By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Here we go again. The Patriots are being accused of videotaping the Cincinnati Bengals play calls in Week 14.
Yes, there is a report that the Patriots were taping the play calls of a 1-12 team. But it all sounds like a big misunderstanding, according to those around the NFL.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked about rumors of a Patriots employee videotaping their sideline during his Monday press conference, sparking all the hoopla.
“I’m aware of the incident, but the league is investigating it. So I have no comment,” Taylor said Monday.
The Patriots had a scout in Cleveland on Sunday to watch the Bengals take on the Browns, because that’s what NFL teams do. But that scout was not filming the Bengals sideline — he was being filmed himself.
According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, the Patriots had a camera crew in Cleveland to document their scout for the team’s “Do Your Job” web series. This was cleared with the Browns, and the Patriots have turned the footage over to the NFL and are cooperating fully, according to Kyed.
A source tells me the Patriots had a camera crew in Cleveland this weekend to shoot a documentary on a scout that was watching the Bengals-Browns game. The Patriots cleared it with the Browns, have turned the footage over to the NFL and are cooperating fully with the league.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) December 9, 2019
Mark Daniels of The Providence Journal added to that report, saying the Browns never informed the Bengals that this was happening. The whole situation, according to Daniels, is a “misunderstanding.”
The Browns never informed the Bengals what was going on. They told the league and the NFL has the footage. This, as I’m told, is a misunderstanding.
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) December 9, 2019
ESPN’s Dianna Russini, who gave the story legs on Monday afternoon, has also reported that the controversy appears to be a misunderstanding due to a lack of communication with the Bengals.
Just spoke to New England about the situation. Apparently this was a very BIG misunderstanding and lack of communication with the Bengals.
— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
The issue here was that neither the Bengals nor the league were informed of this. So Cincinnati officials found it strange when a Patriots videographer was setting up a tripod and shooting down to the field — especially since the two teams play Sunday.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 9, 2019
Patriots’ advance scout was not filming but being filmed, per a league source. He was being filmed for a feature the team produced called, "Do Your Job." The video crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video in the press box and their PR person was aware, per the source
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2019
So the latest scandal appears to be over before it could really get started, lasting all of 30 minutes before it was debunked. But the story brings back memories of the Spygate scandal back in 2007, when the Patriots lost a first-round pick and were fined $250,000 for taping New York Jets signals from the sidelines — and not a designated area in the stadium — in Week 1. Head coach Bill Belichick was also fined $500,000 for the scandal.
Belichick would be facing a pretty hefty punishment if the Patriots got caught doing anything funny again, so chances are he wouldn’t risk it over a Week 15 matchup with a one-win team.