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Patriots Under NFL Investigation for Allegedly Spying on Bengals
AP Photo/Elise Amendola

The New England Patriots have seen better days. Not only did the reigning Super Bowl champions lose a rare home game on Sunday afternoon, but Patriots fans started fighting each other. To make matters worse, the organization is now under NFL investigation for possibly spying on their upcoming opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals.

At the end of his Monday press conference, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked if some rumors were true. The answer, albeit pretty cryptic, created another firestorm on social media, to say the least.

A reporter asked, “Rumors are out there that the Patriots had a videographer up in the Bengals’ press box area working with the advance scout who was taping video of the Bengals sideline. Do you have any reaction to that?”.

“I’m aware that there was an incident but the league is investigating it, so I’ve got no comment,” Taylor responded.

Another Spygate? Here we go again…

Zac Taylor was very short and matter of fact about the situation, and understandably so. What happened at Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium is not crystal clear at the moment.

However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter did all he could to help clear the air a little bit on Twitter.

“Patriots’ advance scout was not filming but being filmed, per a league source. He was being filmed for a feature the team produced called, ‘Do Your Job.’ The video crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video in the press box and their PR person was aware, per the source.”

When the news first broke about the Patriots employee at the Bengals-Browns game, many fans brought up Spygate, the 2007 controversy with the Patriots videotaping signals of the New York Jets. The result ended with New England losing a first-round draft pick and several fines were handed out.

Then, hours later, the Patriots responded to the allegations with a long statement.

“For the past year, the New England Patriots content team has produced a seirous of behind-the-scenes features on various departments within the organization. The seven previous “Do Your Job” episodes are archived on patriots.com. On Sunday, Dec. 8, the content team sent a three-person video crew to the Bengals-Browns game at FirstEnergy Stadium in order to capture one part of a longer feature on the Patriots scouting department, in this case a Patriots pro personnel scout while he was working in the press box.

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“While we sought and were granted credentialed access from the Cleveland Browns for the video crew, our failure to inform the Bengals and the League was an unintended oversight. In addition to filming the scout, the production crew — without specific knowledge of League rules — inappropriately filmed the field from the press box. The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road. There was no intention of using the footage for any other purpose. We understand and acknowledge that our video crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, unknowingly violated league policy by filming the field and sideline from the press box. When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully.

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“The production crew is independent of our football operation. While aware that one of the scouts was being profiled for a “Do Your Job” episode, our football staff had no other involvement whatsoever in the planning, filming or creative decisions made during the production of these features.

“We accept full responsibility for the actions of our production crew at the Browns-Bengals game.”

Perhaps there’s something more here. Then again, maybe there’s not. It’s not like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady need any extra a help against a team that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since 2015.

The truth will come out eventually. It always does. It’s just crazy to see the Patriots in the news like this once again.

MORE: Is Tom Brady a Cheater? This 10-Year-Old Used Science to Prove It

With over 10 years of sports writing experience, Brett has covered some of the top local, regional, and national sporting events in the Heartland for both print and digital platforms. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and resides in Austin, Texas.
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