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Spying in the NFL with Kevin Bryant

Season 1, Ep. 47

You don't have to look very far under the surface of the average game in the National Football League to find cloak-and-dagger machinations worthy of governmental intelligence agencies. During the past several decades, teams have used both myriad spying tactics to gain extra advantages and extensive counterintelligence techniques to thwart them. The line between traditional espionage and NFL methods is surprisingly thin.


David Priess chatted with author Kevin Bryant about historical and present-day examples of it all, building on Kevin's new book Spies on the Sidelines: The High-Stakes World of NFL Espionage. They discussed known cases of spying before and during the draft, extraordinary means of collecting information about opposing teams' practices and playbooks, common countermeasures of security officers employed by various teams, attempts to intercept signals and play calls, electronic interference with headset communications, locker room spies, evolving league rules about dirty tricks, and the ethics of it all. And, of course, a conversation about covert action in the NFL wouldn't be complete without attention to the recent twin scandals involving the New England Patriots, Spygate and Deflategate.


Chatter is a production of Lawfare and Goat Rodeo. This episode was produced by David Priess, with editing by Cara Shillenn of Goat Rodeo. Podcast theme by David Priess, featuring music created using Groovepad.

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