Football players have been faking injuries since long before Rodney Dangerfield suffered a “broken arm” while golfing. MDS took a great look at the Giants’ chicanery on Monday night, with two players pretending that they’ve fallen and they can’t get up at a time when the Rams had the New York defense on its heels with a no-huddle offense.
So what can be done about it? Not much. The official rule book explains only that the Competition Committee doesn’t approve the “feigning” of injuries, and that coaches “are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.”
Hell, the coaches are likely the ones who are encouraging it in the first place.
As discussed during Tuesday’s PFT Live, the only way to deal effectively with fake injuries is to remove the incentive for faking. The league did just that years ago, by taking away a timeout from any team that has an injury in the final two minutes of either half. To guard against fake injuries when the clock is running out, the NFL adopted a blanket, no-fault approach that essentially treats every injury during that window as a potential fake, in order to ensure that there will be none. (After a team is out of time outs, injuries in the final two minutes can result in a five-yard penalty or a 10-second runoff.)
And so when it comes to last night’s situation — a defense trying to keep up with a no-huddle offense — the fix is simple. The league should expand the rule book to strip a time out from any team with a defensive player who is injured while the opposing offense is using a no-huddle attack. No questions asked, no fingers pointed. If a guy is injured on defense while defending against a no-huddle offense, his team loses a time out.
The only real challenge would be to come up with an appropriate definition of “no-huddle offense.” But it would entail something along the lines of two or more consecutive plays snapped with 25 seconds or more on the play clock.
Either way, there’s no way to truly prove that injuries are being faked. The best way is to take away the benefit of faking.