National Football League hands down penalties to Patriots for filming Bengals game

Patriots punished harshly for spying on Browns Bengals game at First Energy Stadium

Patriots punished harshly for spying on Browns Bengals game at First Energy Stadium

The New England Patriots are getting hit hard for their illicit filming at FirstEnergy Stadium last December prior to the Browns home game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team was stripped a third-round draft pick for 2021 and fined $1.1 million.

The Bengals played the Browns Dec. 8 in Cleveland, before hosting the Patriots the next week on December 15. The Patriots' explanation was that a video crew hired by the organization mistakenly "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box" for a "Do Your Job" video series on an advance scout to publish on the team website.

The filming took place without specific knowledge of league rules, a statement said. "When questioned, the crew immediately turned over all footage to the league and cooperated fully".

Of course, this wasn't the first time the National Football League has come down on the Patriots in recent years.

The punishments come over six months after the league launched an investigation into Patriots for violating league rules by filming an opponent's sideline during a game.

"I can tell you we, as a coaching staff and I personally, have never used any video footage at all of anything those production people have done, other than what's shown on public television or something like that", Belichick said in December. Belichick was also fined $500,000.

So, yes, no team likes losing a draft pick, but if anyone has built their team to avoid seeing the worst effects from such a penalty, it's New England. Quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games, and the team was fined $1 million and docked another first-round draft pick.

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