As Rosenthal pointed out on Tuesday, the NFL will punish players for faking injuries only if they later admit that the injury was fake.
Because the players who simultaneously hit the deck while the Rams had the Giants on their heels with a no-huddle offense weren’t sufficiently stupid to admit that it was a ploy to give the Giants a chance to catch their breath, there will be no discipline, according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.
Coach Tom Coughlin helped perpetuate the ruse on Tuesday. “Well, from my standpoint on the sideline I thought he was cramped,” Coughlin said of safety Deon Grant. “At that point in time, all I noticed was a player down.”
Safety Antrel Rolle danced on the line of giving up the goods. “This is the NFL,” Rolle told WFAN on Tuesday, per Vacchiano. “No one is dumb in this league. Many teams do it all the time. In my eyes as a veteran it was an extremely smart play on their behalf . . . if they were in fact faking.”
Feigning cramps is the easiest way to fake an injury. Cramps can be debilitating. And with a little touching and rubbing, they go away and the player is fine.
Last night, former NFL safety Matt Bowen told Todd Wright of Yahoo! Sports Radio that the faking of injuries, as everyone suspects, a common practice in football. “I’m not going to name any names of coaches,” Bowen said, “but faking injuries is part of the game. We didn’t do it every game, but there was a signal to do it . . . and if you were the designated guy, normally a lineman because they rotate anyway, you went down. . . . Another key part of this was to never tell the training staff. The reason for that is the coaches wanted the training staff to run on the field and react like it was a potentially serious injury, so they were kept out of the loop on this.”
That’s why the NFL needs to address the situation not by waiting for a player to admit to faking an injury (the league would have better luck waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive) but by removing the incentive to fake an injury.
Whether the defensive team loses a timeout when an injury occurs while facing a no-huddle offense (as we suggested Tuesday) or whether the player is prevented from returning for more than the standard one play, the league has the power to make it as unattractive to fake an injury as it currently is during the final two minutes of each half, when a timeout is taken from the team regardless of whether the injury is real or phony.