From massage parlors and Antonio Brown to the latest debacle involving videotaping another NFL team, fans of the New England Patriots are repeatedly having to defend their team. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images/TNS

It should be so much fun to be a New England Patriots fan.

The Pats, owners of six Super Bowls.

The Pats, who trot out the greatest quarterback in history every week.

The Pats, led by one of the best coaches in history.

The Pats, now in the twilight years of the most successful run the NFL has ever seen.

But it’s just not that easy. Once again the Patriots are making things hard on their fans with some sloppy, careless and (hopefully) inadvertent violation of league rules.


We watched Spygate unfold and had to suffer through the Deflategate debacle. The Patriots accepted blame and incurred heavy penalties for both, even if many of their fans still insist on clinging to innocence.

Then you have the assorted personal failings of Patriot Nation. We saw a talented, young tight end pulled off the roster and eventually convicted of murder. You have an owner who preps for championship games by visiting massage parlors. Then he does the American billionaire thing and lawyers-up to beat the rap. How about the embarrassment of Antonio Brown?

Now we have another off-the-field issue. Details are still trickling out but the Patriots have admitted to violating league rules when a video crew representing the team filmed the sideline during Sunday’s Bengals-Browns game in Cleveland. The NFL has the film and is currently investigating but a national outcry for penalties against the Super Bowl champions is already raging.

The Pats claim they had a three-person crew in the press box in Cleveland to film an episode of the “Do Your Job” series, which appears on the team’s website. This installment is focusing on the scouting department and a Patriots advance scout was working the game.

That all sounds clear-cut but these are the Patriots, the team everyone else in the NFL doesn’t trust to cross the street. The Patriots, who were caught red-handed back in 2007 videotaping the New York Jets defensive coach’s signals from an unauthorized location.

The Athletic website reported that sources who’ve viewed the tape say it shows about eight minutes of footage focusing on the Bengals’ sideline. The viewfinder locks on the Cincy bench as players substitute in and out and coaches make adjustments. The man shooting the video, credentialed by the Patriots, was wearing Boston Bruins gear.


A Bruins jersey? The Patriots state that “independent contractors” shot the video so the guy they hired in Cleveland is a Zdeno Chara fan? Really?

The Patriots football staff – led by Bill Belichick – attempted to shift blame for the error onto the team’s Kraft Sports Productions wing. That appears to be true but this is a franchise that cannot claim ignorance of the filming rules.

That’s no defense. It’s sloppy, careless and a potentially embarrassing and costly mistake.

If any team should own a perfect crisis management system it’s the Patriots. But they apparently haven’t learned a thing.

This is what the Patriots should’ve done: have the head of Kraft Sports Productions take any and all questions on the matter. Name the camera guy, name the advance scout, spell out how common it is to use these scouts. Make the statement you issued Monday night bullet-proof.

This is what the Patriots did instead: On a previously scheduled conference call Belichick said he’s “never viewed any video footage” from Kraft Sports Productions and added “I think all that’s being handled internally, or however it’s being handled. I don’t know. Again, I have no involvement in this and no knowledge of it, and so I really don’t have any idea what exactly is going on.”


Hey, Coach. It’s time to work up to speed and understand exactly what is going on.

What’s clear is this isn’t helping the Patriots’ already bruised reputation around the NFL and with football fans living outside New England. They will always blurt out ‘Spygate’ or ‘Deflategate’ when discussions of Tom Brady’s greatness or Belichick’s coaching acumen begin.

Now we have a repeat violation of the NFL’s videotaping rules. More fuel to the fire for those Patriots naysayers.

Coming off a rare two-game losing streak Patriots fans thought their biggest problems were a crumbling offensive line and a crew of receivers who can’t shake free quickly enough to catch Brady’s passes. Now there’s another distraction to deal with. Irritated fans have to rush to their team’s defense because some unnamed, Bruins-clad camera guy broke NFL rules filming the sidelines of the 1-12 Bengals.

No one ever said being a Patriots fan is easy.

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