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Coaches now can be ejected for 2 unsportsmanlike fouls

Not only was the automatic disqualification rule from last season’s rules changes made permanent, but now, players will not be the only ones subject to ejection following two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls of a specific type in the same game. In the recently released 2017 edition of the NFL rulebook, updated with the new rule changes for the upcoming season, a note has quietly been added to Rule 12-4-1 regarding the disqualification provision:

Note: This rule also applies to non-player personnel (e.g., management personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment personnel).

The automatic disqualification rule, instituted in 2016 as a one-year trial, was made permanent at the Owners’ Meeting last May. This addition regarding the change to include bench personnel was not written in the official proposal, so it is unclear as to whether or not this additional language was considered in the owners’ vote.

The NCAA implemented a similar rule  regarding coaches last year.

No coach has ever been ejected from an NFL game in the league’s 97 seasons. Three players were ejected last year in the automatic disqualification’s debut season: Giants center  Weston Richburg, Jaguars defensive tackle  Malik Jackson, and Chiefs tight end  Travis Kelce.

Not all unsportsmanlike conduct fouls are part of the two-step disqualification. The illustration below details the enforcement of the rule.

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Cameron Filipe
Cam Filipe is a graduate student at Boston University and has been involved in football officiating for ten years. Cam is in his second season as a high school football official. This is his seventh season covering NFL officiating for Football Zebras.

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One thought on “Coaches now can be ejected for 2 unsportsmanlike fouls

  1. Have there ever been two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls against a non-player in an NFL game?

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