Hey, guess what players, coaches, and fans are riled up about now? A truly disgraceful act that I loathe to even put into writing. Here it goes: some football players got knocked down on a football play. It’s heinous, I know. That’s literally what happened on the final play of the Giants/Bucs game Sunday, when New York attempted to take a knee and Tampa tried to jump the ball and disrupt the snap. It got Tom Coughlin shouting in another coach’s face, and the situation has brought out such verbiage as “disgraceful,” “cheap,” “dangerous,” etc etc. from various sources.
“You don’t do that in this league…thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt,” said Coughlin, his red cheeks probably flaring bright. Coughlin’s anger that the defense would dare to make an effort against his team just proves that the kneel-down is a farce. A cop-out of a play. When time is still on the clock, nowhere in the NFL rulebook does it say that the game turns to two-hand touch just because the team with the lead wants it to. I’d understand the outburst if New York had been up by 20 in that situation, because contact between the two sides would have served no purpose. But the game was still within one score of being a tie. If Coughlin is worried about player safety, then he should do one of two things: either have his line be prepared to do some legit blocking in all situations, or bring in his backups to run the pseudo-snaps at the end.
The kneel-down has always bothered me. It’s the basketball equivalent of inbounding the ball with 15 seconds on the clock and yelling “OK NOBODY TOUCH ME UNTIL THE SHOT CLOCK RUNS OUT I DON’T WANT TO MESS THIS UP FOR MY TEAM” when you’re only up by a basket. Sorry, but your opposition is allowed to harrass you, foul you, slap the ball away, whatever is necessary once you have possession.
Screw etiquette. The league is full of egotistical, ‘roided-up, maniacally-competitive guys anyway. Drilling a defenseless player out of bounds is bad etiquette. Lining up and hitting the guy across from you once the ball is snapped is not. Maybe the NFL should look into it. I’d be willing to bet most coaches enjoy the kneel-down option, but the players not so much. Especially defensive ones.
Mike Golic of “Mike and Mike in the Morning” had a rare moment of clarity in response to the situation. Golic pointed out that the o-line will typically announce a kneel-down to the defense, yet, he says, “you know what don’t have to do if you’re a defensive team? You don’t have to acknowledge it. And if you don’t acknowledge it, you know what the offense had better do? Strap it up for the last play.”
Ah, from the mouths of Weight Watchers pushing babes….