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.
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 Patriots.com 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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