49ers, Rams have right to feel cheated

November, 27, 2010
11/27/10
5:29
PM ET
So, the San Francisco 49ers were unwitting victims of a Spygate-style taping scheme before their recent London game against the Denver Broncos.

My thoughts:
  • Steve Scarnecchia, the person responsible for the illicit taping earlier this month, worked for New England when the Patriots allegedly taped St. Louis Rams practices before Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002. As a result, I'm more comfortable removing the word "allegedly" from the previous sentence. The Patriots employed cheaters. Scarnecchia's father, Dante, still works for the Patriots.
  • The fact that a former Patriots employee would confess to spearheading similar efforts for the Broncos even after the massive Spygate fallout reveals a level of arrogance bordering on unfathomable. The NCAA phrase "lack of institutional control" comes to mind. Why would the Broncos hire Steve Scarnecchia in the first place if another Spygate-style scandal were even remotely possible?
  • Josh McDaniels' run as Broncos coach was already unfortunate on numerous fronts even though Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall weren't blameless in their handling of events leading to their departures. I mean, what would the team's McDaniels-led leadership do differently if their primary job were to embarrass team owner Pat Bowlen? This videotaping fiasco leaves Bowlen with even more egg on his face.
  • I realize NFC West teams can be intimidating -- wink, wink -- but what's so special about their walk-through practices? I'm sure a sharp coach could pick up some helpful information, but at what cost? Again, the level of arrogance astounds.
  • McDaniels said he never watched the illicitly taped walk-through practice. We should not automatically trust him. The 49ers won the game, so the competitive-advantage angle isn't relevant. The Broncos are fortunate on that front. Any concerns the Rams might have had stemming from Spygate seem more credible following this repeat performance.

Niners coach Mike Singletary declined to discuss the incident when speaking with reporters following practice Saturday. He said he learned of the situation only Saturday and had not yet heard from McDaniels. The team issued a statement declining comment.

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