Patriots

Patriots docked third-round pick, fined $1.1 million for Bengals taping incident

Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

An NFL source confirmed what Mike Reiss first reported, the Patriots were largely hammered for the Bengals' videotaping scandal. The penalties, which will not be contested by the Patriots, are:

- Loss of a third-round pick in the 2021 draft;
- The club was fined $1.1 million. It's not known if that was one lump fine, or dispersed among several people;
- Kraft Sports Productions TV crews will not be allowed to shoot games during the 2020 season.
- Senior club officials will have required training on league operation and game policies.

This is largely in line with what I thought would be the punishment if the snippet was representative of the rest of the tape, giving the Patriots' history with Spygate and Deflate-gate.

What I wrote at the time:

  • I didn’t think this was a big deal until I saw Glazer’s footage. If that’s representative of the entire tape — and I’ve heard from league sources the entire film is much worse, but who really knows? — then I expect them to be docked a mid-round pick and fined, at the minimum.
  • I was hoping, for their sake, that it was going to show a wider angle of the field and both teams, and nothing tight. That would be easily explained. That video was the worst-case scenario and it explains why the Bengals are so pissed. It’s entirely focused on the area of the bench where the Bengals were making substitutions. I texted a few NFL sources yesterday to get their opinion and they were all ticked off and agreed that it was bad.
  • Even if it was a total accident and just terrible, terrible timing, and that video guy is a complete jackwagon Masshole, they’re still guilty by association even without the prior offenses. You can think that was nonsense too, but the NFL and its members absolutely do not. And that’s all that matters.
  • This isn’t about signals. It doesn’t matter what the Patriots may or may not have gotten out of the tape. We all know Spygate didn’t give the Patriots that much of an advantage, but they didn’t keep a library of film and notes for nothing. Every NFL team is obsessed with information. They want as much as possible. This appears to be an effort to further that. Unless you can prove intent, that’s how it will play in league circles.
  • Ultimately, we need to see all the evidence so we can know the whole truth, but this does not look good for the Patriots. I’m not saying they’re guilty. I’m not saying they were definitely trying to tape the Bengals. I’m telling you how it looks to the league. And it’s not nothing.

I also talked about this with Felger & Mazz at the time:

(Go to the 17:45 mark)