Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Simpson won't be fined for tripping fan who ran on field

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: August 26, 2013 - 7:50 PM

If you're one of those morons who runs onto the field illegally during NFL games, beware. You are fair game for the big fellas to hit. Or even the littler ones like Jerome Simpson.

Simpson won't be fined for leaving the sideline to trip a fan who had eluded police and security guards and was running loose on the field in the closing minutes of Sunday night's game at Candlestick Park. Although the league obviously doesn't encourage players to make contact with morons who enter the field, they traditionally have not issued fines. During the Super Bowl in February of 2004, Patriots linebacker Matt Chatham leveled a streaker who had run on to the field as the teams were lining up for the second-half kickoff.

Sunday night, Simpson was standing on the sideline at the 50-yard line when two fans made it past the police and security guards who ringed the field. (Seriously, it was a bad night for the boys in blue and the guards in bright green vests. There must have been 200 or more of them in the stadium, but a total of four fans made it past them and onto the field. Two did it at the same time. A third did it a few moments later. And a fourth guy did it right after the final gun.)

The boys in blue and guards in green were losing a footrace with one of the fans down the Vikings sideline when Simpson stepped out and, um, made one heck of a touchdown-saving tackle. It also sped up the closing minutes on deadline, so thank you for that, J.

Not longer after that, another fan made it from behind one end zone to the other 1-inch line before being tackled by security. He ran free and unbothered until reaching the red zone. A guard had a good angle, but the fan still got to the right edge and was heading for the pylon. He was tackled inside the 1, reaching a hand out in an effort to touch the goal line. There was no challenge on the play and no replay, so we have no idea if the hand touched the goal line or if his knee was down first.

Yes, it was funny. No, I wouldn't suggest trying this at an NFL stadium near you. Sunday, it was a trip by Jerome Simpson. The next time could be an Everson Griffen sack. Oh yeah, there's also a trip to jail to consider as well.

 

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