Schiano’s Controversial Play: Rushing The Offense On A Kneel Down
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By Kyra Hallett
You are either on one side of the fence or the other. There seems to be no middle ground on this stance. Which coach was wrong, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano or the New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin?
The controversy started at the end of Sunday’s game. Leading 41-34, the Giants took over the ball on downs at the New York 29 yard line with five seconds left in the game. The Giants prepared to kneel down on the next play to run out the clock, but the Bucs did something no one expected. They rushed the line, pushing the offensive line over into quarterback Eli Manning, causing him to fall on his back. The Bucs’ defense was hoping to cause a fumble, giving their quarterback Josh Freeman enough time for one shot in the end zone. But that did not happen, resulting in an uproar.
After the game, Coughlin hunted down Schiano to give him a piece of his mind. Instead of the normal “good game” handshake, they both ripped into one another.
Coughlin felt like that play could injure the offensive line and quarterback. He hinted to the fact this is something done in college, not in the NFL. Manning felt like it was a cheap shot. Defensive end Justin Tuck thought it was a classless play. Offensive tackle Sean Locklear felt it was dirty play. Several of the veterans said they have never seen anything like it.
Schiano felt that the play was clean, and that there was nothing dirty or illegal about it.
“We fight until they tell us ‘game over’,” Schiano said. The mission was to crowd the ball and knock it loose. Schiano said, “That’s the way we play — clean, hard football until they tell us the game’s over.”
From an NFL point of view, the play wasn’t illegal; there is nothing in the rule book stating that you cannot rush the offense on a kneel-down. The NFL decided no punishment needed to be taken.
A NFL spokesperson said, “There were no violations on the play or afterwards that would require follow up from our office.”
Many past players have come out to support Schiano’s decision of “playing the game until it’s over.” Those in support include Mike Golic, Cris Carter, Ron Joworski, Joe Namath and Mike Ditka. Ditka feels that Coughlin is wrong, and that you need to finish the game. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke out saying that he always felt that the kneel-down is a wasted play for the fans.
Not the First Time for Coughlin
This was not the first time that Couhglin has made a scene after a game on the field. In 2010, he yelled at his 22-year old punter Matt Dodge on the field, in front of all the cameras after the loss.
Many claim that it is an unwritten rule that the defense just stands when the offense goes to kneel, but what if the defense is not on their toes? A quarterback could potentially act like he’s going to kneel or spike the ball and then throw to an open receiver.
The game football is meant to be played hard, hence the helmet and pads. Football is a physical game and it needs to be played out to the full 60 minutes. Maybe coach Schiano is just the person to remind people of that fact.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.