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That’s the big question that seems to be floating through the football world (once again) after the latest questionable incident occurred related to their organization, now being dubbed ‘Spygate 2.0’ by some in the media.
This one involved filming the sidelines of a team they were about to play, the Cincinnati Bengals, and it’s stirring up a lot of controversy and questions about what the New England Patriots are willing to do to get an edge.
Apparently, in Week 13 the Patriots had a videographer in the press box taping the Bengals’ sideline as they played the Cleveland Browns.
The film crew had been hired by New England for a series called Do Your Job, which captures “behind-the-scenes features on various departments within the organization” for Patriots.com.
One of the Patriots’ scouting department is going to be featured on the show and the crew was there to capture footage of the man doing his job scouting the Cincinnati Bengals.
The main problem was that nobody thought to notify the Cincinnati Bengals or the NFL that this shoot was taking place, as admitted in a statement released by the team:
“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 main reason is that no team wants to have their signals, play calling or their sideline roster packages filmed in advance – it’s a disadvantage to have that happen, which is why the league has disallowed it from being done.
Even the Patriots admitted as much in part of their statement:
“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.”
As the old saying goes: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and let’s just say that over the years there have been plenty of ‘cheater smoke’ floating around the Patriots’ camp.
There was the incident in 2007 when the Pats were caught videotaping the New York Jets coaches’ hand signals during a game (eventually called “Spygate”) which cost New England general manager Bill Belichick half a million dollars in fines, plus the Patriots were charged a quarter of a million dollars by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and lost a first-round draft pick.
Then there was the investigation in 2015 that concluded that 11 out of 12 balls that New England provided for the AFC Championship game were under-inflated (eventually called “Deflategate”), and as a result, GOAT quarterback Tom Brady was issued a four-game suspension and the team was fined $1 million and had to forfeit some draft picks.
That information has not been officially released yet, but on Sunday, Fox Sports host Jay Glazier shared some exclusive footage that included plenty of long shots of the Bengals’ sideline and you can hear the security guard point out that, “I don’t see the advance scout in this footage…I don’t know why you would think you could take that.”
To which the videographer replies, “I didn’t know. I’m sorry. But I can delete this right here for you.”
All of the tapes that were used were handed over to the league as soon as the video crew was questioned and the team insisted that their football staff had “no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features.”
Still, that ‘cheater smoke’ had the football world talking negatively about the Patriots once again.
Let’s just say they’ve been…suspicious, as evidenced by these Tweets:
An “independent” media organization “not affiliated” with the Patriots “unknowingly” recorded the Bengals sidelines illegally. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/DSFSHzkH9s
— TB (@RealTonyBones) December 10, 2019
Bengals Security: what’s that you’ve got there?
Patriots videographer: pic.twitter.com/relbnDvIZT
— Bird Law Expert #TheWestIsNotEnough (@RealBirdLawyer) December 9, 2019
Still frame photo of an image the Patriots shot of the Bengals sideline on Sunday pic.twitter.com/Sr637uO4Eh
— Travis Hancock (@TBoneWFNZ) December 10, 2019
Many fans want to know why the New England Patriots would need to cheat to beat the 1-12 Cincinnati Bengals and that’s an excellent question.
They don’t, which is probably why they weren’t, but still, when you’re basking in old ‘cheater smoke’ it’s tough to claim innocence.
That sentiment was summed up nicely in this funny Tweet:
Old enough to remember when the Patriots filmed sidelines to win Super Bowls, not beat the Bengals.
— Sam Mellinger (@mellinger) December 10, 2019
It’s highly unlikely that anything shady was being done by the Patriots franchise here, but it goes to show you that it’s tough to clear the ‘cheater smoke’ once it’s been floating around you.
Of course, if New England is guilty of foul play they would never admit it, and as a result, the Patriots’ denials never seem to ring true.
Belichick even said, point blank, that he “didn’t’ have anything at all to do with this.”
Sure, Bill, but isn’t that what you said about the other two incidents?
Just who’s telling the truth has yet to be determined with the league’s investigation of the incident still ongoing, but after the New England Patriots destroyed the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday by a score of 34-13, chances are there are plenty of football fans who suspect exactly how the Pats got the job done.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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