Pats coach Bill Belichick had a one-word response to the question of whether he thinks he’ll be fined for grabbing an official who was leaving the playing area after Sunday night’s 31-30 win by the Ravens over New England.
The NFL has two words in response to the response: “Definitely maybe.”
Steve Wyche of NFL Network reports that the league will review the incident. (Actually, it would be much bigger news if the NFL didn’t plan to review the incident.)
Contact with the officials is prohibited. In 1995, Steelers coach Bill Cowher crammed into the shirt pocket of referee Gordon McCarter photographic evidence of the Steelers not having 12 men on the field during a missed field goal by the Vikings. Five yards closer, the immortal Fuad Reveiz rectified his error. Cowher was fined $7,500. (The closest thing we could find to video comes from the NBC pregame show for the following Sunday.)
Of course, Cowher also verbally criticized the call, adding that he “didn’t care” if he was fined.
The difference this time around is that the coaches have twice been warned about bullying the replacement officials. While any action taken against Belichick could prompt Belichick to lobby owner Robert Kraft to push the league office to get the officiating lockout resolved (then again, that lobbying probably was already occurring), the NFL needs to make credible its repeated threats to take action.
If, as reported by Adam Schefter on Sunday, the NFL will fine Broncos coach John Fox and Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio for Monday night temper tantrums that didn’t entail touching, Belichick needs to be fined, too.