NEW YORK -- The swaggering Jets do not embarrass easily, but even they must be ashamed of Sunday's stunt. When strength coach Sal Alosi stuck out his knee and tripped Nolan Carroll of the Miami Dolphins on the sideline at New Meadowlands Stadium, it represented a new low for a cocky, conceited team that brags, curses, struts, preens and sometimes accuses other teams of dirty play.
A 10-6 loss to the Dolphins dropped the Jets to 9-4, and plenty of fair-minded sports fans would love to see them extend their two-game streak to finish 9-7 and just go away. The Jets and some of their fans are the sort of folks who make you understand why Jersey Shore and The Sopranos represent a certain stereotype of New Jersey, a state in whose swamps the Jets dwell.
This is a team that had to be embarrassed by publicity into stopping impromptu strip shows by female fans at halftime on a pedestrian ramp behind the grandstands a few years ago. And when Brett Favre quarterbacked the Jets two years ago, he allegedly texted pornographic pictures of his private parts to a female Jets employee, or so she alleges. Favre has admitted he communicated with her but has denied the photos.
The trip by the assistant was a thuggish act that could get him suspended or fired, but it was not quite on the scale of one of football's most famous flameouts 32 years ago.
That was when Woody Hayes, the head coach of the Ohio State Buckeyes, ended his long and celebrated career by slugging linebacker Charlie Bauman of Clemson after Bauman intercepted a pass by Ohio State quarterback Arthur Schlichter.
When Bauman was chased out of bounds near the end of the Gator Bowl on Dec. 29, 1978, Hayes drew back his arm and slugged him. It turned out to be the last game of his career, a 17-15 defeat. The act was videotaped and there was no denying it.
"I got what was coming to me," Hayes said after he was allowed to resign with a career record of 238-72-10.
Jets' head Coach Rex Ryan, a newcomer to head coaching compared to Hayes, is one of the sons of Buddy Ryan, the celebrated coordinator who helped turn the 1985 Chicago Bears into fearsome Super Bowl champions.
Later in his career, while working for the Houston Oilers, the elder Ryan slugged a fellow assistant coach, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, during an argument on the sideline in the Astrodome in a game against the Jets.
Rex Ryan has yet to equal the lows of Buddy Ryan and Hayes, but give him time, he's learning. One of his assistants demonstrated again Sunday what sort of culture has contaminated the franchise.