Sal Alosi, who'd already been suspended for the rest of the season and fined $25,000 for tripping Miami's Nolan Carroll on Sunday, has now been suspended indefinitely, after the team received new information about what exactly happened along the Jets sideline on the play. That information? That Alosi did indeed order inactive players to join him in a human wall to restrict the space of the Dolphins' gunner running up the sideline during the punt. And though at least one columnist today argues that it's hard to believe Alosi truly acted alone, two of the players on the line with Alosi said the strength and conditioning coach instructed them to stand there.
Via ESPN New York:
NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson has reviewed the play and he said what Alosi ordered was illegal. At the owners meetings in Fort Worth, Texas, he cited two NFL rules about where players, coaches and support staff are supposed to stand.
But what, specifically, was illegal about it? From the Times:
The wall itself is not against N.F.L. rules, but the location of the Jets' line of inactive players was. They were too close to the sideline, in an area where only coaches and substituting players are allowed.
GM Mike Tannenbaum said that the suspension was "for the totality of the situation, the unsportsmanlike act," though it's worth remembering that Alosi's real sin here was tripping Carroll. Even if he did act alone in ordering the formation, there's a big difference between intentionally tripping an athlete during play and violating a rule — on a technicality, really — and demonstrating what seems more like gamesmanship than unsportsmanlike behavior.
In fact, Mike Westhoff seems as conflicted as anyone. Said the special teams coach, after accusing New England earlier in the day yesterday of using walls like the Jets did on Sunday: "I'm not accusing the Patriots of doing something wrong, maybe they are doing something smart. That's up to you. Just watch the tape. You tell me. I know one thing, I don't teach it, I don't coach it and I'm not aware that it happened."