One of the strangest moments from Week 18 happened when the Rams scored a touchdown and the celebration included coach Sean McVay running down the sideline and into the end zone.
The field judge, Steve Zimmer, ushered McVay out of the field of play, with a smile. Zimmer also could have (and arguably should have) thrown a flag.
Rule 13 spells out the limitations on non-players entering the field. For McVay, it was a double violation — leaving the lateral confines of the bench area and entering the field. (Coaches may exit the bench area along the sideline only to call a timeout or challenge an on-field ruling, for a play happening at or near the goal line.)
Per a league source, McVay could still be fined or the infraction.
If a penalty had been called, the 49ers would have had the option of choosing to enforce the 15-yard foul for unsportsmanlike conduct on the try or the ensuing kickoff.
Ultimately, McVay’s punishment may have come from the simple fact that his team blew a 17-0 lead and permitted the 49ers, who have now beaten the Rams six times in a row, to enter the postseason field.
Is it a big deal? No. But if the No Fun League is going to penalize and fine players for displaying emotions that cross the dreaded line into illegal “posturing,” it’s only fair for the rules to be applied to coaches, too.