Patriots deny stealing Bengals’ signs, say filming on sidelines was for documentary


(CBS News) – The New England Patriots are denying new reports of spying, this time on the opponents they’ll face this Sunday. The Cincinnati Bengals reportedly think the Patriots tried stealing signs after a Patriots production crew was caught filming the Bengals’ sideline during their game Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

The Patriots, who were punished in 2007 for taping opponents, said the crew was there to film for a documentary series. As CBS News correspondent Vladimir Duthiers reports, the NFL is investigating to determine whether it was something more.

As the Cleveland Browns claimed victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday, suspicions brewed in the press box above. A Bengals official said he saw a Patriots employee inappropriately filming the sidelines during the game, and notified the NFL.

“I’m aware that there was an incident but I know the league is investigating it, so I have no comment,” Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said.

The Patriots, who lead the AFC East with 10 wins, said they were filming a Patriots scout at the game for an upcoming episode of their behind-the-scenes web series “Do Your Job.” In a statement Monday, the team said it got the Browns’ permission to shoot, but not the Bengals’ or the NFL’s. 

Coach Bill Belichick denied any knowledge of it. “We have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they produce, direct or shoot,” he said.

In 2007, the Patriots were fined $250,000 after an investigation found they spied on the New York Jets’ coaches during a game. Then in 2016, quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games over an accusation that he was involved in deflating footballs during the 2015 AFC championship game to make them easier to grip.

“I didn’t alter the ball in any way,” Brady said at the time. “I’ve always played within the rules. I would never do anything to break the rules.”

The NFL has confiscated the tape as part of its investigation and declined to comment on the matter.

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