, and they never changed like that before. It just let me know that something wasn’t right.”
When asked if he definitively thought they were spying, Smith said that was his suspicion but failed to say he was certain without a doubt.
“I’m saying it seemed like it,” Smith clarified. “You can’t never be for sure on anything because I ain’t over there in their huddle, in their locker room, but it just felt like it.”
Pittsburgh Steelers players commented after the “spygate” revelations that the Patriots seemed to know what plays they were running in 2001 and 2004 during the playoffs, and other NFL players reportedly accused the Patriots of putting microphones in their shoulder pads to steal audible calls.