Denver coaches fined by NFL for verbally abusing officials

Posted at 09/25/2012 8:56 AM | Updated as of 09/25/2012 9:53 AM

The National Football League (NFL) fined Denver Broncos head coach John Fox and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio a combined $55,000 on Monday for verbally abusing replacement officials last week.

Fox was fined $30,000 and Del Rio $25,000 for abusing game officials during last Monday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons, which included lengthy delays and needed more than an hour to play the first quarter.

"There is a longstanding NFL rule prohibiting verbal or physical abuse of game officials," NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said in a statement. "Two coaches have been notified that they have each been fined for violating this rule."

The NFL's full-time referees are locked out as they seek a new labor agreement, forcing the league to use replacement referees who have been widely criticized during the opening three weeks of the 2012 season.

Anderson also said incidents from Sunday involving game officials and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan were under review.

Following the rematch of last season's AFC Championship, Belichick grabbed the arm of an official after the Ravens had kicked a winning field goal that some Patriots felt was wide of the goalpost.

"When the game was over, I went out and I was really looking for an explanation from the officials as to whether the play was under review and 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 do that," Belichick said at a news conference on Monday.

"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 just trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call, play, in that game."

Harbaugh knocked into an official during the 31-30 win while he was trying to get his attention while Shanahan received an unsportsmanlike penalty for berating an official during his team's 38-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Clare Fallon)