Jets Have Their Own Skeletons

Is it true? Did the Jets ignore league rules and record their own videotape of the Patriots before Bill Belichick's team was nabbed for doing it?

According to a report in New York Newsday, that seems to be the case. A league source confirmed to Newsday that the Jets were caught inappropriately taping during a game the Jets played the Patriots in Foxborough in 2006. The Jets employee was asked to stop recording and removed from the premises.

This story is not new, but it is the first confirmed account that has been published since Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum responded to allegations in a interview.

Tannenbaum said at the time that the Jets had permission to film from that location and that they abided by league rules.

Tuesday night the Jets confirmed that the videotaping incident did take place in Foxborough, and that their employee was confronted by New England officials. The Jets claimed that they were there with permission.

Bruce Speight, Jets senior director of media relations, told Newsday that: "All filming at last year's Patriots game was done with pre-approval from the Patriots and in accordance with NFL rules."

When news first broke about the Patriots being caught by the league for videotaping signals of the New York Jets' coaching staff, the media backlash was unprecedented. First reported by Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential, and later confirmed by ESPN, the incident snowballed into a major embarrassment for the Patriots.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the situation when he went on air in an interview on NBC's Sunday Night football with Bob Costas, to explain how he was going to dole out unprecedented level of punishment for the infraction. Goodell announced that the league would fine the Patriots $250,000, Bill Belichick was fined $500,000 and the team forfeited their first round draft pick for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Reports surfaced that the Patriots had been suspected of videotaping illegally for years, including as recently as the Jets game in 2006.

For weeks, various news outlets expressed indignation over the Patriots videotaping accusation while players and coaches weighed in on both sides. Some expressed outrage and questioned the Patriots previous years of success, while some coaches admitted that the Patriots weren't the only ones doing it. Former Cowboy's coach Jimmy Johnson even admitted that he did it when he was coaching.

Former Miami Dolphins head coach Don Shula, expressed his position on the matter in an interview with the New York Daily News. Shula went on record saying that he felt an asterisk should be placed next to the Patriots' accomplishment.

"The Spygate thing has diminished what they've accomplished," Shula told the Daily News. "You would hate to have that attached to your accomplishments." Shula went further: "I guess you got the same thing as putting an asterisk by Barry Bonds' home run record."

Shula was interviewed to address the Patriots possibility of unseating Shula's '72 Dolphins team as the only undefeated team in NFL history.

Both the Jets and the Patriots caught each other's assistants videotaping during games in 2006. Both organizations removed the staff member doing the recording, but neither confiscated the tape or notified the league office. The 2007 incident was the first time the NFL had an official present to confiscate the tape used.

The Newsday report indicates that the Jets were filming from the end zone, reportedly to get a different angle. What wasn't mentioned was the fact that the end zone angle is the same angle on the "coach's tape" that each team is provided with after the game. So why would the Jets need to tape from that direction?

It's not surprising that teams are looking for an edge in the league. But reports that the Patriots weren't the only ones doing it, have gained significant momentum with yesterday's reports.

The Jets play the Patriots in Foxborough on Sunday in what will be Eric Mangini's first time back in Foxborough since the 2007 Spygate scandal broke. With revelations of Mangini's own staff being caught videotaping a year ago, it's Mangini's turn to deal with the distractions attached to the accusations

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