It was one of the more bizarre penalties that New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan has ever seen during his coaching career and even 24 hours later, he was still perplexed by the call.
With 7:56 left in the third quarter of a difficult and frustrating 19-3 loss at the suddenly solid Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the Jets got called for a penalty you don't see often, and Ryan couldn't believe it.
It happened on a Ryan Quigley punt – one of eight he had as Jets offense struggled mightily. Returner Jacoby Jones deftly sidestepped a full body tackle attempt by Jets cornerback Ellis Lankster and headed across the field towards the far sideline where he eventually stepped out after a 37-yard punt return. But along the way, a flag was flung for unsportsmanlike conduct on the Jets bench because a member of the team's staff was inside the sideline's six-foot perimeter.
That area is supposed to be kept clear during a play to allow the officiating crew access up and down the field. Instead, one of the officials had to run around the Jets staff member, which led to the flag. An incredulous Ryan couldn't believe the call when it is announced.
During his Monday press conference, Ryan still wasn't sure what to make of the penalty.
“I haven’t seen that one called," Ryan said. "I saw that called one other time in all the years I’ve coached and I’ll never forget it. Jim Colletto (a former offensive line coach when Ryan was on the staff with the Ravens), we bust a big run, he’s trying to get the guy to stay in bounds and the ref runs right into him. And he goes 'Whoops, that’s on me.' It’s like, what? He was a veteran coach for years and years and Jim’s voice was tremendous. I was like, 'You’ve got to be kidding me.' I had never [seen] that. But that was the first time in all the years of coaching, or the only two times, that’s ever happened.”
This isn't the first time that the Jets sideline has drawn the wrong kind of attention.
Three years ago, former Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi was standing along the white part of the sideline when he reached forward with his left leg and tripped Miami Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll during his run down the sideline. That was known as "Tripgate," and CBS showed a replay of that incident after the Jets got called for the sideline penalty on Sunday.
Sunday's foul didn't have the malicious intent of "Tripgate." It's just an odd play that Ryan will probably remember for a long time.
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Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and also contributes to Yahoo Sports. He can be followed for news and random tweetingson Twitter @KristianRDyer