New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman isn't worrying about Spygate 2.0. In fact, the Super Bowl LIII MVP believes the situation is a "joke."
"Yeah, that's pretty much a joke," Edelman said Thursday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show" (h/t the Boston Herald's Andrew Callahan). "We haven't even thought about it, honestly. We've been thinking about other things. It's funny, but it is what it is. I don't know, it's ridiculous. My focus is on the Buffalo Bills."
During a Week 14 contest between the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, the Patriots were accused of filming the then-1-12 Bengals' sideline from the press box ahead of their Week 15 meeting. According to The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr., New England had eight minutes of footage focused on the Cincinnati sideline.
On Sunday, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports released video from the incident:
New England previously released a statement acknowledging the production crew "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box." The team noted the crew was profiling an advanced scout for an episode of its internet series "Do Your Job" and had received credentials from the Browns but failed to inform the Bengals or the NFL.
Head coach Bill Belichick has denied any involvement.
Back in 2007, the NFL fined Belichick $500,000 and the Patriots $250,000 for the initial Spygate scandal, which also saw the team stripped of its 2008 first-round pick.
Interestingly, Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN pointed out New England used a similar excuse during that matter:
Don Van Natta Jr. @DVNJr
“Spygate 2.0” appears to have the same M.O., the same ready-made alibi. The difference, this time, is the Bengals have a copy of the tape. The NFL destroyed all the Patriots’ Spygate tapes in 2007. My 2015 @OTLonESPN report, with @SethWickersham: https://t.co/uEPHPotHmO https://t.co/lXhPM22urS
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said last week, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the league is conducting a "thorough" investigation. According to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora, New England could be facing a loss of draft picks and "heavy fines."
Despite the off-field noise, New England used a strong second half to cruise to a 34-13 victory over Cincinnati last Sunday. Up next is a home game versus 10-4 Buffalo on Saturday.