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DAVIS WAS REFERRING TO BRONCOS’ CAP VIOLATIONS

Several readers have asked us to explain the basis for the contention of Raiders owner Al Davis that Broncos coach Mike Shanahan should have asterisks next to the Super Bowl victories that capped the 1997 and 1998 seasons “because they were caught cheating.” Davis was talking about Denver’s proven salary cap violations. In December 2001, the league imposed an oddly-specific fine of $968,000 and stripped the Broncos of a third-round pick in the 2002 draft. The punishment arose from cap violations relating to $29 million in deferred payments to quarterback John Elway and running back Terrell Davis. In September 2004, the NFL hit the Broncos again for $950,000 and a third-round pick in the 2005 draft. These sanctions related to cap violations occurring between 1996 and 1998. Wrote Mark Maske of the Washington Post at the time: “The penalties could be viewed as further vindication for Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis, who has said in the past that Broncos owner Pat Bowlen should be suspended for salary cap violations. Davis has contended that the Broncos’ circumvention of the salary cap helped them win the Super Bowl in the 1997 and ’98 seasons.”