NFL needs to provide more details about latest Patriots penalties

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The latest punishment of the New England Patriots came with no press release or other announcement from the NFL. Although the league confirmed reports regarding the price to be paid by the Patriots for the taping of the Cincinnati sideline a week before the Patriots were scheduled to play the Bengals, the league hasn’t done what it’s done in many other instances of discipline: Review the evidence, disclose the penalty, and explain the connection between the conduct and the consequences.

Throw in the fact that the Patriots deftly leaked their agreement with Cam Newton just before the news of the punishment emerged on the Sunday evening of one of the quietest weeks of the year, and this case has gone largely unexplored. So let’s explore it now.

The Patriots had a film crew at the December 8 game between the Browns and the Bengals, ostensibly to record footage for an episode of the team’s “Do Your Job” series regarding the team’s scouting department. The Patriots promptly admitted that the film crew “inappropriately filmed the field from the press box.”

The obvious question regarding the league’s investigation related to whether the video crew had any connection to New England football operations. Reports from the aftermath of the incident indicated that the league had not found any connection between the video crew and football operations. We had learned at the time that league investigators were showing signs of irritation and frustration during interviews with relevant employees, when no proof of a link between the video crew and football operations could be developed.

At no point has anyone suggested the existence of a link between the video crew and football operations. The league, by simply confirming the reports regarding the penalties, has avoided saying whether evidence of a link was ever found. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, there was no link and no proof of a link.

So why did the Patriots receive a $1.1 million fine and lose a third-round draft pick? On multiple occasions earlier this year, reporters suggested that, absent proof of a link between the video crew and football operations, the situation would be treated like similar infractions from recent years. Adam Schefter of ESPN, for example, cited two prior incidents as providing the basis for eventual discipline: The suspension of Browns G.M. Ray Farmer for four games and a $250,000 fine for the team due to in-game texting to the sidelines; and the forfeiture of a fifth-round pick, a $350,000 team fine, and a suspension of team president Rich McKay from the Competition Committee after the Falcons used fake crowd noise at the Georgia Dome.

Other incidents cited by Mark Maske of the Washington Post as comparable to the current situation at the time were former Giants coach Ben McAdoo improperly using a walkie-talkie on the sideline ($150,000 fine, fourth-round pick reduced), the original #DeflateGate penalty ($1 million fine, first-round and fourth-round pick stripped), and the Ravens having two defensive players on the field with coach-to-player communication devices in their helmets ($200,000 fine).

As PFT pointed out at the time, a key difference exists between each of those incidents and the Patriots’ filming of the Cincinnati sidelines: The Patriots’ recording of the Cincinnati sideline, unlike the other examples, didn’t happen with any specific effort or desire to gain a competitive advantage. Given the absence of any link between the video crew and football operations, there was no a mechanism for turning the footage into a strategic benefit.

The league nevertheless whacked the Patriots, presumably because of their history — and possibly because (as one source with another team opined to PFT) certain league officials don’t like the Patriots and/or their head coach. Regardless, the league owes it to the Patriots and the other 31 franchises to explain what the league found and why the league converted that evidence into a fairly significant punishment.

If nothing else, details regarding the basis for punishing the Patriots become relevant precedent that would deter all teams from engaging in similar behavior. Without those details, the deterrence is vague and fuzzy. Other teams don’t know where the line is, because the league didn’t bother to explain where the line was.

Thus, on behalf of all teams (whether they want us to speak for them or not), we make this request to the league office: Release all details as to what the investigation found, and provide an explanation connecting the evidence to the consequence. Alternatively, if that information isn’t going to be provided, explain the reason for the lack of transparency.

55 responses to “NFL needs to provide more details about latest Patriots penalties

  1. I imagine the large fine is for the non-football piece of the violation and the draft pick due to past history. I will say based on all prior reports the loss of draft pick is much stiffer than I ha been expecting.

  2. Keep up the heat on the NFL to release details. Remember SpyGate? That video was destroyed by the NFL. Feels like dealing with North Korea on issues. Destroy the evidence, inform the public on a Sunday that coincides with Newton signing, etc. I’m being facetious but you get the point.

  3. If the Patriots aren’t complaining not sure why you would be . Don’t know why after all Goodell and the NFL has done in the past with no rhyme or reason or explanation you think they would do anything different in this situation .

  4. “ESPN reported in 2015 that the Spygate videographers were directed to wear media credentials for “Patriots TV” or “Kraft Productions” and were told to use ready-made excuses, like they were recording for a team show.”

    That sounds vaguely familiar

  5. They got hit like that because, contrary to NFL fans of other teams opinions, Goddell does not favor the Patriots. They have allowed small stories to balloon into large stories based on their handling of the situation. Allowed misinformation for flourish. Hit them with heavy fines regardless of science and facts. This is what he does.

    And to be honest his handling of most issues is so horrid, its not just the Patriots issues. He is wildly inconsistent.

  6. Are you seriously going to go to bat for the Patriots AGAIN, Florio?! How many times are they going to cheat and/or “bend the rules” before you stop defending them? What about the report that the Patriots’ video team filmed the Bengals sideline ONLY for 8+ minutes? Given their history, they got off EASY this time. If Goodell had any stones, he’d have hit them with multiple picks AND fined them mercilessly. Precedent certainly calls for it, regardless of what the organization (and their idiotic “They hate us cuz they ain’t us” fanbase) say.

  7. The NFL suspended a guy 4 games for possibly using footballs that were light a few PSI, and that was even AFTER the science proved it happens naturally, and the FACT that the other team also had under inflated footballs that day, and after other NFL quarterbacks admitted they doctored their footballs all of the time. The NFL allowed a potential child abuser to suit back up and play football, and they even had tape of the guy threatening his then girlfriend with more violence. The NFL fined a guy who was involved in a homicide, and that individual interfered with the investigation, but never missed a single game because of his actions. So does anything the NFL does make any sense to anyone? I mean really

  8. I get it. Patriots+violation equals PFT hits equals more income for PFT. We’ve seen the video already. The league already determined this was a media screw up not a football operations screw up. A million bucks is nothing to the Patriots organization and the third round pick was to satisfy those owners who still can’t comprehend how NE continues to be atop of the league no matter how they tried to cheat NE with that criminal framing of Brady known as BSgate, errrr Deflategate. Someday someone will write a book exposing the conspiracy. So Mr. Florio continue to stir the pot, it’s good for business but the fact remains this had nothing to do with Belichick or the football operations. A clueless media member did this and to him all NE fans say thanks for nuthin!

  9. The NCAA has a “death penalty” for pervasively corrupt teams. At this juncture, it might make sense to void out the Patriots and award a franchise to Toronto (or some such place.)

  10. The two credo’s of the Patriots.
    Do your job and If your not cheating your not trying.

  11. The NFL’s lack of clear standards and due process have led to the league office becoming a kangaroo court, where the type and severity of punishment is dictated largely by the interests of the commissioner.

    It’s particularly ridiculous for the NFL to impose a stiff fine and dock a draft pick in this case based on the logic that the Patriots have “a history”, when most of that history is itself b.s.

    The entire situation can be traced back to Bill Belichick ignoring a commissioner’s memo because he thought he understood the actual, written rules better than Goodell did. But Goodell doesn’t believe in adhering to the letter of the law – he just wants people to jump because he says to jump.

    Yes, the penalties are completely out of whack compared to what other franchises have faced, and we’re still wondering just how many rules violations the Ravens can commit before they get docked a single draft pick.

    Why did the Pats not contest this? Because doing so would have required an Al Davis-like move. It would be Kraft vs. the other 31 franchises. And Bob Kraft isn’t in the greatest shape right now, esp. after his own personal scandal last year. And the team figures it is better off just moving on than spending a year or two in court to contest the loss of a third round pick.

    Personally I would have preferred seeing a legal defense, just as I argued during DeflateGate. Perhaps each individual over-punishment can be shrugged off, but we’re see a deliberate and consistent pattern from the other owners to use league punishments as a way to try to keep up with the NFL’s most successful franchise.

    Frankly, they should be embarrassed.

  12. Its has become to a point where this has become a closed door because its OLD.

    If you aren’t a Pats hater, then I would hope we can agree that this is something done just to tick off BB and Kraft. They have to report it, so it was reported. But in the long scheme of things, Cam signing is better news than this.

    The Pats “penalties” are a norm at this point, and laughably so. Curious to see once Godell is gone how many of these BS indictments and so called penalties will arise.

  13. Repeat offenders get harsher punishments and forfeit the benefit of the doubt. Why is that difficult to understand?

  14. Robert Kraft can’t complain. First, he’s kept a low profile ever since the Orchids of Asia embarrassment. Second, his crew (not the team video crew) was filming the latest installment to “Do Your Job”. Obviously Robert didn’t do his job, the video crew was clueless about filming the opposing team sideline from the box. Third, Kraft used to pride himself as having a special relationship with Roger Goodell (talk about naive). An explanation wasn’t offered because Goodell feels like Kraft isn’t worth the ink.

  15. 3xapple says:
    July 2, 2020 at 11:58 am
    Are you seriously going to go to bat for the Patriots AGAIN, Florio?! How many times are they going to cheat and/or “bend the rules” before you stop defending them? What about the report that the Patriots’ video team filmed the Bengals sideline ONLY for 8+ minutes? Given their history, they got off EASY this time. If Goodell had any stones, he’d have hit them with multiple picks AND fined them mercilessly. Precedent certainly calls for it, regardless of what the organization (and their idiotic “They hate us cuz they ain’t us” fanbase) say

    Awe.. poor little guy your comment and constant lame comments on anything Patriots related screams jealousy’

    If you watched that video of players coming on and off the field and the bengals sideline from BEHIND and that they were try to cheat by filming there BACKS you’re the “idiot “ oh and let’s put a monitor up facing EVERY ONE in the press box so they can see what we are doing
    And you people wonder why you are called crybabies
    You put all COMMON SENSE aside because you are so blinded by your jealousy (yes that what you are)

    I bet if I go look up those other articles about the Browns and Falcons breaking rules I won’t see a comment from you
    But if it has to do with the Patriots the crybabies come running.

  16. Presumably because of their history? You know damn well why they got the punishment and how they connected it to a potential competitive advantage. Get outta her with that bs.

  17. The fine is what it is because most NFL fines are ridiculous. The Patriots lost a first-round and fourth-round pick because a football(s) were inflated to something other than the required PSI. Other teams admitted to doing the same thing. And, all we learned was QBs have personal preferences on these things… including how scuffed the ball should be.

    Maybe the NFL should stop worrying about the stupid things, and focus on the calls on the field.

  18. What a crock. The SUPER BOWL CHAMPION Chiefs got bigger penalties for a questionable tampering allegation. The Pats are cheaters.

  19. 1st Offense: 1st Round pick

    2nd Offense: 3rd Round pick

    Do it again, and we’re taking a 5th Rounder!!!

  20. This is the same league that still won’t release the PSI measurements that were collected a few years ago so…

  21. Forget the Pats – I want to know what the Raven’s penalties were for their headset cheating.
    Is it really a surprise they were blown out without the extra support bluetooth headset guy was supplying?

  22. watch the actual video the moron took, and explain to me or anyone else how in the world that can be used to anyone’s benefit. I get a lot of you want the patriots to be punished no matter what, but c’mon this is just absurd. They even say there is no connection between vid guys and football ops, yet somehow some of you still think evil is afoot- everyone ought to know by now, goddell is not fair, has zero integrity, and often makes up random off the wall crap. and those of you still yapin about deflation, you must be trumpsters, ’cause you know, science is just a bunch of malarkey. So the pats have been docked multiple draft picks for basically not much
    1. SPygate 1- if 15 feet in another direction it would be fine
    2. Deflate- gold= lower air pressure
    3. Spy 2 no connection

    go ahead, keep throwing millions of dollars at them, maybe some day they will actually have some explanation for their random and unjust attempts to create parity
    hate all you want, but when it happens to your team, don’t kvetch

  23. I am sure that the NFL explained everything to the only affected party: the New England Patriots.

  24. mypftcommentingaccount says:
    July 2, 2020 at 12:53 pm
    Forget the Pats – I want to know what the Raven’s penalties were for their headset cheating.
    Is it really a surprise they were blown out without the extra support bluetooth headset guy was supplying?
    —-
    Nope. Wasn’t surprised. That tends to happen when the cheating stops.

  25. Sure is a lot of noise about no link. Don’t both departments work for Kraft and for the advancement of his and the Patriots success? Just the left hand claiming they didn’t know what the right hand was doing, come-on man.

  26. Nonsense, Mike. We know what we need to know. The Patriots did something against the rules, got caught and got punished. The punishment seems to have considered their fairly recent history of incidents. Other teams don’t really need to know where “the line” is because they already do. The infraction crossed that line resulting in the investigation and subsequent consequences. This article seems like nothing more than click-bait to rile up conspiracy theorists on both sides to head for the comment section and generate more clicks arguing favoritism vs ostracization, legacy vs asterisks and whatever else they could argue over.

  27. How can that be? I’m constantly told by others that only the Pats cheat and every other team has never done anything wrong. So remind me how this works? There now has to be 54 asterisks since every team has been caught bending the rules at some point

  28. mypftcommentingaccount says:
    July 2, 2020 at 12:53 pm

    Forget the Pats – I want to know what the Raven’s penalties were for their headset cheating.
    _____________________

    Don’t try to deflect. The Ravens’ issue was investigated and nothing nefarious was found. End of story. Unlike the serial cheating Patriots. Keep defending your crooked team.

  29. It doesn’t seem that strange to me. The league office is almost certainly coming down harder because the Patriots are in a zero-tolerance zone. After the trumped-up, phony charges leveled against the Pats in the past, the league can’t be seen to be letting “repeat violators” off the hook with no penalty.

    This is simply a way of saying, “we are tough but fair”. Which of course they’re not, as witnessed by the fraudulent deflategate and other teams seemingly not scrutinized nearly as hard.

    I say this as a Cowboys fan. The league office doesn’t have credibility and this is just the arrangement the office and Pats have come to. No hard feelings, but if you break any rules you’re going to get hit. The muted announcement reflects both parties understanding this.

  30. to think it isn’t connected to to belicheck and scouting is absurd. All you have to do is listen to when the guy gets caught and he instantly goes from his first excuse to begging because he knew they were screwed and caught red handed.

  31. Their cheating is never going to stop as long as Kraft continues to own Gooddell. Roger does what his Uncle Bob tells him to do.

  32. If the signature on the paychecks the film crew receives is the same signature that’s on the paychecks the football operations staff receives, there’s your connection. The advantages the Patriots gain from all their cheating has been well worth the tiny fines they’ve had to pay. In this case, cheaters do prosper. The league has been ultra lenient with this Patriots’ regime.

  33. The NFL doesn’t need to provide any additional details related to an INTERNAL investigation.

  34. If the signature on the paychecks the film crew receives is the same signature that’s on the paychecks the football operations staff receives, there’s your connection. The advantages the Patriots gain from all their cheating has been well worth the tiny fines they’ve had to pay. In this case, cheaters do prosper. The league has been ultra lenient with this Patriots’ regime.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    I love posts like this. Ultra lenient? They suspended the best QB to ever play the game based on science denial, innocuous texts from May, and him being “more probable than not, at least generally aware” of something that cannot be proven to have taken place. The Commissioner of the league had to lie about what was said behind closed doors to try and justify the suspension. Then to top it off, the other team was also found to have had under-regulated PSI in their footballs but somehow that was OK. The fact of the matter is, the Pats are just better than everybody and have been for years. Their time may be over or close to it……but they dominated a sport for 20 years that was designed to never have a team dominate. A camera in the wrong location for part of one game and 0.2 PSI had nothing to do with their success. The sooner you can accept that, the sooner we can all move on.

  35. bigbabysaywah says:
    July 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
    to think it isn’t connected to to belicheck and scouting is absurd. All you have to do is listen to when the guy gets caught and he instantly goes from his first excuse to begging because he knew they were screwed and caught red handed.


    Christ!! Yeah I’m sure the “scouting department “ wanted video of the BACKS of the players and coaches on the Bengals sideline.
    “Oh look did you see how that coach shrugged his shoulders “

    Oh maybe it was the shot of the players running on and off the field.
    Because you know they couldn’t get that any other way. Like the TV copy or the all 22 or the coaches copy.

    Use COMMON SENSE..

    I’m sure the 2 seasons worth of different web series they did on behind the scenes contributors was all just a big front so they could film the BACKS of the coaches in a week 16 game.

    And before you say “they were probably doing it the whole tiime “ in true conspiracy theory fashion, mr “End of days guy”
    They were credentialed by the browns to be there, why hasn’t no other team come out and said “hey they asked us for credentials too???

    Again use COMMON SENSE

  36. bigbabysaywah says:
    July 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
    to think it isn’t connected to to belicheck and scouting is absurd. All you have to do is listen to when the guy gets caught and he instantly goes from his first excuse to begging because he knew they were screwed and caught red handed.

    2 5

    ————-

    That makes no sense. When someone is approached and the person doing the approaching presents authority, that’s a very normal reaction.

    Yes, when I rob a bank I always announce it before going in. You people are as creepy as Goodell and his cheating owners.

    If any team wanted to do something they’d buy a ticket anf have someone sit in the stands ACROSS the field.

    You are a moron.

  37. Would someone like to tell us what the competitive advantage is to filming a team’s sideline is today, in a game the team is not even playing in? there is none

    Walkie Talkie -advantage
    texting from the owner’s box – also an advantage
    two players with communication gear in their helmets – an advantage

    impossibly deflated footballs – No advantage even if they were deflated, its actually a disadvantage.
    Filming the Bengals sidelines when they;re playing the Browns – no advantage
    Spygate 1 – not even against the rules

    Kind of funny that the Broncos violated the salary cap and the whining about how that was not cheating and just an “oversight” is UNREAL.

  38. touchback6 says:
    July 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm
    bigbabysaywah says:
    July 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
    to think it isn’t connected to to belicheck and scouting is absurd. All you have to do is listen to when the guy gets caught and he instantly goes from his first excuse to begging because he knew they were screwed and caught red handed.

    2 5

    ————-

    That makes no sense. When someone is approached and the person doing the approaching presents authority, that’s a very normal reaction.

    Yes, when I rob a bank I always announce it before going in. You people are as creepy as Goodell and his cheating owners.

    If any team wanted to do something they’d buy a ticket anf have someone sit in the stands ACROSS the field.

    You are a moron.

    6 1 R

    —————-

    Yes we get it. Every other team has cheated except the pats. They have never cheated or ever will, according to you. They’re being framed because they are so dominant. News flash! They’re not dominant anymore. A few teams handed them their lunch last year. They were destroyed by Derrick Henry. The Titans new the pats couldn’t scare anyone anymore. And obliterated them on the ground.

    If you’re a pats fan, then stick to your opinions. Don’t keep changing them. 2 months ago according to you, Cam Newton was terrible and there was no way a smart coach like BB would go after him. Now it’s a brilliant move. Stick to one opinion. Could he be awesome? Sure he could. Why not. Could he be bad? Sure. But you can’t change your tune about the pickup.

    As far as calling people morons over the internet, that puts you in a class on your own. If you claim to be in your forties like a lot of us in here, we don’t call people names over the internet behind a keyboard. That’s all for now. Have an awesome day.

  39. Get over it haters, the Pats didn’t intentionally do anything this time around.

  40. Kind of funny that the Broncos violated the salary cap and the whining about how that was not cheating and just an “oversight” is UNREAL.

    —-
    How could we forget that the Broncos are also the only team in NFL history to be fined for taping another team’s practices. 🙂

  41. tb12greatest says:
    July 2, 2020 at 3:56 pm
    Get over it haters, the Pats didn’t intentionally do anything this time around.
    —-

    Nope. But the organization needs to be a lot more careful than other teams when it comes to anything to do with a video camera.

    Florio said it in this article – there are folks in the league who have it out for Belichick and he will be suspended if even the tiniest link to cheating is found. For arguably the smartest organization in football, they have to be a lot smarter about this stuff.

  42. The other aspect of this, is if the Colts did the exact same thing, the patriot chumps would put at least 1000 comments on the article stating how they should have been fined multiple draft picks and banned from the league. We all know these hypocrites would be in the rampage against any other team caught doing this, but when it is their team over and over again, it is always an excuse, how we all are “haters” , same pathetic stuff every single time.

  43. Jimmypinthe416 says:
    July 2, 2020 at 3:49 pm
    touchback6 says:
    July 2, 2020 at 2:57 pm
    bigbabysaywah says:
    July 2, 2020 at 1:53 pm
    to think it isn’t connected to to belicheck and scouting is absurd. All you have to do is listen to when the guy gets caught and he instantly goes from his first excuse to begging because he knew they were screwed and caught red handed.

    2 5

    ————-

    That makes no sense. When someone is approached and the person doing the approaching presents authority, that’s a very normal reaction.

    Yes, when I rob a bank I always announce it before going in. You people are as creepy as Goodell and his cheating owners.

    If any team wanted to do something they’d buy a ticket anf have someone sit in the stands ACROSS the field.

    You are a moron.

    6 1 R

    —————-

    Yes we get it. Every other team has cheated except the pats. They have never cheated or ever will, according to you. They’re being framed because they are so dominant. News flash! They’re not dominant anymore. A few teams handed them their lunch last year. They were destroyed by Derrick Henry. The Titans new the pats couldn’t scare anyone anymore. And obliterated them on the ground.

    If you’re a pats fan, then stick to your opinions. Don’t keep changing them. 2 months ago according to you, Cam Newton was terrible and there was no way a smart coach like BB would go after him. Now it’s a brilliant move. Stick to one opinion. Could he be awesome? Sure he could. Why not. Could he be bad? Sure. But you can’t change your tune about the pickup.

    As far as calling people morons over the internet, that puts you in a class on your own. If you claim to be in your forties like a lot of us in here, we don’t call people names over the internet behind a keyboard. That’s all for now. Have an awesome day.

    2 1 Rate This

    —————-

    I’s call you a moron in person as well. It has nothing to do with a keyboard, little guy.

    Next, I like facts, truth and reality. Bill Cowher backed BB as did 6 other former NFL coaches. That means all those coaches are cheaters or Goodell is a liar. Fact.

    Brady was framed with 56 lies in a report that took 4 months to create. Fact. A federal court saw right throught it. So, yes, I love facts.

    Next, with Newton, it’s true he lacks accuracy and never had a rating over 100. My line of thinking was about the cap, qbs costing 20 mil+ per and how he is not a fit, which is true, but I always knew they’d bring in someone other than Hoyer to push Stidham since the latter beat lit Hoyer last year as a rookie. Get it. At 550k as a tryout, welcome aboard.

    Newton will not be handed a job.

    Have a great day! I know I have and will continue to as I am off tomorrow.

    You people love to make fools of yourself. lol

  44. let’s not overthink this. William is the greatest Coach of all-time. There have been prior issues. So the League fed the wolves. Also, Cincy did have a rookie coaching staff and they had no prior film on the Coaches. Let’s move on

  45. I haven’t agreed with MF much lately at all, but he’s spot-on here. While the Patriots certainly have a past record of problems, so does the NFL. Just explain the reason for the punishment or say why you can’t. It’s not hard.

  46. The other aspect of this, is if the Colts did the exact same thing, the patriot chumps would put at least 1000 comments on the article stating how they should have been fined multiple draft picks and banned from the league.
    ————————

    The Colts had 3-4 balls under PSI in the exact same game. The Colts equipment manager also stuck a needle into one of Pats balls on the sideline. Why was there not an investigation? If anything there should have been an equipment violation penalty. Why do you shy away from this very valid point?

  47. only way to hinder belichick’s dominanace and reach “parity” is to continually and arbitrarily screw them over. still doesn’t work. goodell is such a joke. bill enjoys torturing him.

  48. The NFL flat out GUTTED the Saints on the basis of ZERO evidence. Not a single player was injured as a result of the Saints “pay for performance” plan. The same type of plan that nearly every other NFL team had in place, including The Vikings. Every single player punishment was flat out overturned on appeal, yet Roger needed “cover” because of the Concussion lawsuits, so the NFL had to gut somebody, so they gutted a small marker team and let the big fish continue to swim. The Patriots have been abused in some instances by the NFL, but they nothing compared to the gutting of the Saints by the NFL!

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