Browns apparently violated electronic devices rule

Prior to the latest NFL non-mutual “mutual parting,” this one involving the Browns and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, a report emerged that Shanahan’s concerns about the team included a claim that a “high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls.”

PFT has been unable to determine the identity of the “high-ranking personnel member” (and/or whether that person was in any way influenced by a homeless man), but PFT has confirmed that it happened. Which creates a separate issue for the Browns, because those types of electronic communications are prohibited during games.

“Unless specifically permitted by League rules, the use of cellular phones, smart phones, tablet devices, computers, wearable electronic devices such as Google Glass, and other electronic equipment by coaches, players, and other club personnel is prohibited in club-controlled areas including, but not limited to, sidelines and coaches’ booths,” the league’s electronic devices rule states. “These restrictions apply from ninety (90) minutes prior to kickoff through the end of the game, including halftime. Coaches, players, and other team personnel are permitted to use such electronic devices in the locker room prior to kickoff and are permitted to use League-issued Microsoft Surface tablets throughout game day for viewing coaches’ still photos.”

So the sending and receiving of text messages to the sidelines regarding play calls or anything else during a game violates that rule. In 2006, former Falcons coach Jim Mora was fined $25,000 for using a cell phone during a game.

Expensive phone call,” Mora said at the time. “Consider that a lesson learned.”

The Falcons and the Buccaneers had been tied late in overtime on December 24, 2005, and Mora made the call to determine how a tie would affect the Falcons’ playoff hopes.

So if that type of communication is prohibited, sending and receiving text messages on the sidelines also is prohibited. The question now becomes how extensively members of the Browns organization not on the sidelines have been communicating electronically with members of the coaching staff, and whether the league will investigate and dole out fines accordingly.

52 responses to “Browns apparently violated electronic devices rule

  1. Could they have been (unsuccessfully) sending down the opposing teams signals? Let the Textgate messages begin.

  2. If it was really a text about a play call, I’m curious as to when Kyle Shanahan saw the text. I would like to think he’s too preoccupied during the game to bother checking his text messages. I would think that he wouldn’t even have his phone with him on the sidelines. But then again, he’s not that good of a coach so it wouldn’t surprise me.

  3. There is a pending lawsuit that fairly well demonstrates what Jimmy Haslem thinks of rules. They’re for other people to follow.

  4. The Browns are such a messed up organization. Haslam said he’d be a hands-off owner, but he has stuck his nose in areas where he doesn’t have a clue (drafting Johnny Manziel), and totally screwed it up.
    It’s his business. He can do what he wants. But if he wants to be Coach/ GM in addition to owner, he needs to let his employees know that. Otherwise he needs to butt out.

  5. I’ve seen people on sidelines using cellphones during games several times. Enough that I figured they’d changed the rule.

  6. What next?

    I’ve been a Browns fan and backer since the late 40’s and I’ve about had it.

    I was hoping for at least 1 SB appearance before I start pushing up daisies but that is beginning to look out of the question now.

    Hillbillies and corrupt businessmen should have their electronice toys taken away, and be limited to only Madden games.

  7. I would argue that this is just as egregious as “spygate” and they should be dealt with harshly.

    I say that because, lets look very closely at the misconceptions of what spygate actually was. The “I hate the Patriots” people believe New England was punished for filming their opponents, because filming them is cheating. Truth is, they werent punished for filming their opponents. They were punished for having a camera on the sidlines. Had the Patriots located their camera man on the roof, or in the stands, or in the press box, or on the International Space Station, they would not have violated the rules and wouldnt have been punished. It has morphed into this idea that “filming is why they were punished, and the harsh punishment was because of how egregious the cheating was…”. Which simply isnt the case. It might make you feel better about the fact that you got spanked by the Pats year in and year out, but it doesnt make it reality.

    With that said, this is just as bad, or just as ridiculous if you want to put it that way. Cameras on the sideline were banned so that you couldnt use the footage in that game to make adjustments (gaining an advantage). So if electronic communications on the sidelines is banned (so that you cant use it to gain advantage over the opponents) then the punishment should be the same, right? Using electronic communications on the sidelines is cheating

  8. Well, regardless of the NFL policy, what kind of d-bag is going to text down to the sidelines about playcalling? There are too many executives whose egos are out of control. Just because you have some high-fallutin’ title doesn’t mean you know everything.

    Leave the guys in the trenches alone. No wonder Shanahan left.

  9. NFL teams have been bending the rules since George Halas began spying and Don Shula and the Dolphins were penalized a first round pick for tampering prior to the Perfect Season

    Most fans just delude themselves this doesn’t happen

  10. The “League-issued Microsoft Surface tablets” are full-fledged computers. With instant messaging.

  11. This is the difference between winners and losers; the Patriots cheat, they win. The Browns cheat, they’re still the Browns.

  12. I’ve been a Browns fan since 1960 and yet I have to deal with another rotten organization. It’s getting real old. Apparently the new owner is running the Browns like his previous corporation. If we’re lucky he’ll go to jail and have to sell the team.

  13. If you look at the Browns season as a whole it was a rebuilding year and many of the adult players did their jobs. The offensive line was great until Alex Mack was injured. I believe the Alex Mack injury was the most significant one of the year if you look at the performance of the offensive line before and after this event. In hindsight Brian Hoyer’s worst issue was Josh Gordon returning to the Browns. He ran incorrect routes and did not comprehend the playbook and Kyle Shanahan’s offense. There is more to be happy about than many people that write on these boards talk about. Get rid of the overpaid rookie bums and do a better job in future drafts. We were in every game up to Johnny Manziel’s horrible debut. For the Johnny Manziel defenders I say look at the walk on rookies numbers from the last game and then shut up. Johnny Manziel is a spoiled Ahole that needs to be somewhere else.

  14. Yet another offensive coordinator up and leaves the Browns after a very short tenure.

    Congratulations to the Brown’s front office … now your entire offense needs to learn yet ANOTHER new system, complete with new terminology..

    That sets your team back by at least two more years – because players need to acclimate to the new offense, and players need to be drafted whose physical skills fit into the system of play.

    The next redo of the movie Dumb and Dumber need look no further than the Brown’s front office for actors. Play fantasy football if you want to run your own team – and let your coaching staff do its job without your constant meddling.

  15. Roger Mueller, dressed as Clarence Beeks, will investigate and find that there is no evidence to support that any contact was made via text messaging. We can’t in any way believe anything the NFL or anyone attached to it says.

  16. Big deal. The Browns were arrested 6-7 times this past season for impersonating a NFL team, so this is small potatoes.

  17. Gee so little flack over the Browns? If this was the Pats, there would have bee a zillion negative comments. I was right about the big Don being a cheater….. Guess he sold his Glass house he had in Baltimore before moving to Miami.

  18. Haslam: Hey Kyle, what-cha thinking for the next play?
    Shanahan: Well… I was thinking of sending Crow off tackle. Isn’t this against league rules?
    Haslam: Lolz… I was thinking draw play, send Manziel up the middle
    Shanahan: Sir, Hoyer is QB
    Haslam: Excellent, Maziel it is
    Shanahan: FML…

  19. Browns’ fan input : I hope Johnny saves a seat at bw3 for J. Winston! (Assuming JW isn’t in jail, or the BW3 isn’t outside his ankle bracelet’s range)

  20. Shanahan’s concerns about the team included a claim that a “high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls.”…good move Shanahan…now you have an excuse to go back working for your Dad.
    And, I believe that the Browns, coming up fast on the outside, have now caught up to the Redskins in the dysfunctional department… should be a tremendous finish…

  21. The big difference with this versus the Patriots is you know the patriots were doing it to effectively help themselves win. With the Browns it’s just a meddlesome owner that couldn’t effectively help us get a first down. Go ahead and punish us (to make the bitter patriots fans happy)…..you do know it was Ryan that knew what you were doing and why though, right?

    Unfortunately for us browns fans we have to hope that someone eventually screws up someone else’s screwup so we finally make at least 1 consecutive step in a positive direction. This is exhausting.

  22. My take on this is that the owner was telling the guy what plays to call or something stupid along those lines. Talk about screwed up place.

  23. As a Browns fan I could care less if Shannahan leaves. I also don’t give a rats behind if the team is fined for illegal electronic devices on the sidelines. I don’t even care that the media and trolls pile on whenever a Browns player, coach or management farts and says how dysfunctional the org is. I do care about the talent level and who will start at QB next year and I think Manziel was a mistake. They need to cut their losses now and move on with a new QB plan. I would build up the offensive and defensive lines and sign a veteran QB to get to the playoffs.

  24. The most important fact of this story that is being left out…is…WHAT CARRIER ARE THEY USING? I can’t get ONE BAR of signal in that godforsaken place. I’ve tried AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon…from different seats…all without luck. Waiting for fantasy scores to update in the Factory of Sadness is like watching paint dry…which is why I’m watching from the comfort of my couch next year! Oh…but they’re going to have new fancy uniforms next year. ..good thing my TV is High Def!

  25. This is so much worse than “Spygate” it cant even be compared. Spygate was 6 plays in 2007, used after a game to time the defense and try to catch them in illegal substitution penalties. This appears to be scouts in the coaches boxes, stealing plays and making suggestions to the on field coaches.

  26. Everyone is assuming it was Haslam. I submit that it was Farmer trying to get Shanahan and Pettine to put in Manziel. I didn’t realize till recently just how big of a Manziel homer Farmer is.

  27. This is just too easy, but I couldn’t help myself…

    Better use a money phone to make that call! $25Grrr? Ouch.

    Stupid rule anyways.

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