The NFL is continuing its ongoing investigation into the New England Patriots involvement with videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals sideline in Week 15.
With the Bengals playing in Cleveland and a Patriots advanced scout present to watch in the week prior to New England’s trip to Cincinnati, the team sent a documentary crew on the road to film a piece on the scout. What resulted was the NFL confiscating the Patriots footage and a whirlwind of drama shrouding the team.
Though many outsiders view it as another foiled attempt by a team notorious for cheating, it doesn’t appear the NFL is finding those same results. And according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the lack of any incriminating evidence has frustrated the NFL investigators.
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Florio delivered an update on Sunday night about the investigation saying there was no specific timeline for any results. Here’s what Florio wrote:
League investigators also collected devices from certain individuals, for the purposes of attempting to establish a connection to the team’s football operations. As one source explained it, there’s a sense that investigators want to make that connection, and a perception that they are showing frustration when unable to tie the video crew to the football employees.
With New England’s past history of illegally videotaping its opponents, stemming from the team’s involvement in the 2007 Spygate scandal, it’s no wonder the Patriots are under extreme scrutiny by the league. The NFL is looking to exhaust all its resources simply to make sure the Patriots were not attempting to gather information for the football operations department to use as a means of preparation.
The footage of the incident was released a week ago and included a testy exchange between Bengals security and the Patriots video team present in Cleveland. It is also important to note that during the investigation into Spygate, Patriots employees were told to claim themselves as members of a production crew filming for a documentary, something noted in 2015 ESPN article.
Investigation Ending Sooner Rather Than Later
The Patriots continue to insist they had absolutely nothing to do with the incident on the football side of things, sticking by their explanation of the team’s production department causing the dilemma.
With investigators working quickly and thoroughly to make sure they finalize this investigation correctly, it doesn’t feel like this will last much longer. In his Sunday notes, ESPN’s Mike Reiss confirmed this belief, saying:
“The pace of the league’s investigation into the Patriots’ videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline on Dec. 8 accelerated last week, as sources said interviews with multiple Patriots staffers took place. Thus, it is hard to imagine the investigation taking much longer. The main question is whether the investigators believe the Patriots’ explanation, so how the interviews are received will ultimately determine the severity of penalty handed down — possibly as early as this week.”