Back in 2007, the New England Patriots and Bill Belichick were punished for filming the New York Jets’ defensive signals. It would appear that Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels took a cue from his former coach, as he and the team were fined a combined $100,000 for videotaping a San Francisco 49ers practice in London.
The team’s video operations director, Steve Scarnecchia, has been fired for cause as a result of his taping the 49ers’ walk-through practice at Wembley Stadium the day before the Broncos’ 24-16 loss, the team announced in a release Saturday.
Scarnecchia filmed the drills of his own accord, later offering to show the video to McDaniels. But the coach declined, the Broncos said.
“The actions of this individual are in no way representative of the values and integrity held by myself, our players and coaches, and the entire Denver Broncos organization,” McDaniels said in the statement. “I understand the punishment from the National Football League and support its commitment to the integrity of the game. We have addressed the situation internally to assure that nothing like this happens again.”
Scarnecchia worked for the Patriots along with McDaniels in 2008, when commissioner Roger Goodell docked their first-round draft pick for that year and fined coach Bill Belichick $500,000 for a violation of NFL rules that bar teams from filming opponents’ signals. The Patriots, who were found to have videotaped New York Jets coaches during a 2006 game, were fined an additional $250,000.
McDaniels was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator that season, having been promoted from quarterbacks coach in 2006 to make him the youngest coordinator in the league at the time.
So a man that was a coordinator of a unit that would benefit the most from stealing signals does the same thing as a head coach and we’re supposed to believe that he had nothing to do with it? I understand it’s hard to keep track of everyone that works for your team when you’re an NFL head coach, but this doesn’t smell right.
Even if McDaniels really had no idea this was happening and didn’t watch the tape, isn’t this just as egregious as what the Pats did? This is something that would have benefit the entire team, though the Broncos were too inept to use it to their advantage.
I just don’t understand how this sort of behavior wasn’t met with at least the same punishment. The Broncos get a financial slap on the wrist ($50k is walking around money for owner Pat Bowlen) and keep all of their draft picks. The NFL would have been better off just asking for an apology in front of the class, at least then they wouldn’t have tried to hide the fact that they don’t really care about what Denver did.