Sometimes there are things that happen in the NFL you either can’t explain or infuriate you to no end because they are just inexplicable. No one in their right mind can explain these acts, or should even try to for that matter. Greg Schiano, head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, performed one of these acts at the end of their loss to the New York Giants.
Allow me to set the stage.
The Bucs played well in the first half, turning three Eli Manning turnovers into 21 points. They took a 24-13 lead into the locker rooms at half time, but proceeded to allow 25 points in the fourth quarter and blew a 14 point lead. Needless to say, they were not at all happy with the situation.
But that doesn’t excuse what transpired at the end of the game. The Bucs nearly came back at the end to tie the game, which ended up being a 41-34 final, but lost it when Josh Freeman threw an interception to Michael Boley.
The game was over. The Giants lined up in victory formation, ready to simply end the game and walk off the field. But, reportedly on Schiano’s orders, the Bucs defenders launched at the knees of offensive lineman and went after Manning low, I suppose trying to make something happen.
Schiano’s explanation for this was that his teams don’t quit, and that they play “until someone tells [them] game over.”
“I don’t know if that’s not something that’s done in the National Football League,” Schiano said. “What I do with our football team is that we fight until they tell us game over. And there’s nothing dirty about it, there’s nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball like a sneak defense and try to knock it loose. If people watched Rutgers, they would know that’s what we do at the end of a game. We’re not going to quit, that’s just the way I coach and teach our players. If some people are upset about it, that’s just the way it goes. I don’t have any hesitation. That’s the way we play. We play clean, hard football until they tell us the game is over.”
OK, that’s all well and good, but then how do you explain not going all out for the ball when the Giants took a knee to end the first half? Oh, I know, it’s because you were winning and had not yet blown a two-touchdown lead. It’s because that’s not the reason you told your defense to go after knees. You told them to do that because you were upset and reacted like a 5-year old girl who had her Barbie doll taken from her, rather than a respectable NFL head coach.
The play was absolutely meaningless, and had a 0.0000001 percent chance of resulting in a fumble.
Tom Coughlin had some choice words for Schiano on the field and at his press conference after the game.
“I don’t think you do that at this level, you don’t do that in this league,” Coughlin said. “You jeopardize the offensive line, you jeopardize the quarterback. Thank goodness we didn’t get anybody hurt that we know of.”
There is no room for that in the NFL. Seriously, how many times has that actually yielded desired results? Not only that, but is it really necessary to go after knees? That, to me, is the difference in going hard to the final whistle and the crap the Bucs pulled. There was intent to injure there, or at least just give a final screw you to the Giants for the way they came back and won the game. In either case, it wasn’t simply going to the final whistle.
Schiano is a bum, and the NFL should take action.
Rodney Harrison, who was voted the NFL’s dirtiest player in his career multiple times, even thought this was a bush league play.
“You don’t do it on the last play of the game. You do it for quarter one through quarter four.”
What makes it worse is the Tampa Bay players didn’t even seem to agree with the decision, and told the Giants players as such after the game.
“One of the guys said after the play, ‘It’s a cheap shot, but coach told us to do it.’” Sean Locklear said. “You could look on their faces, it was one of those things where they didn’t want to do it but you do what you’re told.”
If commissioner Roger Goodell truly believes safety is of the utmost importance, he’ll come down on Schiano for this. I wouldn’t say it was so bad that he deserves suspension, but a fine that would deter this kind of crap from happening in the future is not out of the question.
Just all kinds of wrong with what went on at the end of this game.