PHOENIX --- A new spying charge has nicked the New England Patriots.
A member of the Patriots' video staff taped the St. Louis Rams' last walkthrough before they played in the 2002 Super Bowl, an unidentified source told the Boston Herald for a story Saturday.
New England beat the heavily favored Rams the next day 20-17 for their first NFL title. The unbeaten Patriots will try to win their fourth Super Bowl in seven seasons today.
Early this season, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fined New England coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and docked the team $250,000 and a first-round draft pick after a spying scandal. The Patriots were accused of videotaping New York Jets defensive coaches' signals.
"We were aware of the rumor months ago and looked into it. There was no evidence of it on the tapes or in the notes produced by the Patriots, and the Patriots told us it was not true," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Patriots spokesman Stacey James reiterated that sentiment:
"The suggestion that the New England Patriots recorded the St. Louis Rams' walkthrough on the day before Super Bowl XXXVI is absolutely false. Any suggestion to the contrary is untrue."
A walkthrough is done without pads or helmets, giving teams a chance to practice formations.
GIANTS: After missing a week of practice with ankle and knee injuries, wide receiver Plaxico Burress participated in a walkthrough Saturday.
"I think he's a little bit better today," Tom Coughlin said. "He gets a little bit better each day, and hopefully we'll be able to have some further improvement tomorrow."
The 50-minute walkthrough began with abbreviated stretching, followed by special teams, defense and offense sessions.