The Patriots’ pattern of illicitly videotaping the signals of opposing N.F.L. coaches began in Coach Bill Belichick’s first preseason with the team in 2000, a former Patriots player said. The information was put to use in that year’s regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Belichick’s debut as New England’s coach.
The secret taping of signals, which is against league rules, continued at least through three championship seasons to the 2007 season opener against the Jets, when the Patriots were caught and subsequently sanctioned by the league.
As coaches and executives gathered here Thursday for the N.F.L. scouting combine, many saying they were satisfied with the league’s investigation and ready to move on, new details were emerging about the history of the Patriots’ videotaping.
According to several executives in the league, the season opener against the Jets was not the first time the Patriots had been spotted taping another team’s defensive coaches at Giants Stadium. In the final preseason game of 2006, the Patriots were caught taping a Giants defensive assistant giving signals, the executives said.