For about 30 minutes on Monday afternoon, the world thought it was getting a sequel to SpyGate.
It started when Dianna Russini of ESPN tweeted that the NFL was investigating a report that a New England Patriots employee was caught recording Cincinnati Bengals play calls on Sunday. Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was asked about it during his news conference, and he would only say that the team was aware and he had no further comment.
Watching Bengals HC Zac Taylor’s press conference. A reporter just asked if he could confirm if a Patriots employee was videotaping their play calls at the last game? Coach said “No comment and they are aware”— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
I reached out to the Bengals to get more information and a statement on the situation involving this alleged videotaping. Spokesperson says for right now they are aware of the situation, the league office is aware, and they have no further comment.— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
The NFL league office is investigating per sources. https://t.co/t8H4gkCIBA— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
Of course with the Patriots history of cheating with video cameras, the football world was on high alert. Was it cheating? How long had it been going on? How had it managed to stay undetected throughout the entire season up until now? Why were they trying to capture the play calls of the Bengals, who are 1-12 and easily the worst team in the NFL?
Things didn’t quite add up, because while Patriots head coach Bill Belichick wants to win, he’s also not stupid. Sending an advance scout to record play calls is pretty brazen. It seemed unlikely that Belichick would put a cheating system in place that would be so incredibly inelegant and obvious, especially with the Patriots’ history of video tapes and cheating.
The story started making more sense after a few tweets from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. According to his NFL source, the Patriots employee was an advance scout who is the subject of team video feature called “Do Your Job.” He was actually being filmed by a crew and was not doing any filming himself, which is an important distinction.
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— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2019
Schefter also had information about how this kerfuffle got started.
An official for the Bengals, who were playing at Cleveland Sunday, saw a member of the video crew wearing a Patriots’ shirt and alerted the league, which confiscated the video, according to the source. NFL has video; Patriots say video is a press-box feature of the advance scout.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 9, 2019
So the Patriots advance scout allegedly had a film crew with him to film a “Do Your Job” video that was about him. Someone on the crew was wearing a Patriots shirt, which spooked a Bengals official. That official alerted the NFL, and here we are.
Russini confirmed with the Patriots that this was all a “BIG misunderstanding” that stemmed from the Pats’ lack of communication with the Bengals about their film crew.
Just spoke to New England about the situation. Apparently this was a very BIG misunderstanding and lack of communication with the Bengals.— Dianna (@diannaESPN) December 9, 2019
Despite all the excitement, there appears to be no cheating on the part of the Patriots. We’ll just have to keep on waiting for SpyGate 2: Electric Boogaloo.
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