New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been fined $50,000 by the NFL for making physical contact with an official after the team's Sunday night loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the league announced Wednesday.
"New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have been notified that they have been fined for violating the rule prohibiting abuse of game officials. Belichick was fined $50,000 for impermissible physical contact with an official after Sunday night's Patriots-Baltimore Ravens game," the league said in a statement.
In the moments leading up to the incident, Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker attempted a 27-yard field goal, which sailed successfully over the upright as time expired. As players, coaches and media rushed onto the field, Belichick grabbed the arm of a game official, who continued on his path off the field.
"It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened," Belichick said in a statement. "I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."
In a post-game press conference following Sunday night’s game at M&T Bank Stadium, when asked if he expected to be fined for what had just transpired on the field, Belichick gave a quick "No" as a response.
"I've coached in this league a long time," Belichick added on Monday via ESPNBoston.com. "I've never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call/play in that game. That's the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials, it's always at the forefront, just communication of what's going on and what's happening."
This is the second time that the five-time Super Bowl Champion head coach has been fined by the league. Belichick was docked $500,000 in 2007 over the infamous SpyGate scandal.
In addition to fines accrued from week 3 of the 2012 NFL season, which will forever be remembered for its horrendous officiating by replacement officials in the midst of a referee lockout, Redskins offensive coordinate Kyle Shanahan was also fined $25,000 for berating an official after Washington's loss.
As opposed to that of the players, coaches' salaries are not published and rarely ever become public. But according to a Forbes report, Belichick is among the highest-paid head coaches in the NFL, earning an estimated salary of $7.5 million per season.
While fines are the least of the recent uproar stemming from the NFL replacement referee-gate, the league finally reached a tentative eight-year agreement to end a lockout that began in June.
The NFL and the officials' union announced at midnight Thursday that an agreement had been reached after two days of marathon negotiations following Seattle's chaotic last-second win over Green Bay on Monday night, in which the replacement officials struggled.
Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at the bargaining table Tuesday and Wednesday, said the regular officials would work the Browns-Ravens game at Baltimore on Thursday night.
"We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week's games," NFL Referees Association President Scott Green said.