Welcome to Walkie-talkiegate.

The NFL has fined New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo, as well as the Giants’ franchise, for illegal use of walkie-talkies on the sideline during New York’s victory over the Cowboys on Dec. 11, according to ESPN.

This ruling seems to indicate that, in the NFL’s world of arcane offense, using a walkie-talkie on the sideline is not as serious an offense as deflating footballs, piping in phony crowd noise or texting team personnel from the general manager’s suite.

From ESPN, here’s a sorta-kinda helpful explanation of where walkie-talkiegate falls on the NFL’s scale of morality.

One NFL source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that even though the Giants weren’t communicating with Manning within 15 seconds of the play clock ending, they had the “opportunity” to do it. The same source said McAdoo’s use of a walkie-talkie is worse than what the Cleveland Browns did in 2014, when they ultimately lost a draft pick for in-game communications between former general manager Ray Farmer and former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Another NFL source told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan that people around the league thought it was a “pretty big deal” and it was “blatant disregard for a known rule for a competitive advantage.”

As usual, it kind of feels like the NFL is making things up as it goes along here. The Giants may not have gained much competitive advantage from their walkie-talkies, but they seem to have knowingly violated a league rule, with the intent to derive some illicit benefit. That’s what some would call cheating.

So now the McAdoo and the Giants will pay their fines, the team will pick ever-so-slightly lower in the fourth round of the upcoming draft, and Giants fans won’t even notice a difference. Meanwhile, all of New England will continue to gripe about double standards.

About Alex Putterman

Alex is a writer and editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. He has written for The Atlantic, VICE Sports, MLB.com, SI.com and more. He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and The Daily Northwestern. You can find him on Twitter @AlexPutterman.