It’s been two and a half months since the NFL last updated the investigation arising from New England’s admitted violation of the rules that happened during the December 8 game between the Bengals and the Browns. But there’s still no final decision from the league regarding discipline.
“The matter remains under review,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told PFT via email on Tuesday.
The Patriots promptly admitted that a member of the team’s in-house video production crew recorded the Cincinnati sideline, but the league denied any intention violation or connection between the video crew and football operations. The Patriots played the Bengals one week after the incident.
“Our responsibility is to make sure we’re being extremely thorough,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said during his pre-Super Bowl press conference, on January 29. “We’re going to get it right and when we come to a conclusion we’ll certainly make sure that people are aware of it.”
With the draft only nine days away, any punishment that would entail forfeiture of 2020 draft picks needs to be issued soon. Either without the draft starting soon, there’s no apparent reason for the ongoing delay; it should be fairly simple to determine whether the video crew had or didn’t have a connection to the football side of the business. Absent proof of such a connection, the punishment should be the equivalent of a parking ticket.
If, on the other hand, such a connection exists, the Patriots could be in line for a significant punishment, especially in light of past incidents.