Report: NFL investigating Broncos
The NFL is investigating whether a Denver Broncos employee improperly videotaped a San Francisco 49ers walk-through at London's Wembley Stadium four weeks ago, The Denver Post reported Saturday.
Broncos chief operating officer Joe Ellis confirmed to the paper that Steve Scarnecchia, their director of video operations, is on a "personal leave of absence" while team and league officials investigate. The Broncos are said to be working with the NFL in the probe.
Scarnecchia did not travel with the Broncos to San Diego last weekend and has not been at the team's training complex this week. Reached at his home Friday, Scarnecchia declined to comment. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello also declined to comment, and coach Josh McDaniels could not reached for comment, the paper reported.
The alleged incident is similar to the New England Patriots' "Spygate" scandal. McDaniels and Scarnecchia both previously worked for the Patriots, Scarnecchia from 2001-05 and McDaniels from 2001-09. In 2007, the Patriots were found to have videotaped New York Jets coaches sending in signals during a game between the two teams.
Following an investigation, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stripped the Patriots of their first-round pick in the 2008 draft. He also fined the Patriots $250,000 and fined Patriots coach Bill Belichick $500,000.
McDaniels hired Scarnecchia to run the Broncos' video operations shortly after becoming the Broncos' coach in January 2009.
The current investigation involves practices held Oct. 30 in Wembley Stadium. Both teams were allotted time to hold walk-throughs that day. Teams typically bar anyone not associated with the organization from watching practice.
The next day, the 49ers defeated the Broncos 24-16.