September 18, 2012 by kujhawk
You play until the whistle blows. That is what you hear all the time from football coaches growing up. Tom Coughlin obviously doesn’t agree with that.
On the last play of the New York Giants 41-34 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, Bucs head coach Greg Schiano told his players to do just that – play until the whistle blew and try to get the ball back for a chance to tie the game even though the Giants were in their “victory” formation.
The defensive linemen for Tampa Bay bull-rushed the Giants offensive linemen, knocking them back into Quarterback Eli Manning, who fell backwards to end the game.
“That was a first,” Manning said to ESPN New York.com. “Obviously I think it is a little bit of a cheap shot. Going down, we are taking a knee, in a friendly way. They are firing off, and it’s a way to get someone hurt.”
New York head coach Tom Coughlin echoed the same sentiment.
“I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin said after the game. “You don’t do that in this league. You don’t jeopardize the offensive line, you [don’t] jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt, that I know of, a couple of linemen were late coming in [after end of game].”
Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay’s first year head coach, stood by his decision to have his players go after the ball on the last snap.
“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s not done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us game over,” Schiano said in his post-game press conference. “There’s nothing dirty about it and there’s nothing illegal about it.
I think Schiano has point there. Why should teams just concede defeat when there is still a possibility that they could win? It was a one-possession game, the ball was on the Giant’s side of the field – anything could have happened. A fumbled snap maybe? Stranger things have happened.
Now we have to listen on every single show on ESPN that covers football in some way, shape or form talk about this “controversy” in the Giants-Buccaneers game that is completely unnecessary.
“We’re not going to quit, that’s just the way I coach and teach our players,” Schiano said. “Some people were upset about it — that’s the way it goes. I don’t have any hesitation. That’s the way we play — clean, hard football until they tell us the game’s over. We crowd the ball — it’s like a sneak defense and you try to knock it loose. Watch Rutgers, they would know if they watched us that’s what we did at the end of the game.”
These seasoned pros need to understand that when someone like Schiano comes up from the college level, he may have a different coaching style than that of a veteran NFL coach like Coughlin. This is not Rutgers, coach, but, many things have changed in the NFL over the course of its history. Maybe the victory formation will start to dissolve and instead simple half back runs will be used to run out the clock. (No pun intended.)
That seems to be a long shot, considering the responses from Giants offensive linemen following the game:
“It’s just something you don’t see at this level,” Chris Snee said. “I’ve played in a lot of NFL games and really never been around that. It’s just one of those things where you have respect for the opposing team.”
“It’s nothing I’ve ever seen,” Sean Locklear said. “I think it’s a dirty play. When we’re all telling them we’re going down, they’re not gonna get the ball. They’re not gonna get the snap, we’re not gonna fumble the ball. But it’s a play that they did.”
I don’t think Sean has ever been on the bottom of a pile after a fumble. You want to talk about dirty play? I don’t even want to know what goes on in those piles. What about hair pulling when players have longer hair? It’s not a rule to not do it, but when someone does it, people call them dirty. Football is full of players generally considered “dirty” and “dirty” play. I consider what the Tampa Bay did to be the opposite of that.
I have a solution for this problem with what the Buccaneers did. I think teams will only have one way to avoid this – beat the Buccaneers so badly that when it comes time to take a knee at the end of the game, they will have no realistic reason to come off of the line hard and try to get the ball back.
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