One of the most ironic stories broke yesterday after New England Patriots backup QB Brian Hoyer explained in great detail how the Patriots were fully aware of the entire Rams playbook prior to the Super Bowl. Hearing that alone should be enough for NFL fans and conspiracy theorists to jump out of their seat, but there was no foul play on the Patriots end. An unlikely source put the information out there for all to see, and the Patriots Brian Hoyer knew exactly how to decipher the code.
Former Rams players and fans have always held a grudge towards the Patriots after a false story was released by a Boston sports reporter by WEEI’s John Tomase. Tomase wrote a controversial piece about the Patriots filming the Rams Super Bowl walkthrough during Super Bowl 36 that came out around the same time as the Spygate scandal. The story was later retracted but ESPN gladly ran with the story for years until they eventually offered a late night apology at 3AM. This obviously led to a major rift between ESPN and the Patriots organization, and that was only the beginning.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. After all the vitriol ESPN has spewed at the Patriots for over a decade they unknowingly fed the Patriots the entire Rams playbook by accident.
Prior to the matchup Hoyer was wondering if there were some similarities between McVay’s offense and Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Hoyer played under Shanahan in Cleveland during the 2014 season, while McVay worked for Shanahan in Washington for several years.
As it turned out ESPN would ironically be the ones who would confirm Hoyer’s belief.
According to Albert Breer, prior to the Super Bowl, Hoyer watched an episode of Peyton Manning’s Detail series on ESPN-Plus on Goff, and it hit him right away—the offense is the same. Looking at the Rams tape confirmed it. Then, he saw an NFL Network interview where Goff and McVay discussed the coach being in the quarterback’s ear up until the 15-second play-clock cutoff, which was something Shanahan did with Hoyer. Then, Hoyer went back to Amazon’s All or Nothing series on the Rams; it was about the 2016 season but had footage of OTAs from McVay’s first spring there. Hoyer recognized the language.
“I guess that’s the risk in putting yourself out there like that,” Hoyer joked over the phone on Sunday.
So in a sense it was ESPN who first gave Hoyer the info to crack the code. This was certainly an oversight by the young Rams coach. I would find it hard to believe that Bill Belichick wouldn’t have looked into every miniscule possibility of anyone on the Rams having any connection to the Patriots current playbook but unfortunately for McVay, Brian Hoyer was the forgotten man and the last guy you would want knowing your game plan. Hoyer’s job as backup is to mimic the opposing quarterback each week but he was able to do so much more than that. Hoyer was able to mimic the Rams entire offensive game plan without their knowledge. Who would have ever believed that ESPN and cameras would spell the Rams eventual doom in a rematch 17 years later. The only difference is this time there is no doubt it happened and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can complain about. Who would have ever thought this story would come full circle?
— KingsOfBostonSports (@PatriotsUnite12) February 5, 2019
Right before Stephon Gilmore’s interception:
“Goff’s gonna give us one, watch. He’s trying to make a home run right now.” pic.twitter.com/XcKrovb5uq
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) February 6, 2019
— Matt Lombardo (@MattLombardoNFL) February 2, 2017
In this week's MMQB, the @McCourtyTwins sat down with @AlbertBreer and shared some insight from Super Bowl LIII, including just how important @bhoyer7 was to the team https://t.co/Z31kw94AOg pic.twitter.com/rSUvYsOAUR
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) February 11, 2019