Monday, September 17, 2012

I agree with Coughlin -- Tampa Bay was bush league Sunday

I usually devote this blog during the NFL season to the Carolina Panthers, but today I'll comment on an NFL issue that has reared up.

The New York Giants -- who come to Carolina Thursday night for an 8:20 game to be telecast both by the NFL Network and locally on Channel 9 -- had beaten Tampa Bay Sunday, 41-34. They had lined up in the "Victory Formation" to take a knee and run out the clock on the last play.

Generally, everyone just lines up and does nothing on such a play, knowing the game is over. It's much like a player dribbling out the final 15 seconds of the shot clock in an out-of-reach game. The defense stops fouling and the offense is then expected not to shoot -- that's the way it should work.

The Bucs, however, on the instruction of new head coach Greg Schiano, blasted the New York blockers and managed to knock Eli Manning down as he took the knee.

Manning and N.Y. coach Tom Coughlin called it a cheap shot afterwards and Coughlin and Schiano had a heated midfield conversation. Schiano later said there was "nothing dirty about it," and that he'd do it again and that he used to do it all the time when he was the head coach at Rutgers.

So who's right?

Coughlin. Just because something isn't technically against the rules doesn't mean you should do it.

When a basketball player is saving a ball from going out of bounds and is in midair, he could technically throw it into another player's face and break their nose to gain possession. Would this be a good idea? No. That's one reason why players are generally taught to throw the ball at the other teams' feet.

There are plenty of other instances in other sports where there are "unwritten" rules that aren't in the rulebook, from baseball to NASCAR to hockey. Most of them, though not all, are designed with sportsmanship and/or player protection in mind.

I don't like all of them. For instance, I hate the idea that baseball players always think they have to retaliate when someone gets hit by a pitch in what often turns out to be an escalating and unsafe incident.

But the ones that have to do with good sportsmanship... I like those. Look, the Bucs weren't going to get the ball on that play. They were simply taking out the team's frustration for losing a substantial lead to the Giants.

Yes, it was technically legal, you can play to the final whistle and so on. People seem to be about evenly split on whether Schiano did the right thing here or not.

But I don't think he did. I think it was cheap. The game was over, and all that was going to do was get somebody hurt.



45 comments:

Anonymous said...

And that is why you never played sports Scott. Go hard 100% until the clock strikes zero.

HThoman said...

Used to think pretty highly of Schiano. When I first saw the replay, I assumed it was rogue players. Hard to believe a coach would not only sanction, but encourage this sort of thing.

Anonymous said...

aaaaaaaaaah Scott who cares what you think! Tampa was cheated anyway! Hope the Panthers smack the Giants in the mouth Thursday night!!!

imronburgundy said...

Or, something like this could happen: http://deadspin.com/5943797/

Anonymous said...

So Coughlin is mad because his players went through the motions when the ball was snapped in an NFL game and almost got hurt? Anyone could've snapped that ball, Eli could have been on the bench. Stop crying and be ready every play or find something else to do Coughlin, he has always been a d-bag!

Anonymous said...

There's a difference to be noted - Tampa was only one score down. If you're two scores or more out with less than 30 seconds left I agree - everyone line up and play nice. But if the game can still be decided in one play, by one turnover caused by a hard hit - then go at it until the clock runs out. It's up to the other team to protect themselves. Shame on the Giants for not being ready and letting their QB take a hit.

Anonymous said...

Kinda hard to go against Schiano on this one. You play hard for 60 minutes, not 59:45. Crazier things have happened in football games. Would I be mad if this happened to the Panthers? Definitely...but Coach Ditka said it best on Mike and Mike this AM..."What do they have pads on for? If the offensive linemen can't see that the d-line is down low in their stances before the ball is snapped, getting ready to fire off the ball, then it's on them if they get hurt."

Anonymous said...

And what would people be saying if they got to him before the knee, recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD?

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with Scott here. It was a meaningless play and Schiano would have been crucified if somebody had blown out a knee because of it. You're not at Rutgers playing Temple anymore. This is the NFL. Grow up.

Michael said...

Well now people know to run-block hard on kneeldowns against the Bucs.

Anonymous said...

I have zero problem with what the Bucs did. The difference in the game was only seven points--not 10 or 20--and you never know what might happen. If you're going to put the ball in play be ready for the action.

Anonymous said...

Everyone pretty much agrees Fowler is bush league every day of the week and always has been.

Anonymous said...

Please ... Such babies and wussies

There was a stunt blitz and he was trying to get to the QB before he took a knee to cause a fumble since the Bucs wee down only a TD.

Wake up. Manning was barely hit too.

Manning was hit hit as hard as Newton got hit all day Sunday and last year. Wus stuff as usual.

John said...

Coach Schiano, welcome to the NFL. Now, here's the memo: They do things differently in the Pros than in College... that's why it's called "The Pros". Next time, they'll just run up the score against you!

J said...

There is very little difference between this and the bounty program. The principles are similar - the bounty program establishes a culture that encourages hits that cause injuries, and the only way the defense is going to get the ball back in this formation is to injure the QB.

Who knew Schiano went to the Gregg Williams school of coaching? He's not going to last long at this level.

knows said...

100% cheap shot. The first poster has never played team sports or he would know better. Bush league, low blow, cheap shot. Not unexpected, but sad.

Anonymous said...

Schiano just a bully. I agree with Scott and Tom Couglin.

No_clue777 said...

I tend to agree with you on this one Scott....Tampa just announced to the entire league that they will "play" this way....and all of the other teams, when afforded the opportunity, will run them into the ground.....and by the way....coach.....no one watched you at Rutgers...please.

Anonymous said...

One of the players (can't remember who) said "we do as we are coached" and Coach Schiano said he's done it before, and he'll do it again.

While, yes, if there is a chance you can win a game, you should play to the final whistle, but this was not the case. When a QB is taking a knee, as soon as he is touched, he is down, so what did Tampa think they were going to do? Cause a fumble without touching Manning? That was just poor sportsmanship.

Anonymous said...

I AGREE WITH THEM(NFL). IF A TEAM IS DOWN BY TWO POINTS OR SO. AND THE OTHER TEAM IS LIKE LET'S SAY AT THE 20 OR 30 YARD LINE. WHY NOT TRY TO GET A FUMBLE AND GET IT BACK AND TRY TO KICK A GAME WINNING FG. I KNOW ITS GOING TO BE A RIPPLE EFFECT FROM THIS DAY FORWARD WITH OTHER TEAMS DOING THIS. BUT HEY. ITS ONLY IF ITS WORTH DOING IF YOU DOWN BY LIKE TWO SCORES WITH LITTLE TIME ON THE CLOCK, THEN NO YOU SHOULDNT.

Anonymous said...

Teams dribble out the clock when the lead is insurmountable, not a one possession game. TB had a right to play hard and NYG should have been prepared.

PathersFan84 said...

Scott,

I sometimes read your posts but have never commented before. The only reason I am now is because I think this post is particularly ridiculous.

How can you be upset with the Bucs? It was a one score game with time left on the clock. Despite the odds being very low that Eli would fumble the snap, there IS a chance that it could happen. If that did happen there was enough time to get one more play off if the Bucs recovered and they were close enough that it wouldnt of had to have been a hail marry to tie the game up. The Bucs aggressiveness actually knocked Eli over - greatly increasing the chance of a fumble.

If you are against this type of play because of the low probability of success and the (even lower) chance of injury, are you also against teams that are down by one score trying to win it in the final seconds if they are beyond hail marry range? For example if they are down 6 on their own 20 with time for one last play, should they just take a knee to not risk injury? The odds of scoring from there are just as low but I'd wager you would say they should give it a try anyway - even though the chance of injury is much much higher than trying to knock the ball out on a kneel down.

And your basketball reference is perhaps the most ridiculous. If the game is out of reach then yes, teams let the other team run the clock out. But if it's a one score game (or even a two score game) I think they may try to get the ball back and win the game. Now if the Bucs do what they did in the final seconds of a 2 score game that is another thing completely - and perhaps you thought that was the case here...

annielew said...

I am bad at math, but 41-34 means one touchdown would tie. Heck no the game is not over - there is always fumbles and runs for a touchdown. Tampa was denied the last chance. (And I am an old lady who has never played football.)

Anonymous said...

Playing until the whistle blows isn't a new concept, but competitive athletes aren't out to hurt someone soley to take out frustration at the end of any game. Scott is right on, and people who have played competitive sports know why.

Anonymous said...

If you didn't play sports you really shouldn't have an opinion.

Anonymous said...

I wish Carolina should have blasted Tampa o-line in week 1 during their victory formation and knocked few o-line men on IR. I wonder if tampa coach would welcome that.

Anonymous said...

Your title says it all, "Bush League". Schiano can say what he wants, but if I'm any other coach in the league the rest of the year I don't let off the gas at all, at any point, with any lead. According to his logic, you should try to kick a field goal as time expires with a 30 point lead...just in case something happens. He's an idiot and his team and players will pay the price for it this season.

Anonymous said...

Scott is wrong on this one. You do not quit until the final whistle. They got to Eli, so there was a chance they could have reached the ball. Since we are comparing basketball, why foul at the end of the game when your losing? Because there is always hope, even if you know more than likely sending the best free throw shooter on team is going to lead to your team losing. Bucs where only down 7 points, so who knows what happens if the ball hits the ground. If Tom wasn't worried, why have a player 10 yards behind Eli and two player directly next to him? Because there is always a chance.

Anonymous said...

If Schiano truly is committed to playing until the clock reads zero, then why did they line up in the V-formation against us last week 3 times with them only leading by 6 points. Talking out of both sides of your mouth. I call it a cheap shot!

seamac3 said...

vystedlScott seems to have forgotten totally about one of the most famous plays in NFL history.. The Miracle at the Meadowlands.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, they had the right to play until the clock hit zero, but really??? Thats the reputation you want to have your first year coaching in the NFL? I'm all for being tough and competitve, but that just seemed kind of dirty.

Anonymous said...

Extremely bush league by the Tampa Bay Bucs. There's a couple of things people are missing 1)It was 59:55 left. And I understand the whole play hard to the last tick of the clock mentality (I played football). I also understand the whole tough guy, never die mentality. But this was more of a display of frustration and sore-loser persona. Schiano team squandered a 2 score lead and mismanaged all there time outs. Also college teams never do what Schiano did because that's a great way to get people hurt. Remember for us this is entertainment, for the players this is there living. Worst of all is the way they lined up. If you watch closely 3 linemen got really low on Baas to cut him. Schiano just put a big bulls eye on all his players. Wait and see how NFL teams react.

Anonymous said...

In the NFL this is bush league. If this has happened before we would have referenced it at some point. In college, yes I can understand it. In high school, I've used this succesfully as a coach so I know it can work.

But unlike college and high school, this is these guys livelihood and it's an understood practice that in this situation, you accept it as it is and move on to the next week.

All Schiano has done was guarantee his players will possible get hurt the next time a kneeldown situation happens for them. And I agree, I wish we as the Panthers blasted their ass when they were kneeling last week. Wonder what Schiano would have said then? Total BS

Anonymous said...

Comparing this to the scenarios referred toC regarding basketball is not apples to apples. If you're down 1 possession and the offense is running out the clock, you're going to foul. In the football game TB was only down 1 possession so NY should have expected what occurred. Coughlin needs to quit crying. If Eli would've fumbled and TB picked it up and ran it in for a TD this would've been a different article.

Anonymous said...

The Bucs players went at the knees of the Giant's linemen with a 1 in 1,000 chance of having anything happen to affect the outcome of the game. Bush league...

Anonymous said...

Sorry Scott - I'm with Schiano on this one, play to the clock hits 0:00.

The Giants obviously thought the game was still in jeopardy as they flanked Manning with two RBs and had another 15 yards behind him.

The Bucs didn't make any attempt to disguise their formation as well and, given what happened in New England Sunday with Ryan Williams fumbling and giving the Patriots life, I think the Bucs were 100% in the right to take a shot. Maybe this will lead to the victory formation changing to a long snap or something... but just imagine if the Bucs forced a fumble and ran it back for a TD. Nobody would be discussing bush-league tactics, they'd be discussing the greatest regular season game ever and an epic ballsy play.

Anonymous said...

If Schiano wants to play that way, then it's fine. I just think any team that plays the Bucs from now on shouldn't even do the victory formation regardless of score. If I was playing them, I don't care if I'm up 35-7 with 1:30 left. I'm running up the score.

billt said...

if they were playing 100% for every play wouldn't it have made sense not to let down when the giants scored the last touchdown, seems that a botched field goal would have had a higher percentage of missing then actually going hard on the last play. But really why wasnt the bucs d playing hard for the previous 29:55 seconds when they couldn't stop eli, nothing illegal, bush yes

Anonymous said...

BOOOOO to this post. It's not as if the Giants haven't lost a game on a fumble on the last play before (Miracle at the Meadowlands people?). Why would you concede a defeat when there's still a chance, however slim, of still winning the game?

Save the unwritten rules for baseball.

Doug said...

Schiano's arguement losses all credibility in the fact that TB let the clock go to 5 seconds without calling their final time out. Had there been a fumble in the scrum that was created and TB recovered, they still had no time left to do even get a play off. Had they really been "fighting to the end, or the full 60 minutes" as they say, he'd have called the timeout to give his team a chance after recovering the fumble he was trying to create. Sorry, folks, Schiano showed he was a sore loser, with his players diving at the knees of the Giants line. Hopefully the next time TB is in that situation the opposing team doesn't dive at the TB players legs. At that point, you're just risking injury to these highly paid athletes on both sides. Live to fight another day, with no injuries.

Anonymous said...

Giants 45 - Panthers 3
GO GIANTS!

Anonymous said...

The Saints were within one score when the Panthers had a kneeldown in the game Sunday. What did the Saints do? They acted like professionals, which isn't their style.

Mr D said...

I say the next team that lines up in victory formation against the Bucs should fake a kneel down and send a receiver deep in hopes of scoring a TD. Wonder if the Bucs would cry unfair then?

Anonymous said...

Scott i was looking at your photo. It appears you are falling out of your chair. I know I almost fell out of mine when I read that you agreed with Coughlin.

Anonymous said...

I like the Gaints and don't like the Tampa Bay Coach. But when the Bucs lined up (and they had every right to go for a turnover) the Gaints should have know they were coming. The Gaints should have got low and ready for assualt.