With no link to football operations, Patriots’ punishment should be minimal

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The league did the right thing by exploring whether the Patriots video crew that filmed Cincinnati’s sideline last month had any connection whatsoever to the New England football operation. The next question is whether the NFL, in the absence of any link, will do the right thing when fashioning a punishment for the Patriots.

Mark Maske of the Washington Post, who reported on Wednesday that the league found no connection between the video crew and football operations, reiterated on his prior report that the discipline will be “consistent with” recent penalties for game-day infractions.

Incidents previously articulated by Maske include former Giants coach Ben McAdoo improperly using a walkie-talkie on the sideline ($150,000 fine, fourth-round pick reduced), former Browns G.M. Ray Farmer improperly texting the sideline during a game ($250,000 fine, four-game suspension for Farmer), the Falcons pumping in fake crowd noise ($350,000 fine, stripping of fifth-round pick),  #DeflateGate ($1 million fine, first-round and fourth-round pick taken), and the Ravens having two defensive players on the field with coach-to-player communication devices in their helmets ($200,000). Each of those situations involved deliberate, intentional actions that both violated the rules and were aimed at generating some tangible benefit for the team. (That said, the league got it factually wrong with #DeflateGate; the evidence was inconclusive at best regarding tampering with football air pressure.) With no connection between the video crew and football operations, the Patriots may have violated the rules, but there was no mechanism for actually using it to the team’s advantage.

That’s why the penalty should be minimal. It’s a technicality, an inadvertent violation of the rules absent a way to convert that violation into a strategic benefit. And while that doesn’t excuse the behavior, it keeps it distinct from the examples identified by Maske, and it makes the prospect of taking away draft picks unwarranted.

62 responses to “With no link to football operations, Patriots’ punishment should be minimal

  1. The only problem is, Goodell cheats the Pats by lying.

    You would think everything that was just said makes 100% sense, but this is cheater Goodell we are talking about here.

    I would imagine Kraft is set to go nuclear, unloading all the backdoor truths about Goodell if he tries to steal more picks with lies.

  2. “With no connection between the video crew and football operations, the Patriots may have violated the rules, but there was no mechanism for actually using it to the team’s advantage” – What facts are there to support this statement? We all have devices that allow us to share pretty much anything with anybody at any time. Just because I don’t report to the Director of Technology, doesn’t mean I can’t share something with him.

  3. The actual facts mean nothing to Goodell. Article 46 gives him the right to apply any penalties Goodell wants. The penalties will be judged on how many calls he takes from other owners who hate the Patriots. If taking away another first rounder assures Goodell of job security that will be the penalty, not what the facts say the penalty should be.

  4. At what point should the Patriots ever be given a pass they’ve been caught cheating since 2004, and with Brady finished I’m sure they will follow new paths to cheat even more. Kraft and Belichick both deserve to be suspended from the league.

  5. (That said, the league got it factually wrong with #DeflateGate; the evidence was inconclusive at best regarding tampering with football air pressure.)
    ———-
    Even though the judges concurred with you on the above statement, this will be gazed upon by blind eyes. The judges rules the evidence was bunk but the CBA the players union signed said the NFL owners can do what they pleased. Bunk or no bunk.

  6. 49t42s52l says:
    January 2, 2020 at 9:59 am
    […] What facts are there to support this statement? We all have devices that allow us to share pretty much anything with anybody at any time. Just because I don’t report to the Director of Technology, doesn’t mean I can’t share something with him.

    ————–

    Just because you can share something with him doesn’t mean you did share something with him. Justice is based on presenting evidence of wrongdoing. There is no evidence of a connection between the video crew and football operations, so no accusation can be sustained. Haters are just looking for any way to hurt the Patriots because they are sick of their team’s record against them.

  7. Thank you Florio. You portrayed the injustice of the sham deflate gate penalty.

    What I don’t get is why wasn’t Indianapolis also penalized since their balls were under the PSI?

    And why hasn’t the league given us the results of their study on the effects of weather on psi?

  8. There seems to be quite a disparity between the fines of the teams listed. A supposed “equipment violation” that was never enforced before and never proven gets pretty much triple what any other fines received plus the loss of picks and a QB suspension. I am just playing Devil’s advocate here but since the Ravens have been fined with two defensive players with electronic communications in helmets and then there is visual evidence of a Ravens employee with a bluetooth on the sideline shouldn’t the NFL be looking into this hard? If they do not, why is this?

  9. greymares says:
    January 2, 2020 at 10:09 am

    At what point should the Patriots ever be given a pass they’ve been caught cheating since 2004, and with Brady finished I’m sure they will follow new paths to cheat even more. Kraft and Belichick both deserve to be suspended from the league.

    1

    1
    ——————

    No, they have not. They were framed by a cheating commissioner. They were framed yet again in 2015, but the NFL was caught in a federal court lying to prove that one.

    The Pats have never cheated. Period.

  10. “It’s a technicality, an inadvertent violation of the rules absent a way to convert that violation into a strategic benefit. And while that doesn’t excuse the behavior…”

    This is an excuse to, for the 3rd time, unjustly punish the Patriots far beyond the factual reality of what equates to a parking ticket.

    Once again we see the news media using far reaching & exagerated story telling to feed the minds of sheeple what they want them to perceive and believe.

  11. Oh man…I was kind of bummed because I’m not really feeling the ‘19 Pats’ chances in the playoffs, and Brady might actually be out after his. So the end of an era is kind of looming, but what an era it’s been, during the prime years of my life, no less. Maybe they work something out, who knows, but maybe they don’t. But if it is over, I’m pretty stoked that I get to hear one last chorus of cover-up conspiracy theories from the Hate Squad when an investigation from a League that hasn’t done the franchise all that many favors comes up empty. But if the Pats were found guilty, then the League is a bastion of truth and justice.

    I hope it’s not quite over, but if it is, I want all you haters to know that your desperate, lame attempts to discredit the greatest run the League has seen in a hundred years is nothing short of hilarious, and your decades-long anguish fulfills me even more than watching all this winning. Just lmao @ you guys, seriously.

  12. Or we could all just take a breath and view this as the innocent mistake it was and move on with no punishment to the operations side of the team. Good lord to read some of these stories and these posts you’d think someone was stealing nuclear secrets. Get some perspective people.

  13. factschecker says:
    January 2, 2020 at 10:10 am

    (That said, the league got it factually wrong with #DeflateGate; the evidence was inconclusive at best regarding tampering with football air pressure.)
    ———-
    Even though the judges concurred with you on the above statement, this will be gazed upon by blind eyes. The judges rules the evidence was bunk but the CBA the players union signed said the NFL owners can do what they pleased. Bunk or no bunk.

    29

    4

    —————–

    False. The union signed off on nothing in terms of allowing the commissioner to lie, cheat and steal either players, a player or a team. It’s just not true. Article 46 has been in the CBA since 1969, but was only used as a weapon to frame by Roger Goodell. Rozelle and Tagliabue never uttered the words “Article 46” mainly because neither was busy trying to cheat a team for financial gain.

  14. With no link to football operations, Patriots’ punishment should be minimal…and this will upset the haters who want the Pat’s to forfeit their first round draft pick for the next decade!

  15. As expected, much ado about nothing. The patsanoia sufferers will grind their teeth and bray their brays but what they should ask themselves from beneath those tinfoil hats is a simple question. How do they equate the Machiavellian genius they ascribe to the Evil Hoodie with something as silly as this?

    Face it kids, if BB was really going to cheat, this wouldn’t be how and it sure as heck wouldn’t be the Bungles that tripped him up.

  16. greymares says:
    January 2, 2020 at 10:09 am
    At what point should the Patriots ever be given a pass they’ve been caught cheating since 2004, and with Brady finished I’m sure they will follow new paths to cheat even more. Kraft and Belichick both deserve to be suspended from the league.

    ————–

    They weren’t given a pass at all. If you read the reports, the investigators assumed they would find something and were frustrated that what the Patriots had said was true. They fully investigated something instead of taking the Patriots word for it. That’s not a pass.

    Because of the Belichick’s history in 2007, this was investigated, where for any other team it would have been a much shorter process, which is fair.

  17. The Patriots cheated once. But even then they got caught in an organizational/ cultural change. Most teams considered intelligence and counterintelligence part of football, consistent with all the war metaphors we use for this sport. Doing everything possible to gain a competitive edge (stealing signals like in MLB) and playee tampering were considered normal. The new Commish wanted a new league and the Patriots were a good target for sn object lesson bc (a) they were the best at it and (b) the owners thought taking them down would be a good way to achieve the parity that eluded the NFl.

  18. endtimesparty says:
    January 2, 2020 at 10:57 am

    The Patriots cheated once. But even then they got caught in an organizational/ cultural change. Most teams considered intelligence and counterintelligence part of football, consistent with all the war metaphors we use for this sport. Doing everything possible to gain a competitive edge (stealing signals like in MLB) and playee tampering were considered normal. The new Commish wanted a new league and the Patriots were a good target for sn object lesson bc (a) they were the best at it and (b) the owners thought taking them down would be a good way to achieve the parity that eluded the NFl.

    1

    0

    —————–

    Yeah, I don’t think antagonizing a former protege, wanting their camera guy to be seen intentionally is “cheating”. It was framed as such, sure. Framed for VERY dumb or gullible people, jealous of the Pats forming a dynasty in the NFL in the Cap Era.

    NE was targeted because of how great BB is. It’s why teams go after someone on the staff almost every year. A lot of this is trying to discombobulate or distract NE’s operations.

    Simple facts.

  19. Do you know the number of times I have left my videocamera running while I was away from it? ZERO! Never! Certainly not 10 minutes worth.

    I understand that combing through emails did not find a link between football operations and the video company, but that does not prove innocence. It merely proves there was not an overt attempt to cheat. If I wanted to deliberately videotape, I would not email the video guy. I would have a discussion with an intermediary (not with the team) who would then have a discussion with the video guy. Nothing on the record.

    For that simple reason, there must be a penalty that grabs the Patriots attention.

  20. I was wondering how the NFL was going to weasel out of doing something about the Pat’s continual cheating. Belacheck is a stain on the league and should be banned for life.

  21. Tylawpick6:

    I say cheating bc they were told to stop with the rest of the league and they did not.

    But they did not stop bc of a little something called functional paranoia. Belichick just assumed the other coaches would ignore the memo. It was that kind of league.

    And it’s a ridiculous rule. I could sit in the stands with a cutting edge technology camera and produce the same quality intel the Patriots got from their sideline guy.

  22. 12brichandfamous says:
    January 2, 2020 at 11:20 am
    Do you know the number of times I have left my videocamera running while I was away from it? ZERO! Never! Certainly not 10 minutes worth.

    A professional videographer who has the credentials to put a camera on a tripod in a press box certainly has the ability to press record and walk away. In this case, he knew he was grabbing nothing useful for the series on the scout and was likely working on something else. SD cards are cheap.

  23. The pats media dept is a larger operation than most would expect. They are the ones that should pay the price since it was their mistake. Why not suspend all website media for the playoffs. That will hurt plenty. No podcasts, no radio, no webzine, no website outside game logistics and info. That’s a lot of revenue lost.

  24. No blood, no foul. Why penalize them at all? It was just a stupid mistake. If Belichick wants to cheat, he’s smart enough not to get caught. This wasn’t cheating.

  25. “I’ll delete the files. Can we pretend this didn’t happen?”

    The cameraman may be the next NFL commissioner, because that’s what Goodell is going to do…
    Sweep it under the rug to avoid a black eye during the 100th season celebration.

  26. Just because there is no direct link between the video crew and “football operations” in the end they both work for the team and can share whatever information is taped. It is an unlikely coincidence that the video crew just happened to be filming for a “documentary” and ended up taping the Pats next opponents sidelines. This should be treated as intentional breaking of the rules and given whatever penalty would be justified for that. Especially in light of their prior offences, Pats should be hit pretty hard for this one to make a point.

  27. 49t42s52l says:
    January 2, 2020 at 9:59 am
    – What facts are there to support this statement? We all have devices that allow us to share pretty much anything with anybody at any time. Just because I don’t report to the Director of Technology, doesn’t mean I can’t share something with him.
    ————

    So the fact that the technology exists is proof it was misused? The NFL investigated, which absolutely included the Pats turning over business and even personal communications. Text. E-mail. Phone records. All of it. They didn’t find any connection to the football operation. Are you alleging they are hiding evidence? If that’s the case, the burden of proof is on the accuser.

  28. Mike – you are overlooking a key aspect – the NFL itself loves the “Do Your Job” series and has televised it and sold ads – which means all the owners have made money from this inside look at the operations of one team – yet they are acting like the thing is a big surprise

  29. “And while that doesn’t excuse the behavior, it keeps it distinct from the examples identified by Maske, and it makes the prospect of taking away draft picks unwarranted.”

    ——

    which is why they’ll take a draft pick.

  30. Sweep it under the rug to avoid a black eye during the 100th season celebration.
    ——————

    Are you talking about the Ravens bluetooth incident? That is the definition of sweeping it under the rug. The Patriots have had a month long investigation with still not result which clearly is not sweeping it under the rug.

  31. Patriots are not the only franchise to be investigated for impropriety. I am not sure if any other organization has as many incidents in the last 20 years, however.

  32. Patently Excellent says:
    January 2, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    1) The Patriots are guilty until proven innocent.
    2) These are the Patriots. It is impossible to prove them innocent.

    ————————-

    12.3.2010:

    Bill Cowher: “You know, let me just say this: To answer your question, no, I don’t think so (it’s not an advantage for one team over another).
    I just know as a head coach, you are always looking for a competitive edge. We had people out there trying to look at signals. We had guys go to games. They would tape the signal caller and also write it down. They would take it back and match up the signals with the game film and certain defenses with certain plays that were being called, particularly the defenses being called, to see if we could come up with some kind of an alert for a signal. So, what they did with videotaping the signal caller, people do it with the people in the stands!!
    These people sitting there in the stands, looking at the signal, writing it down and matching up the 1st and 10 signal. Ok? Then you go back again and the 2nd and 10 and here’s the signal. You do that for a whole game.
    You then go back and match up the defenses with the signal. And you can come up with what the signal was.
    So, you don;’t need a video tape with what they were talking about doing. And people were doing it. WE were doing that. Everybody does that. You’re TRYING to gain a competitive edge. There is nothing wrong with that.
    That’s why baseball players go through the mirage of signals. They’ve got all these different codes. That’s part of the competitive spirit of the game. I think it’s totally overblown. I think if you get caught (signals compromised), then do what we did and go to wristbands, you are worried about it. We started putting defenses on wristbands. Then you find a way to not get caught (signals compromised). When your good at something and people try steal from ya, I think it’s flattering.”

  33. sportoficionado says:
    January 2, 2020 at 1:09 pm

    Patriots are not the only franchise to be investigated for impropriety. I am not sure if any other organization has as many incidents in the last 20 years, however.

    0

    2

    —————–

    “incidents”?

    I think you mean 3 attempted framejobs.

    1 worked, the 2nd one was exposed in a federal court and now this.

    The Ravens are embroiled in their 2nd communications violation in as many years, and that doesn’t even count the Ray Rice Cover Up Fiasco.

  34. In the criminal arena, this would be a life sentence/3 strikes situation. Fortunately, the NFL is going to cover everything up until the Patriots are knocked out of the playoffs. After that, there will be “newly uncovered evidence” and the hammer will fall.

  35. Nothing sums up the hater mentality than “We know there is a conspiracy because the league didn’t find evidence of the wrongdoing we all imagine happened.”:

  36. I wish I had the imagination of TimTebow. I definitely do not want his jealousy towards another team but man that imagination must be something. I would hop on that banana split boat ride any day.

  37. Of course the media department is separate from the football operations, what did the NFL look at to confirm there was no connection? This specific incident they were caught and they knew they could not share the footage, did they look at previous instances where the media department shot footage, is there no way for anyone in Football operations to get access to the footage? Did Belichick say “I have never authorized, or heard of, or even seen in any way, shape, or form any footage from our media department”? The media department is employed by the team so the team should still face punishment if they violated the rules, I really don’t see how this is any different than Spygate other than they are a repeat offender and they possibly have a different method for getting the film.

  38. Just because they can’t find a text or call doesn’t mean they weren’t connected. They are smart enough to cover tracks. I work with folks who will only communicate sensitive topics face-to-face so there is no evidence of the conversation.

  39. If there was nothing shady going on, then why did the cameraman say that he’d delete the files?

    A person who says, “Can we just forget it all happen?” is obviously doing wrong.
    Innocent people don’t say that kind of thing.

  40. I really enjoy the faux outrage from the Fanboys defending the Pats. No matter what you say or how often you say the same thing……nothing will change the perception that the Pats are…..
    CHEATERS……thanks for the chuckles.

  41. Anti Patriots hysteria is right up there with other falsehoods accepted as fact by a large subsection of the population. The “Scopes Monkey Trial” comes to mind. The haters think the NFL should just make it illegal for the Patriots to win.

  42. Johnny – what about the Ravens? Why are you not all over them for something that appears to be a lot more nefarious because it was during a head to head game and the team has already been busted before with a communications infraction. I would like to hear your opinion on this matter because all your Pats opinions are spot on.

  43. nothing will change the perception that the Pats are…..
    ——————————–

    6x SB Champions and Pats own your Steelers 20-6 since 2000.

  44. I sincerely apologize. The Pats own the Steelers only 13-4 since 2000. Sorry for my mistake. I feel shame.

  45. Is anybody going to satisfied with whatever the outcome is? No one cares, you made up your mind about the Patriots about the time they won they’re second superbowl.

  46. johnnycantread says:
    January 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm
    If there was nothing shady going on, then why did the cameraman say that he’d delete the files?

    A person who says, “Can we just forget it all happen?” is obviously doing wrong.
    Innocent people don’t say that kind of thing.
    ==========================

    If you’ve done something wrong unwittingly, apologizing and offering to undo whatever you did is completely normal behavior.

    If you accidentally park in a reserved spot, the reaction you’d expect would be “I’m sorry, I didn’t know. I’ll move.” You would not expect whoever manages the lot to say “Too late, we’re impounding your car.”

  47. Bill is great because he controls and knows everything that is going on in the organization. After being caught cheating many times, the Pats, much like the Mafia, have set up a scheme for “plausible deniability”.

  48. Hopefully this one ends the way deflategate should have, fines and a warning to be more mindful about your business

  49. Pats hater now switching to “it’s a conspiracy “ mode because there are no facts showing the Pats did anything intentional here.

    If NFL has said guilty they would have all done cartwheels. NFL says no harm and it’s a cover up

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