“Listen, I Know I’m In Tampa, But I’m A Texas Rangers Fan, Not A Houston Astros Fan” | Was Baker Mayfield Stealing Signs From Vikings In Buccaneers’ Win?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield helped his team to a 20-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1, where it appeared he picked up the Vikings’ defensive hand signals and used it to his advantage. Mayfield turned it into a joke when he was asked about it postgame.

“Listen, I know I’m in Tampa, but I’m a Texas Rangers fan, not a Houston Astros fan, so we’re not going to get into that,” Mayfield said Wednesday, referring to the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing incident.

An investigation uncovered that the Astros used video cameras and stole opponents signs and used it to tip batters on what pitches to expect.

It’s All About Gaining An Edge

But in football, there is no rule or anything unethical about picking up a defense’s signals. As a QB it’s Mayfield’s job to survey the defense pre-snap and determine the best course of action for the offense. If he knows what coverage they will run based on a hand signal, it’s on the defense to disguise their signals better.

“When it comes down to that, you’re always trying to find tendencies of the defense. Just those in-game adjustments that you’re trying to find those tendencies, sometimes it’s a little different than others,” Mayfield said. “It was a chess match there in the first half. Kind of had some stall-out drives. They did a very, very good job. I can’t credit Brian Flores enough for how they were scheming against us. It took us a little bit to adjust, but you try to find every advantage possible to win.”

Coaches cover their mouths with huge laminated play call sheets when they talk in their headsets. Colleges have people stand on the sidelines with signs of random things trying to either confuse the opponent or relay a signal to their team.

High Stakes Espionage

You’d think this was high-stakes espionage and not sports. But that’s how serious these games are.

Mayfield’s teammate, RB Rachaad White, was impressed and told the story that Mayfield had figured it out at halftime, Mayfield entered the locker room and said, “‘I got it. We got all these signals,’” White told reporters this week. “We in there talking as an offense. He’s like, ‘I know all these signals. If they do this, they going to Cover 2, they do this, they’re going to Cover 3. Every time I alert this, they drop and they do this signal, they drop him back to this.’ And I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’ I mean, I know certain coverages, but I don’t know a lot like that.”

Kudos to Mayfield for figuring it out and using it to his advantage. Let’s see how defenses adapt going forward the rest of the season.

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