When the possibility that the Jets had amassed a gauntlet of personnel on the edge of the sideline to impede the ability of Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll to do his job, the NFL’s initial position was that no rules apply to such tactics.
Since the situation has grown more legs than the love child of an octopus and a millipede, the NFL has now reminded clubs of the rules that apply to the bench area and sideline movement.
In a press release, the NFL explains that executive V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson has informed all head coaches and game officials of the rules that apply to bench area borders and the permitted sideline movements during a game. “These longstanding rules are in place for safety purposes in order to protect players and officials on the field, members of the chain crew, as well as coaches, players, and other club personnel in the bench areas,” the release states.
Clubs were reminded that each team is responsible for appointing a “get-back” coach — not a “get-up” coach, a role Alosi apparently served with the Jets. The “get-back” coach must be aware of all sideline restrictions, and the “get-back” coach is responsible for ensuring compliance.
Clubs also were reminded that violations could trigger in-game penalties and other disciplinary action.
The release also cites pages A75-A76 from the Policy Manual for Member Clubs, Volume II, Game Operations, which creates a series of borders that restrict the movement of personnel. Put simply, no inactive players should have been standing near the white stripe, as they were on Sunday for the Jets.
The rules in this regard make sense. The fact that a reminder has been issued, given the developments of the past week, means that the game officials simply had not been enforcing the rules.
And that’s the bottom line here. By putting persons other than coaches and “situation substitution players” along the white stripe, the Jets were doing something they shouldn’t have been doing. Other teams apparently have been doing the same thing. So why haven’t the officials ever noticed this?
Indeed, why hasn’t the league office previously noticed it?
Going forward, we can all assume they will.