The NFL fined the Denver Broncos and their head coach, Josh McDaniels, $50,000 each on Saturday after the team voluntarily reported that a staff member had illegally videotaped a San Francisco 49ers practice in London in October.
The Broncos fired video director Steve Scarnecchia and McDaniels apologized for the taping incident, which came three years after his former employer, the New England Patriots, were punished in a similar episode.
Broncos coach Josh McDaniels started 11-15 in his first 26 games in Denver.
By Gregory Bull, AP
Scarnecchia filmed the 49ers' walkthrough practice on his own and then informed McDaniels, who did not watch it.
"I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director before our game against the 49ers in London," McDaniels 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."
The video recording occurred before a day before the Broncos played the 49ers in London on Oct. 31. The Broncos lost the game 24-16.
McDaniels was an offensive assistant on the Patriots in 2007 when the NFL fined the franchise and head coach Bill Belichick a total of $750,000 and stripped a 2008 first-round draft pick when the team was discovered recording signals of Jets coaches during a game.
"I understand the punishment from the National Football League and support its commitment to the integrity of the game," McDaniels said. "We have addressed the situation internally to assure that nothing like this happens again."
McDaniels told the NFL that he never viewed the video after Scarnecchia gave it to him. McDaniels' fine came for not reporting the incident immediately.
Team officials became aware of the video on Nov. 8 and four days later informed the league.
"This incident cuts into the trust and respect our fans, our ticket holders, our community and our fellow competitors have for our organization," Broncos owner Pat Bowlen said. "That is why the Denver Broncos, upon learning of this violation, immediately investigated this matter and reported the incident to the league."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told the Broncos he would hold open the possibility for more sanctions if more violations came to light.
Scarnecchia, who worked for the Patriots from 2001-2005, will be subject to a hearing with the NFL and could be barred from the league.
-- Sean Leahy
Sounds really familiar. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Why did McDaniels wait so long to say anything. It sounds like he knew they were going to be caught and hung the cameraman out to dry.