Big Dom & Dre Greenlaw to be punished by the NFL: Everything we know about the Eagles vs 49ers incident

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Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, center, talks with down judge Danny Short (113) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Yesterday’s loss against the San Francisco 49ers was a disappointing one and it wasn’t without chaos. One of the most memorable moments of the game actually took place on the Eagles’ sideline and involved the teams’ Head of Security, ‘Big’ Dom DiSandro. According to a report form Mike Florio, the NFL are likely to take action against both parties.

What happened with ‘Big Dom’ and the 49ers?

Tempers flared on the Eagles sideline during the early stages of the third quarter. The team was down 21-6 and clearly needed a spark. DeVonta Smith made a catch and Niners LB Dre Greenlaw decided to ‘throw’ him over the boundary. He then got into a bit of a tussle with the Eagles wideout, who clearly took issue with Greenlaw’s action. It’s not the first time a Niners player was overly aggressive and ‘dirty’ in that game, and it certainly wasn’t the last.

Anyway, ‘Big Dom’ DiSandro stepped between DeVonta Smith and Dre Greenlaw. The Niners LB was already fired up and appeared to hit DiSandro in the face. The 25-year Eagles staffer shoved Greenlaw, and both DiSandro and Greenlaw were ejected.

The Niners appeared to play this game with an extra chip on their shoulder following their embarrassing NFC Championship Game defeat to Philadelphia and an offseason of subsequent chirping. The Eagles, at home, likely didn’t appreciate this and Smitty was well within his right to stand up to a dirty tackle.

The NFL ‘likely to take action’

Whether or not Dom DiSandro had the requisite credentials to be on the sideline and then intervene has been up for debate ever since the incident took place, but PFT’s Mike Florio hinted at what side of the fence he’s on:

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, center, talks with down judge Danny Short (113) during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

“Team security officials are not in-game bouncers.” Florio wrote on Sunday night. “Keeping the peace is the job of the officials. Non-players who insinuate themselves into the game action risk losing access to the game area.”

Some argue that Big Dom DiSandro should absolutely have sideline access and had every reason to intervene. His job as Head of Security should involve the security of Eagles players too. Others feel that he has no business being on the sideline, but that Greenlaw shouldn’t have laid his hands on a non-player.

The actual understanding of whether Dom DiSandro should have not only had sideline access, but intervened between two players is what’s being debated now, but it’s a rare instance and one the NFL is likely to come down harsh on regardless.

What the Eagles/Niners said about the incident – (Eagles Post Game Quotes press release)

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

“Oh yeah. That is why I tried my hardest not to lose my mind. I hope I didn’t embarrass myself too bad. I didn’t get to see it all from where I’m at but when I started hearing people explain it to me and stuff, I just can’t believe someone uninvolved in a football game can taunt our players like that and put their hands in our guy’s face. From what I was told, Dre did it back to him and I was told that he mashed him in the face a little bit, so he got ejected. It was a very frustrating play. I have to watch it to have a true opinion on it. I love how we rallied after.”

On whether Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni said something to him on the way out:

“Yeah, he was awesome. He wasn’t a fan on what happened on the play either. He handled it with total class. It was real cool.”

Nick Sirianni

On the sideline sequence when Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Chief Security Officer Dom DiSandro was sent off, what was your reaction to that? (Zach Berman)

NICK SIRIANNI: Just knowing we had to move on and play the next play. So that’s all we were trying to do in that scenario, is move on, get the ball down inside the 12-yard line or something after the personal foul, and just regroup and get everybody going and play the next play. 

Just like we do when we have a bad play, a good play, bad game, good game, we’re going to have to pick ourselves up off the mat going into this week as well. 

Media pool report

Pool Report

Three questions about the sideline interaction, if you will. The first, why was Dom DiSandro asked to leave the sideline?

“The officials had a flag on the field for a personal foul by San Francisco No. 57, and then there was continuing action. And so what Rule 19 allows us to do is provide assistance by looking at the video. And we saw video that showed that there was a staff person that made contact with the player and that the player involved, No. 57, made contact with the staff member which warranted his disqualification. The non-player, he was contributing to that escalation. Rule 19 does not afford us the ability to help the officials in throwing a flag that they do not throw for a non-player. That’s only afforded for a player action.”

Philadelphia Eagles safety Sydney Brown (21) reacts after tackling San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

So that seems to actually clarify all three questions there. Just for further clarification, Dre Greenlaw was ejected for the contact with the non-player. Is that correct?


And then, there is not allowed to be a flag (from New York) on the non-player on the sideline. Is that correct?

“Yes. Rule 19 allows us to assist the officials by observing the video and using video  to assist in the administration of a foul that they called on the field. We can help them to assess a penalty against a player, but not a non-player, although we can assist with identifying the non-player who would be disqualified.”

That is very helpful. I appreciate this. Anything else about the play that I should make sure to include here?

“I can’t help but say that we felt like the officials, not only on this play but throughout the game, did a very good job of preventing the situation from escalating further. So, we commend their efforts there.”

P Photo/Matt Slocum