Patriots: Video crew filmed sideline from press box

Print
  • By Around The NFL staff NFL.com
More Columns >

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Monday that the NFL is investigating if the Patriots had a videographer film the Bengals sideline from the Cleveland press box during Sunday's game.

"I'm aware there was an incident, but I know the league is investigating it," Taylor said when asked at the end of his press conference. "I've got no comment."

Taylor had no comment to follow up questions on the matter. NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported the league received the complaint and looked into it.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the Patriots' situation, that New England reached out to the Browns for a credential for a videographer to shoot a behind-the-scenes piece on an advance scout as part of their "Do Your Job" video series.

The Patriots released the following statement on the matter late Monday night, confirming that the organization's video crew, independent of the football operation, did film the field while in the press box at the Bengals-Browns game:

"For the past year, the New England Patriots content team has produced a series of behind-the scenes features on various departments within the organization. The seven previous 'Do Your Job' episodes are archived on patriots.com. On Sunday, Dec. 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."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick said earlier Monday on WEEI that he had "absolutely nothing" to do with the production of the video series.

"I heard about this and evidently this is our production people on the TV show that were there and I have absolutely nothing to do, we have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they produce or direct or shoot," Belichick said. "I have never even seen any of their tapes or anything else. This is something that we 100 percent have zero involvement with. This is something you'd have to talk to the production people about and what they were doing, or whatever it was. We have never seen anything that they've shot, other than what has come down on TV."

Belichick added: "As I understand it, they were videotaping him to show kind of what an advance scout does, or something like that."

Pelissero reported that a Bengals scout noticed the recording in the press box and alerted a Cincinnati executive, who alerted NFL security. Security then spoke with the Patriots staffer and obtained the video.

"What really drew the interest of the Bengals is the fact they were shooting into the bench area," Pelissero said on The Aftermath. "I have spoken with several people familiar of what was in that tape, including one person who has seen that tape, and said it included video of the Bengals coaches making signals and then panning out into the field."

Belichick added his scouting department is aware that it is against NFL rules to film opponents.

"A scout can't film the opponents, as an advance scout," Belichick said. "Our video people are not even allowed to point the camera at our opponents during pregame warmup or their side of the field or anything else to test out their equipment. They 100 percent know, all of our scouts, all of our video people and everything, absolutely know what that is. Again, I have nothing to do with the TV production shows. I have no idea what they do, what their projects are or anything else."

The Patriots play at the Bengals this Sunday.

Print