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NFL huffs, puffs regarding fake injuries

The specter of fake injuries has the big, bad wolf at the front door of the house in which the three (plus 29) little pigs reside.

Steve Wyche of reports that the league sent a memo to all teams today warning against phony injuries for strategic advantage.

“Should the league office determine that there is reasonable cause, all those suspected in being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office in New York to discuss the matter,” the memo states.  “Those found to be violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action for conduct detrimental to the game.  Discipline could include fines of coaches, players and clubs, suspensions or forfeiture of draft choices.”


The NFL will do nothing about fake injuries, unless someone is dumb enough to admit it.

Wyche says that the memo also explains the league doesn’t have any rules against players feigning injuries because that could cause players who truly are hurt to stay on the field and jeopardize their health to prevent a penalty.  Whoever wrote the memo apparently isn’t aware of the fact that the NFL at one point changed the rules to charge any team with a time out when a player is injured in the final two minutes of either half, even if the player is truly injured — and even if the clock otherwise was stopped after the play on which the injury occurred.  And so there’s already a rule on the books that could cause players who are truly hurt to stay on the field.  And it’s been on the books for a while.

Thus, the easy solution continues to be the removal of a time out from the defensive team, if a player suffers an injury while the offense is operating a no-huddle attack.

Until then, the only thing the NFL can do is threaten to blow down the house of any team that can’t properly pull off the Sgt. Schulz routine if/when summoned to meet with the Commish.

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60 Responses to “NFL huffs, puffs regarding fake injuries”
  1. afc22 says: Sep 21, 2011 2:56 PM

    simple solution….anyone who’s hurt needs to stay out for at least 3 defensive snaps or the team is charged with a timeout

  2. greymares says: Sep 21, 2011 2:56 PM

    time to go 5 timeouts a 1/2 and injuries count like the little league.

  3. redrifle14 says: Sep 21, 2011 2:59 PM

    Yeah but when 2 players go down like limp d*cks after not even being touch their should be a common sense clause. I personally think when players fake injuries and make real injured players look bad, they should be ejected out of the game, or atleast the quarter. Ive seen better sportsmanship and ethics in Pee Wee football.

  4. xli2006 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:00 PM

    The NFL sat idle for years when this was going on in some major games, not sure why a 2nd week game should be the catalyst over the other more notable blatantly obvious situations. Better late than never, but where were they for the last 5-10 years when No-Huddle Teams were getting abused by cowardly players and shady coaches?

  5. ezra954 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:02 PM

    The only real way to stop this is to make a team that does this to lose that player for one play and see how his team likes playing 11-10

  6. b7p19 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:03 PM

    I love the way that memo is written. The key portion as far as i’m concerned is”

    “…all those suspected in being involved in faking injuries will be summoned promptly to this office in New York to discuss the matter,”

    Basically, Roger is saying “if you’re going to lie to me, you’re going to have to do it to my face.” Telling a blatent lie to someones face is not something everyone is able/willing to do. It’s easy to do through the media.

  7. grilledjesus says: Sep 21, 2011 3:03 PM

    Heck, if watching those two G-Men fall down on monday isn’t “reasonable cause” then what is?

  8. meyerla says: Sep 21, 2011 3:05 PM

    Deciding if a team is about to go no huddle could be an issue. A simple change to help would be to only allow so many injury timeouts (say 3 in a half) before you start charging timeouts for an injured player

  9. scarletmacaw says: Sep 21, 2011 3:06 PM

    Enough already. This dead horse is now one with the earth.

  10. armchairqb says: Sep 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    And exactly what kind of substantive proof would they use that the injuries were faked in order to levy these sanctions? The video tape of those flops? Sorry, not good enough.

    This is a PR statement by the league office, and all 32 teams know it’s little more than a finger-wag.

    Drop this story already.

  11. mn1bjb says: Sep 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    It is to easy to be critical of the NFL regarding this. How about suggesting a solution instead? The problem is, there isn’t a good one.

  12. alphaq2 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    “Thus, the easy solution continues to be the removal of a time out from the defensive team, if a player suffers an injury while the offense is operating a no-huddle attack.”

    And if the defense is out of time outs then the offense should be given the option of tacking 10 to 15 seconds onto the clock or they can decline the extra time if they so choose.

  13. time2speakup says: Sep 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    It is rather hard to believe that reasonably intelligent people (I know, that’s a gross assumption on my part – however) actually not only wrote this pointless edict, but went ahead and mailed it. Unbelieveable! Wyche stated that the only way a smack down would happen would be if a “… player, coach or club admitted…” Oh, please! What was the point of writing?

  14. jimmytwotimes says: Sep 21, 2011 3:07 PM

    The should have sent Maclin one for that fake me out injury when he got pushed in by Dunti !

  15. greenbirdbacker says: Sep 21, 2011 3:08 PM

    No, the easiest way to address this problem and stay with the NFL’s desire to increase player safety is to keep any player who leaves the field due to injury out of action until the next possession or the next set of downs, whether the player is on offense or defense. I would also like to see this applied to players flagged for a personal foul. If the injury or the penalty occurs during the final two minutes, take a timeout, remove the player for the remainder of the game, and assess a 15 yard penalty.

    I hope the Gnats try this crap @ the Linc. What’s the over/under on # of gnats on ir next monday?

  16. vernhh says: Sep 21, 2011 3:09 PM

    Gee Roger, if you feel that strongly about it CHANGE THE STUPID RULE! As it is now any player that would be called onto the carpet by Sir Roger will say, “honest your holiness, I felt a twinge in the hammy-groin-back-neck-whatever,” or the eternal favorite “I cramped up.”

    Nothing worse than an uneforceable law or rule with no teeth in it.

  17. tundey says: Sep 21, 2011 3:11 PM

    You keep saying charge a time out to the defense but what happens when the defense has no more time outs?

  18. billinva says: Sep 21, 2011 3:13 PM

    Puhleeeeeese, you should have done something already and you know it!

  19. thedmurph says: Sep 21, 2011 3:14 PM

    So make players sit out more than one play (a series maybe?) so the cost of faking an injury increases.

    Alternatively, understand that defenses should be afforded a reasonable amount of time to make substitutions and recognize that fake injuries are one of their only ways to deal with the more wide open game the league has encouraged.

  20. boswivel says: Sep 21, 2011 3:15 PM

    Aww, poor Roger can’t figure out who to fine.

  21. londonbengal says: Sep 21, 2011 3:19 PM

    For a fraction of a second there, I thought this was a story regarding Sam Huff.

    I wonder what Huff, Nitzscke, Karras, Lambert, Bednarik and those guys would have to say about fake injuries……?

  22. ebenezergrymm says: Sep 21, 2011 3:19 PM

    “the easy solution continues to be the removal of a time out from the defensive team, if a player suffers an injury while the offense is operating a no-huddle attack.”

    Is not the easy solution because teams would go no huddle constantly. As the defense gets gassed the chance of an injury increases and thus the team losing a timeout.

    You’d see no huddle everywhere all the time.

    The easy rule would simply be that the player who fakes it has to leave for the remainder of the half or possibly the whole game.

  23. skinnyskins says: Sep 21, 2011 3:19 PM

    Simple solution:

    If a player goes down with an injury, he must stay off the field for at least 5 plays (right now it is at 1). This will make it much more costly to fake an injury.

  24. deviantfate says: Sep 21, 2011 3:21 PM

    We should really stop trying to legislate away the imperfections in the game. PFT says take a timeout away, but what about when someone honestly gets hurt while the opponent is running a hurry up? Not fair for teams to be losing precious timeouts.

    This is one of those things that just cant be fixed and probably shouldnt be, if its not so obvious a fake and the D does a good job of disguising it, then as far as i’m concerned it is PART OF THE GAME. Again, stop trying to legislate away every little competitive inconsistency that exists in the game and realize that as long as one D cant fake injury, so can their opponents. Thus a level playing field exists without doing anything.

  25. jmills147 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:22 PM

    get over it already…it was a veteran move, and teams do it all the time…it’s only a big deal because it happened on MNF…but there are plenty of REAL football stories happening in the football world today, so why so much fuss about a non-story??

  26. blaz0037 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:23 PM

    Thus, the easy solution continues to be the removal of a time out from the defensive team, if a player suffers an injury while the offense is operating a no-huddle attack.

    Ok, for the 50th time, we get it.

  27. favreforever says: Sep 21, 2011 3:23 PM

    With no one listening to their song, the three little NFL officials decided to put on earrings with lipstick, then take themselves out to the dance.

  28. habsman says: Sep 21, 2011 3:23 PM

    Oh oh, another memo to 32 teams.

  29. Magic blueberry says: Sep 21, 2011 3:24 PM

    The NBA had the same problem in the 1980’s. What did they do about it? They added a 20-second timeout. Seems to have worked.

  30. ninernation says: Sep 21, 2011 3:28 PM

    Why not just require the ‘injured’ player to miss two series? Since the league cares so much about player safety, that would be easy to implement, and provide solid reasoning.

  31. S says: Sep 21, 2011 3:30 PM

    I’m sure that when the league sent around a memo to the teams telling them not to video tape opposing teams signals everyone laughed it off too. After all, every one knew that every one was doing it…

    $750k in fines and the loss of a first round draft pick seems to have ended that practice rather quickly. And if I recall correctly the existence of the said memo being sent around was used to justify the fine and loss of pick as a penalty.

    Perhaps the league is sending the memo around and will use it to make an example out of a team for fake injuries?

  32. 1captain1 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:32 PM

    Fake injuries are jsut part of the game and ALWAYS have been.

  33. naeem42 says: Sep 21, 2011 3:33 PM

    Fake injuries are the most overblown non story of this season.

  34. bullcharger says: Sep 21, 2011 3:34 PM

    It’s impossible to stop faking of injuries. It’s entirely possible someone could cramp up and entirely possible they could come back on the next play. If players fake an injury on their own and not via direction from coaches there is no way to know if it is fake or real unless they admit it.

    It’s just smart to use that tactic once in a while… The Giants are just fools for making it so obvious.

    As a Patriots fan, it’s great news that the league is scaring teams away from faking injuries since it looks like Brady and Belichick want to run the no-huddle on every possession.

  35. 4cmncents says: Sep 21, 2011 3:36 PM

    The best way to stop the faking of injuries is to require the injured player to sit out 5 minutes of game time. If it is a true injury – no team penalty. If it is fake- the team is down one player.

  36. gcsuk says: Sep 21, 2011 3:37 PM

    Enough. Stop. Please. No more. Can we put this “story” to rest?

  37. halftermguv says: Sep 21, 2011 3:40 PM

    I truly believe that NY Giant’s safety Deon Grant was experiencing cramps and not faking.

    However trainers failed to mention that they were MENSTRUAL CRAMPS, because that was the biggest P*SSY MOVE I’ve ever seen.

  38. mikeoreo says: Sep 21, 2011 3:42 PM

    Huff, Puff, pass?

  39. buddycianci says: Sep 21, 2011 3:53 PM

    Any player that forces an injury timeout should not return to the field for a minimum of 5 game minutes.

  40. preludetosmack says: Sep 21, 2011 3:54 PM

    It’s really not that hard to fix the problem.

    Currently if a player is ‘injured’ on a play they have to sit out at least one play before re-entering the game.

    That’s not enough of a detriment to keep some who needs a break (or who knows 3 of his brothers in battle need breaks) from taking a dive… they’re doing it either because they need to regroup or need a rest… That’s exactly what is granted via a fake injury.

    Instead, increase the ‘consequences’ for getting injured to missing the remainder of the quarter OR 5 minutes of game time, whichever is GREATER.

    If the injury occurs within the final two minutes of the game, the player may not re-enter the game AND the team will be charged a timeout.

    You will not see so many cramps, tweaked ankles, or other unverifable injuries when a player must miss a significant portion of the game.

    This isn’t soccer and you don’t live in Cleveland.

  41. kevpft says: Sep 21, 2011 3:54 PM

    I wonder how the use of soccer’s “injury time” concept would affect the play of NFL games. When a soccer player is injured (or there are other similar delays), the delay time is tracked and a comparable amount of time is added on at the end of the match, and play continues straight through the end of regulation until that extra time is used up.

    I can see pros and cons for that in football, which, as a one-play-at-a-time sport, is a bit different. Wonder what anyone else thinks of the idea.

  42. mike83ri says: Sep 21, 2011 3:54 PM

    You’d have to think the threat of getting suspended or losing draft picks will at least make teams consider pulling back on it.

  43. quiettexan says: Sep 21, 2011 3:55 PM

    i think if it becomes a problem you make a rule that if a player goes out with an injury he has to stay out for the rest of that teams series (offense or defense)

    that’ll slow it down…

  44. laserw says: Sep 21, 2011 3:55 PM

    The NFL needs to grant each team five injury timeouts per game. Once those are used up, then there should be a 15 yard penalty for the team with a hurt player to discourage unethical use of the timeouts. This penalty of 15 yards would not be assessed during a play where the injury was a result of a personal foul (noted by the yellow flag) by the other team.

    The game should be stopped for injured players, but there must be an end of the games being played against teams with high powered offenses by defenses that are faking.

    Rules for inside 2 minutes should continue – offense loses 10 seconds but should also lose a game injury timeout; defense should lose game injury timeout AND be penalized 5 yards and an immediate clock stoppage as if the offense had called a timeout with clock resuming when the ball is hiked. Again, any injury resulting from a flagged offense of personal foul shall not be counted in the under 2 minute period of each half or overtime period.

  45. preludetosmack says: Sep 21, 2011 3:58 PM

    I should also add, if the injury occurs inside 2 minutes remaining in the game and the team has no remaining timeouts, a 20 second run-off will occur if the injured player is on offense, and a 5-yard delay of game penalty with automatic first-down will be enforced.

  46. preludetosmack says: Sep 21, 2011 4:04 PM

    Man, we need the ability to edit. The 20 second runoff would be for players on offense.

    The 5-yard delay of game penalty and automatic first down would be for an ‘injured’ player on defense.

  47. hoobsher says: Sep 21, 2011 4:04 PM

    have i mentioned i hate the giants?

  48. dienavinjohnson says: Sep 21, 2011 4:07 PM

    The Patriots were victimized by this last week, at least twice. Of course, the Patriots’ own Willie McGinest pulled one of the all time great fake injuries against the Colts back in 2006. So they can’t be, and haven’t been, complaining.

    If Bill “I Use My Post On The Competition Committee To Shepherd Rules Changes That Will Benefit The Colts” Polian didn’t get anything done about this after 2006, nobody will ever get it changed. I did hear one guy saying that they could change the rule on injuries to “you come out injured, you don’t get to go back in for the rest of that defensive series.” This would definitely deter a defense from faking injuries.

    Perhaps they could reduce that to you can’t come back in for 4 plays. The fake injuries usually happen after a first down conversion and this would guarantee that an injured player have a least a set of downs to “recover” before going back in.

    Of course, I’m referring to defensive injuries. Faked injuries are very rare on offense. Maybe you’re out of timeouts and want to give the FG team time to get on the field without rushing things. I can’t think of too many other scenarios where it’s an issue on offense.

  49. simplesimon1 says: Sep 21, 2011 4:11 PM

    Actually, you don’t need to penalize or make a team use a time out at all. It could easily be solved by doing the following.

    Any player, and or players, that are “injured” during the game, whether real or not, have to sit out a minimum, predetermined amount of time much more serious than the “one play” as it now stands.

    For example, if a player is injured, real or not, make the sit out last at least the following possession. Less people will hit the turf if they know they’re about to miss nearly a quarter of play for doing it.

  50. steelerer says: Sep 21, 2011 4:29 PM

    Isn’t there a tampering story to investigate. This story is dead now

  51. edgarpoe2 says: Sep 21, 2011 4:36 PM

    Why are they sending this memo out now? wasn’t this already in the books?

  52. patriotinvasion says: Sep 21, 2011 4:39 PM

    New York Giant-CHEATS! Obviously a systematic plan of cheating that definitely goes back to how they stopped the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII*…which now and forever will have an asterisk. It is TAINTED….the Giants are filthy CHEATERS led by Tom Coughcheat.

    Pretty odd that they gave up 38 points 5 weeks prior and the only 14 in the Super Bowl. Injury faking CHEATERS!

    Super Bowl XLII Champs*


  53. mogogo1 says: Sep 21, 2011 4:48 PM

    How many sides of their mouth can the NFL talk out of at the same time? All you hear is “It’s all about preventing injuries” until suddenly it becomes “We’re going to fine you if we think you’re faking injuries.”

    They already have lawsuits against them by former players about them not doing enough to prevent concussions and head injuries. I’m sure those lawyers would LOVE to be able to enter into evidence a current example of the NFL fining somebody for supposedly faking an injury, along with a doctor’s report about how the guy actually was hurt.

  54. mornelithe says: Sep 21, 2011 5:01 PM

    Brady actually spoke on this subject today at the Patriots press-conference. He said it doesn’t really concern him as he doesn’t want to risk taking the focus away from people who are truly injured. So, it’s basically something he’ll deal with when/if it should arise.

    That having been said, it’s pretty sad that you’d have to fake an injury (be it the Patriots or not), because your D or O-line isn’t prepared enough to deal with no-huddle offense.

    People who love to foam at the mouth over the whole ‘spygate’ thing, should certainly be just as vocal about this, since it is, for all intents and purposes, cheating.

  55. skinsrock says: Sep 21, 2011 5:01 PM

    Hey Mike… We don’t need no new stinking rules… I’m tired… Every time something happens in this world… Oh, now we need a new stinking rule…. I’m tired of everyone’s stinking rules… haha

  56. artisan3m says: Sep 21, 2011 5:08 PM

    Seems to me that if fake injuries are part of the strategy, teams would be at least smart enough for it to be a DL or LB. You know, someone who might be actually hit during the course of the play. But I agree ~ this is just so much bluster from the league commissioner. He’s well known for that anyway.

  57. tjstyles says: Sep 21, 2011 5:37 PM

    deviantfate, it most certainly is fair to take a timeout away from them. There is a reason a team runs hurry-up offense; it makes it harder to defend. When the opposing team can slow down the pace of the hurry-up offense, it gives them an advantage. Timeouts are the tool given to defenses to do this, so if they stop play like that, they should have to give a timeout.

    It sucks when a player gets injured. I like to see highly competitive games, so I like when everybody (including my opponents) are at full health. But, if someone gets injured, there should be something given to the other team when that injury interferes with their game strategy. It goes both ways; an injury on the offense should not give the offense time to get their play together beyond the play clock. If they don’t want to take timeouts away, then a 5-yard penalty would be fine, IMO. Delay of game is a delay of game, especially if it turns out that the player fakes the injury just to buy some time.

  58. brintfatre says: Sep 21, 2011 6:00 PM

    “This office in New York” are the key words in the statement. Giants and Jets will always get a free pass… any other team will be deal with strictly!

  59. olcap says: Sep 21, 2011 6:21 PM

    Being the rich kid that has always gotten everything he wanted, the only life Goodell has ever known, he can’t stand to know that a huge percentage of NFL fans have no respect for him, and think he’s a clown who’s ruining the game. I’m sure he knows the feelings of most on this site, at the very least. Being that he has absolutely nothing to do on most days, I’m sure he checks for stories in which he is mentioned, several times a day.

    That being said, I believe this satement was made in a moment of rage, and presented a problem that Rog could think of no way to handle. Thus, he blurted out the first thing that came to his mind, and without even thinking about how dumb of an idea it was, or the fact that this is going to make him look even more the fool, had his secretary send it out to all the teams. Now the press has it, and I really don’t see how they’re going to get out of this debacle.

  60. olcap says: Sep 21, 2011 6:25 PM

    They’ll probably have to say that someone who works for the NFL, and really had no authority to send out the memo to the teams, did so, and then some poor schmuck will get fired.

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