INDIANAPOLIS -- Former NFL cornerback Deion Sanders accused the Indianapolis Colts of stealing signals, but former coach Tony Dungy says everything the team did was legal.
Speaking on NFL Network this week, Sanders said "everybody" in the NFL knew about what the Colts did.
"[T]hey were getting everybody’s signals,” Sanders said, via ProFootballTalk. “Come on, you don’t walk up to the line and look over here and the man on the sideline giving you the defense that they’ve stolen the plays of. We all knew. L.T. knew. Everybody in the NFL knew. We just didn’t let the fans know. That was real, and that was happening in Indy.”
Wednesday morning, Dungy appeared on "PFT Live" to defend the team he coached from 2002-2008.
“That’s all part of the game, but doing it legally and illegally, that’s the difference," Dungy said after a long explanation and history of stealing signals. "I hope Deion is not saying we did something illegally. Of course, we got signals when we had an opportunity to do that, and so did Deion.”
He gave an example of an opposing coaching knowing the offensive signals Peyton Manning used in a game.
"We’re playing the Pittsburgh Steelers," Dungy said. "I’m the coach of the Indianapolis Colts on a Monday night. Peyton Manning came to me before the game and said, ‘Bruce Arians used to be with us, is now coaching there, I know he’s told them our hand signals. I’m going to get them because I’m going to give a fake run signal and I know they’re going to bite because Bruce has told them our signals.’ And on the first play of the game, he gave a signal to Marvin Harrison, Ike Taylor, Pittsburgh’s corner, thought it was a run play, and it was an 82-yard touchdown."
Dungy was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Sanders was inducted in 2011.
Former Colts linebacker Gary Brackett responded to the claims on Twitter.
We never cheated we worked harder than everyone else and studied an enormous amount of film. Than during the game we played the tendencies https://t.co/86ZWi9kWyE
— gary brackett (@GaryBrackett58) February 8, 2017
Dungy said the difference between what the Colts (and other teams) did and what the New England Patriots did with Spygate has to do with the process of stealing.
He said teams had been told not to videotape other teams' signals, but the Patriots did it anyway.
“It wasn’t getting signals, it was the process of videotaping and using electronic equipment during the game,” Dungy said.