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Patriots' Bill Belichick on Bengals sideline video: 'I have no involvement in this'

By Connor Grott
Patriots' Bill Belichick on Bengals sideline video: 'I have no involvement in this'
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Tuesday that he had no knowledge of a production crew filming the Bengals' sideline during Cincinnati's game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick denied any involvement with the production crew that filmed the Bengals' sideline during Cincinnati's game against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

The incident raised concerns around the NFL and has been compared to "Spygate," the 2007 incident that led to severe penalties for Belichick and the Patriots organization. During a conference call Tuesday, Belichick told reporters the team has changed its approach to game preparation since then.

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"We're competitive and we'll try to be competitive in every area," Belichick said. "But we don't knowingly, intentionally want to do anything that's across the line. But since [Spygate] happened, I'd say we've tried to keep a good distance behind the line and not maybe take it as far as we might have in the past. But it's never really fundamentally changed there."

In the 2007 season, Belichick was fined $500,000 and the Patriots had a first-round pick taken away in the 2008 NFL Draft after a team employee was caught filming unauthorized footage of the New York Jets and Green Bay Packers. A league investigation discovered eight tapes of game footage and additional scouting information over the previous seven seasons.

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The Patriots confirmed Monday that a videographer captured shots of the field and the Bengals' sideline during Sunday's game against the Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium, one week before Cincinnati hosts New England.

Belichick told reporters he was made aware of the Bengals' complaint over the film Monday afternoon. He reiterated that he doesn't deal with the production side of the franchise.

"Yeah, I'm really focused on getting ready for the Bengals here," Belichick said. "I just think all that is being handled internally or however it's being handled. I don't know. Again, I have no involvement in this and no knowledge of it. I really don't have any idea what exactly is going on.

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"I can tell you that we've never, as a coaching staff, and I've personally never used any video footage at all of anything that those production people have done, other than what's shown on public television or something like that. We don't have anything to do with what they do so I really don't have much knowledge of the situation at all."

According to the Patriots, the advance scout in the press box was being filmed by an independent video crew as part of New England's "Do Your Job" series, a behind-the-scenes piece featured on the team's official website.

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League sources told ESPN and The Athletic that a Bengals team official spotted the Patriots' videographer filming Cincinnati's sideline for a significant portion of the first quarter. According to The Athletic, the camera focused on the Bengals' sideline for about eight minutes.

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The NFL is investigating the incident. In a statement released Monday, the Patriots said the video crew immediately turned over all of their footage to the league and take full responsibility for the matter.

The Patriots (10-3) will play the Bengals (1-12) on Sunday.

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