<
>

Gillette sweep found nothing, report says; not requested by Jets

play
PTI on Patriots: Sweep the locker rooms to stop cheating accusations (1:51)

Pardon the Interruption reacts to the Patriots asking the NFL to sweep Gillette Stadium for electronic listening devices, according to multiple reports. (1:51)

NFL security swept the New York Jets' locker room at Gillette Stadium this past Sunday for electronic listening devices, The Boston Globe reported, citing multiple league sources.

The league did not confirm the sweep, but NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said via Twitter that "we have for years conducted regular & random checks. we do not get into details of specific games."

NFL security's actions surrounding Sunday's game came under the microscope when analyst Boomer Esiason said Thursday night during the Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots broadcast on Westwood One radio that a source told him the Jets had asked the league to sweep the visitors locker room for bugs. Esiason repeated the statement Friday morning on his weekday WFAN radio show.

However, an NFL spokesman said, "No such request was made by the Jets."

The Jets declined to comment Friday. Coach Todd Bowles, speaking at his daily news conference, said, "I know nothing about it. We just go up there to play football."

In an unrelated move, NFL security also questioned multiple game-day employees for the Patriots on the sidelines who were equipped with headsets, the Globe reported.

The two investigations turned up nothing, according to the report.

According to a league source, the three Patriots employees questioned on the sidelines were done so at the request of Jets security director Robert Mastroddi, who requested to know the identity of the individuals because he noticed they were wearing headsets and standing in the proximity of the Patriots bench.

When asked Sunday about the report, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said only that it was a "league matter."

"I think you should talk to the league about that," Belichick said. "We don't have anything to do with any of those things. So I'm just going to focus on what my job is -- to coach the team and get them ready to play. All the rest of that comes under a whole different something I'm not really a part of."

During the second half, Richard Farley and Lenny Bandy of NFL security spoke with the three employees, the source said. One of them said he was hired solely on game days, and relayed that his responsibilities were to coordinate in-stadium audio activities with other employees of Kraft Sports Productions. Farley and Bandy were told that his duties include pregame and halftime events, audio for the Jumbotron, use of wireless microphones on the field and sidelines, and proper operation of the referee's microphone; the employee is specifically responsible for replacement batteries in the referee's microphone and/or any issues with the functionality of the microphone. In carrying out those responsibilities, the employee communicates on a two-way radio with colleagues on the field and in a booth.

The two other employees that Farley and Bandy spoke with also noted that they worked with the Patriots' marketing team and were responsible for in-game entertainment. One of them agreed to allow Bandy to listen to his headset and Bandy determined that the duties described by the employee were consistent with what he was hearing.

According to the source, when Bandy relayed his initial findings to Mastroddi, Mastroddi told him that he didn't believe those responsible for maintaining the referee's microphone should be team employees. Bandy then called NFL headquarters to speak with Jay Reid of the league's officiating department, and was told that the league does not hire individuals to ensure the interoperability of the referee's microphone with the stadium public address system; that is considered a local responsibility.

As part of the investigation during the game, Bandy took a photo of one of the employees in question, who was wearing a Patriots hooded sweatshirt and sweatpants. The picture of the employee has him holding a Patriots hat, along with sunglasses. Photos of the employee's credential and two-way radio were also taken.

The issue was discussed during the NFL's standard game operations Monday wrap-up meeting.

Meanwhile, later on Monday, Mastroddi called Bandy to inform him that he had been contacted by a reporter regarding the matter. At that time, Bandy informed Mastroddi that based on the information gathered, there was nothing to indicate that the conduct or actions of the employees was inappropriate.

Mastroddi was told by Bandy that absent the development of new information to the contrary, the matter would be considered closed.

The Jets declined comment and referred questions to the league.

Information from ESPN.com's Rich Cimini and Mike Reiss was used in this report.