Teams don't like or trust the New England Patriots and have been convinced for a long time that they will be on the receiving end of cheating efforts. The Miami Dolphins were so convinced that the Patriots would attempt to cheat them that they brought extra staff to Foxboro in Week 8 just to keep an eye on their equipment.
The Patriots are stuck with the cheaters label and had it long before DeflateGate validated in most people's minds that New England was willing to do whatever it takes to win. Before DeflateGate there was SpyGate, and the Patriots' reputation for cheating created some paranoia with Peyton Manning that had him convinced the locker room at Gillette Stadium was bugged.
The Dolphins were so worried about the Patriots that they took more equipment managers than usual to New England to make sure there wasn't any funny business being pulled, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald:
The extra staffing ensured that no Patriots employee would have any reason to touch (and potentially tamper with) their gear ahead of or during the Thursday night game.
The Patriots managed to do just fine without tampering with the Dolphins' equipment, cruising to a 36-7 victory on Thursday Night Football. Another win against the Dolphins in Week 17 would guarantee the Patriots home field advantage throughout the postseason. With the game at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, they'll likely have to do so again without touching the Dolphins' equipment.
Miami isn't in the postseason for a seventh consecutive season and hasn't won a playoff game since 2000, so the team's problems probably go beyond the Patriots messing with their stuff.
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