NFL “reminds” teams of sideline rules

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.

31 responses to “NFL “reminds” teams of sideline rules

  1. Where is the forfeiture of the 1st round pick and the large fines for the organization?

    oh wait, i forgot that Roger Goodell used to be a Jets employee. that may explain why he ignores all of the Jets cheating.


    * caught cheating

  2. And once again the league does NOTHING to the Jets. The Jets are scumbags that ignore the rules and the NFL lets them get away with it year after year, scandal after scandal. Its time they lose a draft pick.

  3. Coaches aren’t allowed on the field – but the camera shows them walking out to talk to officials and players all the time. It’s like J-walking – if you enforced the law – everyone would be in jail.

    The league just wasn’t accounting for Long Island guido muscleheads and their bright ideas.

  4. You know what would have been nice to have in this article? A larger version of that image of the bench area.

  5. “So why haven’t the officials ever noticed this?”

    Seems now PFT is shifting the blame to the zebras, the ones that frequently miss plays during the game itself. Now they need to monitor the sidelines as well.

    For that to work, I’m thinking that it is something that the “replay official” could do instead of just sitting on his thumbs for 58 minutes most games!

  6. To remind teams of the rule Goodell will randomly and periodically board a forklift set the forks at crotch level and careen down the sideline during stoppages in play at various stadiums throughout the league.

  7. INTERPRETATION: Shock Exchange explains the actions of Sal Alosi and the NY Jets . . .

    Alosi assumed the mainstream media would “co-sign” for him like it did for Byron Hout and Ben Roethlisberger when they pushed and taunted LaGarette Blount and Richard Seymour, respectively.

  8. So now all the Jets need to do is have round mound Rexy stand there because by the time the gunner gets around him the game will be over.

  9. I don’t think this thing is over just yet! This is just the 1st step. Goodell will have to sanction them somehow?

  10. mccourtyisland says:
    Dec 17, 2010 1:06 PM
    Where is the forfeiture of the 1st round pick and the large fines for the organization?

    oh wait, i forgot that Roger Goodell used to be a Jets employee. that may explain why he ignores all of the Jets cheating.


    * caught cheating

    I agree, standing on the sideline is the same as video taping the other teams signals.
    Are you possibly the biggest D-Bag on earth?

  11. We need Arlen Spectar to investigate this Jets CHEATING. There’s no telling how long this CHEATING has been going on! Super Bowl III should be VACATED because I guarantee they employed the Westhoff/Cheathoff Wall in that game!

    Trip-Gate 2010…Jets cheat their way to a playoff berth. Filthy CHEATERS!

  12. So, at its very basic root, the “Alosi Wall” WAS illegal!!!!!!!!

    Nevermind the lies about this being a non-organized, one-rougue-man-only, one-time-only practice, and the suspicion that the Jets coaching staff INSTRUCTED these people to physically hit the opposing players ………. and the fact that the Jets violated league rules by pointing the finger at New England.

    Now, can somebody identify that person who lowered a shoulder at Carroll, so the media – and the league – get an opportunity to talk about the incredible coincidence that both he AND Alosi each randomly decided to try and hit Carroll at THE EXACT SAME TIME ???

    Two last questions:
    Why isn’t Alosi fired yet?
    When and how is the league going to punish the Jets and Rex Ryan?

  13. If smart teams have been doing this for ages, Westhoff of the Jets shouldn’t be grilled on being clueless about it being done. He should be asked why he is unaware of the practice and not doing it himself. What a dummy.

  14. # elroyjetsson says: I agree, standing on the sideline is the same as video taping the other teams signals.

    Wrong – taping the other team’s signals was and remains legal. (Do you think Coodinators are covering their mouths when they call plays for nothing?)

    Inactive personnel standing on the sidelines at the behest of a coach seeking to trip an opposing team player involved in the play is NOT legal.

    Big difference.

    Now, taping the other teams signals FROM THE SIDELINES is indeed illegal – but the NFL makes perfectly clear where the taping should take place.

    That’s why the Jets, although thrown out of Foxboro when taping signals from the stands, were not fined by the league… because its was and is remains legal.

    Get your facts straight before calling others names.

  15. Jeff Darlington asked Sparano about the incident in the press conference after the game:

    “Sparano on Tripgate: Referees asked twice about sideline “get back” guy”

    So the officials are keeping people off the white line.

    My concern is, shouldn’t there be a rule that specifies anyone coming out of bounds has “right of way” and bystanders must make an attempt to not impede them? How many WRs and RBs come out of bounds full speed and go fly past players uncontrolled?

  16. mensamember says: Westhoff would only be in hot water if the accusation against the Pats was false.

    Seems like you’re conveniently forgetting that the Jets coaches were illeglally organizing ineligible players in addition to attempting to trip the player in the midst of an active play.

    Seems like you’ve also overlooked this pivotal line from the article you linked to:

    “Now let’s make it clear, there’s a big difference between lining up players at the border of the sideline and tripping a player. One is a piece of gamesmanship that is not illegal, even if the Jets are adding to Alosi’s suspension for doing it, and the other is a clear violation of the rules.”

    Perhaps the many Jets fans without a life would put the same level of scrutiny to other team practices and review game tape of other teams to see how that plays out.

    Even Westhoff himself said of the Patriots “its no big deal” and not illegal at all.

  17. mensamember says:
    Dec 17, 2010 2:54 PM
    Westhoff would only be in hot water if the accusation against the Pats was false.

    Seems it wasn’t.

    Let me point out to you, “mensa” member, that:

    Westhoff would ALSO be in hot water for;
    A) lying to the league that this was NOT an “organized” activity by any member of the Jets (Alosi himself has publicly said that HE organized it)
    B) Openly pointing a finger at the Patroits, in vilation of NFL policy. Westhoff would be in DEEP hot water if it comes out that it was HIM who “organized” the Alosi Wall, and that HE instructed the members of that wall to deliberatly engage in physical contact with an opposing player (there was a SECOND member of that “Wall” who attempted to hit Carroll at the same time!).

    Regarding your link to a story on Fanhouse; one thing Fanhouse fails to note in comparing the Patriot’s behavior to that of Alosi’s “Wall”, is that in the case of New England, the players lining up on the sideline ARE IN UNIFORM!!!!!! They are SUPPOSED to be there, and there is no rule saying they can’t stand in a row. Besides, if you comare those pics to the Jet’s “Wall”, the Jets are in a much tighter and more regimented toe-to-toe position.

    Big differences there, “mensa” man.

    By the way, even if Westhoff WAS right (and clearly he’s not), the correct procedure according to the league is to shut his yap publicly and bring it to the attention of the league.

    Man, Mensa has really lowered their standards, in your case.

  18. So Alosi admits he recruited other coaches to create a wall to impede opposing players. Why haven’t the other coaches been punished? And since this was a premeditated act, not a momentary lapse, why hasn’t Alosi been fired?

    Now we know officials don’t enforce sideline rules. Terry McAuley says they don’t feel it’s necessary to flag players who punch QBs in the face. They can’t correctly officiate a crucial Vikes/Pack or Steelers/Bengals division matchup. But when an ump has been aggressively manhandling a player who finally shoves back, they sure are on top of that ejection rule.

    Maybe if the NFL had a booth review system mirroring the NCAA’s, officials would have time to notice dangerous sideline infractions and other critical on-field behavior. Maybe if the NFL had an ethical commissioner, the league take these issues seriously and we’d see a reduction in concussions and other player injuries rather than just giving them lip service.

    @silk32 …

    Ludicrous comment. Richard Seymour publicly admitted Roethlisberger didn’t say anything to him, much less taunt him. Is there any chance you could be adult enough to comment on this issue without blathering fictions based on your dislike of another team or player?

  19. @mensamember: thats ridiculous, the article shows a bunch of PLAYERS standing around. Maybe you need to take a closer look at the ALosi wall. You aint no mensa.

  20. When is the league going to remind teams that it’s illegal for gunners to run out of bounds to avoid blocks?
    Sal Alosi is an a**hole & Nolan Carroll did not deserve to be tripped, but he is not 100% without culpability.
    Not a Jets fan and certainly do not condone Alosi reaching out carelessly without regard for whether or not a player was injured, but if the gunner hadn’t run out of bounds we wouldn’t even be writing about this.

  21. So, anyone with half a brain (not Yets fans) should IMMEDIATELY ask the NFL why it lied, through its spokesperson, about there being no specific rule regarding placement of sideline personnel?

    I can’t find the story now, but I remember one about how the rules stated nothing about the act. If this is true, why did the NFL attempt to sweep this under the rug…and seemingly in concert with the Yets???

  22. bennybob:

    Check out the tape. Carroll did not “run out of bounds”, he was forced out of bounds…by two Yets…right toward the “Alosi Wall”.

    Why do people insist on focusing on just what they want to focus?

  23. mensamember says:
    Dec 17, 2010 2:54 PM
    Westhoff would only be in hot water if the accusation against the Pats was false.

    You are dead wrong mensamember. It is against the rules to call out any other organization publicly. If they have a problem, they can file a complaint with the league ONLY. They HAVE to shut up.

    How did you get into Mensa?

  24. I got penalized for that in highschool.

    There is the out of bounds linethen there is another line a yard behind that where players can not cross. I was standing inbetween both lines and the official through a flag for improper sidelines procedure. Cost my team 5 yards.

    If highschool refs have the ability to remember to enforce these rules I dont get how professional referees don’t.

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