NFL fans will recall the 2007 New England Patriots cheating scandal that was dubbed Spygate. Now some are calling a December 8 incident “Spygate 2,” a case in which a Patriots video crew was caught red-handed by Cincinnati Bengals security filming their sidelines, a serious violation of league rules.
The incident is particularly remarkable because the original Spygate episode in which the Patriots were found to be recording the New York Jets sideline led to immense penalties. Head Coach Bill Belichik was fined $500,000, the team was given a fine of $250,000, and the Patriots lost a first round draft pick.
Fox Sports shared exclusive footage of the violation being called out by Bengals security …
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) December 15, 2019
The video shows Bengals security reviewing the illegal footage with the crew. Dialog that can be heard between security and the film crew follows …
SECURITY: “And, this is a piece your filming on your advanced scout?”
VIDEO CREW: “Yeah.”
SECURITY: “Yeah? C’mon guys! I don’t see the advanced scout in this footage.”
VIDEO CREW: “No, that’s not. We were trying to get some field perspective. That’s my bad.
The camera operator repeatedly pleads that he can delete the footage … no harm, no foul.
SECURITY: “Too late. The damage is done my friend!”
The Pats and the team’s six-time Super Bowl winning coach both issued denials that the latest incident is a matter of cheating to gain a competitive advantage.
Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/rhXdwVvnr8
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 10, 2019
The team statement explained that the three-person crew for a web series titled “Do Your Job” was in Cincinnati and “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box” as part of a feature on the scouting department. The statement claimed that their filming took place “without specific knowledge of league rules” that they violated.
“While we sought and were granted credentialed access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew, our failure to inform the Bengals and the League was an unintended oversight,” the statement read. “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 of using the footage for any other purpose.”
During a Tuesday conference call with reporters, Belichick denied wrongdoing. “We’re competitive and we’ll try to be competitive in every area,” he said. “But we don’t knowingly, intentionally want to do anything that’s across the line. But since that [Spygate] happened, I’d say we’ve tried to keep a good distance behind the line and not maybe take it as far as we would have in the past. But it’s never really fundamentally changed there.”
In a Monday interview with WEEI, the longtime coach said: “We have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they [the Do Your Job crew] produce or direct or shoot. I have never seen any of their tapes or anything else. This is something that we 100 percent have zero involvement with.”
It’s important to note that the Bengals were next on the Patriots’ schedule, so any collected footage could have been timely and valuable for the team’s game preparations the following week.
According to a Sunday report by the Boston Globe, the Patriots have suspended longtime employee Dave Mondillo for the infraction of filming the sideline.
The Patriots, as successful as they have been, have acquired a reputation of being untrustworthy around the league. Spygate was one episode contributing to that view.
In 2015, the team was also accused of illegally deflating footballs that were to be used in the AFC championship game. That scandal resulted in a four-game suspension of QB Tom Brady, a team fine of $1 million, and the loss of another first-round draft pick.
- NJ school teacher yells at students she hopes they die ‘painful death’ from coronavirus for playing at park - April 27, 2020
- Trump’s briefing-alternative included bold counteroffensive: ‘No respect for people running Fox News’ - April 27, 2020
- Candace Owens questions next moves in COVID19 strategy: ‘None of this makes any sense’ - April 26, 2020