Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Question of the Day: Do you think the Jets’ Sal Alosi was acting alone in Tripgate? [Updated]

December 15, 2010 |  7:49 am

Alosi_300 Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on last weekend's tripping incident on the sidelines of the New York Jets-Miami Dolphins game. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times

Look at the picture. Five guys standing shoulder-to-shoulder along the sideline, each of their feet pressed right to the edge of the boundary, each with a wide stance as if bracing for impact?

Come on. It’s obvious this was a coordinated effort and not just some rogue assistant making a spur-of-the-moment decision to stick out his knee. If Sal Alosi were to go that far off the reservation, why wouldn’t he be fired instead of just suspended?

OK, maybe that soccer line of Jets didn’t intend to trip him so blatantly but impede his path if he were to get too wide, or maybe just get in his head. It’s like when a defensive player is lollygagging to get back across the line of scrimmage when the opposition is trying to run a two-minute offense. It’s all part of the strategy.

So much goes on in football that the cameras never catch -– holding, cheap shots, twisted and gouged body parts under the pile -– that these little tricks, techniques and head games should come as no surprise. Is it unfair to line up people on the sideline in an area where they’re allowed to be? No, not at all.

The only thing untoward about this was when Alosi jabbed his knee out to make the trip. It was something so rare, we might not see anything like it for 10 years or more. But the bluffs and ploys and secret strategies won’t change. Football, like golf, is not a game of perfect.

[Updated at 8:29 a.m.:

Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Did Sal Alosi act alone in bending his knee and actively attempting to make contact with Nolan Carroll? Yes. However, if you look at a recording of the first quarter of the game, when the Dolphins punted in the other direction, Alosi and his phalanx of Jets sideline pals were not at the eastern 35-yard-line anymore. There does appear to be a green-windbreaker-wearing crew on the west-side 35, though.

So, it very possibly could be a case in which a team wants to make sure that if a "gunner" takes a wide berth, outside of the safe zone provided by the NFL, there will be a collision. A defensible one, even. Anything to possibly get an advantage.

Alosi bent his knee, but it's hard to believe that those half-dozen guys glued to the edge of that white strip of paint weren't there with a purpose.

Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune

It's difficult to judge the intent of the Jets' coaches and staff members in Tripgate, but it is not unusual for a line of team members to stand as close to the field as is permissible. One member of the staff usually is responsible for telling everyone to get back to where they should be, and that line is usually where many staffers stand.

I asked one veteran special-teams coach if trying to subtly run interference on punts is a common practice on the sideline, and he said he never heard of it before. So if Sal Alosi had accomplices, it is going to be difficult to prove it. It's likely Alosi will take the fall by himself for his lack of control.]

Photo: Sal Alosi. Credit: William Perlman / US Presswire