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Cheaters never, er, sometimes win and win big

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Just how out of control has the stealing signals scandal become? The neighborhood pervert moved his peeping operation to see what plays I've been calling on Madden 07!

Oh! Hey!

Ok, apologies for the absolutely Leno-esque joke, and also for revealing that I'm too cheap to buy Madden '08, which stems from the fact that I'm too cheap to buy an Xbox 360, PS3, or one of the other new generation video game systems.

I think the point the lame joke makes about the Patriots cheating scandal - and I'm reaching to justify having written it here - is that there's not much that can be done about it now. Yeah, it sucks, and yeah, it opens up a never ending debate about all those Patriot Super Bowls wins, including their win over the Rams. Criticism for the new "law and order" commish now fills the column inches devoted to the story, and, honestly, I don't know what to make of the punishment leveled. If the Pats make the playoffs, which is a good bet, they do surrender a first round pick, no small price considering the role first round picks play in restocking a team's talent pond. However, the Patriots and Belichick pride themselves on their "system" and being able to making any old 200 lbs bag of bones into a superstar. [I'm sure that philosophy will work out as well as Mike Shannon's faith in his "system" once Elway hung it up.] Considering the Patriot's success over the years, maybe they should surrender more than one draft pick, and Belichick should definitely be suspended, since players incur suspensions at even the slightest violation of the substance abuse policy.

Whatever the outcome of all this - and I suspect we've likely seen all there is to see policy wise - you can be sure this is a debate that will fill conversations for a long, long time.