FOXBOROUGH — The NFL fined Bill Belichick $50,000 Wednesday for the New England coach’s actions following Sunday night’s 31-30 loss to Baltimore. The league ruled that Belichick had made impermissible physical contact with line judge Esteban Garza.
The ruling was announced following Belichick’s afternoon press conference at Gillette Stadium.
The team issued a statement from Belichick that read, “It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened. I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore.”
During his press briefing, Belichick declined to address the situation.
“I already commented on that the other day,” he said. “I don’t have anything to add to it. Whatever the league decides to do, I’ll respect and just keep trying to do my job.”
While Belichick was fined for his actions, Baltimore counterpart John Harbaugh escaped discipline, though his actions in the game also were scrutinized by the league.
In the fourth quarter, Harbaugh was called for unsportsmanlike conduct when he bumped an official. After the game, Harbaugh said he was trying to call for a timeout when he made contact.
On Monday, Belichick explained that when he grabbed the official, he was seeking an explanation on the game-deciding play. Baltimore’s Justin Tucker had kicked the winning field goal as time expired, but it was unclear whether the ball drifted outside the upright; it appeared to go directly over the upright.
By rule, a play is not reviewable if the ball goes over the upright because it is not possible to determine exactly when it is going over the upright versus when it travels to the left or right.
“When the game was over, I went out and I was really looking for an explanation from the officials as to whether or not the play was under review,” Belichick said Monday. “I did try to get the official’s attention as he was coming off the field to ask that, but I really wasn’t able to ask that.
“I’ve coached in this league a long time and 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, a play in that game. That’s the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials that’s always in the forefront is communication of what’s going on, what’s happening.”
The NFL also fined Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan $25,000 Wednesday for berating officials at the end of Washington’s 38-31 loss to Cincinnati Sunday. Shanahan originally was tagged with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Wednesday marked the second time the NFL has fined Belichick. In 2007, the NFL tagged him with a $500,000 fine for his involvement in the illegal videotaping of opponents’ signals.