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“The Denver Broncos, their ownership, and their executives had their moral compass pointed in the right direction,” Pash said.

He added: “I think they’ve set an example as to how incidents of this type are properly handled.”

The NFL determined Broncos executives were told about the videotaping Nov. 8, and told the league about it four days later after an internal review. On Nov. 16, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, Ellis and team general counsel Rich Slivka met with league officials in New York.

After that meeting, NFL security began its investigation, which included interviews of Broncos personnel and an analysis of laptop computers used by the team’s video department. It was confirmed the 49ers’ practice had been recorded, and the league retained that tape.

“This incident cuts into the trust and respect our fans, our ticket holders, our community and our fellow competitors have for our organization. … We will take all steps to ensure that an incident like this never occurs again,” Bowlen said in a statement.

Scarnecchia acknowledged to NFL investigators he taped the walkthrough, according to excerpts from a letter Goodell sent to Bowlen.

The letter stated that Scarnecchia maintained that he had not previously recorded a walkthrough or other practice or “engaged in any other improper videotaping (such as recording coaching signals of an opposing team) since joining the Broncos.”

The letter also said Scarnecchia “knew that what he did in London was wrong,” that taping the walkthrough was his decision alone and nobody instructed him to record the practice.

In addition, the investigation found that when Scarnecchia offered to show the tape to McDaniels, the coach replied, “No, I’m not doing that.” Scarnecchia said he didn’t show the tape to any other staff member.

Goodell’s letter to Bowlen said that McDaniels was interviewed “under circumstances that would have made it impossible for him to have spoken to Mr. Scarnecchia in advance” and that McDaniels‘ recollection of events matched Scarnecchia‘s.

“Although I find no fault with the way the club handled this matter once you and your executives became aware of it, I nonetheless believe that some penalty must be imposed,” Goodell wrote. “We have no more important responsibility than preserving the integrity and competitive fairness of the game and avoiding any implication that games are decided by anything other than what takes place on the field.”

The letter added: “This appears to be a single incident by an employee who acted entirely on his own.”

McDaniels should have immediately notified team executives of what happened, however, the commissioner wrote. Goodell cited a policy in which team executives, head coaches and others are obliged to promptly report violations tied to the integrity of the game. Pash said that as a coordinator and head coach, McDaniels would have been required to file a report with the league at the end of each season that acknowledged the policy.

The league issued a much sterner punishment against the Patriots after Spygate. It included imposing $750,000 in fines against the team and coach Bill Belichick, and stripping New England of its 2008 first-round draft pick for what were found to be repeated violations.

This is the latest embarrassment for a Broncos team that is 3-7 and has lost 15 of 20 for the first time since 1971-72. The Broncos, who face St. Louis at Invesco Field on Sunday, were routed 59-14 by archrival Oakland last month in what many consider the worst home loss in the team’s 51-year history.

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