Competition Committee satisfied with Goodell's resolution of video incident

INDIANAPOLIS -- Commissioner Roger Goodell presented the NFL Competition Committee with details of the New England Patriots' illegal video-taping situation during a briefing Thursday morning at the league's annual scouting combine.

Members of the committee were later forced to face the media on the issue, presenting a united front during a morning news conference. Unilaterally, they seemed to agree that no rules needed to be addressed after learning about the circumstances in greater detail.

"That process was fair, detailed, efficient, and what was on the tapes was explained to us and what was in the notes was explained to us," said Colts general manager Bill Polian. "The reason that the information was done away with was explained to us.

"From my perspective, that was a thorough, fair, efficient process with lots of integrity. They arrived at a disciplinary action which the commissioner thought was appropriate and which met with previous precedent, which by the way the commissioner has often times (been) guided by."

The briefing was held specifically to deal with the video-taping issue, and all eight members of the committee were present.

The Patriots, for their part, have only acknowledged a mis-interpretation of the rules. Members of the committee didn't believe a change in the rules would have prohibited the act by the Patriots, or that any clarification was needed.

"No. Those rules are very, very clear," emphasized co-chairman and Titans coach Jeff Fisher. "There is no need to be more specific or clarify any rules whatsoever as far as the bylaws are concerned."

As a result of the investigation by the NFL, the Patriots were fined $250,000 and stripped of a 2008 first-round draft pick, while coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000.

At the core of the committee is even competition. The committee is mainly concerned with creating an even playing field for the teams and ensuring an unintended advantage wasn't created because of the current rules.

"We always view ourselves as a legislative body, not as a judicial body," said McKay. "That's mainly what we deal with. In this instance, this was an act that was investigated, dealt with, and basically we didn't have to play any role in it until this point in time when the commissioner's office gave us a de-briefing."

McKay, for one, believes the sanctions levied on the Patriots were severe. Others have argued otherwise.

"To me, it was dealt with very swiftly and very severely," said McKay. "So I think it sent all the right messages. … In my mind the sanctions were extremely severe, and therefore very acceptable to me."

Polian, Fisher and McKay were joined by Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome and New York Giants president and CEO John Mara, taking turns in answering questions from the media.

The overriding sentiment by members of the committee, who each answered questions separately following the news conference, was that of a desire to move on from the topic.

"I guess I view it as yesterday's news, and I want it to be yesterday's news," said McKay.

A direct result of the situation surrounding the Patriots' videotaping procedures and subsequent penalties is the perception -- true or otherwise -- that teams throughout the league have attempted similar measures to circumvent the rulebook. McKay, for one, believes it's an isolated incident and that teams aren't looking to gain a competitive advantage through similar means.

"The thing about this that bothers me, is that I don't want the outside perception to be that, 'Boy, there's all these teams and they're doing all these things,' because it's not true," McKay said. "It's just flat-out not true.

"And in this instance, a team did something that was against the rules, and the thing that gets overlooked sometimes is that they admitted it relatively quickly. It wasn't as though they didn't admit it really quickly. ... At the end of the day, they accepted the penalties and moved forward. I think that, in my mind, this is a case-closed and (we) can move on."

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