Report: League will review Belichick incident

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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.

74 responses to “Report: League will review Belichick incident

  1. The replacement refs need to be protected. In previous seasons coaches shouted at officials the whole time, but now they are taken it much further, emboldened by all the talk that the replacements are inferior officials so the coaches ever-so-subjective opinion must be right. The league needs to come down on them and come down on them hard, handing out suspensions if necessary.

    Note, this has nothing to do with who you think is right in the officials dispute. Regardless of whether you think the league or the locked-out officials are right, this is about protecting a group of people brought in to do a job at the last minute who are doing the best they can to give us, the fans, the game we crave under very difficult circumstances.

  2. Belichick should have gave him the Stone Cold Stunner…. Goodell would have had no choice but to come to terms with the referees…. Everyone knows all hell breaks loose when a referee gets the Stunner.

  3. So, does Harbaugh get fined for bullying the refs? ‘Cause, realistically, that’s what he did. He didn’t *know* that he couldn’t challenge after taking his last time out?

  4. I’ve been wondering why the NFLPA doesn’t support the Referee’s Union?If they did the NFL would have to come to an agreement with the Refs, and incidents like the one with Belichick wouldn’t happen.

  5. I hope he gets the book thrown at him. That is not the way coaches are expected to act in the field. The officials need to be protected from this kind of harassment. The only way he league has of doing this is by fines. Send a big message with a big fine.

  6. “Maybe Bill needs to be fined too” but something has to be done about the horrific officiating. Any more games like this one and they might as well shut done the league. Bad officiating equals a lack of credibility. Can you imagine if this was the playoffs!?

  7. I’m not here to defend Bill. But when you have a future HOF coach go after the replacements and an entire stadium chanting “BS” during a nationally televised game, at what point does the NFL say, “Hey, this has gotten embarrassing and it’s diminishing the Shield”? The NFL is filled with some of the great marketing minds of the 20th and 21st centuries. How do they NOT recognize this damages the brand they worked so hard to build? The point where the League looked really, really stupid in this dispute has come and gone. Now, it looks more like self mutilation.

  8. What makes it worse is the refs actually got the call right. When the ball is above the uprights, it doesnt have to go “within” the uprights… If the poles were to continue upwards, and any part of the ball “would have” touched that “pole” then the field goal is good.

    The Ravens had way more questionable calls go against them than the pats….

  9. Yes Bill grabbed an official’s arm.

    AFTER the officials gave the Ravens a field goal that was clearly MISSED.

    So now Bill will be fined because the Officials made a terrible call that gave the game to the Ravens.


  10. I’m surprised Bellichick didn’t knock the official out instead of grabbing him after that atrocious officiating. I thought that the replacement refs did a decent job in Week 1, but the last 2 weeks have just been awful. Can’t believe that the league thinks this is OK.

  11. I am going to repeat what Brandon Spikes said:
    “Can someone please tell these f. zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint”

    The NFL should be ashamed.

  12. Belichick should be fined??? The NFL is responsible for this debacle. Did that “game winning” kick even go through? The refs sure didn’t stick around long enough to review it. That was the worst officiated game (both sides) I’ve ever seen. The crowd, coaches and players were able to intimidate, and influence the out come of that game. The whole game changed on the offensive PI call on Edelman, shoulda been 1st and goal from the 7. You kidding, offensive PI? The B’more DB was the only one who made contact, furthermore he never turned his head to look. The refs were intimidated by harbaugh and the crowd from the moment they called Ngata for the roughing on Brady and the place went nuts. These refs are over their head and it is effecting the outcome of games. You kiddin, Belichick should be fined… please. The NFL is responsible for this mess.

  13. While I agree it was terrible officiating, Pays fans need to stop whining. It was pretty even across the board for missed calls and erroneous calls. And the FG BY RULE was good no question. So while it’s completely legit to be up in arms, it’s bogus to think the refs gave it away. Ravens beat both the Pats and Refs last night.

  14. If the ref had any balls, he would have ejected Belichick on the spot. Given the fact that the league is regularly punishing players after the fact for actions on the field that didn’t result in penalties, I think the same should apply to coaches too. Give him a one game suspension.

  15. This was a ugly game and it proves that you have to be conditioned to be an NFL official. I would have thought that the replacement refs would establish there authority this week because that was a problem in the first 2 weeks. Just proves how important the real refs are and how stubborn the league is.

  16. The Patriots have been winning games because of paid off Refs ever since the “tuck” rule and longer. When was the last time the Patriots lost a close game? Anybody remember? Redskins last year? Ravens the year the Patriots were undefeated in the Regular Season

    So the Ravens almost lost the game because the refs made some bad calls – nothing has changed.

    However, last night, the Patriots lost a game because the refs might have made some bad calls – that is different!

    Hooray for the Replacement Refs, at least they aren’t bought off like the regular officials. Term Limits!

  17. Wow look at all the sore losers. Field goal was good. Gane over, ravens win, pats lose. Soak it up New England quit crying

  18. “If the poles were to continue upwards, and any part of the ball “would have” touched that “pole” then the field goal is good.”

    Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense….if the poles went up further, the ball would bounce off the upright, and the field goal wouldn’t have been good.

    Back to the theme of the article, Belichick will get fined (he shouldn’t touch any official; all coaches know this) but the officiating was HORRIBLE on BOTH sides of the ball. That still doesn’t justify what Bill did…..I thought he learned from his Cleveland days how the Media will try to bury him?

  19. Coaches making contact with an official while berating them should be treated exactly the same way a player doing the same would be treated. A player would be ejected (does not apply here) and face a fine & suspension. Bellichick wasn’t overly physical but he definitely crossed the line. A fine & 1 game suspension is needed or this will really turn into a circus.

  20. Remember, one of the old NFL refs is the head of officiating at the college level. He has used his power to prevent the Div I and Div II referees from working at the NFL level.

    Also, keep in mind, that one of the things the old refs want in their new contract is even less accountability than they have now, which isn’t much.

    So let’s not blame the NFL totally if you don’t like the product on the field as the NFLPA holds plenty of blame as well.

  21. I wonder how many of the “throw the book at em'” commenters actually watched this game. This game was a disgrace up and down. Quite honestly it was a miracle no one got themselves hurt. I don’t know what they’re teaching these scab refs, or what they learned in DII or the XFL or wherever they came from, but the obsession with defensive contact calls and their ignorance towards legitimately dangerous personal fouls is astonishing.

    For the scab official’s sake I’m glad it wasn’t the Ravens on the losing end of this situation because we wouldn’t be talking about a fine. We’d be talking about Harbaugh’s homicide charges for strangling one of these Foot Locker scabs.

  22. Awww let the all powerful Bob Kraft solve this. Why should he have more sway than other owners.. gimme a break.

    If Kraft does get involved, he should first tell the league to look into all the head butts Logan Mankins got away with last night.

    You’ll be shocked to learn Mankins wasn’t penalized for ANY of them!

  23. I’ve got no problem with BB getting fined. The rules are the rules.

    I don’t mind that is as long as the league follows the rules and also fines Reed for not one, but two helmet to helmet hits he did. He should also be suspended because he has done it in the past and has been warned about it.

    So as long as the league does the right thing and punishes both, I’m good.

    If they don’t be fair and only fine BB – I’m done with the NFL

  24. As bad an officiated sporting event as I’ve ever seen. The McCourtey and Spikes pass interference calls, that absurd offensive p.i. call on Edelman, etc, etc…
    It really felt like the refs decided the outcome of this game.

  25. What happened to Bill Belichick’s defensive genius?

    Not long ago, sports “journalists” avidly informed us about Bill’s almost magical defensive schemes, that would take out the other team’s “best offensive weapon” thus rendering that team’s offense helpless.

    Now it’s the Pat’s defense that looks helpless.

    His defensive schemes only work when you know in advance what plays the opponent’s offense will run!

  26. East96st

    What about the tuck rule game?

    What about the chargers broncos game Afew years back where the official gave the chargers an extra time out?

    What about when the real refs cost the giants a game vs the packers by taking a td away from ballard(was shown to be a td) an giving jennings a td that he didn’t catch

    What about that same year In the playoffs, same two teams, Jennings fumbles, it’s reviewed and the officials still got it wrong

    What about the emasculate reception?

    Or the music city mercile?

    Games have had decisive moments like this for years and will for years to come no matter who’s the ref. that doesn’t give someone the right to lay a hand on them. That ref has the right to press charges on bb for assault now and I hope he does.

    Would you think it’s fair if you possibly made a mistake at your job your boss came up and grabbed you and started yelling in your face or would you get upset and most likely press charges?

  27. The Pats were rrobbed by poor officiating all game that extended the Ravens drives and allowed them to score to stay in the game multiple times. Ray Lewis mugging Gronk straight out was a highlight. These refs should not be on the field. They affected the outcome of a great game and are ruining the product.

    The kick may have been good, we wont know that since they showed a good camera angle to prove it.
    Belichick should be fined for touching the ref but if you watched the game (and its obvious a lot of you commenters did not) then you’d see he was just trying to get the refs attention to ask him about the FG not trying to attack him as insinuated by many.

  28. @giantsfanlewis – Never said the original refs never made mistakes. But you’re in denial or brand new to the game if you think they were this bad. As a Giants fan, did you watch the Tampa game? NY’s WRs were held and interfered with on every play. You should screaming for the old refs back, so Nicks and Cruz can do what they do best. As for Bill, my first line was “I’m not here to defend Bill.”. I apologize that you seem to believe that means I’m okay with what he did. I’m not. I expect him to be fined heavily. But the replacements clearly are not up to the task.

  29. The officials are going to cost the wrong team a game and all hell is going to break loose. Honestly I would not be surprised to see a riot especially if this goes into playoff time and they are still THIS bad.

    Frankly I think Belichick should have given up the fine and really slammed the refs after the debacle last night.

    The Fans need to stand up and not take this crap anymore. Start the chants of BS when the refs are screwing up or any other expletives. You mess with the Networks and they will come down hard on the NFL. It’s really the only way.

  30. Well, It’s safe to say after this and some of the other games today that I have no faith in the integrity of the game any longer. Until the properly trained and seasoned officials come back, I’m closing my wallet, and I’m going to find something else to do with my Sundays. This was atrocious.

  31. The big issue here is we can’t even tell who’s the better team at the end of the game. The officials dictate the way the game is played. There’s no consistancy. The refs are intimidated when you have Ray Lewis barking constently at them. I fear for players safety. Edelman got his block knocked off from Ed Reed in the end zone, and no call. If they get that call, it’s 1st and Goal on the 1, and probably punch it in for another touchdown. Plays like that not being called correctly affect the outcome of these games. I don’t even feel like I’m watching a real NFL season. From what I hear, the only thing the real refs want is have have a grandfathered pension in for the exsisting refs, and any new refs would get a 401k. The NFL doesn’t want to grandfather that pension for the old refs, and that’s holding it up. If that’s true, then shame on the NFL. I don’t even know if I can watch games next week after last night.

  32. the refs were terrible. all night. but that give bill no excuse to touch any of the officiating crew. it doesn’t matter if he was attacking him or just trying to get his attention.
    i say $100,000 and 1 game suspension is what he should get. that will get his attention and i would think set the tone for future games

  33. Ravens Fan here –

    The saddest part of all of this is the only thing being talked about after a great game is the refs. The storylines of Reed/Lewis v. Brady, Torrey Smith, and the Ravens revenge after the Cundiff miss are all being overshadowed by this. That being said, here are my thoughts:

    The Patriots definitely had some pretty important bad calls against them. The holding on McCourty was an awful call and the PI on Spikes was an awful call. The PI on McCourty on Jones near the end was 100% correct, and the OPI on Edelman was also correct by the letter of the law. Tough calls like the holding call really make a team feel like that cost them the game, but the bottom line is that they had 90+ other plays where they could have won the game and didn’t.

    On the other side, there were horrible calls as well. The Ngata unnecessary roughing was awful. Brady slid in front of him and Ngata tried to stop but fell on him. Joke of a call. The Webb illegal contact could have been holding, but even that would have been ticky tack as he didn’t really affect the route.

    Lastly, that FG was good, and even if it wasn’t – it’s not reviewable. After the screw jobs we have gotten against the Pats in the past (think the undefeated year and 2 years ago when Brady asked for flags on Suggs and Ngata when they 1. got blocked into his leg and barely grazed him and 2. barely grazed the side of his helmet), this is merely karmic justice.

  34. Oh – and the no call on the Reed-Edelman hit was the right call as well. Point of contact was the chest, and his should pad slid up after the contact and grazed his helmet. Good clean hit, and if you think otherwise then you have clearly never played a down of football in your life and are a couch warrior.

  35. If I were a season ticket holder, I would want a refund. As @holysmole writes, “we can’t even tell who’s the better team at the end of the game”.
    This was total B.S. and the fans in the stands did the right thing. Hopefully this catches on at other stadiums.

  36. The ref was lucky Belly Check only tried to grab his arm from behind and not tackle him. What upset me and for sure him is they ran off the field immediately after the call was made and would not give ol Belly a talk. Like, we made the call, end of game, we go home now.

    I understand the field goal cannot be reviewed unless its between the uprights? Why would you review it if its between the uprights and went over the cross bar? Ones you need to review were the ones that happened last night that were maybe outside the crossbars?

    Oh, and get rid of Collins, he really sucks and the Jerk at the Saints game ” you can go anywhere in the country and not find more loyal fans that those of the Saints”. What an idiot. Has he ever been to Green Bay?

  37. laxgolie19 says:Sep 24, 2012 9:49 AM

    Oh – and the no call on the Reed-Edelman hit was the right call as well. Point of contact was the chest, and his should pad slid up after the contact and grazed his helmet. Good clean hit, and if you think otherwise then you have clearly never played a down of football in your life and are a couch warrior.

    You be the judge……….

    Reed went high. Now after watching it several times, it’s boarderline. Fact is, the players know they can get away with certain hits now, since there’s no respect for the refs on the field.

    Also, Ray Lewis bitching about the Reed hit on Deion Branch was a head shot. Ray, just because it wasn’t a helmet-to-helmet doesn’t mean it isn’t against the rules.

  38. What is there to investigate? The refs did a horrendous job of officiating the game for both teams, which ended driving the players AND coaches to their breaking point. There, I summed up all the things they need to “investigate” right there

  39. I don’t think that Belichick should be fined. And, I understand that touching the ref is against the rules, and that was reinforced this week. He was clearly just trying to get his attention to ask if the kick could be reviewed. He wasn’t attacking the ref, or threatening in anyway. I think they should just forget about it.

    There were many bad calls, going both ways, and no calls going both ways. It was a tough physical emotional football game, and this non divisional rivalry is getting better. A lot of calls were corrected on the fly as well. Overall some of the calls may or may not have been better with the regular refs, but many of us would still be complaining today.

    Pats fans – you guys have an awesome team, and will be playoff bound.

  40. maybe the league should send a memo to the replacement refs to review the rule book, instead of warning the coaches against ‘bullying’ officials when it is compeletly justified

  41. Fine him $10 or $20 grand. It wasn’t that bad, but the message needs to be sent. Obviously he was mad, and reached out to stop the ref (who was running as fast as he could to get out of there) so he could yell at him.

    It wasn’t Belicheck’s finest moment, but it doesn’t deserve more than a $20K fine.

  42. Clearly Reed went high with his forearm on that hit on Edelman…penalty, first and goal. Not even a close call. Fine too.

  43. laxgolie19 says:
    Sep 24, 2012 9:49 AM
    Oh – and the no call on the Reed-Edelman hit was the right call as well. Point of contact was the chest, and his should pad slid up after the contact and grazed his helmet. Good clean hit, and if you think otherwise then you have clearly never played a down of football in your life and are a couch warrior.


    Guys like you who don’t know the rules and are homers should not comment on things they don’t know about.

    The rules say that a defender CAN NOT launch himself head first at a receiver (which Reed obviously did) and they CAN NOT have the initial hit to the receiver be their head (a.k.a. spearing). Reed DID both. Should have been called.

    The league I expect, no scratch that, the league BETTER fine him for that. The man has done it in the past, been warned about doing it going forward. In fact he should be suspended for it. If the league and all mighty goodell (I refuse to put a capital letter there) are serious about player safety (which I don’t believe for a moment) then they will do just that. Fine and suspend. The man deserves both for his style of play.

  44. “Belichick needs to be fined, too.”
    You seem to want to be commissioner so bad that objectivity goes right out the window. First, aren’t all scoring plays mandated to be reviewed? If so then Belichick might have been trying to find out why this wan’t and rightfully so.

    Second, on that final drive a receiver stepped out of bounds and was the first to touch it and make the catch afterward. It moved so fast that it wasn’t shown but I’m pretty sure that’s what B was upset about and it saved the game for the Ravens.

    Find the film and review it before you get all high and mighty judge and jury.

  45. I hate the Patriots but I don’t think Bill should be fined. He was really just trying to get the ref’s attention. The stadium is loud and the ref was running away.

    The field goal was good. It was a fine call. What was silly was the defensive pass interference call earlier in the drive that turned a failed 3rd down conversion into a 1st down. That pretty much gave the ravens the win.

  46. Simple question… why do the uprights end where they do? It seems fairly obvious that the average NFL kicker puts the ball higher that the highest point of the uprights on most short to intermediate kicks. Why not raise them another 20 feet or so. This isn’t the first game that was decided by a field goal that was higher that the uprights. The fact that it was close just highlighted how poorly the game was called all night.

    Missed 15 yarder on Reed against Edleman.

    Phantom Offensive PI against Edleman.

    No Call push off by Lloyd that extended a Pats scoring drive.

    Wrong call on the late defensive holding the overturned the int… should have actually been a spot of the foul PI.

    Phantom defensive holding against McCourty that negated a late 3 and out by the Ravens.

    How ever… the Pats lost that game in the secondary by letting Flaco off with only 1 Int, when there should have been 3 if McCourty can hang on, and possibly a 4th if Arington didn’t trip over the white lines in the field.

  47. pftwstbshmc

    Really? Did you see the same hit as me? The point of contact is shoulder/forearms to chest. Don’t lecture me about football. I played D1 college ball and played in semi-pro leagues for 2 years.

    The point of contact was the chest, with his shoulder. Watch the video above. His shoulder pad does drift up after the initial contact and glance his head, but it is incidental. I am all for punishments for head hunting hits where they launch with their helmets, but that was not what happened here. This was a textbook shoulder to chest hit.

    Maybe you should leave the football to people with experience and stick to your couch, where your tub butt has always been.

  48. The rules say that a defender CAN NOT launch himself head first at a receiver (which Reed obviously did) and they CAN NOT have the initial hit to the receiver be their head (a.k.a. spearing). Reed DID both. Should have been called.

    The irony is that you show from this statement alone you don’t know anything. Spearing is leading with the head – not hitting the other person in the head. If the initial contact is in the head, but by say a shoulder, it is not spearing. Spearing is when you lead with your head and make contact with any part of the body.

    Thanks for showing me further than you know nothing about football and have never played the game in your life. Go back to your couch.

  49. the complaining and whining won’t stop with these scab refs officiating games every week…Goodell will say refs are doing a great job and just fine Bill.

  50. I think William will get off with a slap on the hand. Kraft is tight with Goodell after the commish “handled” the SpyGate situation for him.

    Mara, Rooney and Kraft run the league- the commish is their puppet and every other team/owner can go tuck themselves.

  51. BB should be fined…. a big one…. but the crackpots on here calling for a big suspension are gonna be disappointed…

    bullying the refs is putting a lot more pressure and no doubt making the calls even worse….

  52. rkingndayton says:
    Sep 24, 2012 8:24 AM
    “If the poles were to continue upwards, and any part of the ball “would have” touched that “pole” then the field goal is good.”

    Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense….if the poles went up further, the ball would bounce off the upright, and the field goal wouldn’t have been good.

    I believe that the rule is, if ANY part of the ball is within where the poles would be if they were extended upward, then the FG is good.

    Obviously there is no way to judge what kind of bounce would have happened if the poles were extended, which is why if any part of the ball is inside.

    That being said, I don’t care how bad a game was called, there is NO excuse for putting your hands on an official, PERIOD, END OF STORY.

    Belichick is not exactly a big dude. Say someone like King Kong Suh were to grab a ref like that? What would happen to him?

    Any coach that would be in this situation, I would say the same thing, NO LESS than 4 game suspension, and NO LESS than $1 million fine.

    Then, the team needs to be fined another $1 million.

    Things are getting out of hand, and it is going quick. If ANY Ref becomes intimidated, he is going to start calling to favor that team. Once that happens, then there is no chance that a game could be called fair.

    The NFL needs to step up RIGHT NOW, TODAY, and show that abusing ANY ref, real or replacement IS NOT GOING TO BE TOLERATED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!!!

    If players and coaches see that kind of fine and suspension, then they are going to stay within the limit because they know they would be screwed if they didn’t.

  53. he deserved to get a nice fine. the Ref handled that like a man, im sure many other people would of took that different you dont put your hands on a man angerly idc what sport or w.e it is our involved with.
    people need 2 loosen up on these refs. at the end of the day its either replacement refs or no NFL bec the refs are asking for to much money just to be part time. and sure the replacement refs slow the game down a bit but do a decent job (minus the outrageous amount of flags called last night but then again, players need 2 stop holding). in my opinion there should of been many more flags i seen not called. I actually liket he replacement refs.. shows a side of great football play we havnt seen since the guy who thinks hes god stepped into the nfl office.

  54. I agree that Belichick should be punished, but I don’t agree that shouting at the replacement officials should be punished. They are SO BAD that no WONDER people like Harbaugh and del Rio get so mad at them.

    Here the NFL seems to be going in the direction of NBA, and that’s a VERY bad thing for the sport.

  55. swagger52 says:
    Sep 24, 2012 8:17 AM
    The Patriots have been winning games because of paid off Refs ever since the “tuck” rule and longer. When was the last time the Patriots lost a close game? Anybody remember? Redskins last year?


    Last week actually. They played Arizona. You can find the box score somewhere, I’m sure.

  56. He needs to be suspended. This is not a first offense he was was caught cheating and now he is attacking refs.

  57. I don’t blame Belichick at all. The referees are an absolute disgrace to the game and pretty much handed the game to the Ravens last night. So many disgusting calls last night, because obviously the refs were intimidated by Ray Lewis and the home fans.

    These 4-hour games have become a joke. I don’t know how long this strike goes on but I’m done with the NFL until the regular refs come back. The better team did not win last night.

  58. Cheatyface is going to continue to bully around the officials (and ya, the replacement officials are indeed horrid) until the league quits being so afraid of him.

    he was not suspended for blatantly cheating fo Gods sake, what makes anyone think they are going to suspend him for this.

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