The NFL has fined 49ers offensive coordinator Mike Martz $20,000 for comments critical of the officiating after the team’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday, Nov. 10, a league spokesman said.
In comments to CBSSports.com, Martz said referee Tony Corrente’s crew was responsible for the 49ers’ 29-24 loss because they failed to communicate with the 49ers sideline after a booth challenge late in the game. The 49ers say they could not hear Corrente’s explanation over the stadium public-address system that the ball was being moved from the 1-yard line to the two-and-a-half yard line for the final play of the game.
Martz had already called a fullback dive to Michael Robinson. The play was stopped a yard short of the end zone.
“It cost us the game,” Martz told CBSSports.com senior writer Clark Judge on Nov. 11. “We go to the 1 — or the half-yard line — then spike the ball when, all of a sudden, officials tell us they’re going to look at the replay. While they’re looking at it, the ball stays at the 1. So we send in a play. Then, when they make their decision, they move the ball back to the 2½ and tell us they’re going to start the clock on the official’s wind.
“We couldn’t change the play. We had to go with what we called. If it would’ve been at the 1, we would’ve made it. But they moved it and didn’t give us any time. So what are we going to do? If they would’ve moved it to the 10 we still would’ve had to run the play that was called. We got screwed because of the spot, first and foremost.”
Later that day when speaking with reporters who cover the 49ers, Martz toned down his comments.
“Look, first of all you can’t hear anything that the officials say on the sideline,” Martz said. “So you could say this, you could say whatever you want, nobody on the sideline can hear that official over the speaker. You can’t hear. That’s why it’s a courtesy for officials to come over and explain it to you on the sideline (because) you know you can’t hear that. And it would give you an opportunity to clarify things with the head coach to let you know those things. It just didn’t happen that way, we lose.”
He added, “They didn’t do that and then again, they’re not obligated to do that. But after 17 years in the league, anytime anything like that’s happened they’ve always done that. For some reason, they elected not to do that and that’s their prerogative. That’s certainly their prerogative, isn’t it?”
When asked about the officiating in general in that game, Martz declined to comment because he said he did not want to risk a fine from the league office.
“No, no, no, no. I’m not going to make any comment about that,” he said. “No, no. I’m sure they got comments for how I called the game, too.
“I’m not in the position to take that fine right now.”
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Click here for VP of officiating Mike Pereira’s comments about how the final moments of that game was officiated.
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UPDATE (10:30 a.m.): It wasn’t until long after I posted this report this morning that I found out CBSSports.com, citing a source, had already reported the information about Martz’s fine. I had been in contact with the league office every day in the past week to find out the status of any possible fine. This morning, in answering my daily inquiry, the league informed me of its ruling.
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