LOCATION UNKNOWN — Welcome to the Patriots penal colony, the place where the rule benders are stashed so they will never be heard from again.
“We call it the Jerod Mayo Zone, as in Area 51,’’ said Jimmy Hotfingers (a.k.a. “the Deflator”), as he greeted me at the door of the palatial lodge. “Don’t ask, don’t tell. Just Do Your Job and don’t say anything. Ever. That’s what we’re about. How was your trip?’’
A little disturbing, I told him. It was somewhat scary to be blindfolded and rolled into a private jet at Hanscom Field. I wasn’t in the sky that long, but I couldn’t tell if I was in upstate New York or Las Vegas. You lose your sense of time and space in the darkness. Same goes for the bumpy ride to the cabin.
How do you guys stand it out here in the middle of nowhere, I wondered?
“We’re used to it,’’ said “Dorito” (Jimmy Hotfingers’s partner in deflation). “This is our Patriot Place. It’s only been three or four years for me and Jimmy. It’s nice because we don’t have to text each other anymore. Since there’s no cell service, texting would be impossible anyway.’’
Understood, I told him. I’d noticed my phone was useless once they took off my blindfold.
“It’s harder on Matt and Matt,’’ said Dorito. “They’ve been here for something like a dozen years.’’
Matt and Matt. They’re the two Patriot video guys who got caught and disappeared after the Spygate scandal in 2007. They were the first pair of ex-Patriots hidden in the Mayo Zone (Area 51) back in the early days of the team’s first cheating scandal.
“We don’t know any other life,’’ said Matt No. 1. “But we don’t mind. We’ve got cable and the Patriots take good care of us. Cash. Food. Trucks. Souvenir bobbleheads. We get everything we need from Security Command at Gillette. It’s really swell.’’
What about the media, I wondered? How have you avoided them all this time?
“Ah, those tool bags,’’ said Matt No. 2. “I went back and forth with a couple of them when I had the tapes back in my golf pro days in Hawaii. But nobody ever came up with cold hard cash like when TMZ came at those other guys after the Wells Report. Those guys faced much more temptation than we ever did. And they never cracked. Now, we’re all safe. They’ll never find us here. We just let you come here so you can tell the others not to bother. Fuggedaboutit. We have nothing to say about taping signals or deflating footballs or tampering with headsets or bugging locker rooms. We never served the other team warm Gatorade or went through trash cans. That was the myth of the whole thing. Everybody’s just jealous. Haters gonna hate. And the whole world knows they hate us ’cause they ain’t us.’’
What about this new infraction — videotaping the Bengals’ sideline from the press box in Cleveland, I wondered?
“More garbage,’’ said Hotfingers. “We saw it on ESPN. It’s just like Bill said, ‘The football operation had nothing to do with that.’ Do they really think we’d try that against the flippin’ Bengals after what happened to Matt and Matt when that rat Mangini dimed us out? Too bad we can’t use the Ideal Gas Law to explain this one. Maybe Judge Berman can make the tapes disappear.’’
“I feel bad for the crew from the Patriots network,’’ added Matt No. 1. “Getting caught and having their video confiscated? It gave me flashbacks, man. Reminded me of myself in the Meadowlands. I hear Bill is really mad about it. He already hates that whole Kraft Sports Productions outfit. This will flip him out.’’
“Yeah,’’ said Dorito. “We’re hearing we may have some company soon. Somebody is going to have to take the fall for this and we’ve been told to make a couple more beds available. These new guys may not like it here at first, but it needs to be done. I mean, who wouldn’t give up their life to protect the Patriots? It’s important that none of us ever says anything. We can just let our friends in the media handle it. Maybe Jonathan can order a ‘Bengals Video Report In Context’ like he did for us.’’
“Time for you to go home,’’ said the Deflator as he handed me the blindfold. “Put this on. Go back and tell everybody we’re alive and well, but we’re never talking about what we did. Right now, we’re just getting ready to watch the big game. We’re on to Cincinnati, haha.’’