The once-proud Denver Broncos franchise finds itself at a miserable 3-8 and without playoff hope for the season, after being slapped around by the mediocre St. Louis Rams yesterday at Invesco Field. The Rams, owned by Denver sports magnate Stan Kroenke, rolled over the Broncos 36-33 (recap via The Associated Press). The Broncos started out strong but, just like last week, couldn't sustain anything after the first drive, and a late rally came up short.
The outcome added insult to a cheating scandal that rocked the Broncos over the weekend. On Saturday, coach Josh McDaniels and the team were each fined $50,000 for a former team employee's illegal videotaping of a San Francisco 49ers practice before the game in London a few weeks ago (via the San Francisco Chronicle). McDaniels was with the New England Patriots when that team was revealed to have engaged in videotaping opponents' practices and hand signals, forcing the NFL to fine the Patriots $750,000 and strip the team of its 2008 first-round draft pick.
The NFL is convinced the Broncos employee acted on his own accord and that nobody watched the video, but most football pundits aren't buying it. The Denver Post's Mark Kiszla calls McDaniels a "beaten man," while Sports Illustrated's Peter King points to his fractured coaching staff and his endangered position. CBS Sports says it's time for McDaniels and the Broncos to admit the young coach is in over his head, and former Super Bowl head coach Bill Cowher stops just short of calling McDaniels a liar (via USA Today). Indeed, the anti-McDaniels momentum is building. Westword snapped a shot of a vendor selling "Not My Coach" T-shirts outside the stadium before yesterday's game.