A fan who ran on to the field, interrupting Cleveland Browns' home game against Pittsburgh Steelers, realised the hard way that pitch invasion is a very serious offence in the National Football League. He has been sentenced to the coolers for three days for his misdemeanour. Interestingly, the sentence will commence two days before the Super Bowl on February 5. He is also barred from watching the big game on the television or listening to the radio commentary.

And what more, he has been banned from attending any game featuring his favourite team, the Browns, anywhere in the country for five years after he gets out of jail on probation. He has also been ordered to perform 150 hours of community service with Browns charities.

The fan, who answers to the name Nathan Mallett, later said that he ran on to the field as he was shaken by the ignominious defeat the Cleveland Browns suffered. The Steelers handed the Browns a 41-0 hiding.

Mallett also said that he repented for his rash behaviour. In a way he was fortunate that the court did not issue the usual sentence of 30 days in prison for people running on to the pitch and holding up a game. Strange enough, one of the Steelers was responsible for Mallett's capture, as he pounced on the trespasser and pinned him down.

— Compiled by G. Raghunath