Following a battle between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, a report surfaced that the NFL was investigating the New England Patriots. The reason was that the team had a video crew at the game and had allegedly filmed the Bengals' sideline for minutes on end.
Sunday morning, Jay Glazer revealed exclusive footage during FOX's preview show. The figures weren't shown in the provided clip, but multiple people could be heard talking. One unnamed individual, who was listed as a Patriots videographer, said that they were filming an advance scout and that the footage could be deleted. The other person heard talking, who was listed as part of the Bengals' security staff, said: "The damage is done, my friend."
With the footage surfacing on Sunday morning, the fans and critics alike voiced their opinions on social media. Some thought that this was just further evidence of the Patriots "cheating" while others were far less convinced. They didn't buy the authenticity of the footage from Glazer.
With a battle between the Bengals taking place on Sunday afternoon, the new footage only further added to the ongoing discussion about the Patriots and whether or not they had committed any wrongdoing. Although many fans believed that the Patriots suspending the videographer was just another admission of guilt.
Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty
You can’t film an opposing team. I don’t care what the reason is, that’s cheating. This is one of the many reasons why people HATE Patriots.— Ayanbu Boo Osayamwen (@boo32985) December 15, 2019
Considering that the New England Patriots were once penalized for filming opposing coaches to gain an advantage back in 2007, this latest incident was just more evidence for their critics. Multiple football fans reacted to the news by explaining that the Patriots have always been cheaters and will continue to be under Belichick.
The investigation is obviously still ongoing while the NFL decides how to handle the situation. That doesn't matter for many fans, however. They have already weighed in and assigned judgment.
As a Pat's season ticket holder. I always want to believe my team, coach and organization, but this hurts to see. Makes me question even more so is this 'Dynasty' fake? ☹️— Mike Slade (@SupSlade) December 15, 2019
When the news broke about the alleged wrongdoing by the Patriots, critics of the team were quick to rejoice. They severely dislike the dynasty that has won six championships since 2000 and are very happy to see another controversy surfacing. But how did this situation affect those that root for the New England-based team?
Many members of the Patriots' fanbase were quick to defend Belichick and the team's staff. Others, however, were less convinced. There were many fans of the Patriots that were actually having major concerns about their team.
Maybe I am missing something here. But how does this footage give the Pats any advantage? Or is it a story since it's the Pats?— Erik Olson (@ole1474) December 15, 2019
With Jay Glazer showing the video footage during FOX's Sunday show, the Patriots' alleged filming became even more of a national story. For many fans, however, they didn't understand why. Yes, filming other coaching staffs could lead to repercussions, but some of those on social media didn't see why this was a big deal.
In fact, there were many on social media that were under the impression that the media was simply making this a bigger deal than it actually should have been. Specifically, they thought that the Patriots being the focus made this more controversial.
Were this ANY other team, I would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.— x-Casey Adkins (@ForeverRanger91) December 15, 2019
With this alleged filming situation taking another turn on Sunday morning with the release of the footage, the debates continued with greater intensity. Some defended the Patriots and said that the NFL was targeting this team, while others said that the filming was a blatant example of cheating. Interestingly enough, one football fan said that his opinion was clearly skewed due to the Patriots' history.
While New England has won multiple championships over the past 20 years, the team has also dealt with a fair share of controversy. There was the original Spygate in 2007, as well as an incident involving deflated footballs. For many NFL fans, these two controversial moments paints this latest alleged incident in a different light.
Let’s be clear...Nothing happens with Football operations that isn’t approved by BB. That is why they have been so successful. Perhaps we now know why...again. They will do whatever it takes to win...including cheating!— RaiderNationRant (@NationRant) December 15, 2019
Following the news originally surfacing about the alleged filming, there were immediate questions about whether or not Belichick was involved and if he knew about this situation. There were many critics of the Patriots that believe the coach had specifically orchestrated this incident. However, Belichick has since responded and claimed that he has nothing to do with the video production.
“Yeah I heard about this," Belichick said during an appearance on WEEI. "You know, evidently, this is our production people on the TV show that were there. We have nothing to do with anything they produce … I’ve never even seen their tapes. This is something we had 100% nothing to do with.”
To some football fans, whether or not the New England Patriots are guilty of allegedly cheating is completely irrelevant. They know that this story will continue for the foreseeable future, and it's possible that the NFL will hand down fines as a form of penalty. What these fans are more focused on is the timeline of the investigation.
With this alleged filming incident drawing attention, the league now has multiple ongoing investigations. Commissioner Roger Goodell and his staff are looking into the Patriots, but they are also investigating accusations of sexual assault against free-agent wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Why are y’all already making excuses for Belichick? Sean Payton was suspended a year because “as the coach, he should have known (even if he didn’t)”. Why don’t the same rules apply to the Pats?— Brad Benoit (@bradbenoit1220) December 15, 2019
If this alleged filming incident is proven to be an example of cheating, how will that affect head coach Belichick? He has already stated that the team has nothing to do with the video production staff. However, many football fans don't see why this matters.
Back in 2012, the NFL suspended New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton after the Bountygate scandal in which defenders were paid for targeting opposing players. Payton was not the man allegedly paying these bounties, but it happened under his watch, so he was given a suspension.