The lasting image from Sunday's Jets debacle won't be anything that happened on the field of play. It's a bizarre incident from the Jets' sideline that the NFL will be investigating.
Dolphins special-teams gunner Nolan Carroll was tripped by Jets strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, a Massapequa native, as Carroll ran down the sideline, two yards out of bounds, to cover a punt late in the third quarter.
In a statement, Alosi apologized: "I made a mistake that showed a total lapse in judgment. My conduct was inexcusable and unsportsmanlike and does not reflect what this organization stands for. I spoke to Coach Sparano and Nolan Carroll to apologize before they took off . . . I accept responsibility for my actions as well as any punishment that follows.''
Alosi, 33, is a former Hofstra football player and coach who has been with the Jets for eight years. Replays showed he stuck out his left knee as Carroll went by, and the Dolphin tumbled to the ground. Miami trainers tended to Carroll before he jogged to his own sideline.
"I couldn't tell you. I'd have to look at the film," Carroll said. "That's all I can say about that. That's on them. That's nothing I can control."
Carroll said he remembered splitting the double-team as Brandon Fields punted, "and then after that, I don't know what happened."
He said he got clipped in his lower right leg. "It's not important now," he said. "Water off a duck's back, man. We won."
Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said his assistants in the booth alerted him to the trip.
"I don't know what was going on over there, I really don't," Sparano said. "I'm not going to let that bother me with this win right now. We had a player down on the sideline, and what I was hearing upstairs, some of that had to do with maybe something that happened over there. And that bothered me. But we'll see."
The NFL surely will have something to say about it. "We will deal with issues of that nature tomorrow and through the week," league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail.
Two Dolphins players spoke up about the incident.
"I wish they would have tripped me,'' Channing Crowder said. "I would have gotten up and broken the old man's leg . . . That just speaks to the character of the Jets."
"That is so dirty," linebacker Karlos Dansby said. "Come on, man. Their head coach opened a can of worms over there, and now he's got to fix it."
Crowder said he doesn't expect the NFL to punish the Jets.
"I'll probably get fined for some hit I had, but no one over there will get fined," he said. " . . . They'll have some excuse for the whupping they got today, I'm sure.
"I know those guys. When they saw the two games against us on the schedule, they thought those were going to be wins. They're just cocky, for no reason. I just totally don't like them. We beat the hell out of them today, so they can trip all the people they want."