NFL Investigating Patriots for Filming Bengals Sideline on Sunday

bill belichick

Getty Bill Belichick.

The New England Patriots have become known as a team that will do anything possible to win. In the midst of that, the Patriots have been caught in the crosshairs of a few scandals during their run of success.

“Deflategate” was the most notable of these when the Patriots were accused of having taken a slight amount of air out of footballs during their 45-7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2014 AFC Championship game. Correctly inflated balls were used during the second half of that contest in which New England scored 28 unanswered points in a runaway win.

The Patriots were also involved in “Spygate” during 2007 in which they were disciplined by the league for illegally filming the New York Jets sideline in the season opener. It appears Bill Belichick and his staff are, once again, involved in a scandal under investigation by the NFL.

On Sunday, the Patriots were reported to have filmed the Bengals sideline during their game at Cleveland. When Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor was asked about it during his Monday press conference, he did not comment, simply explaining the incident was under investigation, as The Athletic’s Paul Dehner revealed.

The Patriots released a team statement on Monday night accepting responsibility for the incident in which New England unintentionally violated a league rule.

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Patriots Offer Valid Excuse

As to why the Patriots may have had a camera person in Cleveland on Sunday, the Patriots were filming part of their team’s docuseries “Do Your Job,” according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

When the Bengals noticed a video camera in the press box, they immediately alerted NFL security and the video was obtained by the league after speaking with Patriots employees present in Cleveland.

Dianna Russini of ESPN, who broke the story, spoke with the Patriots shortly after the allegations became public and noted there was a lack of communication between New England and Cincinnati.

Bill Belichick fully denied any involvement in the incident as well.

Given the Patriots’ past history with videotaping allegations, including allegedly taping walk-throughs in the early 2000s, New England has a bit of black mark when it comes to things like this. According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, the Patriots are fully cooperating with the NFL while the investigation is carried out.

Spygate Fallout

The practice of videotaping opposing coaches was not against the rules in 2007, but the Patriots were guilty of doing so from an unauthorized area along their own sideline. As a result, Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, the largest ever imposed against a coach in NFL history.

In addition to the hefty penalty against Belichick, the team was fined $250,000 and docked of its first-round draft pick in 2008 (31st overall).

This incident, however, is entirely different and did not appear to involve a scout filming the Bengals sideline. Instead, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the incident simply involved an advanced scout being filmed by the team’s videography crew.

Though the league is still investigating the incident, the Bengals public relations team was aware of the incident and approved the Patriots’ request to film in the press box.

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