In what could be considered a state of the NFL update, Commissioner Roger Goodell took time out of a league meeting in Dallas on Wednesday to brief the media on several topics, including the Patriots videotaping investigation and playoff reseeding.
Goodell spent most of his time at the podium discussing the Patriots investigation. He told reporters that he’s been briefed on the subject, but that no timetable had been set for a decision.
“I’ve actually been down here almost the entire time,” Goodell said of being in Dallas. “I only had an opportunity to spend some time with a couple of our staff. Obviously, it’s under review. We’re going to be thorough. We’ll take our time and make sure we look at everything that’s pertinent here, and then we’ll make a decision.”
Is This Spygate 2.0?
During Week 14, members of a third-party video crew hired by the Patriots were sent to Cleveland to film a documentary on an advance scout who was at the Bengals-Browns game. The crew, which was credentialed by the Browns, was ostensibly filming a segment for a series on the Patriots’ website entitled, “Do Your Job.”
While the crew was supposed to be focusing on the employee, a Bengals official noticed the crew was filming Cincinnati’s sideline, a violation of an NFL rule. Coach Bill Belichick acknowledged the violation, but denied any responsibility.
“I have — we have absolutely nothing to do with anything that they produce or direct or shoot or anything,” Belichick said during a local radio appearance on Monday. “I have never even seen any of their tapes or anything else. This is something that we 100 percent have zero involvement with. This is something you’d have to talk to the production people about, and what they were doing, or whatever it was.”
What makes the latest incident so serious is that it is the second Patriots investigation regarding videotaping. The first dubbed, “Spygate,” centered around the team videotaping the New York Jets in a game on Dec. 9, 2007.
In the first Patriots investigation, Goodell deemed that Belichick and the organization were guilty of violating league rules. Belichick was fined, $500,000 while the team was dinged $250,000, and lost a 2008 first-round draft pick.
Goodell said he will definitely factor the previous incident into the current Patriots investigation.
“Of course. That’s a factor,” Goodell said. “But I think the key things are the new information that we have – that (old) information, we obviously already had. I think the issue is what information do we have from this incident.”
Playoff Reseeding not a Priority
Goodell also talked about possible playoff reseeding in upcoming seasons. The issue was brought up because of the possibility that a team with a losing may end up hosting a playoff game this year.
Either the Philadelphia Eagles or the Dallas Cowboys will win the NFC East, even though both teams currently have 6-7 records. With just three games remaining before the postseason, it’s possible that neither team may finish the regular season a winning record. The Cowboys host the Rams on Sunday, and are 1-point underdogs.
The Eagles travel to division foe Washington this weekend, and are 4.5-point favorites. They host the Cowboys the following week, then end the regular season with the New York Giants. The Cowboys end the season with Washington.
Goodell didn’t seem interested in entertaining the idea of reseeding, saying this scenario has happened before.
“This is not the first time this conversation has occurred, or the situation has occurred,” Goodell said. “Teams go into the season, and the first objective is to win the division. That’s what they work on — we win the division and we get in the playoffs. That is something that we’ve considered over the years. I have not heard that this year. I don’t anticipate hearing it again. It’s been discussed in the past, but I don’t see that as an issue. If it comes up, we’ll certainly have the conversation. I don’t anticipate it.”