NFL officials are usually pretty tolerant about coaches yelling at them. Yes, a coach can get a penalty for going too far, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on a coach in the NFL is nowhere near as common as an NBA coach getting a technical foul or a Major League Baseball manager getting the old heave-ho.
But that may soon change.
NFL executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson told Clark Judge of CBS that the league is ready to start cracking down on coaches who leave the sideline and step onto the field to yell at officials, and if coaches don’t learn, penalty flags are coming.
“We need to be much more disciplined about where our coaches go in terms of the box,” Anderson said, “and venturing out on the field beyond traditional markers is something that is just not appropriate. It can interfere and it can be viewed as intimidating, and we really are going to rein that in.”
Anderson said that in the past the officials routinely gave coaches leeway, but not anymore.
“There are borders,” said Anderson, “but, very frankly, they’re loosely enforced. But they will be more aggressively enforced going forward because we need to rein it in. . . . Coaches can be flagged. It’s about enforcement and point of emphasis. So coaches who, after appropriate warning, continue to venture out will pay the price with a penalty that potentially could hurt their team.”
For coaches who can’t control their tempers, a 15-yard penalty will serve as a swift reminder to stay on the sideline.