As if we weren't already embarrassed enough by the 2010 Broncos, now we have the coup de grâce (for now): $50,000 NFL fines imposed on the team and Coach Josh McDaniels for not immediately reporting video recordings made by since-sacked staffer Steve Scarnecchia prior to Denver's 24-16 loss to San Francisco in London. After that humiliation, we counted down the top 10 ways McDaniels and the Broncos had choked away a win against the 49ers. If we'd only known...
McDaniels says he never say Scarnecchia's recordings, and we believe him. During the contest, after all, the Broncos' play certainly didn't hint at inside knowledge of the 49ers' game plan. In fact, their performance didn't hint at inside knowledge of football in general. San Francisco's approach was as simple as simple can be due to the fact that quarterback Troy Smith was making his first meaningful start in years. As such, the Broncos saw a steady diet of Frank Gore, who ground down the D-town defense through a bruising running style and force of will, not trickery.
Meanwhile, the Broncos ran an offense so predictable that no one could claim it was exploiting weaknesses picked up through surreptitious surveillance. Hell, McDaniels still hadn't let Tim Tebow throw a pass at that point, let alone come up with new, clever ways to eviscerate the woeful 49ers -- something the rest of the league hadn't needed any help doing.
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So why didn't McDaniels and company throw alleged video rogue Scarnecchia under the team bus right away, instead of waiting well over a week to self-report? Hard to say at this point. But McDaniels should have known better, having personally witnessed the bad publicity garnered by the New England Patriots -- his former team, and Scarnecchia's -- after personnel improperly videoed New York Jets signals back in 2007.
The bad PR from this incident remains the worst blemish on Bill Belichick's New England coaching career. So of course, McDaniels, who continues to blatantly mimic Big Bill, has found a way to imitate this disaster, too, but in even more mortifying fashion.
Locals who continue to insist that McDaniels deserves at least one more year to show what he can do at the Broncos' helm will have an even harder time making that argument now. He's managed to turn a much-lauded franchise into a league-wide joke faster than anyone could have calculated. Should he be allowed to compound the misery? Let's look at the videotape...
More from our Sports archive: "Top 10 ways Josh McDaniels has destroyed the Denver Broncos."