Sources: Goodell determines Pats broke rules by taping Jets' signals

Updated: September 13, 2007, 12:04 PM ET
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN.com

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has determined that the New England Patriots violated league rules Sunday when they videotaped defensive signals by the New York Jets' coaches, according to league sources.

NFL security officials confiscated a camera and videotape from Patriots video assistant Matt Estrella on the New England sidelines when it was suspected he was recording the Jets' defensive signals. Sources say the visual evidence confirmed the suspicion.

Goodell is considering severe sanctions, including the possibility of docking the Patriots "multiple draft picks" because it is the competitive violation in the wake of a stern warning to all teams since he became commissioner, the sources said. The Patriots have been suspected in previous incidents.

The Patriots will be allowed an opportunity to present their case by Friday, sources said, most likely via the telephone.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said on Tuesday that no official decision has been made and that the club has not been notified.

How it came to light?

NEW YORK -- A story in Wednesday's New York Daily News claims that Jets coach Eric Mangini, a former New England assistant under Bill Belichick, came armed with keen knowledge of the team's surveillance methods -- and finally decided to act.

"[The Jets] knew they did it," the Daily News wrote, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, who sent the newspaper an e-mail. "They caught the guy a year ago, but couldn't do anything about it. When Eric came, he said that's what they used to do. Bill is going to be [ticked] at Eric. He kissed and told."

Sunday's game was the fifth time Mangini has coached against Belichick since joining the Jets.

-- ESPN.com news services

The league also was reviewing a possible violation into the number of radio frequencies the Patriots were using during Sunday's game, sources said. The team did not have a satisfactory explanation when asked about possible irregularities in its communication setup during the game.

Goodell is expected to have a decision no later than Friday, but that date is not set in stone.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was asked Tuesday when he expected a verdict, but said those questions had to be directed toward Goodell.

"There is an investigation going on now, and perhaps an adjudication of it, and I think it would be inappropriate at this time to make any comment," Kraft told reporters at a charity appearance Tuesday. "When you're successful in anything, a lot of people like to try to take you down and do different things. We understand that.

"We worked very hard to try to put an organization together that we all could be proud of in New England, and we're very proud of the New England Patriots organization and the record that they've established over the last 13 seasons and one game."

Chris Mortensen covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.