The NFL announced fines against Denver Broncos coach John Fox and the team’s defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after they challenged replacement officials in an aggressive manner last Monday.
Fox was fined $30,000 and Del Rio was fined $25,000. As Bill reported for us, that game on Monday was a kind of culmination of frustration with the job of replacement officials. The league locked out the regular officials in the course of contract negotiations and the NFL says it may use replacement officials for the first five weeks of the season.
As Bill explained, some of the calls the referees have made have come into question. That Monday game “descended into a near-brawl between players” and “cameras also spotted several instances of coaches angrily yelling into referees’ faces.”
The NFL said it issued the fines as a part of “a longstanding NFL rule prohibiting verbal or physical abuse of game officials.”
“The timing adds some intrigue here. The NFL’s decision to hold off until Monday to announce the fines plays into the theory that the league was waiting to see how Week 3 played out before following through on its discipline. When Sunday brought another day of replacement ref drama, the home office sent its message. …
“Expect more coaching discipline shortly. The league confirmed to Around the League on Monday morning that it’s investigating an incident with officials involving Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.”
ESPN reports that NFL officials called Fox and Del Rio mid-game to ask them to tone down their criticism.
“There’s nothing much to say, other than that the league has its policy, there are procedures,” Fox told ESPN about the fine. “It’s kind of an in-house thing.”