The New England Patriots finally received punishment for their role in the second major videotaping scandal to rock the organization.
At long last, the New England Patriots received penalties for Spygate 2.0.
During a December 8 game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals, a Patriots organization production crew was caught illegally filming the sidelines of the field while ostensibly recording footage for the team website’s “Do Your Job” series. The stated purpose for the crew being there was to record ‘a day in the life’ of an advance scout, and all the members of the crew were credentialed.
The Patriots, to their credit, immediately announced and admitted the wrongdoing of the crew. They also took steps to distance themselves as a franchise from the production filmmakers, claiming they were all independent contractors who had no connection to the football operations in New England.
Unfortunately, whether or not that was indeed true, the Pats have a history of this kind of thing (in case you hadn’t heard).
The whole “Patriots are cheaters” narrative, annoying and overblown as it may be, really took off after the Spygate scandal in which former New England assistant Eric Mangini, then head coach of the rival Jets, accused Belichick and the Patriots of stealing New York’s signals via a camera crew.
New England lost their first-round draft pick in 2008, and the NFL also fined Bill Belichick $500,000 and the franchise itself $250,000 for that transgression.
Spygate 2.0 penalties on Patriots harsher than many expected
Twelve years later, the Patriots have again been penalized for their wrongdoing — despite the fact it may not have been Belichick’s fault (or anyone else within the organization).
The NFL announced that New England would be stripped their 2021 third-round pick and fined $1.1 million for Spygate 2.0, according to ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Additionally, Patriots production crews “will not be allowed to shoot any games during the 2020 season, and senior club officials will undergo required training on league operation and game policies,” per Reiss.
If there’s a silver lining to this situation, it’s that the Patriots could possibly recoup the third-round pick via a compensatory draft selection if they end up losing Cam Newton next spring in free agency, per Adam Schefter.
Obviously, that’s not a guarantee — there’s a chance Newton might not even play this season at all, or if he does, that it won’t be for New England. So much still rests on his health — and his ability to beat out Jarrett Stidham for the Patriots QB1 job. He could also end up re-signing with the Pats in 2021 as well.
Regardless, it’s fascinating that this news regarding the penalties and punishments for Spygate 2.0 essentially got drowned out on Sunday by the larger, more exciting, more positive news about Newton’s signing in New England.