NEW YORK -- After looking into claims a New England Patriots employee was videotaping signals by Jets coaches on New York's sideline during the season opener, the NFL has determined that the Patriots have violated rules governing the usage of video tape on sidelines, reports the NFL Network's Adam Schefter.
Schefter also reports that the league plans on summoning New England coach Bill Belichick to its offices in New York this week to discuss the matter, and that possible punishment being considered by the NFL include fines, loss of draft picks and suspensions.
The investigation was first reported by ESPN.com, which said that NFL security confiscated a video camera and tape from a Patriots employee during New England's 38-14 victory Sunday. The employee was accused of aiming his camera at the Jets' defensive coaches, who were sending signals out to the players, sources told the Web site.
"The rule is that no video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches' booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game," the league said in a statement from spokesman Greg Aiello. "Clubs have specifically been reminded in the past that the videotaping of an opponent's offensive or defensive signals on the sidelines is prohibited.
"We are looking into whether the Patriots violated this rule."
"With anything along those lines, those are all league-related matters, and anything that deals with an issue like this or anything on a team-by-team basis, those all go to the league," coach Eric Mangini said in his news conference Monday.
When asked if the Jets had in fact notified the league, he said: "It's all a league matter."
Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined comment. New England cornerback Ellis Hobbs said he was unaware of the controversy, and unwilling to believe his team had cheated.
"We put too many hours in as individuals and a team to have to go out and cheat," he said. "If it's true, obviously, we're in the wrong. But I'm standing behind my team, my coaches. I don't think we do that stuff."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press