Broncos Fined For Illegally Taping Opponent

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports the Denver Broncos and head coach Josh McDaniels were each fined $50,000 for illegally taping an opponent.

According to La Canfora, the organization reported the violation, which occurred during the San Francisco 49ers' walk-through practice at London's Wembley Stadium on October 30, to the league office after becoming aware of the incident during their bye week.

"Team video director Steve Scarnecchia took the video and presented it that day to head coach Josh McDaniels, who declined to view it," La Canfora adds. McDaniels did not report the incident, however, resulting in his $50,000 fine from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Scarnecchia, who held similar positions with the New England Patriots (2001-04) and New York Jets (2006-09), has been terminated and, as a repeat offender, may be barred from working in the NFL.

Scarnecchia and McDaniels previously worked together for the Patriots, who were caught videotaping Jets' coaching signals during a game in the 2007 season. The Patriots were fined $250,000, forfeited their first round draft pick in 2008, and head coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000.

The latest issue likely increases the temperature of McDaniels seat in Denver.

Since starting 6-0 in 2009, the Broncos have won just 5 of their last 20 games. McDaniels not only hired Scarnecchia, he's overseen the deconstruction of a roster that included jettisoning two Pro Bowl players (Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall), has sunk money into the quarterback position on Kyle Orton and 2010 first-round pick Tim Tebow, neither of whom may be the long-term answer, and has used high-round picks on an oft-injured wide receiver (Demaryius Thomas) and to trade up to select a cornerback (Alphonso Smith) he'd trade after one season to acquire one of the Gronkowski brothers.

Denver's offense ranks dead last in running the ball, and it's defense--constructed primarily with McDaniels' free agent signings--is one of the oldest in the NFL and ranks 31st against the run and 26th overall a year after posting a 7th overall ranking.

Last year's defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, left the franchise in January, the third assistant coach to bolt after McDaniels' inaugural season.

Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is already paying his good friend Mike Shanahan to not coach his team, and the prevailing wisdom has been that he won't pay two head coaches not to work for his team. At some point, however, Bowlen may have no choice but to come to terms with the fact that the McDaniels' hiring has not improved the team, its roster, and is actually beginning to damage the franchise's reputation.

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