*The NFL fined the New York Jets $100,000 in the wake of discoveries involving strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, who instructed inactive players to stand in a wall in a prohibited area on the sideline to deter opposing teams’ players during special-teams plays.
“This is both a competitive violation as well as a dangerous tactic,” read the NFL statement to announce the fine.
The issue came to light when Alosi was caught on camera putting his knee forward as Miami gunner Nolan Carroll ran toward the Jets sideline and was tripped. Carroll was not injured. Alosi was suspended until the end of the season by the Jets for the trip.
On video replays of the moments before Alosi’s knee made contact with Carroll, it was apparent the Jets players were standing very close together. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Alosi hadn’t been fully truthful initially, and when the Jets learned he had instructed players to stand that way, they suspended him indefinitely.
“We will comply with the league’s decision,” said a Jets spokesperson.
Both Jets coach Rex Ryan and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said they were unaware of the tactic. Tight end Jeff Cumberland, who was inactive during the Miami game, said he had been told to stand that way all season without being told why.
“[Alosi] never really just gave a reason,” Cumberland said after Alosi’s suspension. “He just said during punt return, ‘You just stand right here by this line, everybody just stand right here.’ There wasn’t really a reason why. But we kinda figured just in case somebody ran over here.”
The NFL’s fine also included a penalty due to Westhoff’s statements to the media that he had seen similar tactics used by other teams, and he specifically named the AFC rival New England Patriots. Westhoff said he noticed it when he watched film of past games to see if Alosi had the Jets stand in the wall formation during earlier games.
“Were [the Patriots] teaching it?” Westhoff said at the time. “I have no idea. When they punted were they back? Yes. When the other team punted were they up tighter? Yes. Absolutely. You can look at it — look at the tape. 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.”
Jets owner Woody Johnson has since apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
The Jets suspended Alosi without pay for the rest of the season after the Dec. 12 incident and fined him $25,000.