NFL to Implement Stricter Penalties for Coaches Arguing With Referees From Sideline

Jim HarbaughWatch out, Jim Harbaugh.

The NFL’s competition committee announced that it plans to be more vigilant this season at penalizing coaches who berate officials or leave the sidelines to argue calls. Harbaugh is being referred to as the poster child of this ruling, as the 49ers head coach was seen throwing several rather major tantrums during his team’s run to the Super Bowl.

“We need to be much more disciplined about where our coaches go in terms of the box,” Ray Anderson, the league’s director of football operations, told CBS Sports, “and venturing out on the field beyond traditional markers is something that is just not appropriate. It can interfere and it can be viewed as intimidating, and we really are going to rein that in.”

NFL referees already have the power to assess an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty if a coach leaves the designated area on the sideline, but the rule is rarely enforced. Changing this — especially after Harbaugh’s very public outbursts during this past postseason — is something that Anderson says the league put a high priority on entering 2013.

“Coaches can be flagged,” Anderson said. “It’s about enforcement and point of emphasis. So coaches who, after appropriate warning, continue to venture out will pay the price with a penalty that potentially could hurt heir team.”

There is also “no question” that repeat offenders are¬†susceptible to additional fines on top of an in-game penalty, according to Anderson.

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