Along with haircuts, list NFL taping incidents as one of life’s biggest mistakes an NFL coach can make.
A Denver Broncos’ employee was fired after taping a 49ers practice in London, violating the league’s “integrity of the game” policy that is so heavily enforced.
While Josh McDaniels and staff did not watch the tape, they failed to notify the league about the tape in a timely manner. Thus, the organization and McDaniels were fined $50,000 for the mistake. Both McDaniels and owner Pat Bowlen issued a response.
“I apologize for not promptly reporting the improper conduct of our video director before our game against the 49ers in London. The actions of this individual are in no way representative of the values and integrity held by myself, our players and coaches, and the entire Denver Broncos organization.”
-Josh McDaniels (DenverBroncos.com)
Steve Scarnecchia was the Broncos’ director of video operations until his recent termination. He worked with McDaniels in New England and was brought aboard the Broncos’ organization in May of 2009.
As many will remember, the Patriots were involved in a taping incident in 2007. Employees from the team video taped coaching signals of the New York Jets during a game between the two teams. In response to this incident, the league revoked the Pats’ 2008 first-round draft pick, and fined the team $250,000. Bill Belichick was fined $500,000.
As evidenced by the league’s response, this is a very serious issue.
When I covered the Broncos during training camp, I was given a long list of rules as to what I was able to shoot from the sidelines. Absolutely no one was allowed to shoot live or still pictures after the first twenty minutes of practice. As players were going through individual drills, media was allowed to shoot, but once they started lining up in formations, there was a Broncos’ employee whose only job was to make sure that the media followed these rules.
In addition to that, video could not be more than 90 seconds long, could not be posted on YouTube and could only be up on my site for 24 hours. I was not allowed to bring my laptop to the practice field. If I wanted to post something during practice, I had to go back inside the media room. I was not allowed to say things like “In ten plays from the 15-yard line, the Broncos ran seven times to the right and three times to the left.” Cell phones were strictly prohibited from the practice field.
The team and the league enforce these rules for good reason. Without regulation, the opportunity to view teams’ formations and plays is a lot easier and very tempting to learn.
This incident was immediately dealt with within the organization, but the delay in informing the league has resulted in these fines.
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