Was there a 10-second run-off? Was the game over? When the NFL’s replacement officials didn’t know and at least one got it wrong, the Washington Redskins‘ sideline got mad.
In the middle of all the furor in the final seconds Sunday, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan found himself on the wrong end of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a firestorm of criticism. Monday, he issued a statement explaining his actions.
Shanahan said in the statement that he tried to explain to one official that the game was not over following tight end Fred Davis‘ false-start penalty with seven seconds left. He, along with coach Mike Shanahan and others on the Redskins‘ side, was not at all happy that half of the Cincinnati Bengals were on the field when one play was left.
“I was frustrated, and in the process of trying to get some answers from the officials, I conducted myself in the wrong way,” Kyle Shanahan said in the statement. “I ask our players to hold themselves to a high standard and be accountable, and I know that I’m accountable for my actions, as well.”
Shanahan could be subject to NFL discipline for his actions, which also included his running down the tunnel after an official at the conclusion of the loss. According to multiple local news outlets who had personnel at field level, he used obscenities to berate one official.
The NFL was reviewing Shanahan’s conduct after a weekend full of incidents between coaches and officials. New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s actions also were being reviewed after he grabbed one official while running off the field. The same goes for Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty Sunday night.
Denver Broncos coach John Fox was fined $30,000 and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio $25,000 for verbal abuse of game officials in a Sept. 17 game against the Atlanta Falcons. Last week, the NFL issued a memo to teams warning coaches not to bully officials.
“There is a longstanding NFL rule prohibiting verbal or physical abuse of game officials,” the league said in a statement announcing this weekend’s punishments.
Several reporters requested Monday to speak to Kyle Shanahan. Mike Shanahan said he made the decision to have Kyle issue a statement instead of permitting him to speak. This came a week after much was made of wide receiver Joshua Morgan addressing his unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that contributed to the 31-28 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
“I’m really disappointed you’d even ask a question like that,” said Shanahan, who noted the team policy that coordinators only address the media on Thursdays. “That’s our protocol. And so we could change that every week relative to things like that. We’ve got a process that we work through, and that’s our process.”
Mike Shanahan did not criticize his son’s behavior that led to the unsportsmanlike conduct call, saying he also wasn’t calm given that he knew the game shouldn’t have been over.
“You know, that wasn’t the difference in winning and losing the game. Those things do occur,” he said. “You would like cooler heads that prevail. That’s what I expect.”
Add to the situation that the Redskins were penalized 20 yards instead of the correct 15, and it wasn’t the kind of ending they wanted with one final chance to tie the score and force overtime. But Monday brought some clarity from the offensive coordinator, who took the heat for his actions.