Bill Belichick briefly took off his COVID-19 prevention mask to argue with officials during the New England Patriots’ 26-10 loss Monday night to the Kansas City Chiefs.
The NFL has levied hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to various teams and coaches for breaking mask-wearing protocols. The Pats-Chiefs game was pushed back from Sunday to Monday after New England quarterback Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
The play in question came with KC leading 6-3 with 6:42 left before halftime, when Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes appeared to fumble the ball before his knee hit the ground on a sack by Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich.
New England linebacker Shilique Calhoun secured the ball before it hit the ground and took off toward the end zone, but the play was whistled dead by the officials supposedly because Mahomes’ forward progress had been stopped before the turnover.
A maskless Belichick argued for several seconds but did not throw the red challenge flag. “He called forward progress that he was down, and you can’t challenge that,” Belichick said after the game.
The NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams last week stressing any further violations of the league’s game-day protocols for could result in further discipline in the form of fines, suspensions and even forfeiture of draft picks.