No evidence connecting Bill Belichick, football staff in Patriots videotaping Bengals sideline, per report


Nearly a month has passed since the New England Patriots were caught illegally taping the Cincinnati Bengals sideline during their Week 14 matchup with the Cleveland Browns. In that time, the Patriots remained adamant that this was simply an accident made by a videographer — shooting a documentary short film on an advance scout — who didn’t know league rules when it comes to such taping. The team noted at the time and held to the notion that this in no way has connection to Bill Belichick and the football operation of the Patriots, emphasizing that there was no malice involved with this videotaping and they were not trying to gain a competitive advantage. 

Rightfully so considering the Patriots’ history when it comes to videotaping matters and crossing the line of what is legal and what is not, the NFL investigated the situation and, so far, it appears like New England is telling the truth. According to Mark Maske of the Washington Post, the league has found no evidence linking Belichick or anyone else on the New England Patriots football staff to the video shot of the Cincy sideline in Cleveland. 

Maske adds that the investigation is winding down and could be completed as soon as this week. Barring some new and damning evidence that would suggest the Patriots were a bit more nefarious in their actions, the league will impose penalties similar to those given out in recent years for game-day infractions (fine, loss or reduction in value of a draft pick, etc.). 

In the immediate aftermath of this story coming to light, the Patriots were forthright in their explanation of the matter and did admit that the sideline was illegally filmed. It just wasn’t for a competitive gain and instead was done by the videographer, who has since been suspended, due to lack of knowledge. Footage of the incident obtained and released by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports shows the camera fixated on the Cincinnati sideline as the videographer was confronted by Bengals officials. At the time, the videographer offered to delete the footage, but instead it was handed over to league officials to investigate. 

Given that there is some fault here on the Patriots because the organization did — intentionally or not — do something against league rules, there will likely be some punishment handed down by Roger Goodell. That said, it likely won’t be as severe as punishments the team has seen levied down in the past for the original Spygate ($750,000 in fines and a loss of a first-round pick) or Deflategate (Tom Brady suspended for four games, $1 million team fine, loss of first- and fourth-round picks). 

Tyler Sullivan

2020-01-02 11:08:41

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