Patriots Respond to Allegations Made by Bengals of Improper Video Recording

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 01:  A New England Patriots helmet is seen on the bench before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Tim Warner/Getty Images

The New England Patriots released a statement addressing a report they surreptitiously filmed the Cincinnati Bengals on the sideline during the Bengals' 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The Patriots said they were filming for their behind-the-scenes web series Do Your Job. One installment centered on the team's scouting department and required footage from Sunday's game.

"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," New England said. "In addition to filming the scout, the production crew—without specific knowledge of the League rules—inappropriately filmed the field from the press box."

New England Patriots @Patriots

Statement from the New England Patriots. https://t.co/rhXdwVvnr8

According to ESPN's Dianna Russini, a Bengals employee alleged a videographer had a camera following the Bengals' sideline. The videographer said he was employed by Robert Kraft.

Dianna @diannaESPN

Most play calls are radioed in, some aren't. There are advantages to filming a sideline of a 1st year head coach, and 1st year DC. Radio and signaling work in concert. So the base play will come thru the headset, adjustments will be made by signaling.

"Sources told ESPN that the Bengals employee flagged media relations and Bengals security staff, then interviewed the Kraft videographer," the ESPN report said. "That interview was also taped. The videographer asked if the footage could just be deleted and it could all be forgotten, according to sources."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed the situation, saying in an interview on WEEI the football operations side had no involvement with the filming. Belichick added that none of his personnel has watched the raw footage from any filming for the series.


Bill Belichick joined OMF for his first response to the Bengals allegations of the #Patriots videotaping their sideline signals BB: "This is something we 100% have zero involvement with" @GlennDOrdway @LouMerloni @christianfauria https://t.co/XD4ffEcIiv

Although New England's statement lines up with Belichick's comments, some will question whether the team is being entirely forthright.

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

This comes down to whether the NFL buys the Patriots' series of events. I have doubts that NE would be so brazen to film the Bengals' sideline in front of media and Cinci scouts in the press box. That being said, the Patriots should have informed the production crew of NFL rules.

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

Admission of impropriety by the Patriots. An elaborate excuse that sounds perfectly devised to absolve the team of guilt. Meanwhile, they're "accidentally" filming the sideline of a 1st year HC and 1st year DC for as long as possible until busted https://t.co/eZewBmlOlz

Manish Mehta @MMehtaNYDN

“Unintended oversight” “Unknowingly violated a league policy” “We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew.” There should be consequences for the Patriots. https://t.co/C5RVuyzmwb

In September 2007 the NFL handed a $500,000 fine to Belichick and a $250,000 fine to the Patriots after they captured video of signals from New York Jets coaches during a game. The team ultimately forfeited its 2008 first-round draft pick as well. 

The Patriots deployed the tactic well before getting caught, according to ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham. Team employees videoed the sideline signals in at least 40 games between 2000 and 2007, a fact that came to light during the Spygate inquiry.