Danny O'Neil covers the Seahawks for The Seattle Times.
December 23, 2008 11:42 AM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
Jets coach Eric Mangini said during Tuesday's press conference that not enough was done to protect people from the snowballs thrown during Sunday's game against the Seahawks at Qwest Field.
"There were a lot of people that were hit with snowballs," Mangini said. "All you need is someone to get hit in the eye. It's just not a safe situation. It was disappointing to see that, but that stuff, we couldn't control that. How we can control it is how we respond."
That was a reference to defensive lineman Shaun Ellis who heaved a snow boulder into the stands at Qwest Field. Ellis was fined $10,000 by the NFL, a league spokesman said Tuesday. NFL players are told before each season that any interactions with the crowd that could potentially result in injury are prohibited, and that players should not confront anyone in the crowd, but leave that to security personnel.
"I thought there could have been more done to prevent what was happening in terms of the safety issues from the snowballs coming down," Mangini said. "But that being said, it doesn't justify us getting involved in any context."
The scoreboard displayed notices that throwing a snowball would result in ejection from the stadium. Forty-five fans were ejected for throwing snowballs, but the number of snowballs escalated toward the end of the game after the snow continued to accumulate in the stands.
It was the second time Seattle played a home game in the snow. It snowed during the Seahawks game against the Packers in November 2006.
"First of all, the people in our stadium don't see snow that much, so it had to be a tremendous novelty, you know?" coach Mike Holmgren said. "I know if my grandkids were up there and there was a snowball sitting right there -- and they're good kids, they're not mean kids -- it would be pretty hard for them not to throw it. No one got hurt, which is a good thing. The best thing we can do probably is our preparation in getting the snow out of the stadium if it should ever happen again."
Mangini was asked if the Jets would be making a formal complaint to the league. He said that would be a decision for general manager Mike Tannenbaum to make.
"It just was a really unsafe situation and a lot of people got struck by snowballs," Mangini said. "I wouldn't want that to happen at our stadium, and I'm sure Seattle didn't want that, either. It's just something that hopefully can be avoided whether it's us, Seattle, whoever in the future. Just don't want someone to get struck and hurt in that environment."