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Jets Caught with Sideline Camera after Loss to Patriots

Are Rex Ryan and the Jets up to something? (Image from Long Island Press)

The New York Jets are under fire today, stemming from a recent allegation that a Jets’ team employee was caught videotaping from their sideline in a 30-21 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday.

The man in question was holding a large camera, New York Jets gear and a lime green vest.

The Jets are already in public relations mode, stating that the cameraman “works for Jets TV and shoots footage for our team programming.” New York has also justified the cameraman by citing the NFL rulebook, which states,”

“[c]lub video crews and video crews from television stations that produce and telecast club-licensed programming (e.g. coaches’ shows, team magazine-style shows, etc.) may also be permitted to have a camera on the sidelines to shoot footage for those club-licensed programs only.”

While the charge seem innocuous, New England fans will point out that the 2007 early allegations (against these very same Jets, mind you) of illegal filming had a similar tone. But Commissioner Roger Goodell eventually docked the Patriots $250,000 (the maximum) and a 1st-round pick, while Coach Bill Belichick was also fined $500,000 for his role.

All of the Patriots’ notes, tapes, and other materials related to the incident were summoned by the league office, and eventually destroyed.

The mere fact that a cameraman was spotted on New York’s sideline, despite their plausible excuse, raises eyebrows. As a matter of fairness, the league office should check the content of the tapes to see if it matches the Jets’ statement.

This is New York’s second incident involving sideline improprieties in the last 11 months. In a December 2010 loss to Miami, New York Jets’ strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi extended his knee and tripped Dolphins’ corner back Nolan Carrol on a third-quarter punt return.

The Jets were fined $100,000 for the infraction and Alosi later resigned.

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