It looks like the New England Patriots are not escaping their latest illegal infraction without punishment from the NFL.
According to The Washington Post’s Mark Maske, the Patriots are likely to be penalized by the league for their illegal videotaping of the Cincinnati Bengals during their Week 14 matchup versus the Cleveland Browns.
As Maske reports, the league is considering a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars and the potential loss or reduction of a low-level draft pick.
“The NFL is likely to penalize the New England Patriots for their admitted violation of league video policy last weekend and is contemplating disciplinary measures in line with those imposed on teams in recent seasons for infractions of game-day rules, according to people familiar with the deliberations.
That could mean a fine in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially the loss or reduction in value of a draft choice, typically a lower-level pick.”
Patriots’ History of ‘Spygate’ and ‘Deflategate’
As everyone is well aware, this wouldn’t be the first time that the Patriots have fined and disciplined by the league. The franchise is well-known — and despised — for being caught breaking league rules during the infamous “Spygate” and “Deflategate” scandals.
The Spygate infractions centered around illegal videotaping by the Patriots. Not only were they caught in a 2007 regular season game versus the New York Jets doing such illegal practices, there was also evidence of illegal videotape walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams prior to the Patriots’ Super Bowl game with them back in 2002.
As a result of the illegal practices, the Patriots were fined $250,000, head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 — the most in league history for a head coach — and the Patriots were docked a first-round draft pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
If one thought the “Spygate” penalties were severe, the “Deflategate” scandal took the cake for even worse penalties. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games for his role in the incident while the Patriots were also stripped of first and fourth-round draft choices.
Recent Infraction is Not as Bad as Spygate
As Maske also mentions in his article, the league does not view this situation anywhere as bad as the situation in 2007 with “Spygate” and commissioner Roger Goodell has yet to reach a concrete resolution on the exact penalty that the Patriots will face.
“The Patriots’ Deflategate penalty is the exception in the cases cited as precedents being studied by the league, and the NFL still does not seem to regard the evidence in this case as being as severe or as voluminous as that in the Spygate case with the Patriots in 2007.
The NFL’s investigation is not complete and the penalties are not yet firmly set, however. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league leaders left this week’s owners’ meetings in Dallas and, rather than returning to New York, participated in labor negotiations with representatives of the NFL Players Association late in the week.”
This situation is obviously not as severe as the Patriots’ prior infractions and honestly, it was likely a harmless mistake that had absolutely nothing to do with the football operations department.
However, because of New England’s history and because the Patriots still committed an illegal infraction, the NFL will have no choice but to send a message by disciplining New England in some shape or form.
The Patriots will play the Bengals in Week 15 on Sunday.