Sunday, November 28, 2010
Source: Broncos apologized to 49ers
By Adam Schefter
Before the Denver Broncos' videotaping incident became public Saturday, owner Pat Bowlen had personally called San Francisco 49ers owner John York to apologize for his team's actions, according to a source familiar with the situation.
And it didn't stop there, according to the source.
Each of the top layers of the Broncos organization called his matching 49ers colleague to apologize.
Broncos COO Joe Ellis personally phoned 49ers team president Jed York to express his apologies. Broncos coach Josh McDaniels called 49ers coach Mike Singletary to express the same sentiment.
The initial call Friday went from Ellis to York, with NFL executive VP Jeff Pash also on the line, listening in.
The two men spoke for close to 15 minutes, spelling out the situation. It marked the first time the 49ers became aware of the incident.
After they had heard about it, the 49ers were not concerned. For one thing, they won the game. For another, their offense is not highly sophisticated to where videotapes of a practice could help another team all that much.
San Francisco was satisfied with Denver's apologies, the league's explanation and it believes the case is closed as well.
The NFL fined the Broncos and McDaniels $50,000 each because the team's video operations director filmed a 49ers practice in London last month, breaking league rules.
An NFL investigation determined Steve Scarnecchia took a six-minute video of a walkthrough session Oct. 30 and presented it that day to McDaniels. The coach declined to view it. Still, the NFL fined both the coach and team because the matter was not promptly reported, as required by the league.
After the Broncos lost 33-26 on Sunday, McDaniels declined to respond during his postgame news conference to a report by Fox Sports that he told staff members in a meeting Friday that the Broncos' scandal wasn't on the same magnitude as the systemic illicit videotaping that happened in New England.
"I'm not going to talk about any reports or anything like that," McDaniels said, cutting off the question. "We addressed that all yesterday. I'm done with that. I'm done talking about that. OK? Thanks."
However, McDaniels did address the issue with NBC, which reported him as saying: "I didn't try to minimize what we did at all. What we did was very serious and I feel bad it's being represented that I have any inside knowledge of the New England situation because I really don't."
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell wants to meet in the next several days with Scarnecchia, who faces banishment from the league. The NFL says he's a repeat offender after being part of the Patriots' staff that was found to have broken rules by filming opposing coaches' signals in the last decade.
McDaniels said he saw no red flags Scarnecchia's resume and intimated he knew nothing of his previous rules infraction in the Patriots' videotaping scandal.
"There are a lot of things that I have no knowledge of, relative to that situation," McDaniels said Saturday. "I think that is a league issue and certainly there were a lot of things that none of us were privy to regarding that. And this situation is in no way reflective of that."
Broncos chief operating officer Joe Ellis, who speaks for team owner Pat Bowlen, said that when Scarnecchia was hired in the spring of 2009, "we were aware of some allegations, not the specifics," of his involvement in the original Spygate scandal.
"I would say this: He knew full well what was expected from him in terms of the types of behavior we would expect out of him, what Josh stood for, what Mr. Bowlen stood for, what the Denver Broncos stood for, how we conducted ourselves," Ellis said. "It's disappointing that he chose the wrong path when he was in London. But he was fully aware of the standards here."
Pash defended the Broncos' hiring of Scarnecchia.
"It's not the worst thing that someone does, to give another person a second chance," Pash said. "And it's unfortunate to do that and be proved wrong."
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.