The NFL is winding up its investigation into a video crew’s filiming of the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline and has found nothing to link the New England Patriots’ football staff to any misdoings, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The Patriots said a videographer was filming one of New England’s advance scouts for a “Do Your Job” documentary series on employees that is featured on the team website and was not trying to gain a competitive advantage for their late-season game against the Bengals.
The Post said the NFL investigation could conclude this week. Despite the league not finding a connection between the football staff and the filming, the Patriots still could face a significant fine or another penalty such as the loss of a draft pick.
That’s because the Patriots admitted they violated NFL video rules when the crew, which was set up in the press box, shot video of the Cincinnati sideline when the Bengals met the Browns in Cleveland on Dec. 8. The Patriots beat the Bengals 34-13 on Dec. 15.
“The football team, the football staff and the coaching staff had nothing to do with what happened. Nothing. So, we have no involvement in it,” Belichick said after the videotaping incident.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league officials must review the findings before any penalties are announced.
Teams recently were fined between $150,000 and $350,000 for offenses that included playing fake crowd noise in the stadium during a game (Atlanta Falcons), using a walkie-talkie when the communications system failed (New York Giants), violating rules on coach-to-player headsets in helmets (Baltimore Ravens) and a team official texting coaches during games (Cleveland Browns).
The Patriots have a history of video infractions. In 2007, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 after the team was caught taping the New York Jets’ defensive coaches’ signals in the incident known as Spygate. New England also was docked its first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.
New England (12-4) will host the Tennessee Titans (9- 7) in the AFC wild-card round on Saturday night.
–Field Level Media