Dave Mondillo is a longtime videographer and producer for Kraft Sports and Entertainment who has been suspended after he was involved in the illegal filming of the Bengals sideline in Cleveland a week before the New England Patriots were set to play Cincinnati, the Boston Globe reports. Kraft Sports and Entertainment is owned by Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft, but is a separate organization from the team. The NFL is investigating the Patriots for possible wrongdoing and The Washington Post reports they are likely to be fined and lose a low-level draft pick.
The NFL does not allow teams to film opponents’ sidelines during games. The film crew, which included Mondillo and independent contractors, said they had received permission from the Browns to film at the stadium for a in-house documentary about a team scout.
The accusations against the Patriots echo previous cheating allegations against New England, including the Spygate controversy. The Patriots were fined $250,000 and lost their first-round draft pick after the 2007 Spygate incident, in which New England was found to have filmed New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals from an unauthorized location during a game.
Mondillo, 57, could not be reached for comment by Heavy, but issued a statement through the Tara Goodwin of the PR firm Crisis Interception to the Globe saying, “We stopped shooting immediately when asked to do so and cooperated fully. We had a detailed exchange about who we were and why we were there and what they wanted us to do. I gave the Sony SXS card to NFL security and we complied with their request, packed up and went home. I had no intention to provide footage to football operations, I did not provide any footage, and I was never asked to do so.”
The Patriots issued a statement saying, “We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.” The Patriots added, “The production crew is independent of our football operation. While aware that one of the scouts was being profiled for a ‘Do Your Job’ episode, our football staff had no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features.”
Here’s what you need to know about Dave Mondillo:
1. Mondillo & the Video Crew Can be Heard in Video Obtained by Fox Sports Saying They ‘Didn’t Know’ They Weren’t Allowed to Film the Sideline
Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer obtained video footage of Dave Mondillo and the film crew interacting with Bengals security after they were caught filming the field.
In the video, a member of the Bengals security team asks one of the film crew members, “How did you not know?” in reference to the league rule. The crew member replies, “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”
The crewmember says he can delete the footage and the Bengals security member laughs and says, “the damage is done my friend.”
Mondillo said in a statement, “On December 8th I was doing what I have done for more than 18 years — working to produce high-quality content that tells the unique, behind-the-scenes stories of peoples, players and the organization. It never occurred to me that my actions and the actions of my crew would be misconstrued.”
In a statement, the Patriots said, “For the past year, the New England Patriots content team has produced a series of behind-the-scenes features on various departments within the organization. The seven previous ‘Do Your Job’ episodes are archive on Patriots.com. On Sunday, Dec. 8, the content team sent a three-person video crew to the Bengals-Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium in order to capture one part of longer feature on the Patriots scouting department, in this case, a Patriots pro personnel scout while he was working in the press box.”
The Patriots added that they “sought and were granted credentialed access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew,” but they failed to inform the Bengals and the NFL, which the team says was an “unintended oversight.”
In the statement, New England said, “In addition to filming the scout, the production crew — without specific knowledge of League rules — inappropriately filmed the field from the press box. The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road. There was no intention to use the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.”
Mondillo added that he had received credentials and a parking pass before the game. “With permission in hand, we started taping on December 6th — following the scout’s travel through the weekend to Cleveland and obtained footage of him working in his hotel room and interviewed him about his job. The final element needed to complete the story was to shoot from the press box at Progressive Field to show the audience what his responsibilities are on game day.”
He said, “We went directly to the press box and set up our camera to get the footage we needed. We interviewed and shot the Patriots scout sitting a chair watching the action and panned back and forth from him to what he was seeing on the sidelines. We also took footage of the field as the intent was to show what he was looking at when he looked through his binoculars watching the game. At that point, I went to the restroom and when I came back, my cameraman was told to stop shooting by someone from the NFL and he was joined by two others from the Bengals organization and an additional NFL security person.” He said at that point they stopped shooting, turned over the footage and went home. Mondillo said they never intended to give the video footage to football operations and were never asked for it.
2. He Has Worked for Kraft Sports Productions as a Producer & Has Been a Director for ‘Patriots All-Access’
Dave Mondillo has worked for Kraft Sports Productions for several years. According to his Linkedin profile, Mondillo is a senior coordinating producer. He was previously a coordinating producer.
Mondillo has also worked as a director for the Patriots public-relations magazine-style TV show, “Patriots All Access,” according to a 2016 article in Sports Illustrated about a segement on the show called “Belichick Breakdowns”. The show is produced by Kraft Sports Productions and airs on WBZ-TV, according to the article.
“When it comes time to film the segments, there are six people on set: Belichick, (host Scott) Zolak, (executive producer Matt) Smith, and three camera people. In the control room, director Dave Mondillo remains in constant contact with Smith throughout the segments, which take about 20 minutes each week,” Richard Deitsch wrote.
3. Mondillo Has Also Worked for Kraft in Other Areas, Including as Producer for New England Revolution Games
Mondillo has also worked for Kraft Sports & Entertainment in other roles. The broadcast information guide on the New England Revolution website lists him as the Kraft Sports & Entertainment Supervising Producer for all non-nationally televised Revolution soccer games.
Mondillo has also helped produce other videos about the Patriots and other elements of the Kraft organization, including a 2012 video about the team’s cheerleaders.
4. He Was a Production Coordinator on the 2007 Film ‘The Game Plan’
Mondillo was a production coordinator on the 2007 movie “The Game Plan,” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, according to his IMDB profile.
Parts of the movie were filmed at Gillette Stadium, and the credits of the film also list Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft as people the movie’s producers wanted to thank.
5. Mondillo Attended the University of Rhode Island
David Mondillo attended the University of Rhode Island, graduating in 1982, according to his Linkedin profile.
He is married with children and lives in Massachusetts. He has also lived in Rhode Island and California.