27 Nov 2010
The Denver Post reports that the NFL is currently investigating the Broncos for allegedly videotaping the walkthrough of the San Francisco 49ers before the two teams' recent game in London.
Director of Video Operations Steve Scarnecchia, son of long-time Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, has been placed on a "personal leave of absence" as the charges are investigated. Scarnecchia was linked to the Patriots "Spygate" scandal as well, although he was actually the Jets Video Director at the time of the incident. As Mike Silver of Yahoo said at the time:
Sources say he once had the same duties that landed Estrella in spilled water last Sunday and that Scarnecchia was the one who trained Estrella to clandestinely compile the verboten footage in the first place.
Scarnecchia's LinkedIn profile suggests that he worked for the Patriots between 2001 and 2005; he left the team in August of 2005 and took a position with the University of Colorado for one season before being hired by the Jets when Eric Mangini took over. He spent 2006-2009 with the Jets before moving to Denver to work with Josh McDaniels.
The videotaping of the walkthrough is alleged to have happened on October 30, the only day where both the 49ers and Broncos were in the same area for training.
As punishment for the first incident, Commissioner Roger Goodell stripped the Patriots of their first-round pick in that year's draft, fined the organization $250,000, and fined head coach Bill Belichick $500,000. At the moment, a similar punishment would strip the Broncos of a pick towards the bottom of the top ten in the first round of this year's draft.
UPDATE: And hours later, the investigation is over. The NFL has fined both Josh McDaniels and the Broncos organization $50,000 each, and the Broncos have terminated Scarnecchia for cause.
Jason LaCanfora reports that Scarnecchia brought the tape to McDaniels's attention, but McDaniels declined to view it. McDaniels didn't immediately inform the NFL of the tape's existence, which is why he was fined. Team officials found out about the tape's existence on November 8th, at which point they began their own investigation and contacted the NFL.
71 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2010, 11:54am by Nathan
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?