(WPRI) -- The NFL has handed down its punishment against New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick for putting his hands on an official.
The incident happened following the Patriots heartbreaking last-second loss against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday night.
It just one of many occurrences that have fueled the firestorm of controversy surrounding the league's replacement referees.
The replacements have been under constant criticism from the league and its fans, though we've learned that the regular officials may soon be back on the field.
The NFL has fined Belichick $50,000 for grabbing the official Sunday night. He said Monday that he didn't mean any disrespect, and that he was simply looking for a review of the Ravens game-winning field goal.
Belichick released a statement Wednesday, saying: "It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened. I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."
Sunday night's fireworks were quickly swept under the rug when the league suffered an even bigger embarrassment during Monday night's game between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle's "Hail Mary" game-winning disaster of a call seems to have jolted negotiations back to life. ESPN has reported that a deal with the regular refs is very close, and that they could be back on the field as early as this weekend.
Sports Illustrated countered that report, saying that it's not a done deal yet, but all reports indicate that major progress is being made. Regardless the question remains whether or not a deal could be ratified in time for the officials to work this weekend's games.