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Spygate 2.0? New England Patriots admit video crew violated NFL rules

However, the Super Bowl champions maintained it was not on purpose.

NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.
NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots.

THE NEW ENGLAND Patriots admitted a video crew violated NFL rules, though the Super Bowl champions maintained it was not on purpose.

On Monday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick strongly denied the team’s football operations were involved in alleged filming of the Cincinnati Bengals last week ahead of Sunday’s upcoming clash.

It came after Bengals coach Zac Taylor confirmed the NFL is investigating an incident that took place during Cincinnati’s 27-19 loss to the Cleveland Browns on 8 December.

The Patriots released a statement later Monday, acknowledging the video crew — which included independent contractors — inappropriately filmed the sideline from the press box amid an ongoing behind-the-scenes documentary series.

“For the past year, the New England Patriots content team has produced a series of behind-the-scenes features on various departments within the organisation,” the statement read.

The seven previous ‘Do Your Job’ episodes are archived on patriots.com. On Sunday, December 8, the content team sent a three-person video crew to the Bengals-Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium in order to capture one part of a longer feature on the Patriots scouting department, in this case a Patriots pro personnel scout while he was working in the press box. 

“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. In addition to filming the scout, the production crew — without specific knowledge of League rules — inappropriately filmed the field from the press box. The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road. 

“There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated a league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully. 

“The production crew is independent of our football operation. While aware that one of the scouts was being profiled for a ‘Do Your Job’ episode, our football staff had no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features. We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.”

It is not the first controversy the Patriots have been embroiled in in recent years. Belichick and the team were both fined as well as being docked a first-round draft pick as they were involved in a spying scandal in 2007.

In 2015, they were also involved in the ‘Deflategate’ controversy.

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The Patriots, who top the AFC with a 10-3 record, travel to Cincinnati face the lowly Bengals (1-12) on Sunday.

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