Roger Goodell and the National Football League came down with a stern punishment, resulting in $1.1 million in fines and a loss of a 2021 third-round draft pick.
First came the report the team was signing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton. The team released a statement in December that said the organization sent a three-person video crew to the Bengals-Browns game to capture footage for a behind-the-scenes feature on a pro personnel scout.
The Patriots admitted to wrongdoing at the time, but they also said the videographers were filming a team series called "Do Your Job" and were unaware of the infraction.
The Patriots defeated the Bengals 34-13 a week later.
The team's statement added that, while they were granted credentials for the crew from the Browns, the failure to inform the Bengals and the league was an unintended oversight. After suspicions were raised that the Patriots had violated an NFL rule, the league launched an investigation.
"I personally have never viewed any video footage at all, anything that those production people have done, other than what's shown on public television or something like that", Belichick said in December. He was stripped of a first-round pick and fined $500,000 after Spygate - while Tom Brady took a major hit with Deflategate.
So, yes, no team likes losing a draft pick, but if anyone has built their team to avoid seeing the worst effects from such a penalty, it's New England.