In a recent incident, Big Dom, the security head of the Philadelphia Eagles, forgot that his responsibilities do not extend to mediating on-field disputes during matches.
Reports from Pro Football Talk suggest that both Dom DiSandro and the Eagles are likely to face significant penalties after he intervened in a tussle involving 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw. Apparently, Dom, who also serves as a senior advisor to the general manager, touched Greenlaw in an attempt to stop the disagreement, leading to a reaction from Greenlaw that resulted in both men being ousted from the game.
As Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk points out, security personnel are not supposed to become involved in the gameplay. He expressed, ‘Security officials have no duty to act the part of in-game umpires. The responsibility of maintaining harmony during matches falls on the shoulders of the match officials.’ Non-players who intrude into the progress of a match face the risk of being barred from the game area.
Dre Greenlaw was called for a personal foul after this interaction with Eagles security staffer Dom DiSandro. Both were ejected from the game.
— ESPN (@espn) December 3, 2023
The entire scenario unfolded during the 49ers’ substantial 42-19 win on the road against the Eagles, which served as a likely foretaste of the upcoming NFC Championship Game. In this crucial encounter, Dom took his security role to unprecedented heights. A penalty ensued when Greenlaw initiated the altercation with a suplex move on DeVonta Smith that landed him out of bounds, right on Philadelphia’s sideline.
DiSandro, who is commemorating his 25th year of service with the Eagles, subsequently stirred the scenario further by trying to separate Greenlaw during his verbal exchange with Smith. Greenlaw retaliated by striking at DiSandro, landing a soft blow on his face. As a result of these actions, the referees discharged Greenlaw from the game, while concurrently ejecting DiSandro as well.
At the start of the season, NFL had cautioned teams concerning brawls that had been occurring, with warnings indicating potential punishment for individuals who engage in such confrontations. Despite Greenlaw’s dismissal not having a substantial impact on the 49ers’ performance, the team’s coach Kyle Shanahan wasn’t happy about Dom’s engagement in the incident.
Expressing his annoyance with the situation, Shanahan said, ‘Me losing my temper was the last thing I would have wanted. I only hope my reaction wasn’t too outrageous.’ Further explaining his stance, the coach added, ‘I was unable to witness it entirely from my position, but hearing people narrate the incident was shocking to me. It’s hard to believe that a person with no active role in a game could provoke our players like that and then proceed to touch one of them on the face. The entire incident was quite infuriating.’
Shanahan chose to withhold further judgment until he had a chance to watch the incident for himself, affirming that he would need to actually view the entire sequence to form a definitive opinion on it. He did, however, appreciate the comeback spirit of his team, expressing his love for ‘how we rallied after.’
In the midst of the controversy, opposing coach Nick Sirianni of the Eagles seemingly handled the incident in a commendable manner. Sirianni also expressed his disapproval of the on-field event, which Shanahan appreciated.
Shanahan acknowledged his counterpart’s conduct around the whole incident. He remarked, ‘Sirianni was fantastic. He, too, disapproved of the entire happenings during that play. His reaction was characterized by absolute elegance. It was certainly admirable.’
The event was a stark reminder of the distinct roles and responsibilities that different personnel have during matches. Recognizing the importance of maintaining professional boundaries and ensuring that on-field issues are dealt with by the appropriate authorities are critical aspects of ensuring fair play and the smooth management of games.
Events like this serve to encourage critical reviews of the operational modalities within the game, with a stress on re-establishing rules concerning fighting and the involvement of non-players in such situations. It also calls attention to the need for de-escalation training for security personnel.
As the dust settles on this incident, the focus now shifts to how the NFL will respond. Given the clear guidelines against fighting and the involvement of non-players, significant punishment may indeed be in the pipeline for the Eagles and Dom DiSandro.
This incident sets a new precedent for future conduct during games. It’s now more apparent than ever that everyone on and off the field must adhere strictly to their roles to prevent similar situations. Officials are undoubtedly looking at this situation as a wake-up call for nuanced policies and more defined rules for each role.