Originally, we heard several excuses come up, but the overwhelming tone was it was all a big misunderstanding. The Patriots did release a statement last night admitting that they did get footage of the Bengals’ sideline and accept the blame. They pinned all of it on the production crew not being informed that what they were doing was against league rules, though.
More information has come to light since then about what exactly New England got on camera, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of the Athletic.
According to sources who have viewed the tape, it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on recording the Bengals’ sideline. It’s a direct view of the sideline as players run on and off the field and coaches make signals for plays. This isn’t an over-the-shoulder of the advanced scout who is doing his job stuff. This is shooting the sideline. For an extended period of time. The egregious nature of the video is why it set off the firestorm it did during the game with the Bengals executives in the press box.
Given the Patriots’ history with filming opposing teams, it is very hard to give them the benefit of the doubt here. The production team was given permission by the Browns to gather footage for the Patriots’ web series “Do Your Job,” which follows the life of an advanced scout in the NFL.
Patriots’ coach Bill Belichick also denies any involvement with the video.
“I mean, I had no idea what it was about,” he said. “Then, you know, I got an explanation, I think the organization released that explanation or something similar to that. That’s really all I know about it.”
The patriots have obviously fell under the ire of the NFL before for bending the rules and even for this very same offense way back in 2007. They were caught with footage of coaches giving signals to players on the field back then as well.
Given their history it is hard to believe New England’s cry of it just being a mistake. You would think that given their history, they would be even more focused having their production crews affiliated with them on proper recording etiquette at games. The video is in possession of the NFL who is currently reviewing it. However, if the video contains, what Dehner’s source eludes to, it is hard to believe there won’t be a very harsh punishment in the Patriots’ future.