In proposing that the NFL simply charge a timeout to the defensive team when a defensive player suffers an injury while defending against the no-huddle offense, we’ve argued that the league already has instituted a rule that strips a team of a timeout for any injury occurring in the final two minutes of either half, presumably to remove the incentive to fake injuries.
NFL spokesman Michael Signora advises PFT that the origin of the rule dates to 1939.
The memo that was sent today by the league to all teams, a portion of which previously was published by Steve Wyche of NFL.com, addresses the possibility of charging a time out whenever an injury occurs. We’ve obtained the portion that addresses the possibility of taking away a timeout for injuries occurring in the first 28 minutes of either half.
“The Competition Committee has reviewed this issue several times, but has been reluctant to propose a specific rule, since assessing a charged timeout for every injury timeout would deprive a team of timeouts for strategic purposes,” the memo states. “It also could encourage injured players to remain in the game at risk to themselves to avoid incurring a charged team timeout. To avoid the necessity of a rule with many unattractive qualities, teams are strongly urged to cooperate with this policy [against the faking of injuries]. We have been fortunate that teams and players have consistently complied with the spirit of the rule over the years and this has not been an issue for the NFL. We are determined to take all necessary steps to ensure that it does not become an issue.”
We’re not sure that we agree with the next-to-last sentence. Indeed, the memo was necessitated by the fact that one of the league’s most storied franchises made a mockery of the situation on Monday night, with two guys falling down while the Rams had the Giants on their heels with a no-huddle offense.
Moreover, the memo ignores the possibility of expanding the current rules ever so slightly to encompass injuries occurring when the offense clearly is operating without a huddle, which gives rise to the temptation to fake a cramp. While “a charged timeout for every injury timeout would deprive a team of timeouts for strategic purposes,” a charged timeout when the defense is in a situation that invites fake injuries will do more to address the problem of fake injuries than a hollow threat to bring everyone to the principal’s office if it appears that injuries are being faked.
The league already “encourage[s] injured players to remain in the game at risk to themselves to avoid incurring a charged team timeout” during the final two minutes of each half. Expanding that rule to cover the defensive team when an offense is using a no-huddle attack continues to be the easiest solution to a problem that has caused plenty of embarrassment for the league over the past three days.