Predictably, everyone is up in arms over New York Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi tripping Dolphins gunner Nolan Carroll during Sunday’s game, and with pretty good reason. As far a cheap shots go, that is as despicable as they come. A lot of people are even saying that Alosi should be fired. But did you know that if you want Sal Alosi to be fired, you’d have wished the same thing upon “Papa Bear” George Halas?
One of my grandfather’s favorite sports stories — he told me this several years ago at Christmas — involves witnessing Halas do the same thing, only a far more egregious example.
As the tale goes — and please keep in mind that my grandpa is as old as Joe Paterno to the day, so he doesn’t have exact dates ready to recite or anything — the Bears were playing the Rams, or maybe it was the Giants, at Wrigley Field. Not surprisingly, some Bears quarterback who came after Sid Luckman threw an interception, and it was most assuredly going to be returned for a touchdown as the opposing defensive back streaked down the sideline with no defender in sight.
That’s when he had the misfortune of running into Halas’ foot, which was conveniently stuck out onto the field for him to trip over. My grandpa recalls there being a 15-yard penalty for this, since Halas seemed to know that regardless of how short the field was, the Bears defense was going to keep their opponents out of the end zone. Sure enough, that was what ended up happening.
So while Alosi’s move wasn’t very classy, it’s hardly something new — the only difference is that in this day and age it was caught on tape. The very founder of the NFL would have laughed at it, and instead of firing the guy he probably would have given him a promotion. Maybe even a postage stamp.