Patriots video showed 'direct view' of Bengals sideline for 'eight minutes,' report says

Patriots video showed 'direct view' of Bengals sideline for 'eight minutes,' report says

More details are emerging about what happened in Cleveland during last Sunday's Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game, and they're not a great look for the New England Patriots.

According to The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr., a member of the Patriots' production crew "wearing Boston Bruins gear" was spotted in the Cleveland press box capturing extended footage from the Bengals' sideline.

From Dehner:

According to sources who have viewed the tape, it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on recording the Bengals’ sideline. It’s a direct view of the sideline as players run on and off the field and coaches make signals for plays.

Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday the NFL is investigating the Patriots for having a film crew at Sunday's game.

Here's New England's perspective: In a statement Monday, the team said the film crew was dispatched by a production crew working independently from football operations to shoot a feature on a Patriots advance scout for "Do Your Job," a video series on that highlights the work of various staffers.

Head coach Bill Belichick insisted he had no knowledge or involvement in what the film crew and that it's a completely independent operation from the team.

But even if Belichick was unaware of what was going on, the Patriots videotaping an opposing team's sideline to identify signals (New England plays Cincinnati this Sunday) is a far more serious offense than simply shooting footage of an advance scout at work.

"This isn’t an over-the-shoulder of the advanced scout who is doing his job stuff," Dehner wrote. "This is shooting the sideline. For an extended period of time.

"The egregious nature of the video is why it set off the firestorm it did during the game with the Bengals executives in the press box."

The NFL's investigation still is ongoing, so expect more developments as this story unfolds.

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Kyle Shanahan reflects on 28-3 collapse, gifting of Jimmy Garoppolo from Patriots

Kyle Shanahan reflects on 28-3 collapse, gifting of Jimmy Garoppolo from Patriots

MIAMI — The most famous comeback in Super Bowl history — maybe sports history — happened in Super Bowl 51 three seasons ago.

Everyone knows the Patriots role in it. The credit for the tsunami of playmaking on both sides of the ball when all margin for error was spent is shared between dozens of players and coaches.

But when the blame is ladled out, it mostly falls on the shoulders of one man. Former Falcons defensive coordinator and current Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan wasn’t responsible for the ineptitude that led to blockheaded holding penalties, Matt Ryan’s lack of pocket awareness, or the defense’s inability to get off the field. But he was the one calling the shots when his team blew a 28-3 lead. And he was the one who, after Atlanta had reached the Patriots' 23 with four minutes left and a 28-20 lead, dialed up a first-down throw. That throw turned instead into a sack. Then came the hold. Then came an incompletion. Here came the Patriots.  

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I asked Shanahan if Sunday is an opportunity to drive a stake through the heart of that memory.

“Not really,” he said. “I know it comes off that way from a media standpoint, the narrative. I’d like to drive a stake through that if it works out right. But that stuff, as a coach, it was harder for me early in my career.  

“The four years in Washington (as offensive coordinator from 2010 to 2013) helped me a little bit where you start to realize that you can’t worry about what everyone says, you just got to prepare and do as good as you can and not hesitate.

“Sometimes when you worry about being blamed for stuff that’s when you will hesitate and make mistakes. I go through everything. I’m always hard on myself but I try to lay it out there, lay it on the line and not try to play it safe. We’ll see what happens this week but that’s how I treated every game before that Super Bowl, that’s how I treated that Super Bowl and that’s how I’ll treat every game going forward.”

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Even though he was victimized by Bill Belichick — a longtime friend and admirer of Shanahan’s father, Mike — the Patriots head coach went out of his way to be gracious with the younger Shanahan after SB51, calling Shanahan to check in with him after the loss.

“I know him and my dad had a good relationship through the years, I remember when the Broncos beat the Patriots (in the 2005 playoffs), Bill coming into my dad’s locker room and talking to him. I got kicked out, but I remember my dad saying how cool it was, him coming over after they had lost and talk ball with him. He knew he was just a true football guy and loved talking ball any time.

"It was cool how Bill reached out to me after the Super Bowl just to talk and it was cool to spend some time with him at the Combine which I was very appreciative of (Belichick and Shanahan reportedly met “for hours” at the Combine). Any time that guy talks, everyone in the world listens. Especially someone like me who’s aspired to be a coach and tried to do things like he’s done.”

Belichick’s warmth for Shanahan didn’t stop at comforting words. When he was out of options for what to do with prized backup Jimmy Garoppolo, Belichick sent him to Shanahan and the 49ers straightaway in October of 2017. Belichick initiated the transaction with a text to Shanahan requesting the Niners coach call him. That’s when the ask — a second-round pick — was made.

This was a part of Belichick’s statement after he dealt Garoppolo.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jimmy,” he said. “I couldn't ask for him to give us any more than he's given us. The 49ers are getting a good player, and they're getting a good person, and they're getting a great teammate and they're getting a good quarterback. Jimmy is getting a good coach. His career is moving forward. He's a talented individual, was a great person to coach. I met with him weekly and, again, have a tremendous amount of respect for him. As his career moves forward we have to look to our team, both this year and beyond, and that's a consideration we have to make.”

It’s abundantly obvious that sending Garoppolo to a good football home was a priority for Belichick. And he believed Shanahan would provide that.

“Having someone like Bill say something like that is as cool a compliment as I can have so that feels great,” Shanahan said when asked to reflect on Belichick’s comments. “Hopefully that’s true. But I’m very glad he felt that way because I feel very fortunate that we were able to get Jimmy.”

49ers' Dee Ford has chance for redemption after costly offsides vs. Patriots

49ers' Dee Ford has chance for redemption after costly offsides vs. Patriots

There's a very good chance the New England Patriots would not have won Super Bowl LIII if Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford didn't commit an offside penalty in the AFC Championship Game.

Ford was penalized for offsides late in the fourth quarter on a play where Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw an interception that likely would have sealed a win for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The penalty gave the Patriots new life and they ultimately prevailed with a 37-31 overtime victory.

Ford was traded to the San Francisco 49ers during the offseason, and on Sunday night he will square off against his former Chiefs teammates when the two franchises battle in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

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The veteran defensive lineman is doing his best to stay positive after last season's costly mistake. He's also very grateful to have another opportunity on the championship stage.

"I'm being really serious, I've been through worse than that," Ford told reporters Monday at Super Bowl Opening Night, per I wasn't even supposed to be playing. I came off my second back surgery that I had to beg my surgeon to do. He didn't want to do it. I wasn't supposed to play last year. I had my second back surgery before that year. Nobody expected me to come back. I came into training camp, I was 25 pounds under weight. So, I've been through worse things than that. You have to block out the negative, focus on the positive."

Ford also added: "I'm very fortunate. I don't remember of a player ever being in this situation, and I feel fortunate. I'm going to make the most of this opportunity."

The 49ers defense will face its toughest challenge of the season against a Chiefs offense that is firing on all cylinders entering the Super Bowl. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has averaged 307.5 yards passing with a total of eight touchdowns and zero interceptions through two AFC playoff games, and Kansas City has won seven consecutive games overall.

Putting pressure on Mahomes will be key to the 49ers' chances of winning, and Ford will play a pivotal role in that as an experienced pass rusher. Ford tallied 6.5 sacks in 11 regular season games for the 49ers, in addition to one sack through two playoff games.

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