Schefter notes that the punishment is likely to come within the next two weeks. The NFL has yet to collect all of the security reports, but there should be clarity once that’s resolved.
Schefter also cited a basis for the impending discipline. In 2015, former Browns general manager Ray Farmer violated the league’s electronic device policy by sending text messages to the coaching staff during games. The Browns were fined $250K and Farmer was suspended four games without pay.
The same year, the Falcons were forced to forfeit a fifth-round draft pick and pay a $350K fine after it was found that team president Rich
McKay was responsible for pumping in crowd noise during home games (McKay was also suspended from the competition committee).
To review, the Patriots’ media production team was filming a feature on a scout during a Bengals-Browns game in early December. The film crew obtained the necessary credentials to follow the scout to the Cleveland press box. However, part of the B-roll included footage of the Cincinnati sideline, and NFL teams are prohibited from shooting video of coaches on the sideline.
Plus, the Pats played the Bengals the following weekend, which led to further questioning about their motives.
The Patriots acknowledged they should have done a better job advising the crew of league protocol, and they also conceded they should have informed the Bengals and the league of their intentions prior to the game. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick immediately distanced himself from the incident and was reportedly furious when he learned about it.
Commissioner Roger Goodell previously confirmed that the Patriots’ history with illegal videotaping would be factored into the process.