NFL Refs Now Allowed To Flag Teams For Face Covering Violations

Imagine your team losing a game over a 15-yard face-covering penalty. It could happen as soon as this week in the NFL after clubs were informed Friday that "any individual who approaches an official without a face covering is subject to a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, as well as possible fines, suspensions and forfeiture of draft picks," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported.

The memo that's circulating around NFL media says "if an individual not wearing a face covering approaches inappropriately, they have the authority to take administrative or officiating action."

It's not being called the Bill Belichick rule, but he had the most notorious mask drop in recent memory during Monday's game against the Chiefs. The NFL has already fined Jon Gruden, Vic Fangio and at least three other coaches over mask violations. Now they're adding the 15-yard penalty to the toolbox, and there's a very good chance this gets their attention.


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Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.