The New England Patriots could have another Spygate scandal brewing.
As Pro Football Talk reported, the NFL is investigating reports that a Patriots team employee was seen filming the sidelines at the Cincinnati Bengals game on Sunday. The issue came up during Bengals coach Zac Taylor’s press conference on Monday, with a reporter asking if he could confirm the rumors that the Patriots had a videographer in the Bengals’ press box along with an advanced scout, and that the two were taping the sidelines.
“I’m aware that there was an incident but the league is investigating it, so I’ve got no comment,” Taylor responded.
The Bengals later released a statement saying that they were aware of the incident and that the NFL’s security team was investigating. ESPN reported that the team had not been notified in advance that the Patriots would be filming, however.
The Patriots faced one of the biggest punishments in league history after being caught videotaping the signals from New York Jets defensive coaches during a September 9, 2007 game. The league would fine Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000 — the largest fine ever imposed on a coach in NFL history — and docked the team $250,000. The NFL also took away the team’s first-round draft pick in 2008.
The Patriots appear to be getting ahead of the current potential scandal, with Pro Football Talk noting that the team “put out word to multiple reporters” that the videographer was shooting for the Do Your Job documentary series that is featured on the team’s website.
A source tells me a Bengals employee was watching the videographer/cameraman who identified himself as a Robert Kraft employee. The Bengals employee kept an eye on that monitor, the shot was of the Bengals coaches and staff on the sidelines for the entire 1st quarter.
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Twitter that the scout was not actually filming the Bengals sidelines but himself was being filmed for a segment on how the team prepares for upcoming games. The Patriots travel to Cincinnati for a game next week. The league now has the video that the Patriots had taken, and the team reportedly claims that they did nothing wrong.
Schefter noted that the Patriots had credentials for the film crew from the Cleveland Browns, but CBS Sports reporter John Breech took to Twitter to note an interesting twist. He recalled that in the original Spygate scandal, the league’s investigation found that the Patriots had excuses prepared in case an advance scout was caught filming another team. One of those excuses was to claim that they were collecting footage for a television show.
The NFL had not yet released any statement on the reported investigation of the Patriots, and it is not clear what kind of potential discipline the team could face.