After a Sunday Night Football game that had players, coaches and fans of both the Ravens and the Patriots furious at the replacement officials, New England coach Bill Belichick tried to take matters into his own hands.
As he was leaving the field following the Ravens’ 31-30 win over the Patriots, Belichick ran after an official who was jogging off the field, grabbed his arm and screamed at him. The official shook Belichick off and ran to the locker room without any further confrontation.
Both Belichick and Ravens coach John Harbaugh had screamed at the officials throughout the game over a series of questionable calls, particularly on pass interference, defensive holding and illegal contact penalties. The game was not well officiated by the replacements who are working the game during the lockout of the regular NFL referees, although that doesn’t excuse Belichick’s actions.
NBC’s Al Michaels indicated while calling the action that he expects Belichick to be fined by the league office.
“Oh, boy, that’s a few bucks,” Michaels said.
Added Cris Collinsworth, “I can’t believe Bill Belichick just did that.”
The league office will surely not look kindly on Belichick’s actions. But if the league office is honest with itself, and with NFL fans, it will acknowledge that this game was not well officiated. And if the NFL wants its games to be well officiated, it will end the lockout.
Here’s hoping that, whether the lockout ends this week or many weeks from now, this is the last time we see a furious coach grabbing an official after a game — and the last time a game is so badly officiated that many fans will think that coach was justified.