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NFL Cracking Down on Behavior Toward Replacement Refs


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NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL has warned teams that it won't tolerate confrontational behavior toward replacement officials.

NFL.com said on Thursday night that senior league officials called owners, general managers and coaches from all 32 teams to tell them that respect for the game demands better on-field behavior.

NFL executive vice president Ray Anderson singled out Monday night's game for having examples of ''unacceptable behavior.''

He didn't specify which incidents in the Atlanta Falcons' victory over Denver crossed the line, but Broncos coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio both had heated arguments with officials.

Anderson said, ''We're not going to tolerate it.''

He said flags, fines and suspensions are possible for coaches or players who crossed the line.

The NFL locked out the regular officials in June and contract negotiations have broken down.

I'm a little concerned about this. I get that the replacement refs are getting the substitute teacher treatment, but I don't like the NFL going down this path, lest we end up like the NBA, where they have instituted the most illogical and impracticle rules for how you are allowed to react to things. It's always refreshing to watch an NFL game and see a guy be able to scream in frustration at a call or play that didn't go his way. I'm concerned that once this becomes a part of the game it will continue even when the regular refs come back. Can you imagine if that play where Bennett's helmet was ripped off was an offsetting penalty because Bennett was furious and hurled an f-bomb the refs way? That's what it's like today in the NBA and it's completely out of control.


Secondly, can the NFL even do this? Is there an existing rule concerning behavior toward officials that they are just threatening to enforce more expansively or are they inventing such a penalty? Because I'm pretty sure there's a rules committee and a process for this and the league office can't just make up new penalties. I know there's a rule about touching officials, but I've never seen anyone flagged for arguing too much etc..What's the deal?




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