Pats’ Belichick: We don’t knowingly cross the line
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick on Tuesday denied any involvement with the videographer who was caught taping the Cincinnati Bengals’ sideline during their game against Cleveland on Sunday.
It has raised suspicions around the league and drawn some comparisons to “Spygate,” the 2007 incident that led to penalties for Belichick and the Patriots. Belichick said the franchise has altered its approach since then.
“We’re competitive and we’ll try to be competitive in every area,” Belichick said during a conference call with Cincinnati media Tuesday morning. “But we don’t knowingly, intentionally want to do anything that’s across the line.
“But since that’s [Spygate] happened, I’d say we’ve tried to keep a good distance behind the line and not maybe take it as far as we would might have in the past. But it’s never really fundamentally changed there.”
In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots were docked a first-round pick in the 2008 draft after a team employee was caught recording unauthorized footage of the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets. A league investigation found eight tapes of game footage and written notes on scouting information accumulated over the seven previous seasons.
During Tuesday’s call, Belichick said he “didn’t have anything at all to do with this” after the Patriots confirmed that a videographer captured shots of the field and Bengals’ sideline on Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium, one week before Cincinnati hosts New England.
According to the Patriots, the advance scout in the press box for the Bengals’ 27-19 loss to the Browns was being filmed for a series on employees that is featured on the team’s website. A Bengals team employee spotted New England’s videographer filming Cincinnati’s sideline for the entire first quarter, a source told ESPN.
The NFL is investigating the matter, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Dan Graziano. In a statement released Monday evening, the Patriots said the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully, and takes full responsibility for the incident.
On Tuesday, Belichick declined to say whether he had any contact with Cincinnati regarding the situation.
“I would say I’d keep that between us and the Bengals,” Belichick said on the teleconference.
The Patriots (10-3) have a one-game lead over the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East heading into Sunday’s games. The Bengals (1-12) have the worst record in the NFL.
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