Videotaping signals is illegal at both the college and professional levels, but that hasn’t stopped football teams from trying.
Alabama coach Nick Saban’s former boss — and current New England Patriots coach — Bill Belichick is one of the few who have been caught red-handed. Thursday night during his radio show, Saban inadvertently fingered Belichick in a new video controversy.
“We used to have a guy that used to sit in the press box, and all’s he did was analyze the signal-caller on the other team,” Saban said during his radio show on Thursday night. “And by the end of the first quarter — this guy was really smart — he would say, ‘It’s a run,’ or ‘It’s a pass.'”
Saban did not specifically name Belichick, but he did say that the unnamed team had the “best defense in the NFL” at that time, so Belichick’s mid-’90s Browns teams — of which Saban was the defensive coordinator — are the obvious guess.
The Alabama coach claimed he never used the information during games.
“I would tell (the signal stealer), ‘Look: I don’t want to know. You’re messing me up,'” Saban said. “Because I know what we plan to do based on their tendencies and what they’ve done, and what we’ve prepared our players to do.'”
The topic was brought to Saban’s attention after Arizona State coach Todd Graham admitted to stealing signs (without video) earlier this week.
Thursday, Saban made it clear that the Crimson Tide do not steal signals.
“I never try to steal signs,” he said. “We don’t. And I’m sure somebody’s trying to steal our signs.”