The New England Patriots acknowledged that their production crew inappropriately filmed the field and sideline during Sunday's game between the Bengals and Browns in Cleveland and accepted full responsibility in a statement released Monday night.
The crew was credentialed by the Browns to shoot video for a Patriots web series called "Do Your Job," but the Patriots did not inform the Bengals or the NFL, which they called "an unintended oversight."
"The sole purpose of the filming was to provide an illustration of an advance scout at work on the road," the Patriots statement read. "There was no intention of using footage for any other purpose."
The Patriots also said the production crew, which included independent contractors who shot the video, is not part of New England's football operation.
The NFL has not yet issued a comment, but a source told ESPN's Dan Graziano that the league has a copy of the video and is investigating the incident.
News of the incident first broke when, at Bengals coach Zac Taylor's news conference Monday, longtime Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham asked the coach about rumors that the Patriots had a videographer in the press box who was taping the sideline. Taylor said he was aware of the incident and that the league was investigating.
Sources told ESPN's Dianna Russini that a Bengals employee flagged media relations and Bengals security staff after observing a videographer shooting the sidelines.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick told WEEI earlier Monday that the team's football operations has nothing to do with the production side and that their scouts know the rules about what you can't film at games.
"They 100% know. All of our scouts, all of our video people and everything, they know what that is," Belichick said. "Again, I have nothing to do with the TV production shows and stuff like that. I have no idea what they do. Or what their projects are and everything else.
"As I understand it, they were videotaping him, trying to show kind of what an advance scout does, or something Iike that, I don't know. You'll have to wait to see the show I guess and see how it's presented."
In 2007, the Patriots were punished by the NFL for videotaping the New York Jets' defensive playcalls on the sideline during a 2007 game at Giants Stadium, won by New England 38-14. The Patriots were forced to forfeit their first-round draft pick in 2008, and coach Bill Belichick was fined the maximum amount of $500,000. The Patriots also were ordered to pay $250,000 for the scandal, which was dubbed "Spygate" by the media.
The Patriots (10-3) visit the Bengals (1-12) on Sunday.