According to Adam Schefter, the Atlanta Falcons and Cleveland Browns were informed of their pending punishments for pumping in crowd noise and illegally texting coaches in-game, respectively. The penalties will be announced next week, Schefter says, and they will reportedly be "severe."

That'll likely mean some combinations of fines, docked draft picks, and in the Browns' case, a suspension for GM Ray Farmer. But whatever the details, Atlanta's punishment definitely ought to be harsher than Cleveland's.

The Falcons sought a definite, quantifiable competitive advantage when they broadcast artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome over the last two seasons, seeking to drown out the other team's quarterback at the line of scrimmage. It required coordination, and it was no accident: owner Arthur Blank called it "wrong" and "embarrassing."

This line from the Journal-Constitution's story on the penalties should mitigate the outrage somewhat, but still:

Ironically, during last season the Falcons had to use silent counts because of crowd noise from the visiting teams' fans who overtook the Georgia Dome.

Advertisement

The Browns, on the other hand, were being dumb and petty, not malicious. The details of what exactly happened aren't yet public, but they involve GM Ray Farmer sending text messages during games, reportedly to assistant coaches, which is a violation of NFL rules.

According to Cleveland.com, the Browns weren't looking to gain any advantage—in fact, it sounds like it was mostly just Farmer bitching and gossiping about the crappy Cleveland offense.

The texts, which occurred in multiple games, included thoughts on Shanahan's playcalling and use of personnel, sources told NEOMG. CBS Sports also reported that Loggains, who's in the coaches' booth during games, was the recipient of at least some of those texts.

Advertisement

The second-guessing was one reason Kyle Shanahan abruptly quit as offensive coordinator at the end of the season, according to Cleveland.com.

Speaking yesterday, Roger Goodell noted it doesn't matter if the Browns were just being harmlessly foolish, saying "the violation of the rule and the integrity of the rule is not necessarily whether you got an advantage or not." But, come on. This is just the Browns being the Browns, let them live. And they definitely don't need to be docked a high draft pick to squander their draft anyway.

[ESPN]