UPDATE: The Patriots have released the following statement regarding the accusations, taking full responsibility while saying they 'unknowingly violated a league policy.'
Statement from the New England Patriots. pic.twitter.com/rhXdwVvnr8- New England Patriots (@Patriots) December 10, 2019
The NFL is investigating the Patriots on whether or not a team employee was filming Bengals play calls during their game against the Browns on Sunday, per ESPN's Dianna Russini.
Bengals head coach Zac Taylor confirmed the league was looking into it, saying he had no comment, but was "aware there was an incident."
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, though, there is a counterargument. A source told him that the Patriots had reached out to the Browns -- the home team -- to get a videographer a credential to film their behind-the-scenes piece "Do Your Job." This has been a series the Pats have done with their staff, with this video shoot being of an advanced scout.
New England is currently on a two-game losing streak, and it has the Bengals on its schedule next. But that's not the only reason this is very bad optics for Bill Belichick & Co.
Jets fans know very well about Spygate from the 2007 season. For those who don't remember, the Patriots were disciplined by the league for videotaping Jets' defensive signals. They did so from an unauthorized location, which was the main reason why the league had to crack down on the AFC powerhouse.
In the end, Belichick was fined $500,000 -- the maximum amount allowed to be fined by league rules -- while the Patriots were also fined $250,000. The franchise also lost their first-round pick for the 2008 season.
If the explanation holds true, this could be an averted crisis for the Pats. But the fact that it has come to light again involving this organization, Jets fans can't help but to get flashbacks about that cheating scandal years ago.