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Apparently, Boston has a history of cheating

Steven Senne/Associated Press/File 2013

It’s out there now so there’s no sense in pretending any longer. There’ll be no more lying. No more faux outrage. Spygate has yielded to Deflategate and spawned Communicategate. The Patriots have been exposed as multiple-offense cheaters. All of their Lombardi Trophies are tainted. Everyone in America now knows: ESPN and the rest of the national sports media have effectively exposed the systematic rule-breaking that has led to every bit of success attained by the Patriots since 2001.

You got us. Guilty as charged. So now we will honor the rules of Cheaters Anonymous. We will apologize to you and fess up for all of the other schemes that led to championships in Greater Boston in the last 115 years.


It did not start with Bill Belichick and the 2001 Patriots. No doubt you already knew that. This goes way back. And it’s time we made amends.

Let’s start with some of the most memorable moments.

John Havlicek stealing the ball to clinch the 1965 NBA Eastern Conference finals for the Celtics? Sorry to burst your bubble. Havlicek stealing the ball was not on the level.

Johnny Most knew the dirty deal, but he took the secret to his grave. The Celtics had their backs to the wall on that April Friday night. They were engaged in a vigorous seven-game series with the hated Philadelphia 76ers and it looked like Wilt Chamberlain was finally going to get the better of Bill Russell.

Trailing by a point with five seconds left in Game 7, the 76ers were set to inbound the ball under their own basket after an awful turnover by Russell. Fortunately, Boston had karma and cleverness on its side in the person of Ernie Adams, a young Celtic ball boy from Brookline. During the timeout, after Russell’s turnover, young Adams snuck into the 76ers’ huddle and offered towels and water cups to Chamberlain and guard Hal Greer. Adams saw 76ers coach Dolph Schayes drawing up a play that had Greer inbounding the ball out deep to Chet Walker from underneath the basket. Adams went back to the Celtics’ huddle and relayed the news to Havlicek. Then Havlicek Stole The Ball. The rest is radio history, NBA history.


Sorry. I know you hate to hear this.

Remember Bobby Orr’s Stanley Cup-clinching goal on Mother’s Day in 1970? The play that became a statue in front of the New Boston Garden?

The Bruins cheated. Orr’s give-and-go game-winner provided a moment for the ages for long-suffering Boston hockey fans, but now we must tell you that the Bruins did not win legitimately. Insiders have long known that Orr scored that goal only because the Bruins had cleverly stationed a team photographer across the Boston Garden ice from the St. Louis goal mouth. It turns out that a young Bruins intern, Jacques Estrella (wearing a Jacobs Productions jacket logo), had the task of aiming his camera at Blues goalie Glenn Hall and blinding the St. Louis netminder with nonstop photo flashes. It was Estrella’s flashbulb festival that took Hall out of the play and enabled Orr to score. Bruins coach Harry Sinden was generally aware of this but has never commented on the matter. Some things are better left unsaid.

It was the same deal in 1975 when Carlton Fisk walked up to the plate to face Pat Darcy in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 6 of the Red Sox-Cincinnati Reds World Series. A young Jim McNally was part of the Red Sox grounds crew in those days and had the unenviable assignment of standing inside Fenway’s center field wall, peering through a tiny hole, and transmitting signals to Carl Yastrzemski in the Sox dugout. Nicknamed “The Deflator” by the other kids on the grounds crew, the portly McNally bragged to his friends, “I love working with guys named Yastrzemski.’’ From his perch in deep center, McNally saw Johnny Bench’s sign and knew Fisk was going to get a sinker down and in. McNally panicked for a moment — he was worried that his headset might not be working — but fortunately, the 1975 Motorola technology was up to speed. McNally sent word to the Sox dugout and a sign was relayed to Fisk. Next thing you know, the ball was clanging off the left field foul pole and a couple of little kids named Damon and Affleck were working on a script.


You know how it goes from there. The Celtics beating the Lakers at the Garden in 1984? Everybody knows that’s because Red Auerbach turned up the heat in the Lakers’ locker room at the Old Garden. Same deal with the Celtics’ championship in 1986. Red was always in the heads of the other team. And young Bill Belichick, who grew up in Annapolis, Md., just a few miles from Red’s Washington home, mastered the art of deception and dirty tricks.


So now we have the New England Patriots. They win Super Bowls but only because they cheat. It’s been proven. More than 90 sources are willing to go on the record as long as you don’t use their names.

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is on the record. Tomlin got schooled and embarrassed by Belichick and the Patriots on Thursday night. But he reminded us that the Steelers lost only because the Patriots scrambled the signals in the Steelers’ headsets. The Patriots won because they cheated.


No more excuses. No more apologies.

Did we order the Code Red?

You’re damn right we did.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at dshaughnessy@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Dan_Shaughnessy.