Belichick made contact with official, Harbaugh gets unsportsmanlike conduct penalty

The Baltimore Sun

While running off the field following the Ravens' 31-30 victory Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick was in hot pursuit of one of the replacement officials.

Belichick grabbed his arm to get his attention and yelled at the official, who twisted away from Belichick and headed to the locker room.

Belichick was irate at the officials throughout the game.

Making contact with an official is likely to draw a hefty fine for Belichick, particularly following a warning to NFL teams about respecting the officials from NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.

"I'm not going to comment about that," Belichick said when asked about his confrontation with the official. "You saw the game. What did we have, 30 penalties called in that game?

Actually, the Patriots were penalized 10 times for 83 yards and the Ravens were penalized 14 times for 135 yards.

"Can someone please tell these [expletive] zebras foot locker called and they’re needed Back at work !!!! #BreakingPoint," Patrots linebacker Brandon Spikes wrote on his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, Ravens coach John Harbaugh was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct in the fourth quarter.

Harbaugh said he was trying to get the official's attention to call a timeout, but it came off as bumping him.

"I guess I didn't understand how he interpreted it, but what we're told is to get the timeout where they can see it in front of their face in those situations," Harbaugh said. "That's what I've been told for five years going into this game. I think he took it as bumping him. I didn't mean to bump him. I wanted to call a timeout, so I apologize for bumping, but the intent was to call a timeout."

Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis reiterated his criticism of the replacement officials as the labor dispute between the NFL and the NFL Referees Association continues with no end in sight.

"That's a whole other subject and I really don't want to go there and damage the win, but you can't do that to the game," Lewis said. "You have to let the game take care of itself. One of the biggest plays of the game, you give them three points. Ed [Reed], there was no helmet-to-helmet. He turned his head to the side and clearly hit him with the shoulder pad. Those things can't affect the way this game is played.

"The saddest part about it is when you hear other people talk about it and say those are the rules. Those aren't the rules. The rules of this game are do whatever you have to do, by whatever means necessary. That's the beautiful thing about this game. It takes away the pureness of the game. Some of the things they say to you as men you can't speak to another man like that don't make a call like that to affect the game. Something needs to change, nothing against the league. I just hope we can all get together and make something happen."

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