Broncos Spygate 2: Will the fingers be pointed at Bill Belichick again?

Denver Broncos coach Josh McDaniels and his team were each fined $50,000 because a Broncos' staffer videotaped an opponent's practice this year. McDaniels worked for Patriots' coach Bill Belichick during another video scandal.

Rick Wilking/REUTERS/File
Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels yells at the referees during an NFL game in Denver in 2009 file photo. The Broncos and McDaniels have each been fined $50,000 by the NFL after a team official videotaped part of a San Francisco 49ers' practice in London last month.

If New England Patriot fans don't want to see their team dragged into another debate about the authenticity of their three Super Bowl wins, they had better turn their heads because Spygate is back.

This time, the Denver Broncos have been accused of nefarious video taping of an opposing team. But that hasn't kept fingers from pointing at Foxboro again.

In the coming days, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will determine the fate of Steve Scarnecchia, former Director of Video Operation for the Denver Broncos. The league fined the Broncos and head coach Josh McDaniels each $50,000 for a six-minute film of a San Francisco 49ers practice prior to their game in London on Oct. 31.

Scarnecchia turned the tape over to McDaniels the same day it was shot. The Bronco's head coach claims that he did not watch it nor did he report its existence to the league. That's why he was fined - for not reporting the tape's existence.

McDaniels was on the Patriots' staff back in 2007 when the filming of a New York Jets practice resulted in Commissioner Goodell fining Patriots head coach Bill Belichick $500,000 and the New England Patriots $250,000 in addition to the loss of their first round pick in the 2008 draft.

Regardless of the facts in this latest video scandal, the Broncos and the Pats share plenty of other history and family ties.

  • Steve Scarnecchia is the son of Dante Scarnecchia, the current offensive line coach of the New England Patriots.
  • Steve Scarnecchia had worked in the Patriots video department, leaving after the 2004 season. He worked for the New York Jets on the 2007 season during the first Spygate.
  • McDaniels, who worked with the Pats from 2001-09, hired Scarnecchia in Denver shortly after he became the Broncos' head coach.

In a national media conference call with Denver Broncos Chief Operating Officer Joe Ellis and NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash, regarding the Broncos being fined for their part in the videotaping scandal, Mr. Pash was asked why the Bronco's fines were significantly less than the fines given to the Patriots during the 2007 season.

JEFF PASH: "I think with any disciplinary action, you have to focus on what exactly the facts are. Here you had, as best we can conclude, a single incident as opposed to, in New England, years of activity. You had an incident that, as best we could identify, was carried out by a single employee without direction from the coaching staff or anyone else at the club. That’s obviously different from what we saw in New England where the head coach was actively supervising the activity."

Even if Bill Belichick's name gets dragged through the mud again, Patriot fans may take some comfort in the reaction of Bronco fans to this latest misstep from McDaniels.

Reader comments on The Denver Post include some pretty harsh criticism. "Another example of McDaniels' poor personnel judgement skills," wrote one. Another said: "When are we waking up and facing reality. McDaniels has made a mockery of our team, run off our best players, embarressed us with his conduct and way over his head as a coach."

Of course, the Broncos' three wins and eight losses this season might also be contributing to their pique.

IN PICTURES: Football fanatics

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