According to ESPN, the New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis had an electronic device in his Superdome suite that had been secretly re-wired to enable him to eavesdrop on visiting coaching staffs for nearly three NFL seasons, from 2002-2004.
It’s been speculated by some that Loomis couldn’t do much with that information, such as notify his coaching staff of play calls prior to a play, and I tend to agree. There would likely not be enough time to take information and provide it to the coaches in just a few seconds in order to make personnel adjustments on the fly.
However, there could be time during halftime for Loomis to share opposing coaches discussions with his coaching staff. Not play specific, but moreso scheme, playcalling trend and other useful information.
To look at this more, I studied three periods, each were 3 seasons:
1. 1999-2001, the 3 yrs prior to allegations
2. 2002-2004, the 3 years that Loomis allegedly was listening to the opposing coaches
3. 2005-2007, the 3 years after Loomis stopped listening
Studying only home games (because he only could do it at home games), two interesting scoring trends emerged:
Points Scored by Opponents: 1st half vs 2nd half
99-01: 11 pts in 1st half, 11 pts in 2nd half
02-04: 14 pts in 1st half, 9 pts in 2nd half (a 36% decrease in 2nd half scoring)
05-07: 12 pts in 1st half, 11 pts in 2nd half (a 8% decrease in 2nd half scoring)
Points Scored by the Saints: 1st half vs 2nd half
99-01: 11 pts in 1st half, 8 pts in 2nd half (a 27% decrease in 2nd half scoring)
02-04: 11 pts in 1st half, 12 pts in 2nd half (a 9% increase in 2nd half scoring)
05-07: 11 pts in 1st half, 10 pts in 2nd half (a 9% decrease in 2nd half scoring)
These numbers definitely indicate some abnormal scoring in the 2nd half compared to what the Saints were able to do in the 3 yrs prior and the 3 yrs after the alleged wire tapping.
On defense, the Saints held opponents to 36% fewer points in the 2nd half than the first half, something they rarely did in the 3 seasons prior or after the 2002-2004 period. And offensively, they were able to score more 2nd half points (though marginally) than they did in the other periods.
Another interesting stat to look at is how the Saints did in a same-season rematch game at home. For whatever reason (wiretapping theoretically) the Saints were a dominant defensive machine at home in same-season rematches from 2002-2004, but not at all 3 yrs before or 3 yrs after:
Same Season Rematches in the Saints Home Game:
99-01: Opponents scored 11 second half points, the Saints lost 3 games by more than 1 TD, and went 3-4 SU
02-04: Held opponents to 5 second half points, the Saints lost 0 games by more than 1 TD, and went 3-3 SU
05-07: Opponents scored 13 second half points, the Saints lost 2 games by more than 1 TD, and went 1-3 SU
Clearly, the sample size is small. 3 years may seem like a lot, but it’s just 24 games involved (just the home games) and so it’s impossible to say anything concrete about these numbers. But in the 2002-2004 period, holding 6 opponents to an avg of just 5 ppg in the second half is very uncharacteristic for the Saints.
But there definitely is something “different” about the 2002-2004 period. The 1st half vs. the 2nd half is what sticks out. It may be nothing, but if the numbers are an indication, Loomis wasn’t sharing much during the game (prior to plays), Loomis could have been sharing the pertinent information with his coaches next door in the coaching booth at halftime, which allowed the Saints to prepare a great 2nd half gameplan. And they did much better in the 2nd half in the 3 years that he was taping than the period before or after.