New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show that the team wasn't focused on the NFL's investigation into the franchise regarding a videographer breaking league rules by filming the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline the week prior.
WEEI's Ryan Hannable shared Brady's comments on Monday:
"I don't think any player gave it one second of thought. ... You just move on, man. There's a lot of distractions out there and if you lose focus on your job, that is really a waste of your time. There's a lot of people out there—they can create distractions for us, but we just want to go out there and focus on what we can do and what our job is and try and go out there and play the best we possibly can."
The Patriots are being investigated after the Bengals discovered a Patriots video crew filming their sideline during Week 14's game in Cleveland against the Browns. On Sunday, Fox Sports' Jay Glazer shared the footage of a member of the Bengals' security staff confronting the videographers:
The Patriots have publicly apologized for the incident, saying the videographers were gathering footage for a piece on an advanced scout that would air on the team's website:
But it's hard to ignore some the parallels from the team's last filming scandal, Spygate. As ESPN's Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham reported in 2015:
"During games, [former Patriots employee Matt Walsh] later told investigators, the Patriots' videographers were told to look like media members, to tape over their team logos or turn their sweatshirt inside out, to wear credentials that said Patriots TV or Kraft Productions. The videographers also were provided with excuses for what to tell NFL security if asked what they were doing: Tell them you're filming the quarterbacks. Or the kickers. Or footage for a team show."
Additionally, the NFL found "a library of scouting material containing videotapes of opponents' signals, with detailed notes matching signals to plays for many teams going back seven seasons" in 2008 during its investigation of the team.
And regardless of New England's public statements, punishment could be incoming. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that the team could be docked a future draft pick, incur serious fines and could face suspensions to upper management and ownership.
So Brady and the Patriots players may not be distracted by the situation, but until the NFL concludes its investigation, it will remain a major storyline this season. And if the Pats were found to have been cheating yet again, it could be a major blemish on the legacy of the Bill Belichick and Brady era in New England.