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Continuing an ongoing saga that doesn’t seem to go away, the New England Patriots have now been ordered to turn over all media related to the taping of signals of other teams. This demand directly implies that the Patriots do have more video footage and possibly other notes detailing other teams’ signals. Not good. If they don’t comply Goodell is prepared to issue even more significant sanctions. Of course, if they do comply, they may still end up facing more sanctions. It is unclear at this point.
One interesting tidbit gleaned from the Mortensen’s ESPN story is of Belichick’s understanding of the NFL policy:
His interpretation of the rules allowed him to use videotape of opposing team hand signals for future games but not on game day, sources said. The commissioner rejected that interpretation…
Looking at the NFL rulebook, we find the following:
- Page 105 of the Game Operations manual says: “No video recording devices of any kind are permitted to be in use in the coaches’ booth, on the field, or in the locker room during the game.” It later says: “All video shooting locations must be enclosed on all sides with a roof overhead.”
- And, a memo from Ray Anderson, NFL head of football operations, to head coaches and GMs on Sept. 6, 2006 said: “Video taping of any type, including but not limited to taping of an opponent’s offensive or defensive signals, is prohibited on the sidelines, in the coaches’ booth, in the locker room, or at any other locations accessible to club staff members during the game.”
Sorry Belichick but these rules seem pretty clear; there is no mention of ANY opportunity to record another team’s signals whether for current or future use. It seems like this new demand could make things even worse for the Patriots.