NFL fines Giants, issues draft penalty for using walkie-talkie vs. Cowboys

The NFL fined the New York Giants and head coach Ben McAdoo, and levied a 2017 NFL draft penalty, for the team’s illegal use of a walkie-talkie on the sideline of their Week 14 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Giants’ communication system went down during the game at least twice, and the team used the handheld radios to transmit plays into quarterback Eli Manning’s headset, which violated NFL rules. The Cowboys alerted the league to the violation following the game, which the Giants won, 10-7.

New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo was fined, along with the team, for breaking NFL rules. (Getty Images)
New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo was fined, along with the team, for breaking NFL rules. (Getty Images)

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The punishment feels light, which likely reflects how the league viewed the violation. The Atlanta Falcons were fined $350,000 and stripped of a fifth-round pick for pumping in fake crowd noise. The Kansas City Chiefs had to forfeit a 2016 third-round draft pick and a 2017 sixth-rounder for violating the league’s tampering rules when it contacted then-free agent Jeremy Maclin illegally before signing him. And heck, former Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer was suspended (!) four games for illegal cell phone use during a game.

Compared to those, this punishment was soft. At least one former NFL executive agrees.

That would be former New England Patriots executive Mike Lombardi, of course, who was with the team in the wake of the deflate-gate punishment that stripped the franchise of two draft picks (including a first-rounder in 2016), fined the team $1 million and suspended star QB Tom Brady — all without proving beyond a doubt that Brady or any member of the Patriots actually did anything wrong.

The walkie-talkie fines are a drop in the bucket for the team and McAdoo, and the Giants’ draft pick might move down only slightly on Day 3 of the draft. The Giants are currently slotted with the 28th spot in Round 1, pending what happens in the next two weeks and the playoff, and with the 29th pick of Round 2, alternating spots every other round with the Chiefs, who own the same 10-4 record.

We won’t know how many compensatory picks will end up in Round 4 until March typically, but last year there were nine issued at the end of Round 4. (Over the previous five drafts prior to 2016, there were five, eight, four, eight and two picks awarded after Round 4, so the number varies greatly per year.)

Basically, this was a slap on the wrist for what the NFL views as a fairly harmless foul.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!