Football Zebras
ControversyGang Green is Yellow, adding 5 to ‘field’; Trip perp fined $25K, suspended for ’10

Gang Green is Yellow, adding 5 to ‘field’; Trip perp fined $25K, suspended for ’10

The Jets, in consultation with the NFL, assessed a watered-down punishment on Sal Alosi, a trainer who tripped Dolphins special-teams player Nolan Carroll. According to the team, he has been suspended for the remainder of the season, including the postseason, and fined $25,000. He was not fired. The lower amount of his fine, compared to Titans coordinator Chuck Cecil, is likely due to his lower comparative salary. (Alosi is a strength and conditioning coach, not one of the field tacticians.)

However, as pointed out at Pro Football Talk, there is something more sinister afoot. While the video shows Alosi tripping Carroll on a sideline punt-coverage route, Alosi is flanked by five other Jets staff members. Keeping in mind that punt coverage players tend to go out of bounds frequently (either on their own or aided by the opponent), this obstruction has all of the hallmarks of being deliberatly disruptive to the game.

Of course, the excuse of the coaching staff is that they are in the designated bench area of the sidelines, and that no one is standing on the off-limits, six-foot-wide white boundary line. However, a player who is headed out of bounds can step around a single person who is standing in the mandatory bench location. When five yards of sideline are being “covered,” there is little that a player can do to avoid a collision or entanglement.

On the field, it is illegal to create a wedge when blocking on a kick return. This is defined as at least three players forming a “wall” to block the full-speed defenders headed towards the ball carrier. The Competition Committee found this to be dangerous, and the NFL outlawed the formation (by making it a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) in 2009. What happened on the Jets sideline, while not a true wedge, created up a situation where collision was inevitable.

So, yes, the team staff was where they were allowed to be, however their actions show that they had an alleged inclination for tampering with the integrity of the game.

Updated 12/14. A previous version of this post stated that the NFL suspended and fined Alosi, when it was the team’s action in consultation with the league office.

Ben Austro
Ben Austro
Ben Austro is the editor and founder of Football Zebras and the author of So You Think You Know Football?: The Armchair Ref's Guide to the Official Rules (on sale now)

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