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NFL to head coaches: Stay on sidelines or be flagged or fined

NFL teams will now be penalized if a coach steps on the field. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) NFL teams will now be penalized if a coach steps on the field. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't wear a helmet or pads when he is coaching his team from the sidelines. But that doesn't stop him from coming onto the field of play whenever he feels like it to discuss a call with the officials.

The National Football League's Competition Committee is going to make sideline discipline a point of emphasis this upcoming season and if coaches don't comply and stay off the field, their teams will be flagged, reports CBSSports.com.

Ray Anderson, the league's director of football operations, said the rules are loosely enforced now and repeat offenders will be fined as well. No determination has been made about how teams will be penalized.

"We need to be much more disciplined about where our coaches go in terms of the box and venturing out on the field beyond traditional markers is something that is just not appropriate. It can interfere and it can be viewed as intimidating, and we really are going to rein that in," Anderson said. "Coaches can be flagged. It's about enforcement and point of emphasis. So coaches who, after appropriate warning, continue to venture out will pay the price with a penalty that potentially could hurt heir team."

"There are borders," Anderson said, "but, very frankly, they're loosely enforced. But they will be more aggressively enforced going forward because we need to rein it in."

Harbaugh was repeatedly coming on the field during his team's playoff run to the Super Bowl and was not flagged.

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